"The New Infinite and the Old Theology" is the title Professor Keyser gives to his study of the infinite from the viewpoint of the mathematician. Reason comes to the relief of theology. It is an apologetic presentation, in a way, since he aims to make the acceptance of the infinite both possible and easy from a mathematical viewpoint. The author regards theology as suffering a merely temporary decline-she has not availed herself of advancing knowledge. Mathematics is "especially qualified to assist her." Theology as an ...
"The New Infinite and the Old Theology" is the title Professor Keyser gives to his study of the infinite from the viewpoint of the mathematician. Reason comes to the relief of theology. It is an apologetic presentation, in a way, since he aims to make the acceptance of the infinite both possible and easy from a mathematical viewpoint. The author regards theology as suffering a merely temporary decline-she has not availed herself of advancing knowledge. Mathematics is "especially qualified to assist her." Theology as an attempt to reach ideas, to reduce life to a formula is an absurd failure -not ideas but ideals, should be the goal, and the infinites exist as ideals rather than as ideas. Theology is not the science of religion (pp. 14, 15). "Theology is not a branch of analytical psychology, nor a branch of anthropology." Nor is "religion" the subject-matter of theology. "Religion is essentially emotion; theology is doctrine; the former feels, the latter thinks; theology is a structure, an edifice of thought; religion is a flow-a stream of sentiment," and so on. The subject matter of theology "consists of rational phenomena." "It is the task of theology to study these implications of logical thought which are hyperlogical and to interpret them in rational terms." There is a "supernalizing power;" this presents theology its task. "Theology is the science of idealization. The phenomena of idealization spring from foundations deeper than the will; their credentials are cosmic. Theology thus deals not with ideas, but ideals. Ideals are not to be grasped; they are things to be reached for. Theology must study the grounds and source of these ideals. God is, for example, not an idea, but an ideal. Theology cannot be a science of the overworld as astronomy is a science of the heavenly bodies. The overwork! faces downward and presents itself to reason as ideals. Of these theology speaks. While science is, as commonly defined, essentially atheistic, scientific man is not. Man is infinitely greater than science. Thus our author indicates a field for theology apart from science, and he proceeds to bring the Infinite, as it were, within reach by a course of mathematical reasoning. Some mathematical wonders are unfolded. The outcome of his search and reasoning is that the whole and the part may both be infinite. There is no absurdity in this thought. It is a mathematical commonplace. Infinites are not all alike. "There are countless mathematical infinities or infinitudes or infinites." The Infinite of theology is the envelope, enfolding them all. Thus Dr. Keyser leads to the Infinite of theology by way of the infinites within it. The infinite is in the finite, as mathematics shows. There is much interesting, and occasionally intricate reasoning, whereby mathematics justifies both the Dignity of Omniscience and Freedom; the fact of omnipresence as one of the "intelligible ideals." An illustration is found in the concept of "hyperspace." There results the "conceivability of the infinite Being being everywhere present in an infinite region without being contained in it." Mathematics contains the wonders which are found in theology, and theology can profit by the belief which mathematicians bestow on their wonders and seeming incredibilities. - Auburn Seminary Record , Vol. 12
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