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“God is the ONLY Cause and Creator of Peace”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Only Cause and Creator“
for November 27th through December 3rd, 2023

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S., •  Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com


INTRODUCTION: GOLDEN TEXT & RESPONSIVE READING

As I understand this week’s Bible Lesson on “God the Only Cause and Creator,” it reminds us that God is the only source of action, volition and substance. Now, God is not some kind of superbeing making things happen within a huge void or in opposition to or competition with other forces. Rather, God is the ONLY action, volition, and substance…there is no counter-action, re-action, or un-substance. God is the only action, the only substance. In short, God is All-in-all.

Most of us are still coming to realize the all-ness of God. God is infinite, so there will always be more and more and more and more to learn about God as the source of all action, volition, and substance. We seem to see God from a limited, located, distorted, and inverted view…this is sometimes called “mortal sense.” Humans tend to think about God from within the boundaries of what we already know, so we tend to make God into a human-like being. But that anthropomorphic view–mortal sense view–of God is distorted, limited, located, and inverted.

We can overcome this tendency. We see beyond the limited (“material” or “mortal”) view of God through prayer and listening with stillness–yielding to inspiration and letting go of opinion. Prayer and listening with stillness enables us to catch glimpses, views, visions, and revelations that God is all, the Only Cause and Creator. Each moment we catch a glimpse, view, vision or revelation that God is all, we experience real and tangible healing throughout the entire system (cit. S31, 371:26).

The early prophets in the Bible listened with stillness and caught glimpses, views, visions and revelations that God is all, and then shared their prophecies. This week’s Golden Text–or main idea–of the Lesson, is Isaiah’s prophet-vision of God as the only Cause and Creator: “For as the earth brings forth her bud, and as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” (GT, Isaiah 61: 10. 11).

The Responsive Reading continues this theme, with the Psalmist praising God as the source of all good, the cause of all existence. Again, God is not an anthropomorphic super-being, but rather is the only and actual cause and source of all existence, full of glory and wisdom. (Psalm 86:8-31)

Like Isaiah and the Psalmist, we too can catch glimpses, views, visions and revelations of God’s allness as we pray. Effective prayer–listening with stillness–enables us to see beyond the outward appearance of things. Catching glimpses, views, visions and revelations of God’s all-ness is not limited to ancient prophets. Prophet-like perception is a present possibility. Prophet-like perception is also called “spiritual sense.” Prophets, Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, are spiritual seers, those who witness the disappearance of material (limited) sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth” (SH 593:4). We gain the prophet-view of All-ness whenever we turn away from a limited view and discover a wider, more expansive understanding that God is all.


SECTION 1: “stand still, and consider…” (citation B1, Job 37:14)

The first section of the Bible Lesson reminds us to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (citation B1, Job 37:14). This is exactly what an effective prophet does. The prophet stands still and considers the wisdom and fullness and enduring new-ness of God’s all-ness.

As Mary Baker Eddy states, the Scriptures tell us that “God is All-in-all” (cit. S1 331: 11 (only). This phrase, “All-in-all,” is also in 1st Corinthians 15: 28 and means that God is utterly supreme over everything everywhere. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, God is “the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence” (citation S1, 331:18). Self-existence only applies to God. There is nothing else– naught else– that is self-existent.

To understand more about God as All-in-all and self-existent, consider Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of “Creator” as “the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good,” and the statement, “There is but one primal cause” (cit. S2, 583:20; cit. S4, 207: 20-23). In the 1828 Webster’s dictionary used during Mary Baker Eddy’s lifetime, the term “primal” is defined succinctly as “first.” The “one primal cause,” is the first cause, the essential and fundamental cause with no competing causes.

As we “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God,” we are modern-day prophets catching glimpses, views, visions and revelations of God as All-in-all. God is self-existent, the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good, and the only primal cause. As we “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God,” we will make progress; we will experience healing. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Spiritual causation is the one question to be considered, for more than all others spiritual causation relates to human progress” (cit. S5, 170:22).


SECTION 2: “Make a joyful noise…” (cit. B6, Psalm 100:1, 3).

As I understand it, the second section reminds us that we are not separate from the Cause and Creator of all existence. We are not separate from the All-in-all. Let’s celebrate this fact. Ancient prophets did not keep their insights and revelations to themselves; they praised and shared and celebrated…that’s why we have a record of their prophecies. We can do this too. Like the Psalmist says, we can all, “Make a joyful noise” (cit. B6, Psalm 100: 1, 3). Seriously. Right now, right while you’re reading this, consider making a joyful noise to celebrate your connection with God the only cause and creator….let out a “Whoop!”

It is difficult-to-impossible to describe our inseparable relationship to the All-in-all except through metaphor. The Psalmist(s) and the prophet Isaiah shared metaphors for our relationship with God, explaining that we are “His people”, the “sheep of his pasture,” the “lambs” of the Shepherd, the “offspring” of the Mother’s “womb.” Isaiah offers a message to us from God, saying, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (cit. B9, Isaiah 66:9, 13).

Mary Baker Eddy also expounds on our relationship to God as the only cause and creator. She writes, “In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being” (cit. S6, 63:5).

In this one paragraph, Mary Baker Eddy describes us as offspring, God as Father, and God as the law of our being. Even though Mary Baker Eddy uses the terms “his,” “he,” and “man” and “Father” in this paragraph (and throughout Science and Health) her revelations do not just apply to males. We are the outpouring of Creation, the effect of the only Cause, and the evidence of the self-existent All-in-all. Neither the creator nor the creation are limited by gender. God is neither male nor female. And we are the outpouring and expression and reflection of God, the only cause and creator.

Conscribing God or ourselves within gendered terms and pronouns would limit and distort our understanding of our relation to the All-in-all, and yet that is what gendered language tends to do to thought. Thinking of God as manlike is limiting and distorting.

Note how our thought of God expands when we purposely use non-gendered and de-anthropomorphizing language. For example, notice the absence of gendered language in this paragraph in Science and Health: “Even in Christian Science, reproduction by Spirit’s individual ideas is but the reflection of the creative power of the divine Principle of those ideas. The reflection, through mental manifestation, of the multitudinous forms of Mind which people the realm of the real is controlled by Mind, the Principle governing the reflection. Multiplication of God’s children comes from no power of propagation in matter, it is the reflection of Spirit” (cit. S8, 302:31).

To me, this paragraph demonstrates that while it is difficult to avoid gendered or anthropomorphic language to describe God and God’s creation, it is not impossible. We are capable of thinking of God as the self-existent “divine Principle” and of ourselves as the “multitudinous forms of Mind.” This meta-physical concept breaks free of the limits and distortions of anthropomorphic thought.

Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Few persons comprehend what Christian Science means by the word reflection” (SH, p. 301:5–6). Reflection, as I understand it, can mean at least three things…

  1. the reflection in a mirror
  2. Reflecting upon something, as in recalling or remembering a thought or concept or experience
  3. A book or piece of artwork reflects the creativity of the author or artist…the reflection is the evidence of the author or artist pouring forth from the book or artwork

This third definition of “reflection” is most helpful for me when I ponder phrases like “reflection of the creative power” and “the reflection of Spirit.” We could say, for example, that we reflect Spirit, as in we reflect the creativity of Spirit…our reflection is the evidence of Spirit pouring forth from us. Consider reading citations 1, 8 and 24 in Science and Health with these three explanations of “reflection” in mind and see which one enables you to best comprehend what Christian Science means by the word reflection.


SECTION 3: “Cause your face to shine upon us” (cit. B12, Psalm 67: 1, 2).

The third section opens with the Psalmist praising God, saying  “May God be merciful and bless us. May his face smile with favor on us. May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere” (cit. B12, Psalm 67:1, 2, NLT). As I understand it, Christ Jesus was the expression of God–the light of the world–that showed us God’s goodness, and showed us how to understand God’s “saving health among all nations” (cit. B12, Psalm 67:1, 2, KJV).

As an example of “the saving health among all nations,” the third section also includes the account of Christ Jesus healing an insane boy by rebuking an evil spirit that seemed to be taking over the boy’s mind and body (Luke 9:38–43). In other words, Christ Jesus overturned the power of the so-called “devil” that possessed the boy.

In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy defines devil: “DEVIL. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind; the opposite of Truth; a belief in sin, sickness, and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism; the lust of the flesh, which saith: ‘I am life and intelligence in matter. There is more than one mind, for I am mind, — a wicked mind, self-made or created by a tribal god and put into the opposite of mind, termed matter, thence to reproduce a mortal universe, including man, not after the image and likeness of Spirit, but after its own image.”  (SH, p. 584:17)

The “devil”–the belief in a wicked mind–is what Christ Jesus destroyed. This was possible because of the Science of the Christ, the Knowledge of a full awareness of God’s presence, that overturned a limited and distorted belief that there is more than one cause or more than one creator. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Christian Science impresses the entire corporeality, — namely, mind and body, — and brings out the proof that Life is continuous and harmonious. Science both neutralizes error and destroys it. Mankind is the better for this spiritual and profound pathology” (cit. S17, 157: 1-3. 8-10. 28).

In Christian Science, it is just as crucial to overcome a limited sense of body as it is to overcome a limited sense of mind. A narrow sense of mind or body is not the image and likeness of divine Mind. Limited/material/mortal mind is no more real than is limited/material/mortal body. Instead, divine Mind, all harmonious, is All-in-all and we are each individual expressions of this one, infinite Mind, Good. In both clarity and identity, we reflect divine Mind.

As we “hold our ground with the unshaken understanding” that divine Mind is the only cause and creator, we are not subject to the powers of the so-called “devil.” (cit. S18, 417:10-16)


SECTION 4: “The government of divine Love is supreme” (Misc. p. 278:7–12)

The previous section explains that divine Mind governs the individual, and shows how Christ demonstrates divine Mind’s power over the individual by healing the insane boy. Section 4 continues this theme from a global perspective, reminding us that that divine Mind governs nations and all the people of the earth with peace. Section four opens by asserting that God “governs the nations” and “judges the people righteously” (cit. B16, Psalm 67:3, 4).

Then, in 1 Timothy, we read, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity” (cit. B17, I Timothy 2:1, 2).

The section also includes insights from Isaiah, who praises God for leading the nation of Israel, saying “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow” (cit. B18, Isaiah 48: 17, NLT). Isaiah’s prophecy relays God’s words: “I will crush the arrogance of the proud and humble the pride of the mighty” (cit. B19, Isaiah 13:11, 12). And then Isaiah prophecies the coming of Christ-Truth, which comes anew to comfort each generation. Isaiah says, “Look, a righteous king is coming! And honest princes will rule under him…And this righteousness will bring peace. Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever” (cit. B20, Isaiah 32:1, 17, NLT).

These verses from Isaiah speak directly to the crises in Israel happening now.  On multiple occasions, Mary Baker Eddy made requests that all Christian Scientists join together in prayers for peace.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, she wrote, “The government of divine Love is supreme. Love rules the universe, and its edict hath gone forth: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Let us have the molecule of faith that removes mountains, — faith armed with the understanding of Love, as in divine Science, where right reigneth” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 278:7–12),

In 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, she wrote, “The Principle of all power is God, and God is Love. Whatever brings into human thought or action an element opposed to Love, is never requisite, never a necessity, and is not sanctioned by the law of God, the law of Love. The Founder of Christianity said: ‘My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.’…  Christian Science reinforces Christ’s sayings and doings. The Principle of Christian Science demonstrates peace. Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 278:29–10).

Sixth months later, in June 1905, she wrote, “I request that every member of The Mother Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, pray each day for the amicable settlement of the war between Russia and Japan; and pray that God bless that great nation and those islands of the sea with peace and prosperity” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 279:22).

In 1907, after the end of the war and being appointed to a national association for peace, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Individuals, as nations, unite harmoniously on the basis of justice, and this is accomplished when self is lost in Love — or God’s own plan of salvation. “To do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” is the standard of Christian Science. … Human law is right only as it patterns the divine. Consolation and peace are based on the enlightened sense of God’s government”  (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p 283:21–28).

And, in 1908, she wrote, “For many years I have prayed daily that there be no more war, no more barbarous slaughtering of our fellow-beings; prayed that all the peoples on earth and the islands of the sea have one God, one Mind; love God supremely, and love their neighbor as themselves” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 286:3).

Clearly, Mary Baker Eddy kept current with the times, and prayed daily to acknowledge God as the only Cause and Creator, the supreme government over all. Rather than accept war as a foregone conclusion, she “stood still, and considered” God as the only Cause and Creator, and looked beyond the outward appearance of things to the divine Science governing all. This divine Science–the knowledge of the supremacy of divine Mind over so-called human mind–results in absolute harmony. Now we are witnessing another moment in which we can call upon one another and pray for peace. We can all acknowledge that divine Science, the Knowledge of the power of infinite Love governs absolutely. We can understand that “The universe of Spirit is peopled with spiritual beings, and its government is divine Science” (cit. S18, 264:32-5).

As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Through divine Science, Spirit, God, unites understanding to eternal harmony. The calm and exalted thought or spiritual apprehension is at peace” (cit. S23, 506:10-12).


FOR A MODERN-DAY APPROACH TO PRAYING FOR PEACE with the Christian Science Monitor, consider watching the replay of a talk by Mark Sappenfield given at Wide Horizon a couple weeks ago:https://youtu.be/N_u2slmrFdU

Here’s the description of the talk: “Mark Sappenfield, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor, addresses how one might use the solution oriented Christian Science Monitor to pray about current events. He delves into the metaphysical basis of The Monitor and gives examples of praying about world challenges from the Monitor’s recent content such as on Israeli-Hamas war.”


SECTION 5: “In his hand is the life of every living thing…” (cit. B21, Job 12:7-10).

The third section affirms divine Mind’s governance over the individual, the fourth section affirms divine Mind’s governance over nations, and the fifth section affirms divine Mind’s governance over the earth.

The fifth section opens with Job saying, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being” (cit. B21, Job 12:7-10, NRSV).

In Deuteronomy, we read a description of the Promised Land, “… the land that you are crossing over to occupy is a land of hills and valleys, watered by rain from the sky, a land that the Lord your God looks after. The eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (cit. B23, Deuteronomy 11:11, 12, NRSV).

This verse about the Promised Land could also be read as a spiritual description of earth. Mary Baker Eddy defines Earth: “EARTH A sphere; a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end. To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea” (SH, p. 585:5–8).

Divine Mind alone governs earth and its inhabitants. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love, but human belief misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, — all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect” (cit. S24: 240:1-6).

Recall the 3 uses of “reflection” mentioned earlier in the Met? When we apply the third definition to the citation above, we could say that like an artist’s creativity is reflected in a masterpiece, so too is divine Mind reflected in the wonders of the earth.

We may be tempted to see the natural world around us as a competing swirl of forces. Many seem to be mesmerized by weather reports, which can now be accessed in a dozen ways at any time from any place…”there’s an app for that.” But before “checking the weather,” consider pausing, and first declaring, ”Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms” (cit. 25, 262:30).

Mary Baker Eddy tells us, “the physical universe expresses the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals,” and “ The elements and functions of the physical body and of the physical world will change as mortal mind changes its beliefs.” Yet, is also true that divine Mind alone governs man. Ultimately divine Mind overrules limited/mortal mind, which, in Truth, has no real effect (cit. S26, 124:32-2; cit. S28, 125:21-24). In Mary Baker Eddy’s words, the “atmosphere of mortal mind cannot be destructive to morals and health when it is opposed promptly and persistently by Christian Science. Truth and Love antidote this mental miasma, and thus invigorate and sustain existence” (cit. S29, 273:29–30).


SECTION 6: “the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (cit. B26, Isaiah 55:12)

The sixth section puts an exclamation point on the previous 5 sections, emphasizing that divine Mind is the only Cause and Creator of all. As the prophet Isaiah says, “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (cit. B25, Isaiah 61:11, NLT)

Mind governs all. As we read in Science and Health, “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (cit. S30, 379:6).

Divine Mind is the only Cause and Creator, and as we realize this, we can catch glimpses, views, visions and revelations of God’s all-ness. Like the ancient prophets, we can see beyond the limited and outward appearance of things. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter [the limited and distorted view], this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness” (cit. S32, 264:15, 24–31).

As we meet each new day, we can do so with joy as we accept Isaiah’s promise, “For you shall go out in joy and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (cit. B26, Isaiah 55:12).


Thanks for Helping CedarS get an early start on Giving Tuesday!
Did you know the CedarS Junior Leadership (JL) program is celebrating its 50th summer? The help of our CedarS community is needed to raise $150,000 toward JL facility upgrades for this landmark year. The goal is to build a new bathhouse, add a new roof and siding to the dining facility, and upgrade the resident JL Christian Science practitioner quarters.

These much-needed facility renovations will bless generations of future teens with leadership skills, lifelong friendships, and a firm spiritual foundation grounded in joyfully applying Christian Science.

GOOD NEWS: Your gifts will be DOUBLED
by a generous $150,000 matching grant!

We hope you’ll enjoy a 3-minute Giving Tuesday video on our vision for the project and for CedarS as a whole at this link:
Learn More about the JL 50th Project

Give to the Junior Leadership Renovation Fund

Donate to the Giving Tree


 GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will be emailed during the week.  You can always check for GEMs in progress before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.


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


 

 

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