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Infinity + 1

June 4th, 2016 by Clint Kandle

InfinityWhat is Infinity + 1?

I remember sitting in my eighth-grade math class, half-excited that it was nearly over and half-annoyed that we were listening to a classmate argue with the math teacher about the definition of infinity, in math used to symbolize the largest number imagined. She wasn't really arguing. She was trying to understand how infinity could be the largest number possible. Every time the teacher tried to explain that the term was not really a number but a rather a symbol, she would exclaim, "Well then, what is (Infinity+1)?"

It wasn't a bad question, it was just an uninformed one. Witha better understanding of the mathematical uses of infinity,she learned to use the symbol appropriately even without a
complete grasp of its abstract meaning. She learned that the symbol had a valuable purpose.

I have to confess, I did not try to grasp the complete meaning of the symbol. My classmate was actually trying to figure out the why, while I was concentrating on learning when I needed to use it to get the answer marked right, without a thought to any deeper meanings. Even in later studies of calculus and physics at West Point, my focus remained on getting the grade, not the greater meaning.

The doctrine of the Trinity often brings about the same glazed look in the eyes of Christians today that I noted in my classmate's eyes in that eighth grade math class. There does not seem to be any excitement about the topic, and any attempt to discuss it leaves me feeling alienated and foolish. In many ways, we most often use the doctrine of the Trinity to
divide. People say things like:

  • You guys talk about all of this abstract stuff but it doesn't
    matter. I just believe what the Bible says...
  • The Bible never uses the word trinity. It says that there is
    one God in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).
  • The entire Bible describes the Trinity, despite the fact
    that it was almost 500 years before the term was
    solidified to describe it. If you don't believe in it, you are
    not a Christian.

It is true that the deeper understandings of the trinity were formulated over hundreds of years, discussions normally generated through argument as each side tried to explain why its interpretation of the Bible best represented God's self revelation. But what if the idea of the trinity was for us, not against them? Though forged through discord as the patristic fathers fought to stay true to the original intent of the disciples, the final result is meant to highlight the outpouring of love, mercy and grace that best describes the Godhead's nature, His essence. Are we prepared to embrace such a radical notion despite the changes necessary to redeem our current way of thinking?

The good news of the Trinity is that you will never have to make such a decision or shift on your own. The very texts that opponents point out do not contain the term Trinity are the same ones that almost force the first Christians to develop the doctrine. They speak of three unique persons who lead and empower us to love Him.

Join me Sunday as we look at God's revelation with a new set of eyes, like a longtime resident of Orlando showing a first time visitor the attractions of the city. And just as you would
see the restaurants and night life through their eyes and get a renewed appreciation of your city, come explore the wonder of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and examine the impact that His self-revelation could have on your everyday life.

Clint+

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Clint Kandle

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