Little zero, big zero: a mathematical parable

I'll never forget the lesson I learned from a Christian Science Sunday School teacher I had when quite a child. It has stayed with me and been a source of strength through the years. She wanted us to understand that since God is the only creator and creates only good, evil must be unreal, an illusion of the material senses. She particularly emphasized the nothingness of sickness and disaster when viewed in the light of Truth. She drew a figure 0 to signify "nothing." "But supposing it is a very bad illness," she said, and she drew a very large 0. "Does that make it something?" We knew that the nought was still nothing. She drew larger and larger noughts and we happily chorused, "Nothing, nothing!" In the same way we could see that a whole series of noughts added together never made something. Zero is zero.

That was a long time ago, and it's a simple child's lesson, but whenever disease or evil looms large, I think of the big 0 and affirm that the only reality is that which is spiritually discerned, that which Spirit, God, makes and sustains. This realization has always lessened fear, and it has been a steppingstone to many physical healings in Christian Science.

Christ Jesus taught by parables and made spiritual truths readily understandable with his imagery of the good shepherd and living water. These metaphors still inspire us. Mrs. Eddy also emphasized the importance of this way of communicating. She writes in Science and Health, "Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols." Science and Health, p. 575. She too uses imagery. Our reflection in a mirror and the earth revolving around the sun are two instances that come to mind. Is it possible for us today to create parables and make vivid reference points for ourselves?

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