Discovering God

The central fact of our Science is that God is literally All-in-all. If this claim is sustained to the final analysis, then revelation must be Mind speaking and Mind hearing (S&H 485:4-5). Strictly speaking, understanding does not come through finite means or personal mediumship. We can be grateful that it does come despite these beliefs, but we limit ourselves sadly by attaching such beliefs to it. Mrs. Eddy was above such faltering views when she stated that no tongue nor pen taught her the Truth which she expounded, and that Christian Science depends not upon human antecedents but upon individual realization – which would necessarily be independent of one's fellow men, past or present (S&H 110:17-18, My. 318:31-4).

Revelation is Mind disclosing itself and so is essentially an individual experience. Mind's knowing or revelation is not something that can be projected outside of Mind (Un. 3:20-26). According to John, the Word is not only with God, but the Word is God. Any true statement is a declaration of Truth and springs directly from Mind as propulsive Principle. While Truth may come to you as "Science and Health," it is still Mind unfolding as Mind alone, and there is not something between Mind and its unfoldment as conscious being (S&H 6:5-6). To avail yourself fully of the benefits of revelation, you must recognize that it is in no wise dependent upon nor limited to any localized outlet, human relay or corporeal representative. The infinite cannot be confined to a finite channel, and omnipresence obviates the need for transmission (S&H 73:31-32). You don't reach out for reality; you just experience it where you are thinking.

A slightest comprehension of the all-presence of divine Mind dispenses entirely with any beliefs of inbetweenness. Channels, windows, transparencies, intercessories, vehicles, agents and the like are all on the belief side of the question. Mrs. Eddy often cautioned her associates not to seek the window, but the light. We are grateful for the window, but it is to the light that we turn. Where is knowledge found but in Mind? And how could it come to you except as the purely mental? Then release revelation from the blighting restrictions of the personal concept, which would pour it into molds or force it through sieves! (My. 117:22-24). To the extent you believe revelation comes to you through selected people (even through yourself privately), exactly in that ratio will revelation be limited for you and subject to all the fluctuations of finite mentation. Doubt attaches itself to anything human. We must constantly turn to Mind – without any detours (Mis. 307:30-1).

It is not as if Mrs. Eddy had arbitrarily defined God as Mind; Mind defines itself to that state of receptivity we call Mary Baker Eddy. That which is Mind must be determined by Mind and as Mind and cannot be determined in any other way. While we cannot confine the meaning of ever-unfolding awareness to a handful of words, Mind is nevertheless declaring that meaning in unmistakable terms. Moses saw as much when he described God as "I AM that I AM" – that is, as existence conscious of itself or conscious existence proclaiming itself as self-conscious Being. This that is Mind asserting itself, is a repudiation of finite mentation, for the nature of Mind is unconfinability and the limited sense of mind must yield before this recognition.

Consciousness is self-defining and self-explanatory (S&H 591:19-20). Mind characterizes itself in expressing itself as itself. Even as we talk, you can go to China and back again in thought, and you can think of the Empire State Building, in all its immensity, as readily as you can think of this modest room. Is this not Mind defining its infinitude? You can be effortlessly aware, under the title of memory, of all you say happened yesterday or a year ago, and you can accurately foresee the future (insofar as you can read the present potentialities of being). Is this not Mind defining eternality? You can see yourself in your mind's eye as vividly tangible. Does not Mind so define its immateriality? And any verity mentally cognized – such as 2 X 2 = 4 – is found to be indestructible and omnipresent. Are not these things Mind self-defined?

Thought cannot stop and still be thought, for thought is mental action. Mind to be must be be-ing. Thinking is uninterrupted and uninterrupible, exhibiting the divine continuity of being, or omniaction. "To know is to be," and if knowing ever is – as it most obviously is – it forever is (No. 16:1-3). Being means actively existing, and you are doing just that. Not because of yourself, but because of cause, Principle. And by just being, you are Mind declaring its nature in being itself. Theorizing about Mind is not experiencing Mind as the living reality. But knowing is Mind realizing its divine nature in concrete and palpable manifestation, so that what God knows is all that is true about anything.

Do you have a Mind? Of course, you do. You have the only Mind there is (S&H 319:20 only). It is the suggestion that it is private and exclusive which would rob you of your boundless possibilities and perpetually keep you from enlarging the borders of your rightful domain.

What knows that God is Mind? Why, Mind. Naturally. What else but Mind could know anything? There could be no Mind without knowing and certainly no knowing without Mind (S&H 303:25-26). It is Mind which is knowing that God is Mind – despite the appearance of it as a person knowing. Is God Principle? Who says so? Nothing could be said without mental impulse, surely. Mind as cause, or Principle, is all that could say anything at all (Mis. 190:25 only). It matters not that this appears to you as personal conviction, it is still Principle speaking, hearing, knowing.

God is Spirit. How is this known? Paul says, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our Spirit." (Rom. 8:16). Omnipresent Spirit, to whom anything unspiritual would be impossible, recognizes its own substantiality or reality. Do you know this? If you do, you know it with Spirit – because Spirit is all there is to you (S&H 316:20-21).

What establishes God scientifically as Truth? Truth, of course. What else could? That which is knowing itself as that which must forever be itself, would have to be the living or conscious Truth (S&H 325:7 only). No doubt could dwell for a moment in this conscious isness that constitutes you.

The Soul of man is declaring Himself the God that is All and eternally yours (S&H 302:8-9). The Divine Onlyness does not dwell in a cramped world of limited perception, and this makes possible the only joy that is unfettered by material sensation. You are the knowing of God as Soul in the painless appreciation of all that could be conceived, perceived and experienced in the way of color and tone, of rhythm and form, of phrase and melody (S&H 507:25-28).

Is God, rather, Life to you? If so, why? Who knows this as a matter of fact? How? That which lives is the only thing that could possibly comprehend in any way the meaning of Life. And that comprehension is the experiencing of Life eternal, here and now. Living being is God as Life in manifestation. Are you this manifestation? Well, you are alive, aren't you? (S&H 306:7 only).

Whence comes the assurance that God is Love? Surely from Love alone. The consummation which means contentment is inconceivable except as Love knowing itself as the Provider. Love giving of itself, fulfilling every need, is God defining Himself as Love. Anything that would challenge this would find Love inconceivable (S&H 17:7 only).

These are things you of yourself positively know. They represent the irrefutable realization of divine Being. Because this is unassailable cognition, you can never for the briefest moment be deprived of the vitalizing and revitalizing sense of the divine Presence. This is not vague theory, but exact knowledge. Because God is known through Mind, your acquaintance with Him is more intimate than the human sense of a material person could ever seem to be to you.

"Let there be light!" is the dictum of omniscient Mind. Without Mind all would be stygian darkness. Mind is not light merely in the figurative sense, but it is literally light and the only light (S&H 596:14-15 and 558:15-16). You can truly sing with Isaiah, "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory." (Isaiah 60:19).

Consciousness is Being and the only being (Ret. 56:18 only). You can't get away from it. You may be uncertain about all other things, but you can never be uncertain about consciousness. Doubt, if you will, the existence of all other people and places and things, but your own conscious existence remains unchallengeable. Coming and going belong to belief, for consciousness remains unmoved by this relative and finite sense of things. All things may pass away, but consciousness is untouched. It is not only the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, but – to mix metaphors – it is the bridge upon which you will cross from "the unreal" to "the real." Here is your "indissoluble spiritual link." (S&H 491:15).

But, says the skeptic, all this evidence is of a subjective nature. How does it stand up under the cold glare of detached reasoning? To qualify as a science, our doctrine must present a logical, coherent, unified whole, utterly devoid of loopholes, gaps or inconsistencies (S&H 242:25-26). The skeptic is entitled to his question, for Mind is intelligible and Truth is amenable to analysis. Not only are reason and revelation reconciled in the growing effulgence of Mind, but logic must correct the errors of superficial observation and assumption. We make correct the errors of superficial observation and assumption. We make these claims, so we must be ever ready to substantiate them (S&H 93:10-13 & 494:19-20). In a manner of speaking, the intellectual approach, through pure reason, gives us a cross-bearing which serves in human experience to keep us on the true course.

It should be most convincing if we could summon as our unimpeachable witnesses only those intellectual leaders of the day who are not Christian Scientists. Certainly the physicists could not be accused of bias in our favor? Let us hear, then, from their accepted spokesmen. Half-a-century too late, they concede all our major premises – even if they do not follow these premises out to their implied conclusions. Sir Arthur Eddington says that consciousness is fundamental and that it is meaningless to speak of anything except as forming a part of the web of consciousness (New York Times, 1931). Nothing could exist for us which we do not see, hear, feel, taste, smell and experience consciously, or hold in thought. Sir James Jeans points out that we used to think we were studying an objective, physical universe which existed independently of our thinking, but we now recognize that the only nature we can study consists not necessarily of what we perceive but necessarily of our own perceptions ("The Mysterious Universe," by Jeans).

It is not a question of the reality of things, but a question of the nature of things. They are real, all right – at least in thought – or we could not be talking about them. But we have absolutely no evidence beyond inference that they exist other than mentally. So the eminent Doctor Haldane cheerfully admits that "Materialism, once a scientific theory, is now the fatalistic creed of thousands, but materialism is nothing better than a superstition on the same level as a belief in witches and devils." (The Sciences & Philosophy," by J. S. Haldane). Does this seem an extravagant statement? Once upon a time, the statement that the earth is round was looked upon as pretty far-fetched. Couldn't everybody see that it was quite flat? Today, the claim that it is flat would be shrugged aside as rank superstition. It still appears flat, though, despite our knowledge that it is round. It appears equally material. But its materiality is as demonstrably unreal as its flatness. Both are simply deceptive inferences from the optical images. An understanding of perspective disposes of the earth's flatness, just as an understanding of Science does away with matter, as such.

So Sir James Jeans concludes that "the old dualism of mind and matter seems likely to disappear, not through matter becoming in any way more shadowy or insubstantial than heretofore, or through mind becoming resolved into a function of the working of matter, but through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind." ("The Mysterious Universe."). Mary Baker Eddy had long since anticipated him by writing that scientific understanding translates matter into Mind, and that whatever you see, hear or feel, being by way of consciousness, could have no other reality than the sense you entertain of it (Mis 25:12 only & Un 8:5-8). Logic and intuition converge, reducing everything to its common denominator, the mental.

Our secular authorities go much farther than this, as we shall see later on, but let us pause here to explore this subject of consciousness a little more thoroughly.

We cannot depend upon anything external to ourselves for a knowledge of reality. Even the Scriptures warn us that we must not attempt to reach absolute conclusions on the basis of mere appearance (John 7:24). Otherwise, ours would not be a Science, but a house built upon shifting sands (S&H 581:19-22). Optical, auditory, gustatory, olfactory or tactile interpretations are unreliable and deceptive at every point. A straight stick immersed in clear water appears bent, receding objects become smaller, echo puts sound where it is not, sometimes it is impossible to distinguish between a taste and an odor, a very cold object seems hot to the touch, and all sensory impressions are profoundly affected by the emotions, so that human observations, when uncorrected by scientific knowledge, are misleading. Obviously, we do not know that a thing exists in the way it appears to exist just because we see it so.

No. We must begin with something that we know to be true, irrespective of anything which might merely appear to be true. Anything that exists to you exists as thought, so you never attempt to reach final conclusions on the basis of what is ordinarily denominated objective, nor are you in the end going to be satisfied with any external "authority" to do your deciding for you. If what you are conscious of is fugitive and capricious, where is the rock upon which to build your structure? You can't possibly be aware of anything you aren't thinking, or anything outside the area of mental perception, hence you are going to have to seek your foundation-stone within. You cannot prove to anyone, or even to yourself, that anything is the way it seems to be, because you cannot get outside your own range of thought.

You could never be conscious of anything your awareness did not include. This excludes material objects as external realities, while embracing them as mental concepts, thus exchanging materiality for mentation. What you are conscious of is what you are thinking – not the result of what you are thinking, but the thinking itself. Your thinking constitutes your consciousness, your world of experience, of cognizant being. Then what do you know that does not pivot upon something or someone outside yourself? What is it that you absolutely realize of your very own self? What is the one basic thing that your experience declares? What is it you are so positively sure of that it requires no outside evidence to back it up nor even any process of reasoning to establish?

There is one thing you do know which constitutes its own proof. You know it from the human point of view and you realize it divinely, so that it is indeed the indissoluble spiritual link. What is it? Well, you are conscious, aren't you? Is it not then the fact of your conscious being? Consciousness is the one inescapable, self-evident, overwhelmingly obvious fact of your experience. What you are conscious of, though constantly shifting, does not alter the self-evident truth of consciousness. It matters not whether you think of yourself as material or spiritual, sane or insane, or whether you look upon experience as objective instead of subjective, the truth of conscious being and its evidence as thought remain incontrovertible and compelling.

Mind is primal and final. Consciousness is the essence. It is self-perpetuating, self-existent, self-defining. You can't escape consciousness, and you can't go back of consciousness. It is the underlying reality of all things. No reasonable person can sidestep this truism. You consciously are and you know you are consciously being. It makes no difference how you interpret this consciously being or what your theories are about it, it still remains the proof of itself as yourself. Despite any sense of change, you are now and always experiencing conscious existence as the one changeless, inescapable reality. Mind never stops (S&H 240:14-15).

Question: Not even in sleep?

Answer: Even at night, this continuous mentation goes on, in every sense of the term. Innumerable laboratory tests and clinical observations have proven conclusively that even those who sincerely insist they never dream do so all the time, whether they remember it or not upon awakening (S&H 491:22-23). The interruption of thinking would be death.

There could be no Science for us without a fixed foundation, so we must start with what we positively know: namely, consciousness. As long ago as 1641, Rene' Descartes showed the possibility of positive knowledge on the basis of self-consciousness. The relation between consciousness and existence he expressed in the phrase, "Cogito, ergo sum" – "I think, therefore I exist." Why, you ask, did he not enter this open door to Christian Science? He went awry in the elaborate structure he built up from this sound foundation because he, in common with all his successors, made the fatal mistake of trying to define basic Mind, God, in keeping with his own limited sense of a private, circumscribed mind, instead of letting Mind define itself in all its natural illimitability. His exponent, John Locke, said their efforts were directed toward determining the limits of the possibilities of the human mind. Bishop George Berkeley, whom Mrs. Eddy quotes, undertook to prove by logic that all must be mental, but his theory broke down in practice for the same old reason.

These great men failed to look beyond a limited sense of mind (My 151:23-27). Their conclusions fell short because they were unwittingly sought from the human standpoint. They would endow God with humanly mental characteristics instead of the reverse (S&H 269:9-10). We can never find God from the basis of human sense testimony, and this is what their search amounted to. "But the Lord said, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance," and "It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard . . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (I Samuel 16:7 & I Corinthians 2:9).

The trouble was that they all began at the wrong end of things, in trying to reason from the human up to the divine (Mis 103:21-23). Beginning with the finite, the infinite is unattainable. The immeasurable cannot be reached through measurement. Trying to establish the illimitable from the standpoint of limitation is like trying to lift yourself up by the bootstraps. Infinite Mind is nothing like finite mind, as generally conceived. "To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto Him?" (Isaiah 40:18). We cannot climb up to Mind, but must look out from it. The way is that of discovery, and revelation is Mind discovering itself in its boundless capacities. The reality of all things cannot be built up through ingenuity of human speculation, but must be brought to light through spontaneous disclosure (S&H 505:26-28).

Now, then, if Mrs. Eddy was not the first to pronounce existence totally mental, what was her unique discovery that she should be honored above all explorers? The unreality of matter – which the public mistakenly supposes to be the main thesis of Christian Science – had been taught from the dim antiquity by her predecessors, under the title of "idealism" as opposed to materialism. Because the restrictive thought could not grasp the unrestrictable, the greatest scholars had not been able to escape the confines of their finite premises (S&H 208:2-4). It was something like the human eye trying to observe itself: it cannot be seen from within (finity) but must be examined from without (infinity). With the perspicacity of true spiritual genius, Mrs. Eddy by-passed the philosophers' pitfall by beginning with the proposition that God alone is Mind, proceeding then to think out from Mind instead of trying to think up to Mind (S&H 275:6-12).

Mrs. Eddy's basic discovery was that of Mind as infinite – therefore One and All. This finding sets at rest every question arising from a relative sense of Mind. It remained for Mrs. Eddy to state that for Mind to be Mind, it must be illimitable, indivisible, irreducible, incorruptible, incompressible, without dimensions or chronology, cognizable in its true nature as substantial and forever a law unto itself.

From the day the Founder of the Christian Science movement began to proclaim that infinite Mind must be all there is to all, the thought of the world has been undergoing a profound metamorphosis. The influence of this fundamental precept has permeated every department of human endeavor, altering at once and continuing to do so with cumulative effect the popular concepts of science, theology and medicine. Ere the stilling of her voice, the pulpits began to ring with her distinctive phraseology, and it was not long before the learned doctors, through quill and oratory, began to disclaim any responsibility for an explanation of substance – although this had been their favorite pastime heretofore!

A classical example of this last is the introductory statement by Henderson and Woodhull, in their Columbia University textbook on physics, that the only evidence we have of matter is the indirect or purely mental evidence of the senses, which see, hear, feel, taste and smell it, with no proof that matter has any substantiality apart from consciousness. The passage concludes with the surprising assertion that the physical sciences are concerned only with the observed properties and behavior of the objects of human cognition, but not at all with the ultimate nature of existence. In a tag line of dramatic impact, they graciously leave the task of explaining substance to the metaphysicians!

Yes, our self-styled realists are conceding step by step the validity of Mrs. Eddy's proclamations of long ago. Oh, for the day when they will abandon that self-defeating "state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation!" (S&H 585:21-22). Already the signs are in the skies. Charles P. Steinmetz, the renowned mathematician and director of physical research for the great General Electric laboratories, has said publicly: "Some day people will learn that material things will not bring happiness and are of little use in making men and women creative and powerful. Then the scientists of the world will turn their laboratories to the study of God and Prayer, and the spiritual forces which as yet have hardly been scratched. When this day comes the world will see more advancement on one generation than it has seen in the past four."