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Insights into the divine Principle of the universe

From the March 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal

I’ve always been fascinated by astronomy. It teaches us that we live in an expanding universe composed of a vast number of galaxies, each of which is composed of a vast number of stars. In fact, in 2016 astronomers discovered that there are at least ten times more galaxies in the observable universe than previously thought, estimated to be about two trillion. And yet here on Earth—just one planet revolving around one star—every blade of grass is unique, each with its own history and composed of its own microscopic complexity. The same can be said of every pebble on Mars, or any object on any planet. The fact that every imaginable spot in the universe’s utter vastness is filled with continuously evolving intricacy boggles and humbles the human mind; it’s beyond measurement. 

I was sitting on a park bench one afternoon, watching a quaint, yet intricate, scene of people, birds, trees, etc., and pondering the amazing infinitude of the universe. In particular, I wondered, how could such immensity perpetually and consistently manifest such detail and order? What came to thought was an analogy that has really changed my perspective.

Consider numbers and the various mathematical operations that can be done with them. We all know that there are infinite numbers, and that there are infinite ways of calculating numbers in accord with mathematical laws. All of the infinite manifestations of math exist at the same time and in the same space; or rather, they transcend the concepts of time and space because they exist not as material objects, but as the consequence of mathematical laws. And every mathematical derivation is exact and correct, because math itself is exact and correct. This doesn’t boggle us; it’s how math is.

Christian Science, which explains the laws of God, teaches us that divine Principle is another name for God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The time has come for a finite conception of the infinite and of a material body as the seat of Mind to give place to a diviner sense of intelligence and its manifestations,—to the better understanding that Science gives of the Supreme Being, or divine Principle, and idea” (p. 285). 

Instead of thinking of the universe as a very large quantity of physical objects all being coordinated in time and space, what if we thought of the real universe as the constant and instantaneous spiritual manifestation of a perfect Principle that is God? What if, similar to numbers and mathematical derivations, every detail of creation was an exact and correct expression of universally true and substantial spiritual laws? Granted, the whole of creation is much more colorful and interesting than the system of math. But if we thought of creation in this way, would it not resolve some of the paradoxes of time and space with the elegant explanation that things actually exist as ideas, as the consequence of a timeless and everywhere-present divine Principle?

As I was sitting there on that park bench, this concept provided me with a clear and satisfying insight into creation. It was simple, beautiful, and natural. Then another insight came to me that further explained things.

Any concept not in accord with Love is baseless to God and will become baseless to us in proportion as we understand the Principle of His creation.

In math, a wrong derivation like 4+4=7 can never be true. If 4+4 were sometimes 7, the laws of math would be inconsistent, and the manifestation of math, from astronomy to engineering to banking to computing, would malfunction and implode. If 4+4 were a material object that occasionally equaled 7, we might disregard that as an anomaly, and perhaps clear out the object or reset it somehow to get it back to equalling 8. But the fact that math is based on laws, expressed continually from the infinitesimal to the infinite, prevents any allowance for 4+4=7.

Similarly, if the universe is a collection of material objects, then we might accept errors and inconsistencies as anomalies that need some type of physical adjusting to correct. But if the universe is actually spiritual and is the present manifestation of a divine Principle, as taught in Christian Science and as became clear to me on that park bench, then we’d treat things differently. We would handle any manifestation of disorder or malfunction as the consequence of misunderstanding the underlying Principle of creation and would work to correct the erroneous manifestation by improving our understanding of that divine Principle and endeavoring to see the already-existing harmony and perfection. And we would do this with confidence, because we’d know that the divine Principle would no more enable the manifestation of an error in creation than the laws of math would enable 4+4=7.

This line of reasoning establishes in thought the Principle of the universe as permanent, fixed, divine Truth. And here’s the best part: this Principle, this Truth, the law of God that manifests all of creation, is Love. The Bible tells us that “God is love” (I John 4:8). And Science and Health states that “Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man”  (p. 256). This means that God knows the universe as the expression of divine Love. 

Any concept not in accord with Love, such as sin, disease, and death, is therefore baseless to God and will become baseless to us in proportion as we understand the Principle of His creation—that there’s nothing that can actually exist outside of all-encompassing Love. 

Of course, the assertion that everything in the universe is the expression of a loving God can seem perplexing when considering the many problems of the world. But we can begin to prove this idea by applying it to the everyday challenges we face in our lives. Not long after my afternoon on the bench, I felt myself coming down with a cold. But I was very naturally able to reject the need to experience the familiar trajectory of cold symptoms on account of this deeper understanding that all of God’s creation is in perfect accord with divine Principle. As a result, those initial symptoms disappeared, and I didn’t get sick.

Consistently proving that everything in our lives expresses God’s love can take a lot of striving. Clearly, not every healing experience is as easy as sitting on a park bench! But each glimpse we have of a better understanding of the divine Principle of creation is a game changer.

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