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"WE TREAD ON FORCES"

From the January 1917 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The human mind is prone to look upon some of the seeming wonders of material things as more or less spiritual in their nature. Among such things may be named the unfolding flower, the developing child, and the attraction which apparently controls stellar activity. The human sense catches glimpses of spiritual truth and sometimes sees in the phenomena of matter a higher meaning, but the claim of existence which depends for its support upon matter, so called, has no other than a material nature. On page 124 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states: "We tread on forces. Withdraw them, and creation must collapse."

The unseen forces which produce or tend to produce changes in the motion of material bodies may be confused with spiritual power. Familiar to all is the force known as gravity, which is the attraction or pull between two or more material bodies. Does the existence of this force depend upon these material bodies? The answer to this question would seem to be evident if we imagine what would happen to the moon if the earth were suddenly blotted out of existence. Being no longer held to an elliptical orbit by the attraction of the earth, it would dive off into space until its mad career was arrested by some other body large enough to claim its allegiance as a satellite, or until it settled down to a life of wandering as a member of the company of comets or lost its individual existence by collision with another body.

But innumerable experiences close at home show the intimate association between the force of gravity and mass or the amount of matter contained in bodies. The merchant makes use of gravity in weighing goods; if it were not for its presence rain would not fall, nor would oceans be held to their bounds. The widespread presence of gravity enables the astronomer to "weigh" not only the planets but also the stars so far distant from the earth that the light traveling from them reaches us in many cases only after the lapse of centuries. The accuracy of these measurements is recognized in the precision with which eclipses and transits are predicted. We would therefore conclude that this force, which is dependent upon matter for its existence and which is used to weigh matter, is material in its nature.

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