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“Beginninglessness”

Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Only Cause and Creator”
for May 31 through June 6, 2021

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

 

INTRODUCTION

In moments in which I seem to struggle to feel inspired, I have a mental exercise that gets me back on track.  I ask myself, “When was the first moment of the universe?”  According to physical science, there was a small ball of matter that imploded—the big bang—and that was the beginning of the universe.  But, of course, this doesn’t answer the question of where that ball of matter came from, or where the first bit of stuff in the universe originated.  There is no answer to this question in physical science.  And there never will be.  This leads to me to other ontological questions, like how did consciousness begin?; how did life begin?, How did love begin? And, when was the first moment of light?   Physical and biological science will never be able to identify the starting point for any of these concepts.  So how did they begin?

Reasoning further, many theologians say that God started the universe.  But, for me, this answer is no more satisfying than the physical science theories.  Could there be a starting point to love?  No.  There never was a moment in which love did not exist.  It is not as if one day there was no love and then *poof* love popped into the universe.  No.  This moment never happened.  There was never a starting point.  Instead, we are witnessing the unfoldment of divine creation.  Love is self-existent and eternal.

Love always has been.  There never was a single moment in which love has not existed.  Love has no beginning.  Thus, love is eternal…beginningless.  To signify the eternality of love we capitalize the “L”.  There is no beginning to Love.  We can reason the same way for consciousness…eternal Mind.  And for the beginningless of life…eternal Life.  And this is also true for light, a symbol of Christ, our awareness of Love, Mind, and Life.  It is the Christ-light that makes us aware of Love, Mind, and Life.

As I reason through the beginninglessness of Love, Mind, Life and light, my inspiration feels refreshed and grounded.  And, for me, gaining inspiration from beginninglessness and the self-existence of Love, Mind, Life and light is the purpose of this week’s Bible Lesson on “God the Only Cause and Creator.”  This Lesson grounds us in the foundational principle of eternality and begininglessness.  God did not start consciousness, love, and so forth.  God is, by definition, that which has no beginning.  God is Love, Mind, Life, and the source and cause of all light, which has no beginning.  And, as I see it, our task is to understand the eternality—beginninglessness—of God with more and more clarity, and to be active witnesses for the beginningless reality of good and the unfoldment of divine creation.

GOLDEN TEXT & RESPONSIVE READING

The Golden Text sets us up with the foundational statement, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalms 24:1) This statement affirms that there is only one cause and power over all and that nothing exists except that which is unfolded by the only Cause and Creator.

The Responsive Reading (RR) continues this theme, reminding us to “rejoice,” “sing,” and “play” to honor the “goodness of the Lord.”  (Psalms 33)  We are twice reminded that God (Love, Mind, Life) is singular, as in there is not another Cause or Creator…”I am the Lord; and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45: 18, 22)

In times in which we may seem to be tempted by suggestions of irritation, incompleteness, cloudiness, stubbornness, blockage or any other thing that seems discordant, we can refute the suggestion by returning to this simple reminder from our divine Parent:

I am the Love; and there is none else.

I am the Life; and there is none else.

I am the Mind; and there is none else.

I am the source of all light; and there is none else.

SECTION 1: Unfoldment

When I read the word “creator” or anything to do with creation in the context of Christian Science, I quickly think of “unfolder” or “revealer” instead of thinking falsely of the start of something.  From a limited perspective, “creator” implies a moment of beginning, a start point.  But from an unlimited (spiritual) perspective, the divine Creator is the origin and source that has no beginning point.  This is difficult to fathom except through prayer.  Through prayer we can begin to grasp the concept of eternality (beginningless reality).  There was no start to time because there is always a moment that existed before—time as a measurement of the start and stop of the universe is a false concept.  Grasping the concept of eternality is a form of prayer.

Creation is already complete.  Divine Mind has always known all of creation.  And yet creation is constantly being unfolded and revealed to us.  So, creation is both complete AND being unfolded.  This “unfoldment” never ends.  There is no beginning to Mind’s unfoldment, and there is no end to Mind’s unfoldment.

In 1 John, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”  (citation B1, 1 John 1: 1, 3) The Word is God’s eternal and self-existent communication.  As I understand it, in the beginning, the Word—the divine message and law of being—was already in existence.   All things were already made and nothing was made except that which was already made by Mind.

In the correlating ideas from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy introduces the concept of “self-existence.” (cit. S2, 331:18-20)  God is, by definition, self-existent.  This means that God exists independently of any other being and is not caused to exist by someone or something else.  Life is self-existent. Love is self-existent. Mind is self-existent.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause.” (cit. S3, 207:20-23)

I remember being in middle school when I figured out that there was no such thing as a smallest object in the universe.  This thought expanded my metaphysical understanding tremendously.  Theoretically, even the tiniest thing we know of—an atom, a quark, a sub-particle of a quark—could be divided into half, and half again, and half again.  We may not be able to do it (yet), but there’s always something smaller and we can never actually get to the smallest thing because that thing can always be halved.  Physical scientists may say that there are “indivisible” particles, but it is still possible to think about half of this particle.  This is kind of what Mary Baker Eddy is getting at when she describes infinite Mind creating and governing all, from a “mental molecule to infinity.”  A “mental molecule” is a hypothetical concept that gets at this concept of infinite small-ity of the universe.  And, of course, the concept of infinite enormity or large-ity represents the endlessness of the universe.  There is no boundary to existence because there is always something beyond that.  Divine Mind knows no small-ity or large-ity, as all is infinite Mind.  As we’re able to grasp this, we can begin to fathom the “ever-appearing creation” that has no beginning and no end, no small-ity or large-ity.   Striving to grasp and hold on to these expansive concepts is a form of prayer.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.” (cit. S5, 507: 24-29)

SECTION 2: No starting point (or unfoldment) of evil

The concept of beginninglessness, endlessness, small-ity, large-ity are all fascinating, and pondering these concepts is a type of prayer.  This is a foundational point of Science. And yet, these concepts would be insufficient if not coupled with the concept of goodness.  Not only is God beginningless, endless and immeasurable.  God is also good.

Good is not just a word to describe God.  When we say cake is good, we are using good as an adjective.  When we say God is good, it means that God actually IS good, and good is a noun.

The second section of the lesson explores the concept of goodness and explains that God—the infinite and eternal—is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity.”  (cit. B4, Habakkuk 1: 12, 13) And, from the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  (cit. B5, Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

And from James, “So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. (cit. B6, James 1: 16-18)

These passages all speak to the goodness of the only Cause and Creator.

The correlating ideas from Science and Health restate the words of these biblical prophets succinctly: “Good never causes evil, nor creates aught that can cause evil. (cit. S6, 93:13)

The goodness of God is a crucial concept in Christian Science.  This concept is entwined with the beginninglessness of creation.  Good is beginningless, and the concept of evil comes from a distorted and limited understanding of goodness.  As we gain a clearer understanding of the beginninglessness and infinity of goodness, the aggressive suggestion of evil fades away.  Yes, it may seem that evil shouts for our attention in many different forms, but, as we hold to the facts of creation—unfoldment and revelation—we can overcome it and watch it fade until the suggestion of its destructiveness loses its hold on us entirely.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely. Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms.”  (cit. S10, 262:27)

SECTION 3: Nothing can interfere with Unfoldment (creation)

The third section includes the account of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.  Perhaps the most significant facet of this story is how Nehemiah saw through the many evil attempts to disrupt the building of the wall.  Here’s a classic article that explores Nehemiah’s watchfulness written by a longtime CedarS practitioner, Carolyn E. Holte:  “EVIL: “NO PORTION, NOR RIGHT, NOR MEMORIAL”  (Christian Science Journal, March 2, 1982) https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/1eydw1n265o?s=e   The article contains useful instruction for any of us who seem to face obstacles to progress, as it helps us to  overturn evil suggestions of any kind.

When I read the story of Nehemiah’s wall in the context of the subject “God the Only Cause and Creator,” I began to ask myself, when did the rebuilding of the wall start?  As I see it, the starting point wasn’t when a worker laid the first stone, or when Nehemiah learned that it needed to be built.  Rather, the wall was already known by God, divine Mind, and the rebuilding of the wall was the unfolding of Mind’s idea.  There was no physical starting point of the wall. It was beginningless, always known by Mind.  Nehemiah’s allegiance and obedience to divine Mind enabled him to witness actively the full unfoldment of the wall.  The wall was revealed by Mind.  So how was the wall built?  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (cit. B9, Zechariah 4:6) There is no real power that can interrupt the unfoldment of Mind’s ideas.

As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Divine Mind rightly demands man’s entire obedience, affection, and strength. No reservation is made for any lesser loyalty. Obedience to Truth gives man power and strength. Submission to error superinduces loss of power.”  (cit. S13, 183:21) Relating this to the story of Nehemiah and the wall, it was Nehemiah’s obedience, affection and strength that enabled him to accomplish such a monumental task in just 52 days, humanly speaking.

Nehemiah clearly belongs to the “class of thinkers” Mary Baker Eddy describes metaphorically as building “with solid masonry.” This class of thinkers is “sincere, generous, noble, and are therefore open to the approach and recognition of Truth.” (Cit S15, 450:1-11) 450:1–11

The solid masonry Nehemiah used for the wall was like the “cement of a higher humanity,” which Mary Baker Eddy describes as “uniting all interests in the one divinity.” (cit. S15, 571:15)

SECTION 4: True Authority comes from knowing that All Causation is Mind

Section 4 includes the account of Christ Jesus healing the Roman Centurion’s servant.  In these times, the Romans mistreated Jews, the Jewish people struggled under Roman occupation, and Jews distrusted Romans.  So, it was quite unusual for a Roman of this high stature in the military to send Jewish elders to ask Christ Jesus to heal his servant.  In the book of Luke, we read that the Centurion was deemed worthy of their affection because he loved the Jewish people and had even built a synagogue for them.  Christ Jesus found the Centurion worthy because of his display of faith and trust in those who served under his authority.  And, of course, the Centurion’s servant was healed. (cit. B13, Luke 7:2-10)

The Centurion acknowledged Christ Jesus’ authority over disease.  And Christ Jesus saw in the Centurion a similar authority and dominion.  And then, later in the book of Luke, we read that Christ Jesus gave his twelve disciples power and authority over all “devils” and “diseases.”  He sent them to preach and heal, and they did.  (cit. B14, Luke 9: 1-6)  Here are three examples in which “authority” is highlighted in this section of the lesson.

This concept of authority is intwined with healing.  Authority, as it relates to healing, does not come from an individual person, but rather authority is God-given.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Divine Truth, Life, and Love gave Jesus authority over sin, sickness, and death. His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.” (cit. S18, 16:14)

God-given authority over dis-ease was not just for the disciples and Christ Jesus.  We can all have God given authority to the degree that we understand “that all causation is Mind.” (cit. S21, 417: 10-16)

Through years of deep searching, Mary Baker Eddy discovered the divine laws of healing that explain how Jesus healed.  Throughout Science and Health, she writes about this discovery with authority and dominion.  Mary Baker Eddy’s authority did not come from her position in society.  Her authority in writing Science and Health came from her understanding of God as the only Cause and Creator— “that all causation is Mind.”

Mary Baker Eddy’s authoritative writing voice often makes me forget that the words were written with a quill pen by a gentle woman from New England over a hundred years ago.  Listen for the authority in this citation: “Maintain the facts of Christian Science, — that Spirit is God, and therefore cannot be sick; that what is termed matter cannot be sick; that all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law. Then hold your ground with the unshaken understanding of Truth and Love, and you will win.” (cit. S21, 417:10-16).  This authority does not come from a person, it comes from Truth revealing itself.

We can all learn to speak and pray with God-given authority.  As we realize “that all causation is Mind,” we can all “speak as one having authority over disease.” (SH p. 395: 6-10; p. 14:28)

Authority is connected to the word “author,” and it is helpful to see that divine Mind is the Great Author of all creation.  The Great Author’s story has no beginning and no end.  The Word of the Great Author is only good.  And the Great Author gives us author-ity.  In other words, we are the expression of the Great Author of all.

SECTION 5: The revealing/unfolding of the comforter

There never was a starting point to Christ, or a beginning of the Christ message.  Mary Baker Eddy explains that “Christ is the divine idea of God — the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth.” (cit. S22, 332:19)   There never was a moment in which Christ, the divine idea of God, did not exist.

Christ-comfort is the comfort we feel from the divine message from God.  Christ Jesus demonstrated this comfort for us.  He showed us the way to feel this comfort and to understand it.  He brought the Comforter.  But there is not a start or a stop to this Comforter.  It has always been unfolding and will always be unfolding for us.  We can feel and understand the Comforter in new ways every day.  The Comforter is constantly comforting us—so tune in to it, and feel it deeply.  As Christ Jesus said, the Comforter abides with us forever.  (cit. B17, John 14: 8-17)

“The time for the reappearing of divine healing is throughout all time,” Mary Baker Eddy states, which means that there is not a moment—such as 2pm on Friday December 4th—that the reappearing of divine healing happens, and then that’s it.  There is no such thing as a start-and-stop moment of the Comforter’s presence.   Divine healing, the effect of the Comforter, is reappearing over and over and over and over again, throughout all time.  Divine Science—the knowledge of what God is and how to apply this knowledge of healing—is our Comforter, which we can feel and understand throughout all time.  (cit. S23, 55:15-16, 22-29) We can expect the continued revelation of Christ-comfort.

SECTION 6: Your purpose is to shine, be the expression of Creation

Remember that, just like Love, Truth, and Mind, there is no beginning to light.  There never was a time in which the universe was a void darkness, and then *poof* a light turned on.  Instead, light always has been.   There is no beginning to Mind, and Mind always has known all, and therefore there never was a time in which Mind did not know light.   “God said let there be light and there [already] was light.” (Genesis 1: 3)

Pondering the beginninglessness of light in the context of Christ Jesus’s statement, “You are the light of the world,” can help us understand our own eternality in a new way.  We are the light of the world, and there never was a moment in which Mind did not know of our light, and there never is a moment in which our light is not shining.  There is nothing that can cast a shadow on our light.  (cit. B19, Matthew 5:14-16)

As Mary Baker Eddy states, “A Christian Scientist occupies the place at this period of which Jesus spoke to his disciples, when he said: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.” “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid.’”  (cit. S25, 367:17-21)

If someone asked me to define what it means to be “a Christian Scientist,” I would say, a Christian Scientist is someone who wants to understand how Christ Jesus healed, and seeks to understand how Christ—an awareness of our connection to divine Mind—comforts us.

With this in mind, we practice Christian Science best when we remain curious, wanting to know more, and searching for a deeper and deeper understanding.  As I see it, a Christian Scientist’s faith is not measured by how much they already know, but by how much they desire to know more.  Every day we can expect more and more unfoldment and progress without frustration.

There never will be a point at which there is no more to learn about Mind.  There will always be more to know.   But instead of feeling a sense of concern about not knowing enough, we can instead realize that witnessing the constant unfoldment of creation is part of our purpose.  And we can feel a sense of completeness even while our understanding is still unfolding.

The one Creator, God, unfolds all creation and our purpose is to be a spiritual witness for this unfoldment.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Spiritually to understand that there is but one creator, God, unfolds all creation, confirms the Scriptures, brings the sweet assurance of no parting, no pain, and of man deathless and perfect and eternal.” (cit. S26, 69:13)

We are not expected to reach an endpoint of understanding.  There will always be more truth to understand.  But we are also already complete in our understanding.

Creation (us) is both complete and always unfolding.  And this means that we can expect constant progress and enjoy spiritual progress.  It would be malpractice to criticize ourselves for having a limited understanding of God.  Instead, we acknowledge that our understanding of God is constantly unfolding and that we cannot help but to experience this unfoldment of good.  (Recall that “good” in this context is a noun.)  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of [limitation], this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness.” (cit. S27, 264:15)

We can all joyously witness the unfoldment of divine creation, and we can expect this understanding to bear fruit   We can all, day by day, enjoy the unfoldment of divine creation.  As we strive to do this with more joy and forgiveness, instead of impatience and self-criticism, we will find a greater and greater awareness of the Christ’s comfort.  The Comforter is being revealed to us now. And as we are witnesses for the Comforter, appreciating each new bit of understanding, we experience healing.  Put simply, healing is witnessing the unfoldment of creation—actively witnessing what is already true.  Our healing “fruits will prove what the understanding of God brings to man.” (cit. S28, 496:1)


Click HERE for a link to Inspirational GEMs from the Comforter for YOU and us ALL!


**Join us JUNE 6th (and NOW ONLY EVERY FIRST Sunday of EACH MONTH) for a virtual CedarS Sunday Hymn Sing! (by Zoom Sunday at 7pm Central Time.) Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join in this healing CedarS tradition along with a happy, worldwide “chorus” every week. You can sing along (muted) with CedarS unmuted, host musicians seven hymns that all are invited to request.
Click here for a link and fuller details.

(A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm Central Daylight-savings Time (CDT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for about 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 22 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, “the ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)


Here are some areas where financial support is needed and would double the blessings in very meaningful ways to thousands of dear ones served by CedarS:

  • UNRESTRICTED & OTHER MAINTENANCE AND HERD-SUPPORT GIFTS WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $100,000! Extra thanks in advance for clicking here to electronically share your tax-deductible support. It’s especially needed during reduced-income periods to help “keep our oil lamps burning.”
  • ENDOWMENT GIFTS to help cover CedarS camperships & operations are being MATCHED up to $200,000/year ($1-MILLION total). This will solidify support for our outreach efforts in all conditions!
  • Here’s CedarS Camps SUMMER HOME & ADDRESS to MAIL your gift to THIS WEEK:
    The CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536
  • or call CedarS team at 636-394-6162 (forwarded to Gay, Kim or Jennifer)to share a credit card gift.
  • CedarS is a not-for-profit, 501-C-3 organization with a Federal ID # 44-0663883.
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