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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Lesson on

“Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”

December 14—20, 2015

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) / (630) 830-8683

Most people today might feel the question asked in this week’s subject is a bit out of date. Even many religiously-minded people generally accept the Big Bang Theory without question. In Mrs. Eddy’s time atomic theory was progressing from a philosophical supposition to observable and measurable phenomena. Darwin’s theory of evolution was also gaining acceptance. Lines became quickly drawn in the debate between creationists and those believing in evolution. In more recent times, those espousing Intelligent Design have also joined the debate. But Mrs. Eddy addressed these theories on an entirely different basis than most religionists. Christian Science speaks to the nature of creation itself. According to Christian Science, Spirit, God, can’t produce its opposite—matter; and matter can’t produce spirit. Therefore, matter is neither cause nor effect. Matter isn’t a condition, but a misstatement of man and the universe.

The Big Bang Theory starts from a singularity in space. Spiritual creation starts with a singularity as well—the allness of God. Theologian Albert Barnes’ (1798-1870) interpretation of the Golden Text bears this out. “The universe is one. … The God who reigns on earth reigns in heaven; and what affects one part of the universe affects all.” Knowing that God is governing every aspect of being, and that real being is spiritual—not material—is cause for joyful celebration.

In the Responsive Reading there are multiple verses underscoring God’s supreme majesty. God is “first and last.” He calls the universe into being, and governs it. There are no random acts of chance in God’s universe because everything is in perfect order. There is no creative power beside God. He orders everything, and initiates all that exists. This isn’t only true on a large scale when considering the heavens, but also on a small scale, including the unfoldment of every individual identity.

Section 1: God Is the Only Creative Force in the Universe
The first section begins on the large scale. We’ve mentioned this before, but the word we translate as “created” (B1) is from the Hebrew bara— to give being to something new. Again, according to Barnes, this verb “… [bara] always has God for its subject. … creation is not confined to a single point of time. Whenever anything absolutely new – that is, not involved in anything previously extant – is called into existence, there is creation…” In other words, true creation doesn’t evolve from anything as Methodist Adam Clarke (c. 1760 – 1832) explains, “The supposition that God formed all things out of a pre-existing, eternal nature, is certainly absurd, for if there had been an eternal nature besides an eternal God, there must have been two self-existing, independent, and eternal beings, which is a most palpable contradiction.” This reasoning is very similar to several of Mrs. Eddy’s statements.

The New Testament too, declares God as the only creative power, and John speaks of the “Word” as coexistent with God in the beginning (B2). We’ve talked about the meaning of the WORD quite a bit in Mets for previous Lessons, but briefly, it means “the thought and the thought expressed.” Therefore, Jesus is identified as the Son of God, himself being the expression of God to mankind. [*See W’s P.S.—Cobbey Crisler has a 5-page commentary about John 1: 1-3, citation B2, which is attached as a Download in CedarS online version of this Met.]

The psalmist tells us God’s word is “settled” which means, “firmly established.” Here there is no room for chance. God made all that is, and it is natural to conclude that He maintains authority over His creation (B4), and God’s work is permanent. Compared to the vastness of the universe, man seems fairly insignificant (B5), yet man has the great privilege of being granted dominion over all the earth. [*See W’s P.S.] Even so, everything man-made is subject to change and decay, whereas God’s work is forever. In Psalm 104:31 (B6) we have another of the many citations in this Lesson that speak of rejoicing in creation.

Our textbook tells us that “beginning” doesn’t necessarily refer to a point in time. It means, “the only” (S1). That’s significant, because it means that there is no other creation, either parallel to, or in competition with the spiritual creation. Everything real comes from Spirit, God. Life simply could not evolve from matter, or non-intelligence, it comes from Soul (S2). Christian Science views the entire universe, as the spiritual creation of God who is Spirit. Science and Health states that any other theory, based on evidence of the senses is an enigma (S4). Today an enigma signifies a mysterious puzzle, but in Mrs. Eddy’s time, an enigma meant something containing a hidden message. So what do you suppose that means? Could it be that the creation we behold contains more than meets the eye? Perhaps what we see is only shadow of what really exists. [As Mrs. Eddy puts in her Prose Works "In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: “I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.” Miscellaneous Writings 87:6]

While the world accepts material theories as scientific fact, our Leader deems Science to refer “only to the laws of God and His government of the universe…” (S5). She accepts this at face value, knowing that if it’s true, it must be demonstrable (S6).

Section 2: One Father
A variety of commentators feel Malachi’s question, “Have we not all one father?” (B7) refers to either Abraham or Adam because, in context, the prophet is addressing an issue of the Hebrew men taking foreign wives instead of marrying Hebrew women. Spiritually we read the term “one father” as referring to God. For us the phrase, “have we not all one father?” can be a call to peace, because with one father, we are all brethren. In today’s world, many are tempted to draw lines between nationality, race, and religion due to fear and intolerance. Recognizing that God is the Father of all is the only answer to world strife. No matter how many armies get involved, or battles are fought, ultimately, our only redemption will be found in our understanding of, and trust in God, the father of all (B8).

Isaiah’s call to all nations (B9) implies the universal importance of the message about to be delivered, intending to put the world on notice, to shake off the listlessness that prevailed. The prophet speaks of something utterly new that is about to happen: “…such a work as was never yet done in the world” (a partial paraphrase by English theologian Matthew Poole (1624 – 1679) of B10 which comes from Isaiah 43: 15, 19, and 21). Also, according to Matthew Poole, the phrase, “formed for myself” means, “created as it were out of nothing.” This again anticipates a creative act, and as before, celebratory praise is called for when such an event occurs.

Our textbook defines “Father” as “Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, commonly called God” (S7). Breaking each part of the definition down we see the surety of unending Life, not subject to threats or danger; the oneness of Mind that eliminates all misunderstanding, fear, and conflict; and the confidence that our origin is found in one divine Principle, not in human laws. Accepting the premise that there is only one Mind (S8) elevates man above all potential conflict. There is no validity to human ancestry because we’re God’s offspring. Our being isn’t governed by bloodlines, political systems, man-made doctrines, or religious proscription, but by the law of divine Life (S9).

The entire belief of human generation is dismantled through the understanding of God and man’s spiritual nature. All true generation isn’t the product of human procreation, but an impartation of divine Mind (S10). As such, it must be good. Man’s spiritual ancestry is fixed. As long as we believe man to be a creator, we won’t comprehend this (S11). God’s creation isn’t an event that happened over the course of time—whether that time is a flash, or seven days, or billions of years. All of God’s ideas have always existed. We become more aware of these ideas as we improve our spiritual understanding.

Section 3: Material Laws of Limitation Are No Obstacle to God
Material belief claims to rule the conditions of conception and birth. But understanding God as the only creative power overrules all material conditions. The stories in this Lesson, of Elisabeth and Mary, each depict the overcoming of a material law about creation. While some may feel that these accounts are debatable with regard to their authenticity, we have no reason to doubt them. A common thread in these stories is the importance of the quality of one’s thought, which is manifested in consecrated lives.

The story’s setting is also significant. Adam Clarke points out that the angel visiting Zacharias takes place in Jerusalem, in the temple, and at the hour of prayer, “When the people and the priest go hand in hand, and heart with heart, to the house of God, the angel of his presence shall surely accompany them, and God shall appear among them.” (a paraphrase quoted from Adam Clarke commenting on the angel's pronouncement to Zacharias about John.)

In each of these stories there is a brief moment of puzzlement when the angel’s message is first heard. Zacharias may have doubted the possibility that he and his wife could have a child after a lifetime of barrenness and their advanced age, but a clue to the strength of Zacharias’ faith in the divine message is found in the meaning of the angel’s name. “Gabriel” comes from two Hebrew words meaning “the might of the strong God.”

Despite being struck dumb, Zacharias wasn’t dissuaded from his work. Neither did he drop everything to run home to tell his wife about it. He faithfully finished his work, and followed his normal path of holy activity.

After returning home, the angels’ words came true. Elisabeth conceived, and “hid herself” for five months, — cherishing the developing idea and keeping it protected from potential gossip and disbelief. The Jews considered barrenness a sign of God’s disapproval usually on moral grounds. Having a child would be a clear sign of favor with God. As is true with each of these accounts “joy and gladness” attends the fulfillment of John’s birth: “Many shall rejoice”—“He shall be the minister of God for good to multitudes, who shall, through his preaching, be turned from the error of their ways, and converted to God their Savior.”

In this story it is clear that God is completely governing the entire event. Love is both Father and Mother of all (S12). We may be tempted to think that in cases similar to Elisabeth and Zacharias that God is guiding a human, biological process. But Spirit doesn’t, and can’t manipulate something that doesn’t exist. Man is completely spiritual, and Spirit guides thoughts into their proper channels (S13).

Dictionaries define “miracle” as a supernatural event inexplicable by natural or scientific laws, but the textbook says miracles are impossible in Science (S14). What human sense calls a miracle is perfectly natural, because so-called miracles are in accordance with God’s law. Science is an “explication of nature.” In Science, nature is understood as the laws of God, not laws of the physical universe. Zacharias’ and Elisabeth’s attentiveness to divine law enabled them to perceive their son John who, in reality, had always existed with God, the divine Principle. They were receptive to the angel and felt its power. They were both willing to “wait on God” and “push onward” (S16) until they witnessed the fulfillment of God’s promise. When facing material obstacles, are you open to the Gabriel messages?

Section 4: With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible
Mary too, was filled with spiritual qualities that enabled her to be receptive to the angel message. Psalm 34 (B13) is both a model for us to follow, and an apt description of the quality of Mary’s thought—that “self-conscious communion with God” that Mrs. Eddy refers to. As the psalmist did, Mary too, saw God’s law active in every part of her life, and praised Him continually in good times and in bad. Another quality evident in all these accounts and in the psalms is the willingness to joyfully share the acknowledgment of God’s goodness with others.

Consider some of the qualities Mary had that are implied in the story of the annunciation (B14). Mary was not rich but an ordinary girl living humbly and devotedly. The phrase “highly favored” means not only that grace had been bestowed upon her, but that she was “full of gracious habits.” Mary was receptive to the angel and willing to learn. She was told, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” This is the same creative power that brings all things into existence, completely independent of material processes of generation. Mary was overtaken by the eternal, divine nature.

She also receives news of Elisabeth who had been barren, but is now expecting a son. With this announcement comes the realization that “with God nothing shall be impossible.” Mary accepts her role completely. Clarke captures her feelings in these words: “I fully credit what thou sayest, and I am perfectly ready to obey thy commands, and accomplish all the purposes of thy grace concerning me.” This too, is a model for us as we work to understand more of God’s creative power.

Mrs. Eddy tells us that Mary’s conception of Jesus was purely spiritual (S17). It was the “illumination of [her] spiritual sense” that silenced the material law of generation. The Holy Ghost, or as Mrs. Eddy partially defines it, “the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love” (S19) overshadowed her. The Christ is always one with God, and Mary’s purity enabled her to perceive this idea. “Jesus” writes our Leader, “was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God” (S18). This indicates that the advent of Jesus wasn’t a miraculous intervention, but a waking to the recognition of the reality of God as the only creator—the Father-Mother of all.

Section 5: My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord [*See more of Luke’s original Christmas story.]
The words of Zephaniah (B15) affirm God’s almighty power and remind us again that joy attends everything God does.

Elisabeth’s deep joy at Mary’s arrival causes her child to leap within her (B16). Both Mary and Elisabeth were fully invested in the significance of these events. Elisabeth, being filled herself with the Holy Ghost, reiterated much of what the angel had revealed to Mary. It was a confirmation for Mary of the great things being done. Elisabeth wasn’t shy about it either. She spoke “with a loud voice” so that the whole house could hear her. John Gill (1697-1771) writes, “she spake with great vehemency of soul, and strength of affection, being under a very powerful impression of the Spirit of God…”

As before, Mary is blessed for her receptivity to the divine message. Mary’s heartfelt praise went far beyond lip service. Her whole soul magnified the Lord. God was doing a “new, a great, and unheard of thing,” and it was wonderful.

Mary and Elisabeth spent a few months together patiently cherishing God’s great work in both of them. When Elisabeth delivered, all her neighbors rejoiced with her.

This is a lesson for us too. In today’s world of instant messaging and constantly updating one’s status, it behooves us to withhold a bit. Take the time to tenderly and privately cherish a new idea. There will be ample time to share when the time is right. Christians always have reason to rejoice. The world may not see it, or understand it, but God knows it (S21). Although the circumstances of Jesus’ conception and birth were a singular event, the underlying spiritual fact of God as the author of man was also evident in John’s birth. The fundamental, spiritual reality of creation is true for all, and throughout all time. God’s offspring are “in and of Spirit…and so forever continue” (S22).

All material theories of evolution put matter first and, God second, if He’s considered at all. Man’s true unfoldment is not through atomic theory or evolution, but in spiritual development (S23). Inspired thought, as exemplified by Zacharias, Elisabeth, and Mary proves that we can step out from under the thumb of material law, to understand and experience true creation. But, we can’t have it both ways. There is only one power, God; and this is the only creative power in the universe (S24).

Section 6: Before the World Was
The Bible was compiled long before modern theories of creation and evolution came to the fore, but even in ancient times, competing beliefs about creation were plentiful. Every locale had its own creation stories, and each served a variety of local deities. The effort to spread the word of one universal God, supreme over all creation, has always met with opposition from popular belief. The scriptural statements used to confront popular belief in days of old still apply in modern times.

The Scriptures hold that God is supreme. He made everything, and has jurisdiction over all that is made (B17). In ancient times, other gods, and in modern times, other theories attempt to make laws governing man and the universe, but still they are powerless because God is the only creator (B18). The psalmist writes, even before the mountains, (believed to be the most stable part of creation), and even before the formation of the earth, God has always been (B19).

Jesus took this line of reasoning a step further by declaring his oneness with God “before the world was” (B20). The psalmist rejoices in God’s marvelous works. According to Barnes, “I will praise thee” means, “not merely admire what is so great and marvelous, but I will acknowledge thee in a public manner as wise, and holy, and good; as entitled to love and gratitude.” This reminds me of Elisabeth’s loud acknowledgment of God’s creative power. Similarly, the phrase “my soul knoweth right well” (B21) means, “I am fully convinced of it.” That sounds much like Mary’s declaration, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” We can’t withhold our joy and conviction when we realize the truth.

Mary Baker Eddy was also bold when publically proclaiming God’s absolute supremacy: “The scientific divine creation declares immortal Mind and the universe created by God” (S27). She finds it inconceivable to consider matter as a power in creation. Matter is unintelligent and cannot govern itself, nor can matter be the product of Spirit (S28). Spirit didn’t create matter; the universe and man are idea not object. Matter has no power to propagate itself (S30). Man is the reflection of the infinite God, and that’s all there is (S31). Being fully convinced that God is the only creative power; that His creation is spiritual, not material; and being willing to live it empowers us to declare it, and that brings a great freedom. How can we do anything but rejoice?

[*Warren’s P.S. #1 Craig has done an awesome job clearly presenting ways we can apply to our lives elements of this week’s lesson. Cobbey Crisler fans who want to go “beyond the markers” will be rewarded by going to CedarS online Met for Downloads of Cobbey’s insights: on citations B2 and B20 from John; on citation B5 from Psalms; and on citations B11, B12, B14 and B16 for the rest of Luke’s original Christmas story. Here’s an answer to many inquiries about where the scriptural commentaries that I share from Christian Science Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler come from and how they can be found. Because my mom, Ruth E. Huff, the Founder of CedarS Camps, went on three trips to Israel with Cobbey and Janet Crisler and because CedarS sponsored scores of his talks and handled all of his CDs for many years, I did end up with most of his tapes or CDs and with a transcript in book form for each of his talks on the 4 Gospels. With his devoted wife Janet's permission, for many years now I have been sharing in CedarS weekly Mets Cobbey's helpful insights when they shed new light on citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson. These have been shared in P.S.-format in CedarS main Mets or as an online Download of scanned pages. Audio versions of Cobbey's talks have long been available at or online at (see cc for email ) However, Janet recently emailed me that "finally all the transcriptions of Cobbey's talks are available at my new website: " They make great gifts as I found out in a recent shipment that I am delighted to share with a couple of pages about citation B5 copied from the "Prescriptions from Psalms" transcript. It was one of a complete set that I recently got in the mail as early Christmas gifts from several dear ones so that I could better share the inspiration! Why not give lasting gifts of scriptural inspiration to others or to yourself even?!]

[W’s P.S.: #2: Have fun—with childlike receptivity—making “radiant room” to welcome and share Christ’s kingdom of God, already within you. I like to think that “it’s never too late to have a happy childhood” as brought out in this week’s wonderful JSH Online featured article. With one click you can listen to it as well as read and share it at ]

[W's P.S. #3: We made great progress toward our goal of meeting the needs of CedarS, thanks to all you regular and recent donors! While being well over halfway toward raising the amount needed for our Maintenance Musts Matching Grant by year end, we need to raise the whole $25,000 ($9,113 more) by 12-31-15 to get any part of the matching grant. This and other needs are featured on our Giving Tree, with gifts starting at $1. God bless you for clicking here and selecting your present "to put under our tree." Every gift matters, is tax deductible and adds up to big blessings in the lives of Sunday School students.]

[IT WOULD BE A HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER to have MORE MONTHLY GIFTS ONLINE which you can easily set up at .

To discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work, you can reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by calling the Huffs or their daughter Holly Huff Bruland at 636-394-6162

or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

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[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at ]

[For additional "Director's Notes" on the history, development & 4 translations of CedarS weekly Bible Lesson "Mets" go to Notes in our online version of it.]

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