The outer edge of the envelope

While the engineers calculate mathematically the performance capabilities of a new aircraft, it is the test pilots who hazard their lives finding the “outer edge of the envelope,” the real limitations of a plane. Go behind that limit, and you die.

Of course, the cocky cadre of test pilots are always trying to go beyond the established “outer edge of the envelope” in typical male bravado and one-upmanship. There’s the drive to go beyond the extreme, to set a record, a new edge to the envelope.

Chuck Yeager, a foremost test pilot

Paul does this. He is searching for the most extreme pronunciation of God’s capabilities, he is pushing the outer edge of the envelope, the limitations of language, to most emphatically express the overwhelming power of God, when he says: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. — Eph. 3:20 NIV

The same verse in New Living Translation: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish INFINITELY more than we might ask or think. (caps mine)

When I was studying Koine Greek, I realized this. Paul can’t find words to measure up to the reality. He employs multiple superlatives and still comes short. God’s power is far greater than any language can express.

Because of the limitations of language, do we limit our faith?

2 responses to “The outer edge of the envelope

  1. I like the planes, test pilot and the whole illustration of the bible verse; thank you Mike, judy m

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