Thinking about infinity as a real (albeit, large) number is a common error. I think it springs from the same habits of mind that creates many religious concepts. The temptation of the mind to concretize abstractions is what forms this mathematical error and likewise, many religious superstitions. Our minds are not comfortable with nebulosity.
“Infinity” is a mathematical concept used to describe a property of a set. Apparently there is no agreed upon definition of what a “number” actually is, but here I am using the term to describe the real numbers that non-mathematicians intuitively mean by “number”. In that sense, Infinity is not a number nor is it a being nor a god. Infinity is thus an example of how we often unnecessarily concretize the nebulous to feel anchored, secure and in control.
Related Posts: Math & the Religious Mind: an index post