Does God plus (+) creation equal (=) more than God?

beethovenThis question is a real cranium-buster and it makes me feel woozy.

The question even has an emotional element to it when we ask if God plus Beethoven (or all human art) is more than God alone.

While it may seem intellectually quite obvious that God plus something else (like the whole universe) must give us something greater than God, the concept of infinity turns this simple mathematical conclusion on its head.

There is no ratio between what is finite and what is infinite. You can’t add to infinity! God is Infinite. So there is no ratio between God and the created world, no ratio between human genius and Divine Wisdom. Beethoven’s musical genius adds nothing to God’s unlimited celestial harmonies.

The answer to this unique question also has to do with the imagined worldview of the human ego. According to Swedenborg, because of our self-centeredness, we do not perceive reality correctly and live mostly in fantasy and imaginary dreams. In spite of our learned sense of self, we have no existence outside of our relationships (and friendships). And our relationship with God is most important to our existence.

In fact, scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg stated that if God were not sustaining the universe at every single moment, it would immediately turn to foam and froth and totally disappear—including us.

We are real because God is real.

God is the ultimate reality. Period. Every created thing in the universe (inorganic and organic) is simply a receptive form of some level of God’s influence. The created world was fashioned by God putting measureable limits on divine activity (much the way mathematical calculus coordinates and subordinates infinities into various concepts of constraints and limits). Creation is less than God.

God is even above heaven (angels are also finite creatures).

The human race was created so that God could share eternal happiness with others. This is how Divine Love finds its fullness in time. So while we finite human creatures are nothing compared to the Creator, our lives are important to God’s realizing and becoming the Alpha and Omega.

We properly accept God’s love by offering it back to God. We are really alive and vivified according to the intensity and degree of life we receive and give back in reciprocal union and partnership with the God of heaven and earth. In other words, God’s wisdom finds real ways to unite His Infinity with our finite nature (calculus proves such a relationship is theoretically possible when we consider that an infinite number of points occupy any finite and curved line or length).

This sacred partnership (and divine ratio) is how we humans can live forever through an eternal God.

My award-winning book Proving God expands on this discussion.

http://www.provinggod.com

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About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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4 Responses to Does God plus (+) creation equal (=) more than God?

  1. Lee says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful piece. I like the image of infinite points on a finite (and internally one-dimensional) line segment.

    One thought that exercises my brain is the idea that in a sense, we cannot love God or return God’s love because:
    a) God is infinite and we cannot actually “give” anything to infinity, and
    b) Inflow always goes in one direction: from the Divine (God) through the spiritual to the material. There is no reverse flow from us to God.

    I resolve this in my mind with reference to Matthew 25:31-46, in which the Son of Man tells those who had provided for their fellow human beings in need, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In other words, the way we love God is to love our neighbor. This gives God joy not because it “adds something” to God, but because it gives God’s love and wisdom another avenue to flow out–and God feels happiness and joy when there is an opportunity to express love and wisdom in action. After all, that’s why God created the universe, and us in it, in the first place.

    Despite that resolution, I still find it challenging to think about what it truly means to love God, and whether there is even a real distinction between loving God and loving the neighbor (the two Great Commandments). Swedenborg sometimes combines these two into one under the term “the love of heaven.”

    • Lee says:

      About the main topic of whether creation adds to God, using your image of infinite points on a line, and considering that a line is really just a boundary, with no “substance,” if we think of the entire spiritual and material created world as essentially a very complex set of boundaries, this does not add any “mass” to reality. It simply provides massless containers into which divine mass (love) flows.

      That also exercises my brain. It seems illogical for something to exist that has no substance or mass. And that brings us right back to Swedenborg’s (pre-theological) dimensionless points in very large quantities, and how such a thing as a dimensionless point can even exist and have any reality at all. It appears to me to be something of a paradox in which it both exists and doesn’t exist. In itself, it does not exist. But like a line, or more like a sphere, when an infinite number of them form a coherent boundary with a definite shape, then they become a container for something that *does* exist, namely the divine love flowing into that container.

      It still doesn’t quite gel for me. How can a massless, dimensionless entity even form a container? I think there’s more to it that I haven’t yet grasped. (And yes, I’m reading your book, but still running into the same questions and paradoxes as when I first encountered this material in my teens.)

    • thegodguy says:

      Lee,

      By loving God I mean putting one’s self-importance aside and acknowledging our relative nothingness within the grand scheme of reality. This opens us up to God’s influx which fills us with love towards the neighbor and all things in creation. I apologize if you got the impression that sending love back to God meant a reverse flow of influx.

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

    • thegodguy says:

      Lee,

      It seems like my computer is not letting me respond to your comments in the proper order. However, Swedenborg’s notion of dimensional-less “points” is indeed difficult to envision but is analogous to the modern scientific notion of “virtual particles”.

      Swedenborg describes the structure of such points as having their centers everywhere along the periphery or the periphery consisting of only centers. Swedenborg called the action of such units as pure endeavor – from which comes force, energy and form in the natural world. This unit of pure activity is the door from which spiritual influx enters into (and creates) the spacetime arena. These things are addressed in my award-winning book “Proving God.”

      Spiritually yours,
      TheGodGuy

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