The distinction between the Creator and the creature lies at the base of all sound theology. The temptation to remake God in our own image, to make ourselves bigger and God smaller, is constant and real. Finitum non capax infinitum (the finite cannot comprehend the infinite) is a rule we’d all rather forget. The desire to understand why when inscrutable providence brings suffering; the impatience we feel toward profundity in the discussion of doctrine (“Yes, that’s all very well. But I need something practical!”); the overwhelming anxiety that comes in the wake of the conviction that we ought to have a plan and we ought to be in control but we aren’t—these are but expressions of the creature’s desire to collapse the Creator/creature distinction. We want to comprehend the infinite.
What we have not realized is that far from leaving us with the restless perplexity of unanswered questions when pain and sorrow strike, knowing that God is infinite allows us to rest. It reminds us that while we can be caught off guard by sudden unforeseen tragedy and our limited resources can be overwhelmed as we attempt to cope, God is not so limited. Good news: God isn’t like us. The limitations of creatureliness do not inhere in Him. While we may never get an answer to our “why” questions when suffering comes, we can rest in the wise ordering of God who knows the end from the beginning and for whom there can be no crisis beyond His ability to resolve.
Far from bringing impracticality, the doctrine of God’s infinity brings comfort and confidence to fear-filled hearts. It says to the control freak: “You need to learn that you are not God. You are not enough for the challenges of life, finite as you are. But I am the infinite God, whose greatness is unsearchable (Ps. 145:3). Only I am enough!” It reminds the anxiety-riddled introvert: “You are right to feel your limits so keenly. But you are wrong to think you should be up to the tasks set before you. You were never meant to be enough. You were meant to live depending on Me. Only I am enough! My grace is sufficient for you, and My grace is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).”
There is no boundary to God’s being, power, or wisdom. He has no edges. All that He is is infinite. As Solomon prayed at the dedication of the temple: “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). The wonder of the gospel is that in Christ, the infinite Son of God, the second person of the blessed Trinity, was united to a human nature, to creatureliness. Without ceasing to be infinite, He entered into our finitude. Without divesting Himself of limitlessness, He embraced limits. Without ceasing to be God, He became man. This He did in love for sinners against infinite holiness, the enormity of whose guilt is therefore infinite. Only an infinite person, with a finite human nature, could pay infinite debts in the stead of finite creatures.