Unless you’re a mathematician, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about the notion of infinity. Given even a bit more thought, though, it’s something we all might benefit from every day of our lives.
I found this to be true one afternoon when thinking about infinity during a bike ride.
I was within a few miles of completing what had been a pretty arduous 50- or 60-mile ride, and as I approached a short but steep incline, my legs completely gave out. It wasn’t as if I wouldn’t be able to finish my ride, only that I’d likely be pedaling at a fraction of the speed I had been for the previous few hours.
As tempting as it was to get off my bike and walk, I found myself instead contemplating some spiritual ideas. In particular, I started to consider what I’d learned from my study of the Bible about God as infinite Spirit, which is totally unlimited, and reigns “for ever and ever” (Exodus 15:18). I also thought about my having been created in the image and likeness of God, as we all are (see Genesis 1:26), inseparable from my creator, and that I express what the Psalmist describes as God’s “great power” (147:5). In that moment it became clear to me that God – infinite Spirit and not a physical body – was the source of my strength.
The next thing I knew, I had reached the top of the incline, and with a renewed sense of energy I was able to finish the last few miles of my ride.
This wasn’t the first, nor was it the last time, that I’d literally felt the power of God. I’ve come to recognize this, not as mere positive thinking, but as the effect of the presence of Christ – the “divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” as Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy puts it (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 332). This divine message continuously reminds individuals of what they really are as God’s expression. It’s this Christ, exemplified so clearly in the limit-breaking life of Jesus that, as I discovered on my bike ride, can take a concept as ostensibly abstract as infinity and make it practical.
Whenever I think of “the infinite divine Principle,” – as Eddy describes God (Science and Health, p. 275) – I don’t imagine something that simply goes on forever, but that which has neither an end nor a beginning; that which is presently and eternally complete; that which, by its very nature, excludes anything unlike itself and is made manifest, universally, in proportion to our apprehension and appreciation of its presence and power.
I also imagine that as we become more aware of this divine Principle, we’ll find ourselves thinking more than ever before about the infinity of – and our own unity with – God, the understanding of which is bound to have practical implications far beyond a successful bike ride.