Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Spiritual Life...In a Math Formula

I don't exactly get this, but a friend sent it to me today.  He likes math.  He is Catholic.
I like to think about the perfection concept in mathematical terms…

The measure of my individual perfection is p, and this is a function of t (the span of my life measured in minutes, days or years).  We will denote the day of my birth as t=0 and the day of my death as T, and I will enter the next life at T+ε, where ε is an infinitesimally small positive value.  At any value of t, I know that the measure of my perfection is finite, that is, pt<∞.  I also know that to enter eternal life, pT must be infinite.  Considering that pt+1 is also a function of pt, that is, the decisions I make today influence my level of perfection tomorrow, I realize that pT must also be finite.  My perfection is bounded from above by a finite function of t and thus can never meet the conditions to enter eternal life.  The formula for this is:
 Now, consider the perfection of Jesus Christ, which will be denoted XP.  At any given t, XP is infinite.  Even so, XP can operate on my perfection functionally in a finite manner but generally increasing at an increasing rate.  Thus, my individual perfection does not have to be bounded; rather, it can be bound to the infinite through a transformation.  If my individual perfection is conditioned on Christ’s and is transformed, I know that my perfection can approach Christ’s asymptotically.  This can be expressed in the following formula:

(Note that, even when conditioning on XP, f(p) can, over some subsets of t, increase at a decreasing rate since pt+1 < pt for some t.  This is known as the concupiscential tendency for the imbedded error distribution in pt to degenerate.)  The properties of the dependent perfection can also be understood via the graphical representation below.
So, I am not perfect, but, given a transformation through Christ, I can be perfect.

I’ve been waiting a long subset of t to hear a homily that expressed this concept so clearly and succinctly.  I have a feeling that t will reach T before I actually hear such a homily.  I am assuming ultimate perfection at the conclusion of this life without considering the allowance for the perfection in the next life prior to entering the kingdom 
I think he is saying that human perfection is achievable in this life (in one sense of "perfection").
His full explanation - in terms I understand, and agree with.
I haven’t been perfect, therefore I can’t be perfect. I have to be perfect to enter eternal life, so it is basically hopeless to strive for that which I cannot achieve. If, however, I depend on Christ, rather than myself, if I am incorporated into the Body of Christ and allow Christ to transform me, then my imperfections diminish and His perfection comes to life in me. It is fruitful, then, to strive for perfection because the Will that enlivens me is infinitely perfect.

4 comments:

Christina said...

As a nerd and a Catholic I'm very amused by this. :-)

Frank said...

Blaise Pascal is chuckling over this one. ;-)

Bob said...

Could you pass on to your friend that t=0 should be the moment of conception rather than the moment of birth (i.e. he was alive before he was born)?

Marcel said...

Bob - I am sure he will see your comment. He is a regular reader.