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Catholic Dictionary




That which has no bounds or limitations. Something can be called infinite in different ways. It can be actually infinite, meaning a positive reality without limit. It can be infinitely perfect when it is unlimited in perfection of being or of operation; when it possesses every pure perfection in every way and in perfect degree. It can be potentially infinite when, as a finite reality, it is capable of actual or conceptual increase without any limit or term; thus the potentially infinite can be multiplied infinitely, but in reality it is finite and limited. On account of the indefiniteness of the limits, it is also called the indefinite. Finally, something can be either relatively or absolutely infinite. The former is infinite in some aspect or particular perfection, such as duration; the latter is infinite in every respect. Only God is actually and absolutely infinite, as only he is infinitely perfect. (Etym. Latin in- not + finis, end: infinitus, indefinite; boundless.)