Date: Nov 12, 2013 2:09 PM
Author: mueckenh@rz.fh-augsburg.de
Subject: Infinity and Theology (29)

 

The pagan, wrong proposition {{"There is no actually infinite number"}}, even without possesing the property of being a dogma acknowledged by the church or ever having been in that possesion, has, because of its dogma-like popularity, done unmeasurable damage to Christian religion and philosophy, and one cannot thank holy Thomas of Aquino too effusively that he has clearly marked this proposition as definitely doubtful.
[Cantor to Hemann, 21 June 1888, quoted from C. Tapp: "Kardinalität und Kardinäle: Wissenschaftshistorische Aufarbeitung der Korrespondenz zwischen Georg Cantor und katholischen Theologen seiner Zeit." Boethius Vol. 53, Franz Steiner Verlag (2005) p. 384]

For comparison: Thomas Aquinatus writes in his Summa Theologica I, Q. 7, A. 4:
But no species of number is infinite; for every number is multitude measured by one. Hence it is impossible for there to be an actually infinite multitude, either absolute or accidental.Likewise multitude in nature is created; and everything created is comprehended under some clear intention of the Creator; for no agent acts aimlessly. Hence everything created must be comprehended in a certain number. Therefore it is impossible for an actually infinite multitude to exist, even accidentally. But a potentially infinite multitude is possible.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/aquinas/summa/sum010.htm

Yes we have to be grateful for those clear words!

Regards, WM