What a deck of cards can teach us about the Infinite Power and Love of God

Without the Majesty of the Bigness, you can’t appreciate the Humility of the Smallness, and without the Condescension of the Smallness, you can’t appreciate the incomprehensible Love of the Bigness.

Many times we need a jarring physical reminder of the infinitude of God.  I’ll bet you have an excellent tool for such a reminder within easy reach right now.  Do you have a deck of cards?  Go get it.  I’ll wait.

Got it?  Now take out the jokers and shuffle it up thoroughly. We just want the normal 52 cards.

Now we are going to delve into mathematics, the “thumbprint” of God, I have long said.  Specifically, we are going to delve into number theory, and very specifically FACTORIALS.

You may vaguely remember that a factorial is when you multiply a number by every descending positive integer down to 1, so, for example, 10 factorial, written as 10! is:


And that number works out to be: 3,628,800

Factorials are what you use to calculate every possible combination of a set.  So, with a 52 card deck, to find every possible combination of cards from random shuffling, you start at 52, and then multiply all the way down: 52x51x50x49x48x47….x4x3x2x1.

That number works out to be 8.0658 x 10⌃67

That’s the SIXTY-SEVENTH POWER.  Ten with 67 zeroes after it.

I have to admit that this caught me by surprise.  If you had asked me to guess the number of possible orders of a deck of cards, I would have guessed in the tens of millions, and wouldn’t have been terribly surprised if it had been in the hundreds of millions or even over a billion.  I mean, SURELY, in all of those games of Poker, Blackjack, Bridge, Pitch and even Go Fish over all the years, SURELY the same shuffle orders must repeat every now and then, right?  Wrong.  Take a deck of cards right now, shuffle it well, and then hold it in your hand.  The odds of that order ever having happened before in all of human history, or ever happening again, are so infinitesimal as to be practically impossible.

52! or 10⌃67 is essentially meaningless to the human mind.  But there are a few exercises we can go through to get the very beginnings of a hint of exactly how vast this quantity is. These come from a mathematician called Scott Czepiel, via Sauce, via VanderLeun.

First, if we go for a moment with the current mainstream “age of the universe” of 13.5 billion years, which is almost certainly wrong, but just for the sake of argument, that is 10⌃18 seconds.  So if you were to have shuffled a deck of cards every second for the currently accepted life of the universe, you would not even have made a dent in approaching every possible combination.  Because remember, tripling 10⌃18 is NOT 10⌃54.  No no no no no.  What is 10⌃3, or 1000, times three?  Is it 3000, or 1,000,000,000?  It’s only 3000, of course.

The awe grows.

Let’s now try to put 52! into terms that our brains can even begin to contemplate.

Stand on the equator facing due west.  Take one pace every billion years. Once you have walked the entire circumference of the earth (assuming for argument that one can walk on the oceans), take ONE DROP of water out of the Pacific Ocean with an eyedropper.  Repeat this circumnavigation of the earth by taking one step every billion years until the Pacific Ocean is empty.  When the Pacific Ocean is empty, place one sheet of paper on the ground.  Repeat the billion year step circumnavigation-empty the Pacific Ocean one drop per circumnavigation cycle until the stack of paper reaches to the sun.

Congratulations.  YOU HAVEN’T EVEN MADE A DENT in 52! seconds.  If you repeat that ENTIRE process 1000 times, you will be roughly one third of the way toward the passage of 52! seconds.

The awe explodes.

But wait, here’s another scenario.  Deal yourself 5 cards from a shuffled deck every one billion years.  When you deal yourself a Royal Flush, buy a Powerball ticket.  If the Powerball ticket is a perfect jackpot winner, throw a grain of sand into the Grand Canyon.  Repeat until the Grand Canyon is full.  When the Grand Canyon in full, remove one ounce of rock from Mt. Everest.  When Mt. Everest is gone, repeat the entire cycle 256 more times. That would be 52! seconds. You could have shuffled a deck of cards every second for that entire time without duplicating the order of the deck.

The awe goes nuclear.

Now stop and consider that to God, 52! is easier to comprehend than the quantity ONE is for us.   In fact, “easier” isn’t the right word at all, because for God there is no “effort”.

Now let’s get personal.  The human genome contains something like 140,000 alleles that are set at the moment of fertilization of the mother’s haploid egg with one single haploid sperm from the father, with each ejaculate from the father containing hundreds of millions of totally unique sperm.

I would say, “Do the math”, but it literally isn’t possible for us.

Now think about how many millions of ancestors you have. And think about your children, and how many potential mates you COULD have had, but, for better or for worse, you had THAT child with THAT person.  And how many people your kids could make your grandchildren with… and then your great-grandchildren.

The truth is, sure, shuffling and holding a deck of cards in your hand can be a great way to relieve anxiety, if you are prone to such.  But really, a far superior way is to simply go look at someone you love.  Or even someone you hate.  And if you’re alone, just go look in a mirror.  As St. Thomas Aquinas taught, God can be known to exist from the human rational intellect alone.

But, of course, the best way to contemplate this is to go sit before Our Lord reposed in a Tabernacle, or in a Monstrance, exposed in His Eucharistic Majesty, because…

Without the Majesty of the Bigness, you can’t appreciate the Humility of the Smallness, and without the Condescension of the Smallness, you can’t appreciate the incomprehensible Love of the Bigness.

Now, if you are stressed out by current events: the death of the American Republic, the collapse of sane human society into an irrational luciferian death cult, the economic collapse, and most especially the Bergoglian Antipapacy and the eclipse of The Church by the antichurch, just stop and contemplate the infinitude of the selfsame God who is watching you read this, watching you shudder in awestruck terror at numerical quantities that He considers to be positively ADORABLE in their LIMITED SIMPLICITY.  And then realize that He is not only infinite size, but so far beyond that, He is infinite LOVE.  Of YOU. Personally.  And of your children.  And your parents.  And your spouse. And your friends. And your enemies.

He is, right now, looking at you with infinite love as you ponder and are freaked out by what are mere mathematical trivialities to Him.  And He loves you so much the more for it.  To Him, you are not only ADORABLE, but worthy of His Incarnation, Passion and Death on the Cross for you and you alone as many times as you go to Mass in your life, and then more. Infinity to the power of infinity to the power of infinity… just for the love of YOU.

Think of the numerical quantities that we have just discussed, that you can hold in your hand as a deck of cards, and then realize that LOVE makes mere abstract numerical quantities seem as nothing.  If a mere abstract numerical quantity can bring you to tears of awe and filial fear… just imagine what the LOVE, which is the pillar and bulwark of reality itself, can do to the human heart – but IF AND ONLY IF that human heart freely consents.

And please, PLEASE put aside any thoughts of God being “beat” by Antipope Bergoglio or his army of mid-wit sodomite minions.  This ISN’T a call to pacifism – it is exactly the opposite.  It is a call to forward action, to boldness, to ABANDONMENT TO THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE, knowing full well Who is in charge. It is a call to TRUST, to FAITH, and to LOVE, love of God and love of neighbor.  It is a call to stop living in servile fear of the world and the effeminate fear of suffering or even mere inconvenience, and to live in the peace and joy of FILIAL FEAR OF INFINITE LOVE HIMSELF.

You want to do the right thing and be brave for Him, because you don’t want to break His Heart.

As always, I sure hope this helps.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us, on your Vicar Pope Benedict XVI, and on Your Holy Church.

O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways! –Romans 11: 33

Bruce Jenner is a man. And furthermore I consider that islam must be destroyed.