How Near Is God?
I know of a small child who, after attending a Christian Science Sunday School for the first time, was asked by a relative if she had enjoyed it. "Yes," she replied, then thoughtfully added, "I learned about God, and so I shall not be afraid again." "Why not?" she was asked. "Because," she said, "I shall never be alone again."
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost nor separated from its divine Principle." Science and Health, p. 303; Upon this scientific fact of the inseparability of God and man, of the creator and that which He creates, are based all the teachings of Christian Science. From this premise are reached all its conclusions. Thus, as Christian Scientists we learn to look outward from the standpoint of perfection, to recognize God as omnipresent Spirit, who includes man and the universe in His allness. The demand made on all of us is to claim this spiritual unity in the face of all arguments to the contrary, to claim the presence of divine Love when hatred and violence seem rampant, to express oneness with Love as its idea, and indeed with all Godlike qualities, in our daily lives.
The fact of God's constant presence came naturally to the small Sunday School pupil. Yet such is the seeming power of traditional theology that many of us find it difficult not to cling, albeit subconsciously, to belief in a God afar off. We may no longer believe in a God of wrath who arbitrarily selects numbers of His children for punishment or reward, and may have long since renounced a father-figure sitting above the clouds dispensing a justice as unfair as His laws are unfathomable. But we may wonder where the God is who has replaced this image, the God, devoid of human form yet spiritually distinct, who is Life itself, in whom, in fact, we live.
This God is revealed to us through the teachings of Christian Science. As the scientific truths of God, Spirit, and His spiritual creation are accurately applied to the problems that confront us, His power is seen in action and His presence felt, for we find sickness giving place to health, confusion to order, lack to abundance.
As this unity becomes clear to us, we do not, in moments of stress, cry to God to help us as though He were at a distance. When we turn to Him, it is not to some force outside ourselves, for we know we are indeed one with Him as His expression. "I and my Father are one," John 10:30; said Christ Jesus. And centuries later Mrs. Eddy expanded on this statement with the words, "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being." Science and Health, p. 361.
This oneness, when we accept it as the whole essence of our existence, completely alters the angle from which we look at life, for if God and man coexist we cannot seek beyond our own consciousness for the goodness, the godliness, we so desire. We cannot look outside our own consciousness for health and holiness; we cannot plead for the Mind to be in us that was also in Christ Jesus as though it were a blessing to be bestowed on us from outside. We know that in our real, spiritual being we are inevitably, irrevocably, and eternally expressing all Godlike qualities all the time. They are as close, as near to us, as any effect to its cause, and we have only to be aware of this tremendous truth to feel the whole balance of our lives shift from the material to the spiritual.
We find the kingdom of heaven only when we claim to be what we really are, the perfect ideas of a perfect Mind, when we are acutely conscious that, even if we try, we cannot be separated for an instant or by a millimeter from God—when we recognize that the oneness of God and man is a present fact, not a future possibility. There is no gap between us and God to be bridged if we need help, only a belief in separation to be relinquished; no time lag between asking and being given, just a belief of time to be abolished. Here and now we are contained in God's allness, manifesting His love, health, intelligence, and harmony, whether we realize it or not. So let us claim this spiritual fact with all our strength and joy.
Few of us can take heaven by storm, for it means turning upside down nearly every belief held by a large and vociferous world. But the minute we begin doing this very thing, arguing for our unity with God, Spirit, in the face of seemingly incontrovertible testimony to the contrary, we feel, sometimes immediately, sometimes slowly, but always unmistakably, the regenerative effects of Truth. Indeed, the first wonderful discovery we make about Truth is that it works! Every day, in small ways or large, we can prove how powerful it is. Every time the thought comes to us that we lack for something, be it health, happiness, supply, or love, we can refuse to entertain it. Where, in the one infinite Mind, in our Mind, is there room for evil?
Christian Science proves that the oneness of God and man is not a speculative theory or an interesting talking point; it is a practical proposition. In proportion to our understanding of its infinite possibilities, it can be demonstrated. There is no greater joy than to watch the arguments which have tempted us into believing that man is material and has a life of his own vanish without a trace, taking with them their attendant retinue of illusions.
When we are truly conscious of God's nearness, when we acknowledge that God is our Mind and that Mind is and includes everything real, we find we are in His presence, living as His reflection. Then, like the child, we can say, "I learned about God ...I shall not be afraid.... I shall never be alone again."