Steve Schappell-My Blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

To Infinity....and Beyond!



I really enjoyed the Toy Story movies.  The animation style.  The story.  The fact that from the first one to the third movie, the character of Andy "ages" in real time--meaning he would have been 18 when Toy Story 3 was released.  (I know,  I cried when Andy left for college too....c'mon, you did also)   Powerful stuff.

A lot of Pixar movies are on my favorites list.  This is in part due to the story and writing.  They can pack more emotion and story in a 4-minute, no words segment (Think UP!), than in most non-animated movies with dialogue.

Toy Story centers around Andy's Toys, led by Woody-a Wild West Sheriff, and Andy's favorite toy.  That is until Andy's birthday when Buzz Lightyear enters the picture.  Woody is jealous of Buzz, and after a series of mis-adventures, become best friends.  One of the signature lines from Buzz Lightyear is "To Infinity....and Beyond."

What does the word Infinity mean?  Having no limits or end.  Limitless.  Endless.  No beginning or end.  You have seen the symbol that looks like a sideways figure 8.

This got me thinking about the phrase, "To Infinity and Beyond," and I found it exists in Mathematics.  In Mathematical circles, What exactly does Buzz Lightyear mean when he says, "To Infinity and beyond!"? A few professionals at Harvard investigated the origin of this quote and traced it back to limits. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, "Buzz Lightyear is a metaphor of a function which approaches a certain number, but never actually reaches it." However, experts at MIT believe that Buzz Lightyear is referring to vertical asymptotes. Dr. Benjamin Hernandez says, "It is possible to cross horizontal asymptotes, but verticals are impossible. Buzz Lightyear is showing everyone that he can do the impossible and cross horizontal and vertical asymptotes."


Huh?  Wow.  Maybe this description is better:
In mathematics, "infinity" is often treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms") but it is not the same sort of number as natural or real numbers.

Now my head hurts.....I will leave mathematics, and on to Infinity as Eternity.  From Eternity...and beyond.  Let's start there.

What is Eternity?   For some, it is waiting in line for 5 minutes at the checkout line.  "This is taking an eternity!"  Substitute the word Forever for Eternity, and it means the same thing.  As humans, we have a limited mind.  When I sit and try to thing about Eternity, or Forever, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it.  My head hurts again....

If Infinity is never-ending--no beginning and no end.  Always there.  Does that mean that God is Infinite?  Has he always been.  No beginning and no end?  I believe so.  What does that Bible have to say about Eternity...

Let's start with Jesus in John 3:15-16. "That everyone who believes shall have eternal life in him.  For God so loved the world, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Then, later on the New Testament...

Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death. but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

1 Timothy 1:16 "But for that very reason, I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life."

1 John 5:11 "And this is the Testimony.  God has given us Eternal Life, and the life is in his Son."

The New Testament is filled with verses about Eternity and the way to achieve that.  Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but be me."  The road to Eternal Life is through Jesus. 

In Mathematics, using Infinity as a symbol can get you closer to the desired result, but you can never achieve it.  It's like running toward the horizon, and you never actually get there.  It keeps slipping away from you.  But with God, we can get close to him and receive eternal life through His son. 
We can reach that horizon.

I don't know what Heaven will be like, except for what is described in the Bible.  I read about a New Heaven and New Earth.  No night, as God's light will always shine.  No more sin, no more death, diseases like Cancer.  No more suffering or loss.  All the things that Sin brought into this world will be swept away in the next.  And while my finite mind cannot comprehend living forever, To Infinity is where I am headed when this life is through.


Maybe my new phrase should be "From Eternity to Everlasting."  How does that sound?

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