PRINCIPLE is a term used in Christian Science for God. Sometimes exception is taken to it by those not accustomed to its use, on the ground that it appears to detract from the nature of Deity, that it tends to give the impression that God does not exercise the qualities which men prize most highly, such as loving sympathy, an understanding or knowledge of the needs of man, watchful care over all His children. There are those also who think that it strikes at the fatherhood of God, substituting therefor that which is mechanical, soulless. But there could not be greater mistakes than these; for Principle, as the word is understood in Christian Science, includes in its meaning the very highest concepts of God.
In her book "Rudimental Divine Science" (p. 1) Mrs. Eddy asks the question, "What is the Principle of Christian Science?" And her reply is, "It is God, the Supreme Being, infinite and immortal Mind, the Soul of man and the universe. It is our Father which is in heaven. It is substance, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love, —these are the deific Principle." Anyone who reads that definition of Principle dispassionately must surely have his misgivings instantly dispelled, and must admit that the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science did not detract from the sublimity of the divine nature, but gave unity to the truth concerning God when she purposely gave Him the name of Principle. But one hears much less disapprobation of the term in these days than formerly, because the word has become established in general human consciousness as an illuminating synonym for God.
Names are valuable exactly as their meaning is apprehended. Let anyone make the definition of Principle just quoted his own, and how rich becomes his consciousness. What, one may ask, could be added to it to make it more helpful? What could be added to it to bring out more emphatically the permanence, the unchangeableness, the infinitude of Deity, or to reveal God's nature as altogether spiritual? What could be added to it to show more clearly the unity which exists between God and His creation, man and the universe? What could be added to it better to bring home to the thinker the fact of the fatherhood of God, with all that that implies of tenderness, loving compassion, trustworthiness? Principle as a term for Deity has been established, and the student of Christian Science is grateful indeed because of the fact.