Since 09 May this year I have received ten texts on my i-phone bearing the same identical message: “The power of imagination makes us infinite.” The message was sent through different numbers, but it seems that only one person or group of persons sent it on different days.
I don’t know what motivated the sender/senders to send me the same message repeatedly. Perhaps this was the telephone company’s way to inspire their subscribers. At any rate, this has moved me to react to the message from the standpoint of God’s word, the Holy Bible.
Does the Bible teach, or suggest, that the power of our human imagination makes us infinite?
At the outset two things need to be clarified: 1.) What is this “power of imagination?” and, 2.) what is meant by our being “infinite?”
Power of imagination
A unique power that we human beings have been equipped with is that of “imagination” – the ability to “imagine,” “conceptualize,” or visualize” a thought, an object, design, or purpose. As far as we know, no other creature on earth has the same power. Animals do the things they do through some built-in mechanisms, such as “instincts.” For example, most birds build their nests according to the same consistent pattern by instinct – that is, without anyone “teaching” or prompting them to build their nests in the same exact way. Each species sticks to the same pattern, without any “thought” to devise their nest in some other pattern or design.
Not so, we human beings!
For example, how did we come to have cellular phones, after we had invented the wind-up or dial-up telephone or “talking machine”? Someone or some group of people obviously thought out – imagined – inventing an electronic device that can transmit sounds, pictures, texts or scripts, music and video footages from one person to another. It took a lot of imagination to design and construct that device, plus the means to transmit the “information” [also called “data”] through some transmitting device, including cellular sites or towers through some feat of engineering and technology.
Now, then, does this example of man’s “power of imagination” thus make us “infinite?”
Becoming”infinite” — what?
Just what does becoming “infinite” mean? My copy of Webster’s New World Dictionary (New York: Prentice Hall, 1994) defines “infinite” as: “1.) lacking limit or bounds; extending beyond measure or comprehension; without beginning or end, endless.”
From my math class, I recall knowing about “infinity” through such numbers as the quotient of the fraction 100/60 = 1.666666 and so on to infinity – “endless” 6’s.
I am not sure what the author of the text message had in mind with the word “infinite.” Does the power of our imagination make us limitless or without bounds? Beyond measure or comprehension? Without beginning or end, endless?
Be that as it may, the Bible does use the phrase “without beginning or end of days” in referring to one Melchizedek, the High Priest of God (Hebrews 7:1-3). [See: The Mystery of Melchizedek Unlocked!] As this website article explains, Melchizedek is the same Person as the glorified Jesus Christ, who is forever God’s High Priest, by the fact that He is ever-living, immortal.
The apostle Paul gave this benediction: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
In his famous “Resurrection Chapter” (1 Corinthians 15) Paul explains the difference between Christ and us human beings: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood [as we human beings all are] cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption [decay resulting from death] inherit incorruption” (Verse 50).
In this present age, all of us human beings are mortal, subject to death. We are not immortal. Paul also wrote: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Paul summarized our hope as humans: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly [KJV, ‘vile’ or corruptible] body that it may be conformed to His glorious [immortal] body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21). Right now, of all who have taken the form of humanity, only Jesus enjoys immortality. [See: What Happens to Man After Death?]
Further Paul wrote: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed – In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound [Revelation 11:15, etc.], and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
No amount of our imagining has the power to bring about our immortality or make us “infinite.” It has to be granted to us by God alone!
God has shown us the way: “For God so loved the world that r gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish [die forever] but have everlasting life [immortality]” (John 3:16). [See: Power to Become the Sons of God and Christian Formation.]
The human potential
In the meantime, while awaiting our transformation to immortality [“infinity?”], God has given mankind a wealth of potential for creativity and imagination. Even early in the history of mankind, God had declared: Now nothing that they propose to do [imagine!] will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6). Is this perhaps what some have called the “divine spark” in man – that power [on a smaller scale] to imagine and create all kinds of things like our Creator God has?
Indeed, since conceiving and building the infamous “tower of Babel” (Genesis 11), mankind has gone a long, long way in imagining all the wonders that man has conceived of and achieved. To mention just a few: skyscrapers, space ships, computers, and, yes, smart phones. What an exciting, marvelous new world we can look forward to when God’s kingdom through Christ transforms mankind’s heart and mind. Then men can use their imagination to devise only good things. They might cause even God Himself to marvel. [See: “He Marveled.”]
Because of man’s moral failings and wickedness, men in our present age have used their imagination and devices to hurt others instead of helping them. Some such things are today’s rampant on-line scams, sex-for-sale, pornography, etc. [See: Is There Ever Any Good in Man? A Law-abiding Universe – But Man! And Being and Doing.] But when God transforms the hearts and minds of men, they will use their imagination only for good and righteous purposes.
My prayer for all of us is that we may come to truly know Christ and God, be known by Him, and that we can truly become the children of God, to enjoy the endless pleasures He has reserved for us forever (Psalm 16:11). [See: Are We All God’s Children? and “I Never Knew You!”]
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.