Ultimate, Infinite, and Eternal

from Apr 03, 2021 Category: Ligonier Resources

As Anaximander searched for the source of the world’s existence, he was seeking something—or someone—that is infinite and eternal. In this brief clip, R.C. Sproul considers how this philosopher unknowingly described the God who is boundless and ageless.

Transcript:

In this whole process, Anaximander comes up with an idea that, from the perspective of history, was extremely important. He said that ultimate reality—really ultimate reality—is what he called, and I’ll transliterate it—the “apeiron” from the Greek language. Now, you’ve probably never heard of that word in your life, and that’s okay. But what he meant by this little word, “apeiron,” was that which is boundless and ageless. That which is boundless and ageless. For something to be boundless means that it doesn’t have any boundaries. There is no finite dimension that can capture it or contain it. In a word, whatever is boundless must be infinite. And whatever is ageless doesn’t have a birthday and has no birthday parties. Because, if it has no age, it is somehow above and beyond the normal currents of time. So, in a word, that which is ageless is that which is eternal. Now, you and I have an age. We all have birthdays. We all have a finite point of beginning in time. But we also have finite limits of space. As creatures, we have natural boundaries. I am experiencing that now, not in an abstract, philosophical way, but in a concrete existential way as we are videotaping this program. You see, because behind the scenes, behind the cameras and the microphones, we have directors. And they wave their hands at me and tell me how much time I have. But the worst thing they do is that they put these things on the floor, that I don’t think you can see right now. But they are little pieces of black tape right there. And over here, there is more black tape. And that black tape goes over here, and then there is another one along here. They’ve put me in a cage. I like to walk around. I’m a peripatetic teacher. And when I’m moving, it’s hard for the cameramen to keep me in focus and in sight. So, they put me in this cage. They bound me. See, I am not infinite. But now, I wish I were. I try to trick them. I come right up to the edge of this tape, and I lean and see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll be satisfied with my creatureliness and try to stay within the boundaries. But nobody is going to mistake me for ultimate reality or the supreme metaphysical point of unity for the entire realm of existence. No, Anaximander said that which is ultimate can have no finite bounds. And that which is truly ultimate cannot have a beginning in time or a definite age to its life span. But it must be infinite and eternal.