# An Ageless Universe

## 84 posts in this topic

I have a question about the argument that there was no beginning to the universe. The argument says that time is a relational concept that applies to objects in the universe, but not to the universe itself. I have also heard Harry Binswanger make the argument that positing the age of a universe without a beginning does not create the existence of any infinities (in his taped lectures on the philosophy of math and science). His argument goes like this:

Let's say that the universe had no beginning. No matter how far back in time we go, the time difference between then and now is always a finite number. If I go back 100, 1000, 1,000,000, etc., I have never gone back an infinite amount of time. Therefore there are still no infinities.

I don't see the strength of this argument. It still seems that an infinite amount of years have passed, i.e., time has gone on forever. His argument seems to be the same as if I were to argue that numbers aren't infinite, because no matter how large of a number I choose, that number is always finite. (Dr. Binswanger does give arguments that numbers aren't infinite that are very convincing though).

Let me state my problem in another way:

Let's agree that time is something that can't be applied to the universe itself. Time is a relational measurement and applies only to objects in the universe. I believe I could still argue that this creates existing infinities. Let's not talk about the number of 'years' that have passed, but the number of events that have occurred. If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past. Therefore we have existing infinities. If we could assign a number to the amount of events that have occurred, then we could find a 'first event', prior to which nothing else happened.

Any ideas how to solve these problems?

##### Share on other sites
Let me state my problem in another way:

Let's agree that time is something that can't be applied to the universe itself.  Time is a relational measurement and applies only to objects in the universe.  I believe I could still argue that this creates existing infinities.  Let's not talk about the number of 'years' that have passed, but the number of events that have occurred.

This approach changes nothing. "Events" are changes in relationship, and like "years" they represent a measure of time.

If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past.  Therefore we have existing infinities.

You could say the same thing about the future. How many events (or, alternatively, how many years) until the universe ends? Whether looking towards the past or the future, the question itself is not valid. The universe cannot have a beginning nor an end. These are not properties of the universe, and it is the insistence on making them properties which causes the confusion. If you ask an invalid question you cannot expect a valid answer.

##### Share on other sites
I have a question about the argument that there was no beginning to the universe.  The argument says that time is a relational concept that applies to objects in the universe, but not to the universe itself.  I have also heard Harry Binswanger make the argument that positing the age of a universe without a beginning does not create the existence of any infinities (in his taped lectures on the philosophy of math and science).  His argument goes like this:

Let's say that the universe had no beginning.  No matter how far back in time we go, the time difference between then and now is always a finite number.  If I go back 100, 1000, 1,000,000, etc., I have never gone back an infinite amount of time.  Therefore there are still no infinities.

I don't see the strength of this argument.  It still seems that an infinite amount of years have passed, i.e., time has gone on forever.  His argument seems to be the same as if I were to argue that numbers aren't infinite, because no matter how large of a number I choose, that number is always finite.  (Dr. Binswanger does give arguments that numbers aren't infinite that are very convincing though).

Let me state my problem in another way:

Let's agree that time is something that can't be applied to the universe itself.  Time is a relational measurement and applies only to objects in the universe.  I believe I could still argue that this creates existing infinities.  Let's not talk about the number of 'years' that have passed, but the number of events that have occurred.  If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past.  Therefore we have existing infinities.  If we could assign a number to the amount of events that have occurred, then we could find a 'first event', prior to which nothing else happened.

Any ideas how to solve these problems?

I agree with Stephen's comments above. Your question is invalid. You seem to regard the universe a thing separate from the time or events that occur within it, to which time can be applied. Take your statement, "If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past." What do you mean by "the past"? Is it not some period between now and "then"? In other words, the past is a finite time period. The concept "past" implies a specified time interval, e.g., between now and 1800AD; between 1000BC and 500BC. How would you classify an event as occurring in the past if there were no time interval in which the event occurred?

##### Share on other sites
If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past.  Therefore we have existing infinities.

Infinite what? Infinite number? But you had just said that "number" is inapplicable in this context -- and that is the crucial point. In order to talk about an amount of events, you have to specify the temporal range you're referring to (e.g., between now and this morning.) But, since the entire past of the universe specifies no such range, one should simply say that the entire past of the universe is not an amount of events: not that it is an infinite amount, but that it literally isn't an amount in the first place.

I think I recommended my essay The Unbounded, Finite Universe to you in another thread, although it (particularly the second section) addresses your concerns in this thread as well.

##### Share on other sites
I think I recommended my essay The Unbounded, Finite Universe to you in another thread, although it (particularly the second section) addresses your concerns in this thread as well.

I second this. Alex's essay is very enlightening. It is clear and coherent, and allows anyone (be they a physics or mathematics person, to someone who doesn't even know Calculus like myself!) to grasp what it is trying to say.

##### Share on other sites

Alex,

I have read your article a number of times and I find many of the ideas very difficult to grasp. I'm trying to find the key issue(s) that is causing my difficulty in coming to terms with your assertions. Perhaps we can start by discussing what you mean by infinity or the infinite.

The way I use the word infinite is to mean not-finite. You say that "if one had a spaceship that was able to travel an octillion light-years a pico second, one would...fly by existent after existent, and never hit some sort of wall, barrier, or edge of the universe." I take this to mean that the quantity of entities is unbounded, or not finite. They are uncountable. It sounds to me like you are positing the existence of infinities, but I'm not exactly sure how you're using the word. What am I missing?

If you don't have a problem with the scenario you describe, what type of 'infinity' do you object to?

By the way, I don't ever remember coming across arguments like these. Are they original to you, or can they be found in Objectivist literature or elsewhere?

##### Share on other sites
Let's say that the universe had no beginning.  No matter how far back in

time we go, the time difference between then and now is always a finite

number.  If I go back 100, 1000, 1,000,000, etc., I have never gone back

an infinite amount of time.  Therefore there are still no infinities.

I don't see the strength of this argument.  It still seems that an

infinite amount of years have passed, i.e., time has gone on forever.

Maybe you can see what is wrong with this argument by trying to answer a question that reveals the stolen concept it contains.

An infinite number of years have passed -- since WHEN??

Any measurement of a time period requires a beginning point and an end point of the time period. If there is no beginning of the time period, there isn't a time period and you can't measure it.

Let's not talk about the number of 'years' that have passed,

but the number of events that have occurred.

Same problem. The number of events since when?

If there is no beginning to the universe, it would not be possible to assign a number to the amount of things that have happened in the past.

There wasn't, so it isn't possible. That's why measuring time does not apply to the universe as a whole and neither does a countable number of events.

Therefore we have existing infinities.  If we could assign a number to the amount of events that have occurred, then we could find a 'first event', prior to which nothing else happened.

Any ideas how to solve these problems?

Sure. Realize that time and countable events do not apply to the universe as a whole.

##### Share on other sites
Alex,

I have read your article a number of times and I find many of the ideas very difficult to grasp.  I'm trying to find the key issue(s) that is causing my difficulty in coming to terms with your assertions.

Okay, that's certainly understandable. I'll do my best to answer your questions.

The way I use the word infinite is to mean not-finite.  You say that "if one had a spaceship that was able to travel an octillion light-years a pico second, one would...fly by existent after existent, and never hit some sort of wall, barrier, or edge of the universe."  I take this to mean that the quantity of entities is unbounded, or not finite.

But, again, a big part of what I was saying in my essay is that the universe is not a quantity. "Finite quantity or infinite quantity" is a false dichotomy: when we see that the universe is not a (finite) quantity of entities, then we should simply conclude that the universe is not a quantity, period. The concept "quantity" is given rise to by seeing delimited (i.e., bounded) sets of entities; but the universe is an entirely different animal in this regard. Thus, to say that the universe has a quantity of entities is to apply the concept of "quantity" out of context.

As for what I mean by "infinity," and why the universe is not infinite, here is something I wrote on another thread a little while ago. It's basically a restatement of things I said in my essay, but perhaps it will help:

I don't think my account of infinity really differs from what you will find in Objectivism. When someone posits a metaphysical infinity, they are trying to do two contradictory things at once: 1) posit a real, existing quantity, and 2) maintain that this quantity is "too big" (or "too small") to be of any particular quantity. This is the locus of the contradiction of infinity: it sunders existence and identity by trying to posit a quantity while simultaneously denying that it is any particular quantity.

For example, take the idea that the universe has an infinite age. Someone who would uphold this idea would have to say 1) that the universe has an age, and 2) that it doesn't have any (specific) age. And that's a straight contradiction. Think about it in conversational form: "Does the universe have an age?" "Yes." "What is its age?" "Well....it doesn't have one." The fact is, it is of the very nature of attributes like "age," "size," "density," etc., to be quantifiable, because in a real sense these attributes simply are kinds of quantities.

However, observe that the universe is something entirely different; it is not an attribute; hence, there is no a priori reason why it has to be quantifiable. When trying to posit a boundless age above, we ran into a contradiction, but this contradiction vanishes when it is simply the universe as such that is taken to be boundless. "Does a boundless universe exist?" "Yes." "What is the universe?" "All that exists." Again, no contradiction, because (unlike the attributes above) it is not inherent in the universe that its identity lie in being some kind of spatial or temporal quantity. (This is why I said that there is a fundamental difference between a boundless universe and a boundless age.)

Put it this way: the whole reason we want to avoid positing an infinity is because it is contradictory to do so. But where is the contradiction in saying that the universe is not a quantity? Saying that the universe has an infinite quantity of entities is contradictory, but saying that it is not a quantity to begin with is harmonious with the law of identity through and through.

By the way, I don't ever remember coming across arguments like these.  Are they original to you, or can they be found in Objectivist literature or elsewhere?

Basically, I took the explanation that one will find in Objectivism for why the universe is not infinite in any temporal sense, and used it to explain why the universe is not infinite in any spatial sense. So, yes, as far as that goes my essay is original to me.

##### Share on other sites

Alex,

Your article says that the universe has no extension and is therefore not quantifiable.

So, what is your definition of "universe" -- since all valid concepts refer directly or indirectly to things in reality that have extension?

I'm afraid you may have just created "god."

David

##### Share on other sites
So, what is your definition of "universe"...

All that exists.

-- since all valid concepts refer directly or indirectly to things in reality that have extension?

Where did you get that principle, and what do you mean by it? What about concepts of consciousness?

I'm afraid you may have just created "god."

I have defined my terms, and it is now your turn to define and justify yours.

##### Share on other sites
All that exists.

If by "all that exists" you mean "each and every thing that exists," then we know that each and every thing has extension. Therefore there is extension in all that exists. It must therefore be quantifiable. It must therefore be finite.

(David Elmore) since all valid concepts refer directly or indirectly to things in reality that have extension?

Where did you get that principle, and what do you mean by it? What about concepts of consciousness?

I got the generalization from Ayn Rand -- more specifically from the axiom of Identity, which, as you know, says that a thing must be what it is. There must be a thing (extension) before it can be what it is. There is no such thing as a thing that does not have substance (extension) -- outside of a liberal's argument. My point with the statement of extension is that your idea of "universe" cannot be a concept because there is no delimitation, allegedly no extension.

Consciousness is the faculty that perceives reality. It is a faculty of sentient beings, which have extension.

David

##### Share on other sites
I got the generalization from Ayn Rand ...

I will leave it to Alex, if he wishes, to address the fallacies in your argument, but please do not appeal to Ayn Rand without providing a specific quote from her in support of your own conclusion. If you cannot supply such a quote, then let your argument stand, or fall, by itself, without appealing to the name of Ayn Rand.

##### Share on other sites
If by "all that exists" you mean "each and every thing that exists," then we know that each and every thing has extension. Therefore there is extension in all that exists.

By "all that exists" I mean all that exists taken as a whole. And, by the way, it is a textbook example of the fallacy of composition to argue from the (alleged) fact that "each and every thing" in the universe has extension, to the conclusion that the universe as a whole has extension.

I got the generalization from Ayn Rand -- more specifically from the axiom of Identity, which, as you know, says that a thing must be what it is. There must be a thing (extension) before it can be what it is.

Sorry, try as you might, but you cannot squeeze extension out of the law of identity. The law of identity simply says that A is A; it does not specify what "A" is, just like "existence exists" doesn't even specify that the physical world exists.

If you are going to argue that the universe has extension, you must do so by actually looking at the nature of the universe, and explain how something that is unbounded can be coherently said to possess extension. I gave arguments in my essay for why this is not coherent, and I encourage you to address them.

##### Share on other sites

Alex is correct but I want to point out that David is also wrong with respect to what Miss Rand did or didn't say. In the Appendix to ITOE she explicitly states that philosophy does not ascribe extension to the universe as a whole:

Prof. B: I would be completely satisfied on this if you could clarify one more thing for me, which is: why call the universe an entity, rather than simply a collection, since it doesn't act as a whole?

AR: Well, you can't really call it an entity in that sense. I don't think the term applies. The universe is really the sum of everything that exists. It isn't an entity in the sense in which you call a table, a chair, or a man an entity.

Actually, do you know what we can ascribe to the universe as such, apart from scientific discovery? Only those fundamentals that we can grasp about existence. Not in the sense of switching contexts and ascribing particular characteristics to the universe, but we can say: since everything possesses identity, the universe possesses identity. Since everything is finite, the universe is finite. But we can't ascribe space or time or a lot of other things to the universe as a whole.  [italics added]

##### Share on other sites
[...]

But, again, a big part of what I was saying in my essay is that the universe is not a quantity.  "Finite quantity or infinite quantity" is a false dichotomy: when we see that the universe is not a (finite) quantity of entities, then we should simply conclude that the universe is not a quantity, period.  The concept "quantity" is given rise to by seeing delimited (i.e., bounded) sets of entities; but the universe is an entirely different animal in this regard.  Thus, to say that the universe has a quantity of entities is to apply the concept of "quantity" out of context.

Ayn Rand certainly saw the universe -- all that exists -- as having some quantity, otherwise, she could not have regarded it as a sum (No pun intended). Your second point about "we should simply conclude that the universe is not a quantity, period" is a non-sequitur. Whatever exists can be quantitatively conceptualized -- hence AR's "sum" of existence.

As to "delimited (i.e., bounded) sets of entities" -- the only limit on the "sets of entities" is what exists. The only "bound" is the fact that there is a sum of all that exists, irrespective of human cognition.

The universe must be "a quantity" in the sense of being "all that exists". And the problem is not with the concept of finity, but, as you observe, with the concept of infinity. There is no, and cannot be any, infinity (as Harry Binswanger has very effectively pointed out).

...Saying that the universe has an infinite quantity of entities is contradictory, but saying that it is not a quantity to begin with is harmonious with the law of identity through and through.

Re: The last point -- not according to Ayn Rand (with whom I agree.)

How is a sum of existents exempt from the law of identity (if that's what you're referring to)?

Basically, I took the explanation that one will find in Objectivism for why the universe is not infinite in any temporal sense, and used it to explain why the universe is not infinite in any spatial sense.

The two are seperate points, requiring seperate analyses: "temporal" and "spatial" require very different concepts referring to a relationship that is not so superficially obvious.

##### Share on other sites

ELS, have you read my essay? I don't ask that to be flip; I just ask, since you only quoted things I wrote in this thread, and I explain things much more fully in my essay.

Now, onto my response:

Ayn Rand certainly saw the universe -- all that exists -- as having some quantity, otherwise, she could not have regarded it as a sum (No pun intended).

Two points. First of all, nowhere did I claim that Ayn Rand is necessarily in agreement with me that the universe is a quantity. Indeed, I was explicit that my ideas are to some extent original. Secondly, the sheer fact that she uses the word "sum" doesn't mean that she saw the universe as a quantity; I use the word "sum" to describe the universe and I don't mean it in that way. After all, I (and those who agree with me) must use some word ("sum," "all," etc.) to describe the universe. So, I don't know what Ayn Rand's view was on this particular question, and either way it is irrelevant to whether my view is correct or not (which is the only question I was addressing in my essay).

As to "delimited (i.e., bounded) sets of entities" -- the only limit on the "sets of entities" is what exists. The only "bound" is the fact that there is a sum of all that exists, irrespective of human cognition.

Do you think that the universe has a spatial boundary (an "edge")? If not, how can it be a delimited quantity?

There is no, and cannot be any, infinity (as Harry Binswanger has very effectively pointed out).

Indeed, which is exactly what has pushed many Objectivists to claim that the universe must be a quantity (i.e., a finite quantity). But I am asking: why does it have to be a quantity? Where is the infinity in saying, "'All that exists' is not a (finite) quantity, just as 'all the events in the history of the universe' is not a (finite) quantity"?

How is a sum of existents exempt from the law of identity (if that's what you're referring to)?

It's not exempt. It's simply not a quantity, and I see nothing in the law of identity which says that it must be. The law of identity says "A is A"; it doesn't say "A is a quantity."

I'm more than happy to debate my ideas with you, ELS, although I cannot stress enough that I am not interested in debating whether Miss Rand thought that the universe is a quantity. Until an explicit quote is produced on that score -- or even after one is -- what I'm interested in is seeing whether my ideas are consistent with reality, not with what Miss Rand said. (I hope you don't take that statement the wrong way; I just want to explicate what I was (and wasn't) trying to prove with my essay, and with my words here.)

##### Share on other sites
First of all, nowhere did I claim that Ayn Rand is necessarily in agreement with me that the universe is a quantity.

Whoops! That should say: "...that the universe is NOT a quantity."

##### Share on other sites

Very sensible and down-to-earth response, ELS.

The primary aspect to focus on, I think, would be the equivocation being used for the terms "finite" and "infinite." The definition of those terms refers directly and only to space and time, so you cannot say simultaneously that the universe is both finite and unbounded. That's a contradiction in terms.

Another aspect to focus on, in the same vein, would be the equivocation on the term identity. The universe cannot both have identity and not be in space and time -- since that is the only way something can have identity. To say that "A is A" is to say that "something is something." You cannot say simultaneously that something is something but that something does not have any characteristics of space and time.

David

##### Share on other sites
The primary aspect to focus on, I think, would be the equivocation being used for the terms "finite" and "infinite." The definition of those terms refers directly and only to space and time, so you cannot say simultaneously that the universe is both finite and unbounded. That's a contradiction in terms.

Huh? The only contradiction here is your conclusion, which is based on wordings so vague and unspecified as to lack all meaning. You assert that finite and infinite refer "directly and only to space and time?" Why? What then is meant when Objectivists say that consciousness is finite? Or when mathematicians say that the natural numbers are potentially infinite? But, anyway, disregarding your vague usage and just accepting your terminology, the two-dimensional space defined by the surface of a sphere is both finite and unbounded, therefore contradicting your assertion. And, if you think that the universe is not unbounded, then answer the question put to you earlier: what is on the other side of the edge of the boundary?

Another aspect to focus on, in the same vein, would be the equivocation on the term identity. The universe cannot both have identity and not be in space and time

You seem unfamiliar with the Objectivist metaphysics. The universe is not "in space and time." Space and time are relational concepts that exist within the universe. See, for instance, The Objectivist Newsletter, "Intellectual Ammunition Department," Vol. 1, No. 5, May, 1962, and lecture 2 of Leonard Peikoff's course "The Philosophy of Objectivism."

-- since that is the only way something can have identity. To say that "A is A" is to say that "something is something." You cannot say simultaneously that something is something but that something does not have any characteristics of space and time.

First, space and time are not things, but rather they are relational concepts among entities. Second, as has already been pointed to you, the law of identity is not synonomous with "characteristics of space and time" (whatever that means). For instance, thoughts have identity; what spatial characteristic do they supposedly possess? It is utterly rationalist to attempt to deduce the facts of reality from the law of identity. Nothing in the law of identity demands that whatever exists has extension. That is a scientific issue, not a philosophic one. In fact, in ITOE (pp. 291-292) Ayn Rand points out, philosophically, that the ultimate constituents of reality need not necessarily have extension or shape.

##### Share on other sites

In the question-and-answer session at the end of the second lecture of Peikoff's series "Principles of Objectivism", he answered some questions about space, time and the universe.

The points he made were that time is in the universe; the universe does not exist in time. The same with space: space is in the universe; the universe does not exist in space. (These are not word-for-word transcriptions, since I am going by my lecture notes.)

Putting it into my words: time and space are not some some sort of framework or context in which the universe exists. Rather, time and space are relationships that are part of the universe.

To somebody trying to sort out metaphysical issues relating to the universe, this lecture (and its Q & A session) is worth listening to.

I take Peikoff's statements here as accurately speaking for Objectivism, because Ayn Rand was alive when he gave these lectures and explicitly approved of them. (She even participated in some of the Q & A sessions herself.)

##### Share on other sites

Would it make any difference to anyone if the universe had a beginning? Is this an exercise in proper thinking methods? Or are there are practical short-term or long-term benefits of this knowledge?

##### Share on other sites
Would it make any difference to anyone if the universe had a beginning?

If the universe had a beginning that would give reason to question the validity of the Objectivist metaphysics and epistemology, not to mention the nature of reality in general.

Is this an exercise in proper thinking methods?

It is a proper exercise, for those whose metaphysics and epistemology are grounded in reality.

Or are there are practical short-term or long-term benefits of this knowledge?

Reality is an integrated whole and our knowledge of reality in one area often has important implications in another area. Integrating our knowledge is a check on both the consistency and validity of what we hold as knowledge. This benefits us in leading a more fruitful life, both short-term and long-term.

##### Share on other sites
Would it make any difference to anyone if the universe had a beginning? Is this an exercise in proper thinking methods? Or are there are practical short-term or long-term benefits of this knowledge?

A truth or falsehood on that scale would certainly have practical effects eventually. You could argue that it has practical effects currently, in the sense that realizing that the universe is eternal (outside of time) means that it certainly could not have been "created" - so much for a slew of bad cosmological theories/myths. An eternal universe also has implications for theories of physics. The "big bang" as the literal start of existence is clearly silly on such a view. etc.

The same is true for a universe with a putative boundless number of massive entities. I disagree with those who claim that it's strictly a philosophic question. Spatiality and time are *not* interchangeable. If you want a "thought experiment" demonstrating that, imagine that all that existed were a single particle. It was not created and cannot be destroyed, so it is eternal, but it certainly has a measurable, finite extent, and a measurable, finite mass. Expand that to the visible universe today and the idea is the same.

Time ultimately relates to *change* of entities. One of the most powerful principles in physics is the law of conservation of mass/energy. You can't create new mass/energy out of "thin space", what exists, exists - and it exists eternally, and that is why it is conserved. But an "eternity of existence" is not at all the same as a "boundless number of entities", because, to re-iterate, an entity (or entities) of finite, measurable mass, can exist for a time without finite, measurable range.

Ultimately, I think that is why one can be far more certain about the universe as eternal, than the universe as spatially limitless with a boundless number of entities (or, especially, assuming that a spatially limitless universe implies a boundless number of entities.) "Eternity" simply states that everything - no matter what its nature - has always existed (in terms of fundamental components, that re-arrange over time). It has perceptual referents that are omnipresent (everything we see, from the closest thing to the furthest object in the most powerful telescopes, is composed of eternal things, at root) and that is a nice characteristic of any valid philosophic idea.

Contrast that with "asizeal and entity-boundless", which posits a literally boundless expanse of unobservable entities of which the vast visible universe is not even the smallest fraction of size in comparison. This makes *scientific* assumptions about the nature of large-scale existence - for example, that space in-the-large is the same as space-in-the-local - in the guise of philosophic certainty. But as has already been noted, philosophy does not say anything about the *specific* nature of entities or aggregations of entities beyond that they have identity - it can't specify their total count, or whether a total count exists.

##### Share on other sites
Would it make any difference to anyone if the universe had a beginning? Is this an exercise in proper thinking methods? Or are there are practical short-term or long-term benefits of this knowledge?

If the universe had a beginning, then that would imply that no causal event brought the universe into existence (started time). Since a cause must precede the effect temporally, the law of causality is violated. And if that were the case, by what principle would one be able to conclude or infer that ANY observed effect was preceded by an existing cause?

This is pure mysticism in the form of miracles.

##### Share on other sites

Alex, after reading your answers to my last questions, I realized there are more fundamental issues to be dealt with before those answers will be meaningful to me. So I am going to ignore them for now and try and get to the beginning with some better questions.

However, it is important to remember that - while the universe is not (finite) in time or (finite) in size - it is certainly finite.  The reason for this is that "finite" qua adjective is not very descriptive.  To say that something is finite is merely to say that it is, i.e., that it possesses a specific identity.  The universe is, therefore it is finite.  If everything that exists must be finite, then everything that exists (i.e., existence) must be finite.  Existence exists – finitely.

What exactly do you mean when you say that the universe is not finite in size, but it is finite. In what respect is it finite?

I'll ask the question another way: Is it okay to ask, "How many atoms exist?" or, "What is the mass of the matter in the universe?"

I realize that matter isn't all that exists, but I'm trying to understand if you are claiming that matter can continue indefinitely in no particular amount. This is what sounds like an existing infinity to me.

I'll wait for the answer to this before I continue with more questions.

Thanks again.