Saved By Zero?

Saved By Zero? November 29, 2019

 

I had an interesting dream the other night that was a combination of philosophy, theology and mathematics. I’ll do my best to communicate this in blog form but it might be something that works better as a live presentation or dialog. Let me know if this makes sense or not.

 

The philosopher Xeno had a theory which worked on paper (in theory) but was not possible to recreate in the real world. In essence, Xeno proved mathematically that it was impossible for any object to travel from point A to point B. In his example it was an arrow.

 

Xeno’s theory worked like this:

 

Before an arrow can travel the distance to the target, it must first travel half that distance. But before it can travel the half distance it has to first travel half of that distance also. In short, as each distance is cut in half, Xeno demonstrates that there is no measurement of distance that cannot be divided in half. Therefore, you’d have an infinite series of points that need to be crossed in order for the arrow to travel from the bow to the target.  (Google “Xeno’s Arrow” if you need help understanding this concept).

 

This theory is true mathematically, but to prove it false all you have to do is to fire the arrow and hit the target. Theorem refuted.


But not so fast. What Xeno actually proved is that there are some concepts which are true (actual infinites) but that do not exist in the physical reality we all live in. Xeno actually proved several things:

First, that actual infinites do exist (otherwise math would not work).

 

Second, that there are things that exist (because we can prove them mathematically or otherwise) but that do not exist in this world. Therefore there is a world outside of this one where these concepts or truths do exist.

 

Thirdly, that since actual infinites do not exist in the physical reality, our universe is not infinite. (This means that our universe had an actual beginning and is not eternal).

 

The simplest way to express Xeno’s arrow is to draw a number line. This is where you have a line with zero in the center which counts upward from positive one leading towards infinity on the right, and counting backward from negative one towards infinity on the left. The end of each line has an arrow which indicates that the numbers (both positive and negative) extend outward into infinity.

Like this:




This number line exists on the page, and it exists theoretically in mathematics, but it does not exist in our actual world. In other words, you could not ever hand me an actual number line in the real world. No one can actually produce one, even though it can be proven to exist theoretically.

 

With me so far? Ok, here’s where I’m going to get theological.

 

If we think of Infinity as God, then we can look at this from two different perspectives – Either this proves that God exists or it proves that God does not exist.

 

For example, if you take the perspective that God does not exist then you might be tempted to say that since an actual Infinite cannot exist in this reality (or Universe) then God does not exist. In other words, I can demonstrate on paper that an actual Infinite exists mathematically, but I could also draw a Leprechaun on a piece of paper and that wouldn’t prove that they are real.

 

However, you could also take the perspective that God does not exist in this physical reality (or is not limited to or limited by this reality) but that His existence can be proven mathematically (since without this concept of an actual Infinite our mathematical calculations would not be true).

 

Now, let’s mentally turn our number line from left to right into an up and down line, with the negative line going up into heaven and the positive line pointing down towards the Earth. (There’s a reason why I don’t turn it the other way but I’ll explain that in a moment).

 

If we think of the Spiritual realm as being the negative infinite side of our number line and the positive infinite side as physical reality, then I have a theological thought to share.

 

When the Apostle’s Paul and  John were talking about the incarnation of Jesus, they were doing math. (Stay with me here).

 

John says in his Gospel (see chapter one of John) that “In the beginning was the Word (that’s Jesus) and the Word was with God [that is an actual infinite], and the Word was God [or, Jesus was equal to infinity]…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” [And the question is, “How?”]

 

Paul says this in Philippians:


“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ, Jesus, who, being in very nature God, [that is, being equal to Infinity] did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing [or, Jesus became Zero] by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness [that is, became a positive one on the number line.]”

Jesus was equal to Infinity (or God), and we already know that our reality cannot contain an actual Infinite object, or being. Therefore, the only way for God (the actual Infinite) to approach the positive reality was to empty Himself of Infinity and become Zero.

 

Jesus emptied Himself of Infinity to become zero and by His own admission Jesus could do nothing on His own, but only what He saw the Father doing. [See John 5:19; 5:30; 12:49-50; 14:24; 14:31]

 

Here’s where it gets tricky. Zero does exist in our reality. It is possible to create an object which contains an absolute vacuum and is therefore, literally, full of nothing, or zero.

 

Unless of course you want to argue that even that vacuum isn’t full of nothing because space is something. In fact, you’d be right about that since at the subatomic level, every atom is 99 percent empty space. So, even solid objects are literally full of (mostly) nothing.

 

I’m not sure if that makes any sense to anyone other than myself, but it was the idea that woke me up this morning about 3 a.m. and I had to write it down.

 

Love to hear your thoughts about this if you have any.

**

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 Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.
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  • Herm

    Good work Keith, you’re coming of age.

    John 16:12 (NIV2011)

    12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

    You are bearing more than all the authors of the Bible, as we know it, today.

    You assumed something as taught in seminary; the beginning of the book of John can be understood more clearly when we understand that the Spirit of truth was in the beginning, he was with God, he was God … almost 13.8 billion years ago (equivalent to the amount of time it takes our earth to revolved around our sun as one year). The earth as was assumed to be the center of an unchanging universe (heavens), as taught in seminaries before Galileo (February 15, 1564 — January 8, 1642), an Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. Those assumptions authorized Christian church rulers to labeled him as a heretic which he suffered the rest of his life, for claiming that the earth surely rotated around the sun (which he incorrectly believed was the actual center of the universe). It seems that by the authority of chronicled historical highlights, regarding the Christian movement, being labeled a heretic by church rulers places sincere truth, as we know it at the time, in good company, like with Jesus Christ.

    John 14:16-17 (NIV2011)

    16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—
    17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

    John 1:32 (NIV2011)

    32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.

    John 14:20 (NIV2011)

    20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

    Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV2011)

    26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
    27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

    Jesus, the prophesied Christ, was led by the Spirit of truth, just as he could bear in faith and love as the Son of Man/Son of God at the age of 30, into the wilderness to begin his ministry … not led by his church assumptions, nor did he lead the Spirit. You are, definitely as attested to by your dream, being led as a son of Man, graced the image of God (an awareness of infinity/eternity???) by the Spirit of truth as you can bear in faith and love. You know him for he lives with you and is in you. You are only just beginning within an infancy of realization, awareness, that you are in Jesus, Jesus is in you, and Jesus in you is in our heavenly Father … simultaneously.

    I can do this mathematically but it is not necessary unless we insist on trying to limit God to mankind’s physical constraints. The Messiah made it possible, when the curtain was torn top to bottom, for all of us to be guided by the Advocate and grow to bear this awareness from each our own unique perspectives, even with the education of a carpenter or fisherman. We are being offered, by grace in love alone, to accepting to bear an eternity of awareness as children OF God today, who is spirit; by accepting the Spirit of truth to eternally fill (baptize) each our heart, soul, strength, mind of spirit (the image of God graced each of all OF Man). Infinity, of no beginning and no end, is the time constraint that the kingdom of God exists within. God still grows moment to moment in spirit with each child of Man who accepts to be a child of God, each within each, bound as one, each living with, in and led the Holy Spirit (who speaks only as told by the Messiah and Father), by all love. Today, it makes no sense to me to assume that the physical awareness and influence always was, but it makes all sense now that life of awareness and influence in Spirit need never to have had a beginning, nor will ever have an end.

    Physically each of mankind cannot be each within each other. In spirit each of God is within each other.

    Infinity of spirit??? All of God can occupy all of space while sitting his/her/their entirety on the head of a quark’s pimple; infinitely and infinitesimally .

    The relational rule, physical and spirit, remains that good (constructive and productive) is only when in everything we each first do to one another as we would have any other do to us.

    Yes, your thoughts do make sense, thank you for sharing them.

  • “actual infinites do exist (otherwise math would not work)”

    I would agree. Anything that can be used for something exists, even if it doesn’t have physical dimensions or properties. Engineers use sines and cosines, the constant pi, etc. even though you can’t go get a pound of sines, a quart of cosines, or tell what color pi is.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Xeno’s paradox is only a paradox if you believe, as the ancient Greek mathematicians did, that the sum of an infinite series is necessarily infinite, which it isn’t. I have no idea why you think “actual infinities” don’t exist in the real world, or indeed what you mean by an “actual infinity” in any event.