IN the thirtieth chapter of Deuteronomy we read that Moses said to the people: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days." The whole record of the Jewish people points to an intense conviction that if only they could ascertain and obey the will of God, all the problems of existence would be solved. Obey God,—yes; but in order to obey Him it is necessary to understand His nature. On a people's religion, on their concept of God, on what they consider their duty, will depend the national character and national activities. It is not enough to cast in one's allegiance with God. Understanding must accompany desire, or a mistaken belief as to the nature of Deity may lead men into fruitless paths.
Slow indeed was the growth of the true concept of God,—from a God of battles, a jealous God who sent evil as well as good, to Jesus' serene vision of God as the loving Father of all, as the author of good and good only, as Spirit, forever dissociated from the human belief in matter and material law. Mrs. Eddy says: "Physical causation was put aside from first to last by this original man, Jesus. He knew that the divine Principle, Love, creates and governs all that is real" (Science and Health, p. 286). In Jesus' own words, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." His transference of all allegiance from matter to Spirit was justified in his ability to master every evil condition that confronted him. Even death, "the last enemy," yielded to his understanding that real Life is God, not in the body, therefore not to be attacked through the body.
This supreme, transcendent lesson has been too much regarded as a miracle personal to Jesus, and too little as a demonstration of power possessed by all. By definition the impossible never occurs. A surprising occurrence, as Huxley pointed out, should stimulate men not to cry "Miracle!" but to discover the hidden causes. The modern world thinks of God as altogether spiritual, but thinks of itself as material. It therefore considers it necessary to serve the claims of matter, and thus it misses the undivided allegiance called for by Moses.