L. IVIMY GWALTER
From the April 1963 issue of The Christian Science Journal
We hear a great deal about power nowadays. The world as never before is thinking about power; and in its own way it is developing power, tremendous power, and is standing aghast before its own inventions. Therefore, the revelation that power derives from Spirit, God, and is wholly spiritual is of prime importance. There is great significance in the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, in the textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 454), "The superiority of spiritual power over sensuous is the central point of Christian Science."
Spirit and Love are synonymous in Christian Science, and the power of Spirit is the power of Love. Mortal mind says that hate is power, a power that in a moment of frenzy can touch off an atomic bomb which may lead to the destruction of the human race. But is this so? Is there no safeguard against such a power? Furthermore, how many powers are there? Can infinite Spirit have an opposite? Can divine Love engender hate? Can darkness extinguish light?
Spirit is that of which the corporeal senses can take no cognizance. They cannot see Spirit, feel it, or touch it. Yet Christian Science reveals Spirit as omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience—omni from the Latin meaning all. Spirit is all the power there is, all the presence, all the Science or knowledge or consciousness.
Every advance in material knowledge, every horizon widened, every barrier broken, has come in the name of scientific achievement. The limitations of time and space and physicality are yielding to laws unseen by the senses. And yet human knowledge or so-called physical science never gets beyond the realm of matter. It cannot overcome death or demonstrate eternal life. Yet this is what Christ Jesus, our Way-shower, did and commanded his followers to do.
Man, the expression of God, is wholly spiritual. He can never get outside of Spirit. He is never outside of God's care, never beyond God's help. And he is never touched or changed by anything the physical senses say. The universe of Spirit is forever held in the grasp of Spirit. It expresses the substance of Spirit, the perfection of Spirit, the law of Spirit. There is not a single destructive element in Spirit, because Spirit is Soul—no decay, no blight, no accumulation of impurity, no failing sight, no waning strength, no impeded action. Spirit is the substance, Life, and intelligence of man and the universe. It was in confirmation of this truth that Christ Jesus performed his marvelous works.
All the physical theories of the universe, the calculations of natural science, the theories of materia medica, the doctrines of scholastic theology, the beliefs that life and intelligence are in matter or of it, must eventually give place to the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of Spirit. "None can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" (Dan. 4:35.) Spirit is the one and only lawgiver; God's law, the only law.
The word Spirit is derived from the Latin spirare, to breathe. From it comes also the word "inspiration." So Spirit is the life-giving divine Principle of the universe and man. It is the very breath of Life itself to all its own vast creation. This creation is not an endless series of objects and creatures and persons and things into which Spirit infuses life; it is the self-revealing activity of Spirit, forever existing and functioning within Spirit itself.
Mrs. Eddy not only reveals the allness of God; she exposes the nothingness of evil and uncovers its devious ways, and for this the world owes her an endless debt of gratitude. She makes plain throughout her writings that so long as there remains in belief a power of evil, so long must Christian Science uncover and destroy this seeming power. She gives to evil the name of animal magnetism, and she exposes the workings of animal magnetism, not to make us fear it, but to enable us to conquer it. She exposes it that we may see its nothingness, not its somethingness.
Jesus, our Way-shower, showed that every element of hate, even the crucifixion itself, had to be mastered with Love; every phase of human belief—sin, disease, death, tyranny, storm, lack—had to yield to the presence and power of Spirit. He proved that the way of escape is the way of resurrection. This way is not found by our ignoring evil, condoning it, or yielding to it, but by scientifically reducing evil to nothingness through a spiritual understanding of God as All-in-all.
The fact that evil seems so rampant today means that Truth is bringing it to the surface to be destroyed. This uncovering is not something to bemoan but something to rejoice over if it is making us more active in truth, more alert, more sure of God's allness. And unless this is happening, we are not handling the situation in Christian Science.
Our defense is in spirituality. There is no other. A consciousness completely untinged by materialism remains completely untouched by animal magnetism. Then let us diligently cultivate spirituality. Let us strive for it, work for it, pray for it. Our Leader throughout her writings makes the way plain. These precious writings, together with the Bible, are the only textbooks which the student needs or can have for self-instruction in Christian Science. They must be studied, pondered, and demonstrated. Then the infinitude of God's power unfolds to us its glory.
The writer remembers a time when in her budding experience the presence of God became something so vital that she lived with it day and night. The divine presence was very real, very tangible, supremely beautiful, and she realized that it seemed transcendental simply because it transcended in power and glory anything the physical senses could see or comprehend. Through the years this sense has never left her, but it had to develop and grow. She had to see that the presence of God was not a divine presence with a little finite person who walked securely because of it, but that this presence constituted the very I of her being, for Spirit is the I, or Ego, which man reflects. Mrs. Eddy says in "Unity of Good" (p. 51), "The Ego is divine consciousness, eternally radiating throughout all space in the idea of God, good, and not of His opposite, evil."
In the truth which these words reveal lies the answer to the human fears in regard to nuclear attack, radiation, and fallout. When Mrs. Eddy made her great discovery, people were not talking about radiation, yet she deals with the subject in Science and Health. Referring to the categories of so-called material life, she says (p. 556), "These false beliefs will disappear, when the radiation of Spirit destroys forever all belief in intelligent matter." And she adds, "Then will the new heaven and new earth appear, for the former things will have passed away."
The radiation of Spirit—the only radiation there is—is the "divine consciousness, eternally radiating throughout all space in the idea of God, good, and not of His opposite, evil." This radiation is harmless, beautiful, beneficent. Even the dreaded fallout, which we hear so much about, is nothing but evil's offal, an aggressive mental suggestion of animal magnetism. It will be proved worthless and powerless in the measure that the presence and power of Spirit are understood.
In the sixth chapter of II Kings we read that when Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the horses and chariots of an enemy bent on their destruction, the servant cried out, "Alas, my master! how shall we do?"
And Elisha answered, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." And he prayed, "Lord, . . . open his eyes, that he may see."
And the eyes of the young man were opened and he saw, "and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." It was the presence of God, the radiation of Spirit, appearing, as it always must, as the power of deliverance, the power and presence of good.
In Spirit there is no contaminated atmosphere, for Spirit exhales its own aroma of health and purity, and nothing baneful can enter this atmosphere. In the infinitude of Spirit poison can neither operate nor generate. There is nothing to inhale it or exhale it, to create it or succumb to it.
The Christian Scientist's fallout shelter is his conscious oneness with God, his understanding of the infinitude of Spirit and the nothingness of matter. And this shelter is always with him, for this understanding is his very being. He who spiritually understands God is never separated from his shelter. The continuity of God assures the continuity of man. The unassailability of God establishes the unassailability of man.
The prophet Zechariah writes (4:6), "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." The power of Spirit, of Love, is the greatest power in the world. Let us not forget this. In the measure that we reflect this Love, we shall demonstrate the central point of Christian Science, namely "the superiority of spiritual power over sensuous." Then we shall prove that Love, not hate, governs governments and industries, protecting human rights and liberty and life. This Love is not a human sentiment felt by one person for another, by one race for another, or by one nation for another. It is the impelling, irresistible governing Principle of the cosmos.
For those who have ears to hear, the whole universe is echoing and reechoing the eternal strain that power belongs to God alone. There is no destructive power. "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Ps. 62:11).