On Space And Time As Infinite, And On Infinite Being Corresponding To Them. -- By: Henry Hayman
BSac 42:167 (Jan 1885) p. 569
On Space And Time As Infinite, And On Infinite Being Corresponding To Them.
The only notions of the human mind which confront infinity are those of space and time. We contemplate them indeed under limitation, i.e., our minds deal with either under limits of dimension and finite terms of duration; but we are conscious that such limitation is not proper to the conceptions of space and time in themselves, although inseparable from our mental dealings with them. Thus we have constantly a mental contact with conceptions which we cannot fully take in, and view them under limitations which are proper only to the contemplating subject and not to the contemplated object. Infinity is a notion inseparable from the latter, while limitation is a condition inseparable from the former.
Now space and time are only abstract notions, although they pervade and condition the whole of our conceptions. It seems, however, highly probable, if not indeed necessary, that there should be some concrete Being, corresponding in external fact to these abstractions which are necessary to our minds. We cannot find this in the sum total of objects of our sensible perception; for whether the sum total of such objects (which we are conscious transcends indefinitely the range of our faculties) be in itself finite or infinite, we cannot possibly tell, while the sum total perceived is certainly finite. Therefore we are driven to seek that concrete Being in somewhat beyond and outside that sum total, and to conceive of an Absolute or Infinite and therefore self-existent Being. Further, as the notion of causation is also inherent in the human mind, such Being must be the cause of causes; since, otherwise, dependence and not self-existence, would be his attribute.
Now it is urged by agnostics that such a Being must be uncognizable by human faculties, and that any relations in which finite beings stand with him must be equally beyond their range. The answer to this is to be found in our undoubted relations with the abstract notions of time and space. We cannot take them in the proper fulness which our minds cannot but assign to them, and yet we cannot, without renouncing our reason, detach ourselves from mental contact with them. We find our minds internally conditioned by notions which involve infinity, and this offers an analogy in favor of our having relations as real as our own nature with a concrete Being, Absolute or Infinite, and self-existent, the Cause of all causes, external to ourselves.
Further, the vast and manifold concurrence of arguments from design in nature, forces upon us the notion not only of Intellect but of Will as inherent in that Absolute or Infinite Being. But an Infinite Will would seem to involve in itself all powers, and among them, therefore, th...
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