The logic of the finite doesn’t limit the infinite

God’s infinitude makes comprehending him difficult for us finite beings, especially when we analyze him using the sense of logic derived from our experience with finite things.

That finite logic can’t always be extrapolated to the infinite is acknowledged even in secular fields such as mathematics. Suppose we subtract the set of all odd numbers from the set of all natural numbers. Both sets are infinite and what remains – the set of all even numbers – is also infinite. But suppose we subtract the set of all natural numbers greater than two from the set of all natural numbers. Again both are infinite, but the remainder is two. If we repeat the above for all numbers greater than three, the remainder will be three. Thus, the subtraction of infinity from infinity can give infinite results ranging from one to infinity. This contradicts finite algebra wherein subtracting one number from another always gives a fixed result.

Such contradictions arise because the logic of the finite is inadequate for analyzing the infinite. This same principle applies to paradoxical Bhagavad-gita statements such as: all things are situated in Krishna (09.04); and all things are not situated in him (09.05). Gita commentators explain that such statements illustrate how the infinite can embody things irreconcilable from a finite perspective. The former statement of things being situated in Krishna refers to his immanent manifestation as Paramatma and the latter statement of things not being situated in him refers to his transcendent manifestation as Bhagavan. The Absolute Truth being infinite can exist simultaneously as both manifestations –he can be the sustainer of all things and can exist beyond that role too.

By abandoning our insistence that the Infinite conform to the logic of the finite, we open ourselves to infinite enrichment coming from trans-logical devotional connectedness with the Infinite.

Explanation of article:

Podcast: Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

1. 2. 