Discovering God, good

As we look at what’s going on in the world today, it may seem impossible to believe that there is a God who is more powerful than evil—let alone the only power there is. We might even find ourselves asking the question one letter writer who recently contacted the Sentinel did, yearning to know if there is a God who is good and loving. 

The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, had questions about the nature of God and whether what she’d been taught about Him coincided with either her experience of the world or what, in her heart, she believed God to be. 

She grew up in a devout Christian family, and when still a girl, asked her mother if what Christian theologian John Calvin had taught about eternal punishment was true. “Mary, I suppose it is,” her mother said. Young Mary replied, “What . . . if we repent and tell God ‘we are sorry and will not do so again.’ Will God punish us then? Then he is not as good as my mother and he will find me a hard case” (Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Townsend Warneck, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, p. 33).

But rather than leading her away from God, this questioning drew her closer to Him. And as the years went on, the lessons she learned from Bible study, prayer, and divine revelation, gave her a clearer understanding of God’s true nature. 

Jesus’ teachings and healings shed fresh light on God’s real nature.

In particular, Mrs. Eddy learned so much from Christ Jesus’ life, healings, and teachings. Where the people around Jesus—including sometimes his disciples—saw and exhibited limitation, disease, and death, Jesus was so acutely aware of God as omnipotent good that he changed the course of countless lives. He preached the good news of God’s goodness, fed thousands with scant supplies, instantly healed broken hearts and diseased bodies. Jesus was well versed in the Scripture of his day, but his teachings and healings shed fresh light on God’s real nature. Mrs. Eddy learned that, in direct contrast to the previously accepted notion that God was wrathful and destructive, “Jesus’ life proved, divinely and scientifically, that God is Love, . . .” as she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 42).

The spiritual understanding Mrs. Eddy gained from studying the master Christian’s words and works enabled her to heal decisively and consistently, righting wrongs imposed by traditional religious systems and the world, but not by God—never by God. She taught others to do the same, and is still teaching through her writings and the inspired light they bring to the Bible—showing that God is not just a loving God but is Love itself, good alone. 

It’s a beautiful thing to realize that we are each loved and cared for by divine Love, God, and that we can prove this to some degree as Jesus did. Christ—God’s saving power, exemplified by Jesus—is still present today to turn us to the truth of God and of ourselves as His children. And far from being an intellectual exercise, drawing closer to God through our study, prayer, and spiritual curiosity is actually transformative, as Christian Scientists have been proving for over a century. 

The true sense of God and God’s universe enables each of us to discover for ourselves what is real. The physical senses may tell us one thing—and it’s almost never harmonious—but spiritual sense tells us something entirely different. Spiritual sense—the ability to see beyond what the physical senses and common consensus tell us, and to listen to Christ—is inherent in each of us. It enables us to both accurately understand God and see and experience God’s faithfulness, goodness, and authority in our lives. It allows us to perceive spiritual reality, the truth of what we are—not discordant, vulnerable mortals, but God’s blessed children, spiritual and whole. And this God-based sense of things lifts us above the feeling of being overwhelmed by the world’s problems and enables us to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and help heal those problems.

Ultimately, it is God, Love itself, who inspires us and brings us to a true, deeper understanding of His nature. As the Bible puts it, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you” (Jeremiah 31:3, New King James Version). This is a promise that each of us is inevitably drawn to discover for ourselves that God, good, does exist, is real, and is ever present—here, today. And then we’ll find that the trials we encounter don’t turn us away from God but instead become opportunities to accept the truth of His goodness—and to prove it.

Amy Richmond, Guest Editorial Writer 

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