On Seeing the Father

In the fourteenth chapter of John's gospel, the student of Jesus' life and teachings finds many truths of deep significance. He there observes that Christ Jesus, approaching the consummation of his career,—having for nearly three years taught and practiced the ever-presence of God in overcoming the claims of evil,—lays particular stress upon his desire to be recognized as having come from God, the Father, to make clear that he expressed Him, that he possessed no power underived from Him; and, above all, to show that he was the Messiah, revealing the Christ, the healing and redemptive Truth which brings salvation to mankind, and to convice them that they who had seen him as the Christ should know that they, too, had seen the Father. Nowhere, perhaps, did the Prophet of Nazareth more clearly manifest his determination to insist upon the great fact that his power was derivative, having its source with God, the all-powerful, whose attributes and character he was revealing to men. To the question of Philip, quite unable to grasp the full import of his words, the Master replied, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" He was imbued with the thought that could he convince his hearers that it was God who worked the wonders, his Messiahship would be acknowledged and the crowning purpose of his career realized. Mrs. Eddy has summed up the situation in an incomparable sentence in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 25): "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus." His tender compassion, mercy, gentleness, and self-immolation, coupled with a sense of power and mastery, which characterized his earthly experience, without parallel in human history, could have had but one source,—the infinite God, who is Love.

There is much more than a smart saying in the epigram attributed to Voltaire, "God made man in his likeness and man returned the compliment;" for men of materialistic propensities throughout the ages have conceived of God as possessing physical form and attributes, and exhibiting phases or traits of character quite like those of mortals. To such it has seemed certain that God is to be seen and known through the medium of the physical senses. Did not certain famous painters of the Renaissance period depict God in the form of mortal man,—to be sure, with wings and above the earth, but nevertheless as a manlike God? To these the declaration of the Lord to Moses as recorded in the book of Exodus, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live," repeated in varying phrase by John, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," appears to have made little, if any, impression. Contemplating existence solely from the standpoint of life in matter, God as infinite Spirit, divine Mind, Life, and Love was quite incomprehensible. Since God's universe must partake of the qualities of its creator, if matter is admitted to be His expression and necessary to the support of life, His essence and nature, physical sense would declare, must of necessity be materialistic.

April 29, 1922

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