ACCORDING TO ONE THEORY IN PHYSICS, once upon a time our entire universe was thought to be an incredibly condensed bit of matter. Perhaps as small as a grapefruit!
Then it exploded and all the resulting little specks now constitute what we call the universe of matter. This vast expanse is filled essentially with space—and with those occasional specks of "grapefruit." We mortals live on one of these little specks. In fact, we are just a tiny bit of dust on a speck!
This, of course, is only a theory, just as the reality of matter itself is only a theory. But this universe of "specks" powerfully and graphically illustrates something fundamental about the nature of mortal existence. In a phrase, this "reality" is symbolized as fragmented, dispersed, separated, divided.
We all feel a profound desire to be sort of put back together again. We sense deeply the normalcy of oneness, a purposeful wholeness, an adhesiveness, a cohesiveness. In a word, unity. People experience a sense of fragmentation in different ways. A broken relationship, a fractured world, a breakdown in the body, a mental incoherence.
If we allow the big-bang theory to symbolize our concept of reality, then getting put back together again, feeling a sense of oneness, is not going to come easily. From such a materialistic perspective, fragmentation and separation are fundamental.
A new view
And then along comes Mary Baker Eddy's revelation of unity. She discerned reality as it truly is. One God, one substance, one Truth. This revelation changes everything. Instead of a universe that begins with an enormous explosion and chaos, she insisted the Bible was revealing the original and continuous reality of infinite Spirit—a universe forever whole, harmonious, and uninterrupted. Truly "a new heaven and a new earth." Rev. 21:1.
The implications of discerning such a universe here and now affect everything we do, everything we think, everything we say, everything we feel. It's a very different kind of universe. It isn't a spiritual creation alongside of, but instead of, a material creation. It might be described as a Christian Science, instead of a natural science, universe. Mrs. Eddy explained her discovery in many ways—including this one: "Unity is the essential nature of Christian Science." Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 264.
When we relate to what she considered the two largest words in the vocabulary of thought (Christian Science), we are relating our lives to the unity of God. We are acknowledging that our sense of purpose and direction has more to do with oneness than divisiveness. We are identifying more with a cohesive sense of intelligent reality than a fragmented matter-based view.
There is really no way to explore the unity of God's nature without discovering the oneness of God and all His children. If we grow in our understanding of God's unity, we will begin living the kind of oneness we actually have with God. The more we discern God's unfragmented nature, the more our lives will feel completely whole, entirely united to Him. To acknowledge and rejoice in the fact that God is One, is to know that His creation, His reality, His presence and substance and Truth, is One. We can never find our unity with God, until we understand the unity of God Himself.
It takes humility to admit this unity with God. It is the human mind's arrogance that says we are separate—at least somewhat independent of God. Such egotism makes us weak. But the humility that yields to God and acknowledges our oneness with Him, makes us mighty. It empowers us, it strengthens us. It gives us the ability to heal. Christ Jesus had the humility to say with conviction, "I and my Father are one." John 10:30. He left this healing prayer for us.
Closeness and healing
The closer we get to God, the closer we come to true freedom. This genuine liberty is found only in spiritual healing. In fact, it's very natural to think of healing as rooted in our oneness with God. But we can't neglect the beginning point. Healing actually grows out of more than how we relate to God. It grows out of the original fact—that God Himself is One. It is to bring ourselves back to the fact that healing doesn't just come from our unity with God. It comes ultimately from waking to this unity of God.
When the cast came off, a year after an injury, the orthopedic surgeon explained to a man that the bones would not knit and that there would have to be medical intervention beyond prayer. Over the years, a woman felt a deepening alienation from her Church. A tiny item was lost in the mud at the bottom of a pond.
What enabled the man to walk again without the medical intervention? What brought a renewal of affection for Church for the woman? What enabled someone to find the item in a way most would have thought miraculous? In each case, it was an understanding of God's oneness. No fragmentation, no alienation, no separation—just an awakening to the fact that the substance of God's reality is present and complete.
Every mortal discord originates in the belief that God is not One. It stems from the fear that God is not whole, complete, and perfectly One. It starts with the belief of a fragmented God, a shattered reality, instead of the wholeness of infinite and divine consciousness.
How close, then, do we have to be to God in order to heal or be healed? Think of God as simply manifesting Himself through your thoughts. That's how close God is to you. When you affirm a spiritual truth such as the fact that you are God's innocent child, consider the power behind the words. It isn't merely you pondering or uttering those words. It is so much more than the fact that you have read these ideas in Science and Health, or gleaned them from Christ Jesus' teachings. These words illustrate revelation. They originate in God and are finding individual expression through consciousness. That's being closer than near.
Truly, we coexist with God. If we think of God as over there, and us as over here, we haven't really gotten a handle on authentic coexistence. One dictionary includes this definition of coexist: "To exist together at the same time or in the same place." This is not talking about just being quite close! This defines existence together at the same moment, as well as in the exact place. No separation. No division. No fragmentation. Just unity. No loss of individuality. Clear, distinct identity. And yet eternal and divine unity. Oneness.
Preservation of individuality
Is there any way we could disappear into an allness or oneness of God? Absolutely not! The unity of God is a profound point in the metaphysics of Christian Science. And this oneness flies in the face of the world's view that existence is fundamentally fragmented. That grapefruit view of reality with little rocks or bits of matter strewn throughout the universe, mistakes real substance. And yet one way worldly precepts would tend to misrepresent or distort the unity of God, is through philosophical views supposing God and His children (man) to be so at one that our identity becomes obscure in God. If we tend to exclude the child of God in our focus on God's oneness, we might well find it harder to recognize the distinctness expressed by each individual. And we will find it harder to heal.
The teaching of God's oneness and allness is foundational in Christian Science. But this eternal one God preserves the individuality of His idea, man. Man is never swallowed up or reduced into God's oneness. Man's characteristics are not bundled into some kind of nirvana and absorbed.
Christ is the light that reveals and gives tangible substance to our Soul-impelled individuality; it heals the discords and darkness of mortal personality. Christ brings into focus our distinctive, decisive, and permanent spiritual identity. This identity never disappears. It is never obscured, never confused with the individuality of others, never combined with the individuality of others. We are always identifiable, recognizable, concrete. The light of the Christ is revelation dawning within divine consciousness, bringing forward and preserving harmonious individual being.
If Christ is revealing our unity, why don't people get along better? Why did Jesus' own disciples argue with each other? Part of the reason could be that they didn't understand his teaching about the essential unity of God. They didn't let their lives yield adequately to what this fact implies. We all need to begin learning more of what it means to truly and unconditionally put our arms around a larger circle of fellow beings. It may seem a stretch for some to start embracing a villager in the middle of the Amazon jungle or caring for those in the far reaches of Africa or loving someone in Pakistan whose life has dramatically changed since the earthquake. But that's not stretching nearly enough. We need to begin thinking universally.
As we move more literally into space, we may confront new beliefs about fragmented existence. We won't find universal unity unless we take it with us. Even as expanded travel provides more opportunity to look across time and space, it needs to be done with a sense of God's oneness. None of us here and none of us anywhere in the universe are actually outside God's cohesive love. You will never be alone anywhere in creation because God is Love and Love is All and you are nurtured in, and are the expression of, this ever-caring divine presence.
We are not a fragment evolving from or designed by an exploded universe. We are evidence of God's presence and wholeness.
Living the revelation
If the revelation of divine Science is really what it claims to be—the discovery of universal oneness and harmony—then the hearts of Christian Scientists should be so on fire with what this Christ, Truth, means to a fractured world, that we should hardly be able to sit still. And sometimes that "fire" does happen. But it's easy, while engaging the world, to become too much like the world. We need a kind of Pentecostal experience in the ranks of Christian Scientists. The book of Acts describes an event where everyone is filled with the Holy Ghost. There is much symbolism in that description, but it happened because of a potent ingredient. "They were all with one accord in one place." Acts 2:1.
That's what can happen when we find our unity. And we find our unity by discovering the nature of God to be One. Mrs. Eddy wrote that if Christian Scientists would just be "like the disciples of old, 'with one accord in one place,' they would receive a spiritual influx impossible under other conditions ...." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 212.
What is this "spiritual influx," this special kind of experience impossible under other conditions? We could describe it as the Holy Spirit. We could call it an ability to heal instantly as Christ Jesus taught by example. We could identify it as a profound conviction that knows God's flawless creation, a conviction so deep that we truly feel at one with our fellow men and women. Whatever description we use, we are feeling evidence of God's unity.
The grapefruit theory tells us of fragmentation. It symbolizes a shattering of cohesiveness. That's the materialistic view of existence. Everything about it represents a breaking up of the original whole. So who is telling us of the wholeness, the oneness, the unity of God? Who or what is revealing to us this true creation? It continues to be the Christ. The Christ, Truth, is always bringing to light in consciousness as well as in body—both the individual and collective body—the unity of God, the unity of His reality.
We are not a fragment evolving from or designed by an exploded universe. Christ brings to light our expression of God's unity. Our true being illustrates and represents this oneness of God. We are evidence of God's presence and wholeness.
This revelation given to us in Mrs. Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, tells us that existence is intact. It reveals a solution to the broken relationship, fractured world, body breakdown, or mental incoherence. It is truly, to the human mind, a revolutionary view of the universe. It wakens us to live in this new and real heaven and earth. It is, in fact, universal Truth. The Christ persistently reveals this new view. We can envision and live the truth it is showing us. We can be whole.
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