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IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

From the September 1959 issue of The Christian Science Journal


A Christian Scientist who turns to divine Truth in working out a problem either for himself or another is face to face with God. He is adjusting to the strict demand of the First Commandment (Ex. 20:3), "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," and to the glorious promises of the Sermon on the Mount, among them (Matt. 7:7), "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." He learns by precept and proof that because God is Love and God is infinite, as the Bible declares, man is always in the omnipresence of Love, omnipotent good, the one Mind.

Because there is none other than the one infinite, ever-present Deity, there is no other god for us to worship. Because God is always present right where we are, we can ask no impossible good thing, seek no unobtainable blessing, knock at no unopenable door of Truth. Christian Science reveals that God expresses all there is to express and that this divine expression is the spiritual universe, which includes the compound spiritual idea, man, and therefore the true individuality of each one of us.

Presence is an attribute of God. It is impossible to think of absence in relation to God. To be infinite Love, God must be infinitely present. Being infinite Mind, He is infinitely available in knowledge and intelligence. Truth, which is another synonym for God, is necessarily always present and demonstrable.

The presence of God includes the presence of spiritual beauty, joy, purity, and the like. It denotes the availability of abundant intelligence, wisdom, perception, health, activity, spiritual affluence. This divine presence does not come from anywhere; it is self-existent, without beginning and without end. It does not go anywhere, for it is infinite; filling all space, it cannot be lost or move out of reach.

The divine, ever-present qualities of God are shown forth by man, who is created in God's image and likeness. Therefore the presence of God and the presence of the true man do not indicate two separate states of being, but they indicate the unity of God and man, of Mind and its idea, Love and its fulfillment. The divine sonship of man witnesses to the fatherhood of God.

This being so, can we, being always in the presence of God, dare to stand before Him and say, "Father, I have got something You never made; I have disease, I have worry, I have lack"? Or alternatively, "Father, I have lost something You gave me; I have lost my health, my supply, my dominion"? Yet is not this, in effect, what we do every time we admit to having any discordant condition?

The counterfact to erroneous claims is found in the assurance which Christ Jesus put into the mouth of the father in the parable of the prodigal son. When speaking to the elder son, he said (Luke 15:31), "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine."

Because disease, discord, lack, and mortality do not belong to God, they cannot be expressed by man. Right where disease seems to be active, right where lack seems to leave a vacuum, right there is God, good, infinitely present, filling all space. In her "Miscellaneous Writings," Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, states (p. 173): "If Mind, God, is all-power and all-presence, man is not met by another power and presence, that—obstructing his intelligence—pains, fetters, and befools him. The perfection of man is intact; whence, then, is something besides Him that is not the counterpart but the counterfeit of man's creator?"

The healing result of holding to the above truths was witnessed by the writer in the case of a man who was suffering from a severe skin disease. The doctors not only had confessed themselves unable to cure him, but had expressed the opinion that he was in danger of losing his life. Hitherto the man had not accepted Christian Science, but his wife and son, both Christian Scientists, begged him now to have Christian Science treatment. He consented, though without much hope, because he felt so ill.

A Christian Science practitioner was called, and he visited the patient. He explained to him the infinite nature of God, good, and declared that right where the disease seemed to be operating, there, instead, was the purity and activity of God, Love. The patient had always been a religious man and had acknowledged that God is omnipresent; but this was the first time he had realized that God, divine Love, was not merely all round him, but was also all-pervading, leaving no space which could be outside the divine presence.

He accepted the basis of the treatment he was being offered, and in a very short time he was completely healed. He joined The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, and a branch church, in which he served in various offices for many years.

To the Christian Scientist the sense of God's all-pervading presence is not only a protection from wrongdoing, but an ever-availability of good, a refuge and strength, a reason for confident hope. We cannot admit that an evil effect is in the presence of God, for there is in reality no such effect. On the contrary, we lift our thoughts with confidence to God, the divine All, and see that in His presence there is harmony, fearlessness, purity, health, and life forevermore.

This is not the changing of bad mortal thought to good mortal thought. It is the exchanging of mortal thought for the true, spiritual consciousness of man's immortal being as the image of God.

Man is not separate from God. He is not a mortal clambering up and sliding down the slippery slope of material endeavor. He is the spiritual expression of God's being, founded in Love, pinnacled in Life. That human consciousness which knocks, asks, and seeks for admission to the presence of God approximates the true nature of man only in the measure that it begins to understand the true nature of God.

Not only is the spiritual idea, man, always in the presence of God; he is actually the spiritual expression of that presence. He is that by which God is known, as the sun is known by the light which flows from it. As Mrs. Eddy puts it in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 266), "Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light."

A dictionary makes it clear that "beatific" means "imparting supreme happiness." In the beatific presence of God, how can man be unhappy? How can he be diseased? God is not only the greatest power; He is the only power. Fear, disease, lack, and the like, are not stronger than God. In His presence they lose even the semblance of power and are replaced in human consciousness by peace of mind and harmony of body.

In the presence of God there is no evil because there is no room for it. Omnipresence is the presence of Truth, in which there is no lie and no liar. It is the presence of Mind, in which there is no belief and no believer. No human ill can remain a human ill when faced with the truth of spiritual well-being. As in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve tried to hide "from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden" (Gen. 3:8), so does the false state of consciousness, termed in Christian Science "mortal mind," try to hide from God amongst the ambiguities of medical theories, physical laws, human fears, and the like.

Nothing, however, can hide from the presence of omnipresence. As one realizes this fact, all error is uncovered and seen for what it is—nothing—and man is found to be ever in the shining radiance of God, upright, fearless, free.

Mrs. Eddy writes in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 60), "Science saith to all manner of disease, 'Know that God is all-power and all-presence, and there is nothing beside Him;' and the sick are healed."

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