A New Slant On Passion

Kierkegaard once described passion as the ‘the Infinite in the finite.’ This made little sense at the time, probably because the contrast between infinity and finiteness is not one that speaks much to anyone versed in the Jewish approach to these matters. Kierkegaard’s way of putting it is decidedly Greek in terms, and maybe also in conception.

Recently, however, something St Paul said hit me in a different way, so different it was as if I had never encountered the passage before. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” As it was read out in church, my understanding did a sort of total volte face. My God, I reacted, this passage is talking about passion. And then, thanks to St Paul, I could appreciate what Kierkegaard meant in his choice of words.

Finite= having bounds or limits.
Not too vast or too minute to be measured.
Neither less nor more than any assignable quantity.
Subject to conditions, as of space, time, matter, and circumstance.
Limited by person, number, tense.
Having a termination. Things that end. Everything has its limit.

Infinite= without limits.
Not limited or circumscribed, especially with respect to time, space, or God.
Exceedingly great in excellence, degree, and capacity.
Boundless.. Limitless.. Immeasurable.
That which is absolute, or perfect.
Boundless space or extent..
The Infinite Being, the Almighty.

Therefore, passion is the Godlike operating within the restrictions of the world, and the limits of the human.

If we rise above our lowly station we will miss God on the way down to it.

We place the superior above the inferior. God places the superior below the inferior.