Many will recognize these words from the Toy Story character, Buzz Lightyear. It was his slogan, his catch-phrase; and he used it in all of the Toy Story movies I’ve seen. I guess I’m a little slow, but it finally hit me- how do you go beyond “infinity”? Infinity represents something that is boundless or endless or something that is larger than any real or natural number. It is a difficult concept for our limited minds to comprehend; how can the limited understand the limitless?
Long before Buzz became a character and popularized his phrase, I was introduced to the concept of infinity in math classes- specifically calculus classes at Auburn University. It is used in differentiation and integration, dealing with a series of numbers from “1 to infinity” and usually denoted by the symbol ∞, called a lemniscate. I’m certainly not going to attempt to explain the math associated with it, because in my education program I only failed one class, both in undergraduate and graduate school- calculus IV.
But the ancient Greek philosophers even discussed infinity not as a math concept, but as a philosophical one so we humans have been talking about it for quite a while. While we, in our limited minds, ponder infinity, I think it is a concept which God understands completely. In my mind, I figure “space, the new frontier” (for all the trekkies) is infinite. How far would you have to travel to reach the end of space and how long would it take to arrive? What would we find when we got there? The distance traveled and time required are both numbers that are too big to define and therefore, infinite.
I also believe that God’s love for mankind is infinite and that His infinite love was expressed to us a couple of thousand years ago when His Son became one of the “limited” ones to reconcile mankind’s relationship with its Creator. That “Limited One” “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) and we pause to celebrate His infinite love and sacrifice in our limited way during this season. Thinking about it that way helps us get a feel for infinity even if we can’t comprehend it. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2020… “To Infinity and Beyond!”