I was talking to a scientist (a Christian one) who, though (I assume) he agreed that God is qualitively boundless, wasn't keen on the term 'infinite' when applied to Him. He explained but so cleverly it went right over my poor wee brain! What is the difference between infinite and boundless? I would have thought that the belief God is boundlessly perfect, beautiful, desirable and joyous to behold are all fairly 'universal' ideas among Christians...and therefore, the issue (that a suprising number seem to have) is concerned with some other matter?
At the risk of creating a debate, I shall point our some places where I believe your scientists/Christian friend has a misunderstanding.
Concerning the metaphors: The Bible does indeed use the metaphors of king and ruler, because they convey important things about aspects of God. They shouldn't be taken to imply that he is of the same nature as Man because of that, any more than we should infer that God actually holds a real sword. There are plenty of places where the Bible also describes God as infinite.
Philosophically and mathematically your friend has also made a mistake. Because something is infinite does not mean it is all-encompassing. For example, the set of whole numbers is infinite - i.e. has no limit. However there are numbers that are not whole numbers. The whole numbers are infinite but not all-encompassing.
Whether or not joy is an attribute of God, it is certainly an attribute of those around him.
So to actually answer your question, no Christian traditions that I am aware of espouse these views
This answer has been written by a Christian who holds a degree in mathematics.
It is difficult to undertake any serious scholarly discourse without first agreeing on the definition of words. In science, mathematics, and philosophy, we decide on the definitions of words or create new ones first, before undertaking discussion, so that when we make a statement we can evaluate the truth of the statement (in the case that the statement can be proved) and examine the evidence in support of or against the statement.
Unfortunately, discussion amongst people who hold different definitions is common. This difficulty caused my multiple simultaneous definitions is called ambiguity, and is something that we carefully avoid in the sciences.
The words infinite and boundless have a broad application within mathematics. The great thing for mathematicians about establishing definitions is that when I define a particular object, say a bounded operator, the word bounded in the title doesn't hold any meaning per se, since all of the properties of the object are derived from the formal definition which is logical, and not the title of the object which is linguistic. Unfortunately this is not great for laymen, as it makes difficult giving concrete and universally applicable definitions for these words.
In most applications, an unbounded object is one that has no maximum value. A bounded list (formally, a bounded function defined on the natural numbers) is a list of numbers that has an upper bound. An upper bound is a fixed number M such that M is bigger than each and every number in the list. An unbounded list would be one for which no such upper bound exists. A simple example of an unbounded list is 1,2,3,4,5,...- no matter the choice of M, far down the list there is a number bigger than M. An example of a bounded list is _-1,1,-1,1,...- this list is bounded by the number 2.
Infinite on the other hand usually refers to a count of objects. For example, the lists I previously described are not finite, but infinite. A count of objects that is infinite must contain a subset for which there is a one-to-one correspondence with the natural (counting) numbers. That is, I should be able to start counting some of the objects but never be able to finish.
This particular Christian's argument against calling God infinite and boundless is probably well founded and based on his formal understanding of those words. Similar to mathematics, when we engage in theology, which is indeed a science, it's important that our statements are well-defined (unambiguous), otherwise we might think we agree when we don't, or think we don't agree when we do, and end up learning nothing. The attributes of God being so important to Christian doctrine, faith, and practice, we should be very careful about the statements we make, always being sure that they align with the Scriptures and the doctrinal sources specific to our denominations. The difficulty that this Christian keenly pointed out is that these words, infinite and unbounded, are used very little in the Scriptures, and translation to them from the original languages is often imprecise (for instance the Greek into the eon is often translated into English as forever and the Greek of the ages is translated as eternal) and often depends on idiom and linguistic improvisation for readability; however, their use is increasingly common when describing the attributes of God from the pulpit or in common discussion.
The concept that God is boundless rather than infinite is far more prevalent in Christianity than one would believe. Most Christians have a hard time understanding infinity.
Most Christians believe that there is no limit to what God can do, they believe that there is no limit to what God knows. Being unlimited is not in the same area as being infinite.
Boundless by itself indicates that there is an end somewhere; except that end is unknown. This is actually the concept that most people assigned to God. Most often you will hear that God can do anything he wants, that is the concept of being boundless.
On the other hand the concept of infinity would be that God can do everything he wants to do the difference being that anything indicates oneness, while everything indicates unlimited.
The most stark example of this is in the fact that most people cannot accept that space is unending. To the human mind it is incomprehensible that anything could be endless. Yet they cannot imagine what would take over at the end of space; even beyond that they could not imagine that next thing and being endless and that it would have something else which would have to follow that.
So is there anything in the Bible which can help us to understand the concept of eternity?
Consider these Scriptures:
All Scriptures are from the King James translation.
This can only be read to say that God was present before creation; and before creation there would be no time. Nor would there be any limit to what came before time.
And Jesus told us that once we put our faith in him and life would never end. Christians accept this easily, while not truly understanding that it means without end.
Revelation tells us that the world as we know it will come to an end.
The word boundless may indicate something expansive beyond all normal precepts; however it does not define the term infinite.
Revelation also tells us that there will be a new world and that that world will never end: