Even something as straightforward as mathematics can give us a glimpse of things our finite minds find hard to grasp—but they’re real nonetheless.
There are some deep issues about God, eternity and the like which, while not logical paradoxes,1 are mind-stretchingly outside of our normal experience. They include: God’s triune nature; what the spiritual realm might consist of; how He can be infinite, and yet at the same time personal; and more.
Activity outside of time
One could also mention the mysterious fact that God can be outside of time (as its Creator) and yet engage in activities which to us are always time-sequential. For example, John’s Gospel repeatedly indicates that there was love between the three persons of the Godhead prior to creation. But it is generally understood that, before this space-matter-time continuum was created, God was existing in a timeless eternity, mirroring an eternity yet future. Love requires some form of expression, and generally communication. Yet our experience of communication is one word after another, i.e. a sequence in time. In fact, in our time-bounded cosmos, even wordless expressions of love have a beginning and ending, both of which involve time. So how can there be love in timelessness?
Similar mind barriers arise, too, when we start to think deeply about the concept of ‘infinity’, even though this might appear at first glance to be much more straightforward. It includes the concepts that God is infinitely ‘old’ (eternal), infinitely knowledgeable (omniscient) and infinitely powerful (omnipotent).
It is both common and reasonable to resort to the notion that our finite minds simply can’t be expected to have the ‘processing power’ to grapple with such things, any more than a goldfish can be expected to grapple with genetic algorithms, or a cat comprehend calculus. Skeptical materialists,2 of course, will generally paint that as a copout. To them, it just shows that the concepts themselves are irrational, hence unreal….
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