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Experience the spiritual universe here and now! Feel the divine energy of Spirit …”
Met
aphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”
for December 12 – 18, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer of Lake St. Louis, Missouri
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION, GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING:

 To answer the question posed in the subject of this week’s Bible Lesson, let’s be clear about some of the terms being used. First, the term “man” has nothing to do with a specific human gender. It refers to all mankind.  And, to me, we’re really talking about the ongoing expansion of a limitless universe, including all forms of life. I found it helpful to think a bit more deeply about what it means to evolve from something. To evolve means to unfold from; to open and expand from; to emanate from.

So … the question is, what is the source from which the universe (including all forms of life) is evolving— or unfolding? Is the source tiny, changeable, material particles (called atoms) that have been influenced by erratic, uncontrollable forces of nature — both good and bad?
OR, is the universe (including all forms of life) actually the unfoldment or emanation of Mind — the divine Intelligence that is all good?  Which “origin story” we believe has a lot to do with whether we are depending on our material or spiritual senses for answers.

And, how we answer this important question also has a lot to do with determining how we shape our view of the world and our experience in it.  As I see it, we basically have two choices … If we accept the atomic theory, we’re likely to get caught up in the problems bombarding our world and our lives, and can feel discouraged and helpless — even fatalistic.  If we accept the spiritual approach of a universe and life emanating from Mind, we will reject discouragement and fatalism, and determine to work out solutions based on the fact that the universe and all forms of life are truly subject only to the forces of Good. We determine our outlook on life as we choose which evidence to accept — the material or the spiritual — the mixture of good and bad or the purely good.  As I have said before, this is not ignoring problems.  It is actually taking an active role in correcting them, and enabling the spiritual reality of present good to be seen and experienced.

The last citation from Science and Health in this week’s Lesson gives very clear direction to thought.  On page 249 we read, “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy.  Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers the be.’  Such is the true Science of being” (cit. S31, 249:6-10).

Imagine being a Hebrew, held in exile as a slave, and hearing this prophecy of Isaiah, which is the Golden Text this week: “For you will go out [from exile] with joy And be led forth [by the Lord Himself] with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands” (Isa. 55: 12, Amplified Bible). What a promise!  I imagine some believed it, and were encouraged, and some scoffed.  But, the promise came true.

As opposed to the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, which was full of rush and disquiet, the exodus from Babylon was accompanied by peace and joy.  Most of us are not dealing with exile and slavery (although many in the world are dealing with similar situations.). But, we all face challenges.  And in the middle of any problem (whether relatively minor or quite dire), the same promise of deliverance is being given to us. Are we believing or scoffing? It’s not always easy to find the light in the midst of the darkness, but it is possible. The key is to realize that all discord comes from the general acceptance of the theory that life is generated from — and is governed by — atomic forces.  And, yet, regardless of how many have accepted this false theory — and for how long — as we shift our perspective to the fact that all life is truly governed by the laws of God, Spirit, we can experience the joy and peace Isaiah promised — even in the middle of the darkest times.  And, as we rejoice in God’s law, we can expect deliverance!

The Responsive Reading continues the promise of good.  God’s Word is what enriches God’s people, and brings prosperity to them — just as surely as the rain and snow water the earth, enabling it to prosper.  One of the dangers of being exiled was the temptation to wander away from a dependence on God, and to look to the material riches found in Babylon for satisfaction.  The materialism and secularism of today is similarly alluring.  But leaving God out of the equation and depending on material riches and on material health, can also bring a sense of vulnerability and even hopelessness.

Isaiah was encouraging the Hebrews (and us) to realize that true and lasting blessedness (happiness that can’t be taken away) comes through obedience to God’s Word — to the law of Love.  This spiritual law of Love brings joy and productivity and peace.  Some Bible authorities suggest that the verses that speak of the wolf and the lamb dwelling together, led by a little child, is a metaphor for the subjects of God’s kingdom lying down under the care of the Messiah.  Men of fierce and ungovernable disposition will be transformed by the preaching of the gospel, and through the grace of God will become humble, and gentle, and meek.

There seems to be a lot of resistance, by some, to organized religion today.  And yet, the Word of God (the Christ, or Messiah) — the light of Truth — is active in human consciousness.  And, I believe strongly that somehow, in some way, this light will transform the thought of mankind and bring the joy and peace promised in these verses from Isaiah.  As we choose the side of Spirit, rather than accepting material, atomic, particle physics theories, we can expect to see evidence of this peace and joy in our own lives, and in lives all over the world, today!


SECTION 1: THE PRODUCTIVE UNIVERSE OF SPIRIT

 We can’t just reject the material (atomic) universe theory.  We need to understand how the universe, including man, really evolves — or unfolds. The answer to that question is given in the first chapter of Genesis.  In the spiritual universe of God’s creating — the Kingdom of God — light is separated from darkness.  There is no mingling of good and bad.  The seed is in itself, so nothing can prevent the full expression of productivity.  Man (complete — including male and female qualities) is made in the image and likeness of God (the expression of Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Principle, Mind, Soul).  And, this creation is blessed of God — assured of the ability to move forward being fruitful, and replenishing the earth, rather than depleting it (citation B1, Genesis 1:1,3,4,11,12,26,27,28).

Remembering that Jeremiah was written during the years of the Babylonian exile, we can turn to the following verses from Bible citations 2 and 3 whenever we feel we are in a dark place — or we are concerned for those dealing with any kind of hardship.  Citation 2 has been translated, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (cit. B2, Jeremiah 29:11, NRSV).  Citation B3 from Jeremiah 17 gives us a sense of what is required of us if we are to perceive the blessings God has prepared.  Our job is to trust in God.  The result is that we will be like the tree planted by the river, able to receive enough nourishment to survive even during times of drought (cit. B3, Jeremiah 17:7,8).

There will be difficult times.  But, nothing can keep us from holding on to the true image of creation.  Part of Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of Creator is, “God, who made all that was made and could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself” (cit. S2, 583:20).  And, on page 503 of Science and Health we read, “this Mind creates no element nor symbol of discord and decay.  God creates neither erring thought, mortal life, mutable truth, nor variable love” (cit. S3, 503:20).

If God didn’t create it, then the darkness of evil that tries to engulf us must be a misconception that can be corrected as we “gain more correct views of God and man” (cit. S6, 264:13).  The images put forth by mortal mind (or the suppositional opposite of the one divine Mind) sometimes seem tenacious and stubborn and aggressive and scary.  But, they have no power to change the facts of being, as presented in the first chapter of Genesis.  Stick with the conviction that truly God’s kingdom of harmony reigns forever, and will be experienced, and that kingdom of harmony will become apparent.

Recently a lecture was sponsored by my branch church which addressed how to not get stuck in that dark place of fear.  The talk, titled “Moving Past Fear — to Healing” and was given by Lisa Troseth, CSB.  A video recording of it is available on our church’s website . Please feel free to share with any seekers who would be blessed by it, this link:  https://csheals.org/lectures/.


SECTION 2:  GOD, SPIRIT DWELLS IN LIGHT

 The first step to experiencing the Kingdom of Spirit — the universe which is the emanation of Life, Truth, and Love, with its joy and goodness — is to turn to the light as we seek and magnify God, Good. Light and darkness cannot mingle. Normally, fire provides light and heat, but it also destroys its surroundings. The fire representing God’s presence caught Moses’ attention, but it caused no destruction. God is seen in the light that is separated from, and that always extinguishes, darkness.

In the burning bush, God revealed His presence to Moses in just such a way.  This fire was all good. Moses stopped and turned to see what was happening.  It was at that point that God identified Himself, and Moses realized that he was standing on “holy ground” (cit. B6, Exodus 3:1-5).  What struck me is that the fire that Moses saw looked like any other fire.  The difference was the lack of destruction – like all laws or principles that operate unspent.  Seeing things from a spiritual perspective eliminates the bad and leaves only the good.

So … what does this have to do with us?  One way we can determine if we are viewing our universe (and ourselves) from a material or a spiritual perspective is to ask: Does the view include both good and bad?  Or, is it all unwavering good?  We currently live in a world of relativity.  So, yes, we are dealing with what very much seems like a mixed-up mess – a mixture of good and bad.  But, as we turn to God and seek the Kingdom of Spirit, we will see God’s law bring harmony to situations so that God’s law of Good comes more and more into view.  I love that it is the action of God, Spirit, that enables this good to unfold.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (cit. S8, 506:18). Our job is to follow Moses’ example and pause to notice God’s presence — the presence of Good — in the smallest and largest ways.

I love this line from Hymn 224 of the Christian Science Hymnal: “All good, where’er it may be found, / Its source doth find in Thee; / I must have all things and abound, / While God is God to me.”  To me, this handles the threat of side-effects when we are doing what seems our highest sense of right at any given time.  ALL good comes from God.  All that truly exists is the spiritual universe.  As we seek to see more of God (unchanging Good) and recognize that “matter never sustained existence and can never destroy God, who is man’s Life”, we will no longer be mesmerized by the evidence of evil, disease, unhappiness, and discord constantly bombarding us (cit. S10:15-17).  Instead, we will see and experience more and more of the Light of Spirit that knows only good!  Seeing that light allows us to be present in the Light that destroys all darkness.


SECTION 3:  MATERIAL LAWS OF BIRTH OVERTURNED

It’s commonly accepted that a male mortal and a female mortal need to come together in order for a new, third mortal, to be formed.  And there are mortal laws that specify requirements of age and circumstances in order for a new life to be conceived.  And yet … Elisabeth conceived John (later to be known as John the Baptist) “in her old age” and after having been declared barren.  And, the Virgin Mary conceived Jesus even though she had not yet been with a man (cit. B8, Luke 1:26-28, 30-32, 34-42, 46-49, 56). So … doesn’t this show that the material laws of generation are not absolute?  Rather, they are the counterfeit of the real.

Genesis 1 makes it clear that God is the creator of man — and created man male and female.  It is mortal belief that has distorted that to indicate that a male and female are required to come together to create another living being.  At this point, in this human realm, we don’t try to by-pass the normal way of conceiving.  However, understanding God to be the source of all Life can certainly overthrow any material obstacles that would try to stop this natural human activity.

A right understanding of God as Creator makes it possible to demonstrate fertility and harmonious childbirth today, as was seen during Bible times.  Demonstrations refuting the belief that man is evolved from “atomic force” are indeed happening today.  One example is an experience shared by Mary Carol Ghislin in a testimony from the December 5, 2016 Christian Science Sentinel.  It is titled “Infertility Reversed.”  A link is included in the print version of this Met.  https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/20osbncjgqe?s=copylink

It is well accepted that Jesus was the Son of God.  He fully embodied and demonstrated the Messiah, or Christ, which “expresses God’s spiritual, eternal nature” (cit. S15, 333: 9-13). Because Christ is the expression of God’s nature, this Christ must have “dwelt forever an idea in the bosom of God …” (cit. S14, 29:20).  But, that Christ was perceived in a human form as a result of Mary’s spiritual sense and receptivity to God’s divine promise to send a Savior into this world.  That Christ continues to be present — forever coming to the human consciousness.  And, “the conceptions of mortal, erring thought must give way to the ideal of all that is perfect and eternal” (cit. S17, 260:7).  It is non-optional!  Our job is to “peck open [our] shells with Christian Science, and look outward and upward” (cit. S18, 552:16-19).  As we apply the law of God’s allness to everything we do, we won’t be stuck inside the limited view of mortal existence — but be free to bear witness to the presence of the Christ!


SECTION 4: THE MIGHT OF CHRIST DEMONSTRATED

Jesus overcame every sort of mortal limitation — proving over and over that the universe, including man, definitely does not spring from “atomic force” — nor is it subject to any forces of matter or nature.  In this section, Jesus heals all kinds of diseases, enables fish to be caught after they had evaded the nets under more conventional circumstances, and stills a storm.   As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Jesus walked on the waves, fed the multitude, healed the sick, and raised the dead in direct opposition to material laws.  His acts were the demonstration of Science, overcoming the false claims of material sense or law” (cit. S21, 273:24).

Granted “the divine origin of Jesus gave him more than human power to expound the facts of creation, and demonstrate the one Mind which makes and governs man and the universe” (cit. S22, 539:27-30).  But, the fact remains that Jesus was demonstrating the Science — or truth — of being. He came to show mankind what is possible!  And the same laws that Jesus applied in all he did are available for us to demonstrate, as well!  I find this to be a very powerful statement: “Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale.  The good you do and embody give you the only power obtainable” (cit. S24, 192:17-24,29).

Sometimes it seems hard to keep thought focused on the good (and on what is scientifically and spiritually true) — especially when problems are pressing in on us.  But, it’s helpful to realize that the same Christ (the same divine power) that Jesus embodied and that animated everything he did, is what animates us, as well.  Christ is “the spiritual or true idea of God” (cit. S20, 374:14-17).  It is a consistent presence, and as we turn to it and acknowledge it (like turning to and acknowledging the light in a room) we find that the material, mortal imposition must yield — as darkness yields to light.

I had a small experience recently — though it felt big at the time.  I wasn’t feeling well and going down the path of worry, fear, and discouragement.  Suddenly I heard a phrase in my thought from a testimony that had been shared in church.  The message was … “you’re going the wrong way.”  It was a wake-up call that I had neglected to be watchful of thought and my thought was headed in the wrong direction … down the path of mortal belief rather than the path of scientific reality.  As I changed my thought and threw the weight of it into the scale of hope and assurance and conviction that God was in control of everything — including my health — the fear lifted, and I was actually able to accomplish some things that evening.  Gratefully, we know (at least to some degree) what is true.  All we have to do is practice the best we can, and trust Christ to lift us up!


SECTION 5:  THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND

 Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God is within us — is here and now, and accessible.  John left a record of having seen this Kingdom while living on this earth — in the same condition in which we are living. He saw through the mist of what appears to be a material world and beheld a reality that is free of pain, sorrow, death, and all discord. Literally, the presence of God’s illumination and the light of Christ eliminated all of the mortal shadows that would hide this view of perfection.  We catch glimpses of this reality when thought is so filled with what is true that the false, limited sense of things disappears.  And, we can expect to gain clearer and clearer views as we maintain the fact that there is one Kingdom.  Everything else that springs from a mortal, material perspective must yield to this true view because the spiritual view is the only thing that truly has substance.  We can’t afford to get discouraged when the view gets clouded.  But, we need to claim our identity as “the idea of Spirit” and know that we reflect the “beatific presence”.  This is the presence of Love and the light of Christ that imparts holy bliss that cannot be brought down (cit. S27, 266:27-29).  Mary Baker Eddy describes this New Jerusalem as the “infinite All, which to us seems hidden in the mist of remoteness” (cit. S29, 576:3).  But, just because something is hidden doesn’t mean it’s not there and can’t be found as we seek after it with our whole heart.

We don’t have to struggle to grasp this view of reality.  To the contrary, the “divine energy of Spirit” brings us “into newness of life” God delights in revealing His Kingdom.  Our job is to “rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’” (cit. S31, 249:6-10).  The material senses try to tell us that this is hard to do when the world is crashing in on us.  But, we have the example of Christ Jesus, and the vision of John, and modern demonstrations that we have made ourselves and have heard of others making.  We do what we can.  But, we can always keep our focus on the light of Christ and trust that Light to lead us out of the darkness of mortal belief to see the reality of God’s kingdom that is here and now.  This kingdom is substantial and originates in Spirit.  Material, atomic force has no power to keep us from perceiving the good that Truth is forever revealing!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others will be POSTED and EMAILED later this week, so check your email (or junk mail) for them.  You can always check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you have  SUBSCRIBED here to receive this offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


CLICK HERE and Scroll down to “What our Donors Say” about the reasons they support CedarS.  You’ll soon be able to see a video of campers and staff for “Giving Tuesday” with LOTS OF HUMBLE, HEARTFELT GRATITUDE to all you difference-making DONORS DO TO HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS, KEEP OUR OPERATIONS “GREEN”  & MORE!

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