God’s absoluteness and infinity can be a wonderful encouragement when we’re filled with doubt on this side of paradise. God had no obligation to create, no obligation to reveal himself, and certainly no obligation to send his Son for our salvation. And yet he did. This absolute, infinite God did. That is love unparalleled.
God’s attributes can seem like suns we stare at. They’re so big and bright that we can’t look at them for more than a moment. Unfortunately, that also means we have a very hard time letting their light shine fully into the ordinary moments of our souls. In this post and many to follow, I am starting a new series on the nature of God, with an explicit focus on how the glorious attributes of God have everyday implications for our faith. My discussion partner throughout will be Vern Poythress and his wonderful book, The Mystery of the Trinity.
Absoluteness and Infinity
I’m choosing to start with two abstract attributes, ones that are so high above us that we can only see them when we squeeze our eyes closed to block out some of their eternal light: God’s absoluteness and infinity.
Let me back into this slowly. I’ll start with something concrete: ocean waves. As my family and I stood on the stormy shores of North Carolina in mid-October, I was hypnotized. The water rolled in on top of itself, singing its white-water song, leading bubbles towards the sand and then dragging them out again. I had just been reading The Mystery of the Trinity, and so I was thinking about the greatness of God reflected here. The ocean is vast to us. It’s wide and deep and terrifying. And yet it’s such a small part of all that God has made. It’s a speck on the landscape of God’s own greatness. And because God has made the whole world to reflect himself (Rom. 1:19), we see a glimmer of his greatness in the ocean horizon. As I stood on the shore, I thought, “Wow. God . . . you are HUGE!”
Yet, what exactly do we mean when we say that God is absolute and infinite? God’s absoluteness simply means that “he is independent of the world that he made. He always existed, while everything created had a beginning. Not only in its beginning but in its continuation, each created thing is dependent on him. God, by contrast, does not need anything from the world” (Poythress, The Mystery of the Trinity, p. 27). God stands happily on his own, independent and yet full of warmth, for God is three eternal persons in perpetual communion with one another.