Being certain about the unknown
As a student in beginning algebra, I remember spending the entire first six weeks of the class absolutely mystified as to the meaning of an x. The explanation that x could stand for any number thoroughly confused me. I reasoned that if x could stand for any quantity, the principle of mathematics must be on fairly shaky ground. Or more likely, algebra was just too abstract and difficult for me to understand.
But one day, after many patient explanations from my teacher and my dad, I suddenly realized that x stood for the specific answer to the problem at hand. How comforting it was to realize that even though the answer to the problem was unknown to me initially—otherwise there would be no question to answer—I could be certain of finding the solutions to the mathematical problems I was confronted with. With this understanding I no longer found x baffling, and later enjoyed several years of courses in mathematics. I could see that one need not fear the unknown as long as the mathematical principle is governing.
Over the years I have found it useful to remember this illustration, for uncertainty is one of the more challenging situations modern man must cope with. In most of our lives there are many unknowns. At times we may not only be tempted to be fearful over how our individual lives will turn out, but we may also be deeply worried about the future of our families and of nations; agitated over global issues; or perhaps nervous about the direction of the economy. Increasingly world opinion is asserting that it is impossible for us to feel safe and secure because existence is just one long series of x's.
But as we affirm that there is one Principle, God, who governs all harmoniously and lovingly, we find that we need not be uncertain about the unknowns in our lives. Rather, we can be certain that answers to our problems exist. Even though at present we may have little or no indication of what the answers are, distinct solutions do exist, and we can rely wholeheartedly on the Christ, Truth, to show them to us.
How? By correctly and consistently demonstrating the divine Principle and rules of Christian healing in our daily lives, moment by moment, step by step. Christian Science provides us with a clear, scientific method for rigorously denying false human theories that—in one form or another—would seem to separate man from God, good.
This process is not abstract or obscure, but simple and straightforward when we recognize the spiritual nature of reality. But like Jesus' disciples, we need to deepen our faith—we need to strengthen our understanding of God's omnipotence in order to demonstrate consistently the spiritual laws of healing. One learns to be a more effective Christian healer by correctly proving the divine Principle and rules of Science in solving increasingly challenging problems.
A metaphysician is required to do much more than a mathematician. Because Christian healing—in direct contradiction to human systems—is based on spiritual causation, he often finds it necessary to nullify the resistance of world thought to God's omnipotence. Mrs. Eddy explains, "Christian ideas certainly present what human theories exclude—the Principle of man's harmony." Science and Health, p. 170.
An important step in becoming certain about man's harmony involves learning more about the nature of spiritual causation. This includes rooting out misconceptions of life based on materialistic assumptions. As we begin to see the universe in terms of spiritual ideas and qualities, we realize that reality can be comprehended only through spiritual sense, never through the material senses. Gradually we wake up to the startling fact that the whole Adam-dream scenario has no factual basis. As we grow Spirit-ward, we become more willing to replace this erroneous mortal picture with the true one of spiritual man—both perfect and harmonious.
By gaining a clearer insight into the spiritual interpretation of the unknown we can also help weaken human resistance to Truth. In the Glossary of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy begins her definition of "unknown": "That which spiritual sense alone comprehends, and which is unknown to the material senses." Ibid., p. 596. This statement helps us to see that the unknown aspects of our life are nothing to fear. The real challenge is to improve our spiritual perception of life in order that God's goodness no longer remains a mystery to us. As we let go of the pagan and agnostic beliefs that claim God is unknowable, we find that God has not moved away after all. He is as close to us as our hearts are to good. And we begin to truly understand that all real causation emanates from divine Principle, infinite Love.
How comforting it is to be reminded that only false beliefs—accidents, sin, sickness, death, matter—are unknowable. The only unknowns that will remain a mystery to us have no truth to them in the first place! Surely we need not be afraid of these impostors. As Science and Health states, "Truth makes no laws to regulate sickness, sin, and death, for these are unknown to Truth and should not be recognized as reality." Ibid., p. 184.
To the mortal senses, uncertainty may well be hell. But Christian Science reassures us that the perfect answer to our need already exists in divine Mind. And our recognition of the answer is a natural part of the unfoldment of God's harmonious law in our experience.
As we come to grips with spiritual causation and begin to understand God as Principle, continually expressing order, harmony, justice, and wisdom in all His creation, we are able to comprehend through spiritual sense the solutions to our problems; we no longer have to be uncertain about the unknown. Rather, we can humbly affirm, as the Psalmist did, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Ps. 23:1, 6.