Universe – infinite or finite?

“Is the universe infinite or finite?” – has it always existed, and always will, or did it have an origin in time? When you think about it, the possible answers to that question have a staggering array of implications. If, as pantheists and many atheists claim, the universe is infinite, there is no need for a Creator. On the other hand, if the universe is in fact finite, it necessitates a cause (and we shall explore this later). But how is anyone to know, really?

One philosophical argument against an infinite universe is that infinity does not exist in reality; it’s only a useful mathematical tool, a theoretical construct. Let me demonstrate using a splendid example: hair.

Let’s say I have an infinite amount of hair (’tis bigger than the biggest afro you’ve ever seen in your life, and extends beyond the very edge of the known universe). Let’s also say you’re balding, and you’d appreciate a share of my copious hair. Let us now imagine three possible situations (equally painful, I’m afraid):

1. I give you all my hair – in this situation, I have no more hair while you acquire the biggest mop in the world: Infinity – Infinity = Zero.
2. I give you every other hair – in this situation, alarmingly, we both have an inestimable supply of hair: Infinity – Infinity = Infinity.
3. I keep a couple of strands and give you the rest – in this situation, your abundant mane far outdoes my two lonesome threads: Infinity – Infinity = 2

So, here we have three conflicting situations where infinity is taken away from infinity to arrive at three mutually exclusive results. This mathematical and philosophical impossibility (ie. zero = infinity = 2) proves that infinity cannot exist in reality. Therefore, the universe (which exists in reality) has to be finite, and so does my hair – thank God for that! 😉

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3 thoughts on “Universe – infinite or finite?”

  1. You don’t really relate that hair analogy back to the size of the universe very well dude.

    It really only appears to disprove that there is an infinite amount of hair…

    What you have to say is that in the same way that you cannot divide up an infinite amount of hair into bits, you can’t divide up an infinite amount of space.

    If space were infinite then putting a plane (an infinitely wide 2 dimensional area) through space would give you an infinite amount of space in one direction and an infinite amount into another meaning that:

    infinite / 2 = 2 x infinite

    Which is absurd.

  2. Hm, what I didn’t make clear enough is that I was referring to its existence in relation to time (I shall edit that piece of info’ into it now). No matter, it works well enough either way; If I split time between past and future at the present, your equation (infinite / 2 = 2 x infinite) works just as well.

    Cheers for the tip :-).

  3. lets equate n to infinity

    Then let’s try some beginners algebra.

    N – N = 0

    This is fact.

    N – (N-2) = 2
    This statement is false. You cannot make this claim.

    This is because N-2 = N; we do the parenthesis first making

    N – N = 0

    N/2 = N

    N – 2 = N

    Thus half an infinite still equals infinite. This is why when Christ gives us his body in the Mass, it can be broken infinite times, all while still being his whole body. In fact every piece is just as much as the whole body. This is why we must be extremely careful as not to spill crumbs of the Eucharist; and why the Tridentine Rite Mass goes to extensive lengths to prevent this offense to our Lord.

    Pax vobiscum.

    I understand that time is finite, that is obvious. What about space? Did Thomas Aquinas ever talk about the space of the universe?

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