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Look Beyond the Temporal to the Eternal

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, December 11th, 2017

Look Beyond the Temporal to the Eternal
Met
aphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”
For December 11—17, 2017

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

How would you answer the question posed in the subject of this week’s Lesson? How you respond has a direct bearing on how you conduct your life, how you approach challenges, and on the success of your efforts. Obviously the biblical answer to the subject of the Lesson is an emphatic “NO”! James Moffat translates the Golden Text like this: “The earth belongs to the Eternal, and all that the earth holds, the world and its inhabitants.” Note Moffatt’s use of the word “Eternal” for God, meaning without beginning or end—outside the realm of time altogether. That’s a key point. So much of the reasoning revolving around theories of origin and evolution are based on a timeline. But God isn’t in a timeline, and neither are we.

The verses in the Responsive Reading are unequivocally intended to declare that God is the only power in the universe. There are those who are called “gods.” But these have not the power to endure. Belief in other gods comes and goes, as do human opinions and theories of the origins of life and the universe. God however, is a constant, establishing all that is real through His power, wisdom, and discretion.

When he utters His voice—speaks His WORD or, has an idea—it instantly and eternally exists because to God there is only the eternal now. What we think of as “time” is nothing but a human fabrication—a framework concocted by man. Although God is the only power, humankind tends to often think they can get along just fine on their own. When things are going well, they don’t feel a need for God, nor do they even care if there He exists. Given the old theological view of God, that’s completely understandable. But God is much more than that.

The verses from Job express how audacious it is for men to presume to think they know more than God, or that they know how the universe came to be. We will see in this Lesson that all humans ever really see are their own thoughts and that they make up history as they go. The character Job, finally realizes what the psalmist did. God does everything that is done, and nothing can be that God has not ordained. [W’s PS#1 has Cobbey Crisler (CC) insights.]

Section 1: Where Were You When Creation Began? [Click W’s PS#2 for CC on B2, S1.]

The Bible clearly presents the point of view of a God-created universe. He created us, “not we ourselves” (B1). Nineteenth century theologian Albert Barnes (1798-1870),

states the case for God as the creator this way: “The fact that he [God] is the Creator proves that he is God, since no one but God can perform the work of creation. The highest idea that we can form of power is that which is evinced in an act of creation.” The apostle John begins his gospel with a statement of God as creator also, explicitly declaring that nothing was even made, unless God made it (B2).

Isaiah poses questions to those who dare to presume they know how man and the universe came into being (B3). To paraphrase: “Who told God how to do this? Who did God ask for help? Is there someone wiser than God who taught Him these things? Haven’t you been told throughout all time? Haven’t you been paying attention? Are you still asking the same questions from the beginning, and refusing to accept the inevitable conclusion? Who is equal to God? Stop looking down into matter for the answers. Lift up your eyes to spiritual things in order to recognize the Creator. He has an intimate knowledge of every one of His ideas, and reflecting His power, they cannot fail.”

Our textbook begins this section quoting John. “’All things were made by Him [the divine Word]; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ This is the eternal verity of divine Science” (S1). As we’ve seen, “eternal” means outside the realm of time, and “verity” means truth. This is a foundational starting point in understanding Christian Science. If God didn’t do it, it was never done. Christian Science does not delve into material history (S2). That’s because material history is completely subjective. I’ve mentioned the book Biocentrism by Dr. Robert Lanza and Bob Berman already a few times in the past year. Many of their ideas are pertinent to several topics in recent Lessons. You may recall that the authors contend that time is not sequential, and that there is no objective external human history. In fact, they feel time itself is no more than a human invention. What we call history is a framework developed in the present as our theories develop.

Here is what they say on page 94 of the sequel, Beyond Biocentrism:

...Niels Bohr, The great Nobel-winning physicist, said, "When we measure something we are forcing an undetermined, undefined world to assume an experimental value. We are not 'measuring the world,' we are creating it."

The theory of evolution turns out to be the perfect case in hand. Amazingly, it all makes sense if you assume that the big bang is the end of the chain of physical causality, not the beginning.

…The past begins with the observer, us, not the other way around as we've been taught.

As we’ve mentioned before, Biocentrism also states that life creates its own universe to meet its specific needs and conditions, rather than the universe evolving life. Christian Science goes one huge step further, and states unequivocally, “God creates and governs the universe, including man” (S3). In Isaiah we saw that because God is strong in power, “not one faileth.” This is so because man is the reflection of God. As I’ve mentioned before, a reflection exists in the mind of the observer. God is the true Observer, and what He sees is creation—His idea. These ideas are “embraced in the infinite Mind, and forever reflected” (S4). All that exists does so in God. The only question worth considering is spiritual causation (S5). That’s especially important when we realize that what we call “the present” directly results from our understanding of our origin.

Section 2: The Seen and the Unseen [Click W’s PS#3 for CC on B6.]

Spiritually minded people behold, through faith, what the eye cannot see (B4). A.W. Pink (1886-1952), a British Bible teacher, makes an interesting comment on this verse:

“Perhaps we might illustrate it thus: two men stand on the deck of a ship gazing toward the far horizon; the one sees nothing, the other describes the details of a distant steamer. The former has only his unaided eyesight, the latter is using a telescope! Now just as a powerful glass brings home to the eye an object beyond the range of natural vision, so faith gives reality to the heart of things outside the range of our physical senses. Faith sets Divine things before the soul in all the light and power of demonstration, and thus provides inward conviction of their existence.”

Pink’s use of the word, “demonstration,” caught my eye. Faith is essential to demonstration, and demonstration emboldens our faith. Paul focused on things unseen based on the tangible demonstration of healing and redemption. Paul explains, we look at, “the things which are not seen” because they are eternal—they exist outside of a linear time frame. “The things which are seen are temporal”— existing within a linear timeline (B5). Paul includes the belief of a body among those things that are seen (B6). His spiritual intuition tells him that what seems to be a body is not the reality. He knows there is a spiritual sense of himself that he will eventually see and understand; and he groans, not wanting to wait for an afterlife to experience this body. He reasons that if he dies before being clothed in his spiritual body, he might end up in an uncertain state. His faith assures him though, that the spiritual reality is God’s design.

Our Leader accepted the biblical precept that spiritual things (existing independent of time) are substantial, and material things (existing in time) are insubstantial, (S6). The Student’s Reference Dictionary defines “substantial” as “real” and “actually existing.” God creates this reality. To “create” as used in the Bible, means to make where nothing existed before. It’s not an evolution, it’s an instant coming into being, fully formed and perfect from the outset. Material theories generally assume that things began materially, and gradually evolved into life. This theory is “utterly opposed to Christian Science” (S7).

Mrs. Eddy calls the visible universe and man “poor counterfeits” of the reality (S8). She delineates God’s thoughts—the eternal truths—as real, and “temporal things” as “the thoughts of mortals.” This is key. Looking back again to Biocentrism, the authors state that what seems to be an external universe only exists in the mind of the observer. Christian Science explains that the “mind” the authors are referring to is the mind of a mortal—believing what it thinks and sees is objectively real. But in Christian Science that mortal observer is seeing nothing but lies from the outset.

The theories of biocentrism explain the structure of the universe according to material sense, but only Christian Science explains it spiritually, revealing “what eye hath not seen” (S9). To the question posed in our textbook, “how can belief affect a result which precedes the development of that belief,” we see that thought is not produced by matter, or a material mind. God is the only Mind, and what God knows exists. “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself…. Mind manifests all that exists in the infinitude of Truth” (S10). However you slice it, thought precedes form. Just as in the Gospel of John where “the WORD was made flesh” (John 1:14)—the WORD, or Logos, is defined as, the thought, and the thought manifested. The idea is always before the manifestation. But as soon as God knows the idea, it simultaneously exists.

Section 3: Man Is Conceived by God [Click W’s PS#4 for CC on B8.]

No matter what we may think or say about human procreation, God is the only creator. The citation in Isaiah 45:11 (B7), has been read in different ways. Some translations and commentators make this a question in which God is basically saying, “How dare you presume to question my intentions?” But others see it as giving the children of Israel notice that all questions regarding creation should be directed to God alone. For our purposes, we can just say; don’t be surprised by what God can do, because He does all that is, or can be, done.

The narrative of Zacharias and Elisabeth (B8, PS#4) indicates that Zacharias may have been a bit incredulous at the angel’s message due to the couple’s advanced age. As we’ve already seen, the real man exists eternally not temporally. So age is irrelevant. The messenger delivering this astounding news to Zacharias is the angel Gabriel. Our Leader defines “angels” as, “God’s thoughts passing to man” (S13). God’s thoughts are operating in the eternal now, rather than on a human timeline, hence they see all things at once. Angels reveal facts hitherto unseen from a limited human perspective, in a similar way as Pink’s analogy describes the fellow with the telescope—seeing more than the person without.

It should be noted that Zacharias received his angelic vision in the temple while serving God. It’s also noteworthy that the angel’s message indicates the couple had been praying about Elisabeth’s apparent barrenness. Albert Barnes points out that in those days the longing for a child was “an intense desire.” He continues, “No prospect was more gloomy to them than that of dying childless, so that their “name should perish.”

Matthew Poole’s Annotations of the English Bible sheds light on the situation from Elisabeth’s point of view. He writes there was an expectancy that a Jewish woman of the tribe of Judah, and House of David would give birth to a Messiah; and given the fact, that God promised Abraham’s seed would be as numerous as the dust and the stars, a barren woman could contribute nothing to fulfill God’s promise. In light of this pressure Elisabeth felt as a daughter of the house of David, the angel’s announcement that their prayer is answered, is a deeply significant event.

Some may feel that the conception of children is a question of chance and probability. But accounts such as the birth of John remind us that God alone “gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels” (S12). All that exists is first conceived in Mind as idea. And these ideas, like the Logos, or WORD, are fully complete in Mind, and are manifested according to God’s recognition of them. We recognize these ideas as our spiritual vision, and understanding of God and creation become clearer.

Our textbook clearly states that Mind’s reflections are “spiritually conceived and brought forth” (S14). Material conditions of conception have nothing to do with the development of God’s ideas. Science and Health states emphatically, “In Science man is the offspring of Spirit” (S15). The term, “In Science” is another way of saying, “In reality.” God’s man is not the product of human reproduction, nor does he travel a human timeline. “Spirit is his primitive, and ultimate source of being.” That means he starts where he finishes. Time isn’t a factor, and man is never less than what God made him to be.

Section 4: A Question of Authority [Click W’s PS#5 & PS#6 for CC on B10 & B11.]

So much of what the Israelites thought and did was linked to provenance. The Israelites exhibited a strong tendency to look for some connection to great thinkers of the past in order to claim authority. As Christian Scientists, we have to be careful of that too. Ultimately we all have one Teacher, one Authority, one Power, and one Source.

This penchant toward provenance is evident in the questioning of John the Baptist. The Sanhedrin didn’t send low-level messengers to him; they sent “priests and Levites” (B10). Eighteenth century biblical scholar, John Gill (1697-1771) notes that even those sent were of high lineage. He writes, “A message from so august an assembly, at so great a distance, (for Jordan was a day's journey distant from Jerusalem; according to Josephus, it was 210 furlongs, or 26 miles and a quarter,) and by the hands of persons of such character and figure, was doing John a great deal of honour (sic.).” In reply, John clarified he was not the Christ, nor a resurrected prophet. However he cited the prophets as foretelling his mission.

Given John’s status as the forerunner of Jesus, it seems a bit odd that John himself would send messengers to Jesus inquiring if he was indeed the Messiah (B11). Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910), a Scottish theologian and contemporary of Mrs. Eddy, presents a viewpoint of Jesus’ reply to John that nicely fits in with the concept of provenance. He writes:

“The deepest meaning of the answer is that love, pity, healing, are the true signs, not judicial, retributive, destructive energy. John wanted the lightning; Christ told him that the silent sunshine exerts energy, to which the fiercest flash is weak. We need the lesson, for we are tempted to exalt force above love, if not in our thoughts of God, yet in looking at and dealing with men; and we are slow to apprehend the teaching of Bethlehem and Calvary, that the divinest thing in God, and the strongest power among men, is gentle, pitying, self-sacrificing love.”

The Sanhedrin, governed through fear and domination. Jesus’ authority was in the power of Love.

The Founder of Christian Science knew well that the healing power of Love carries infinite authority, while material beliefs—parading as law—are powerless. She points out that God is the only healing power (S16). Jesus’ healing work overruled the threat of punishment for breaking material laws (S17), and annulled material law itself. She says if God allowed material laws, Jesus wouldn’t have disregarded them (S18).

We simply have nothing to fear from so-called material laws. God’s law is the only authority there is. Man’s health, happiness, and existence are not derived from nor supported by material laws. Everything in the universe is evolved from Spirit, as is everything we are, and have (S19). Mrs. Eddy says we will see the facts of being in proportion as we let go of the belief that life and intelligence are in matter (S20).

Section 5: God Is the Source of All Good Things [Click W’s PS#7 for CC on B12 (to follow)]

Jesus was aware that those who claimed authority often misused their power, and neglected their duty to the people. Consequently, the people were as lost sheep without a shepherd. The Master assumed the role of Shepherd for the people, and exercised the role of authority and responsibility that came with it. Aside from his healing and redeeming work, he also met larger needs. A case in point is the feeding of the five thousand (B12).

Some commentators have tried to explain this event by postulating that the generosity of Jesus and his disciples sharing their meager supplies inspired the rest of the multitude to do likewise. But to Mrs. Eddy, this was a clear proof that the material laws of propagation are overruled by recognition of the divine reality of things. Jesus would naturally be inclined to disregard every material law he faced, especially given the conditions of his birth. His very presence was proof that material conditions were not necessary for procreation.

It is clear though, that Jesus wasn’t merely feeding the multitude just to prove his dominion over material belief. He was motivated by Christly compassion that provided the power to meet the people’s need. After they sat down, he gave thanks and blessed the food, knowing that God was the only Source of everything real and good. He gave it to the disciples to distribute, and everyone was filled.

Some call this a miracle. But Mrs. Eddy found it a natural demonstration of God’s “unchangeable law” (S21). Everything Jesus did was an act proving the dominion of Science over material laws (S22). As we’ve noted early on, the thought precedes the manifestation, but the instant the thought comes into being, the manifestation is realized (S23). It doesn’t take days, months, years, centuries, or millennia. God conceives it, and it’s here.

What God conceives is real, and substantial. Jesus understood what was real, and this enabled him to multiply the loaves and fishes. Our textbook tells us that understanding is the line between the real and unreal—what God makes and what He doesn’t (S24). Not a single event takes place in the universe that happens on its own. “The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind, controlling every effect and recognizing all causation as vested in divine Mind” (S25).

Divine Mind is the only creator. “Mind is All and reproduces all,” but not materially (S26). There is no matter, and it is never produced. It’s not even a thing. It’s a thought—a false way of looking at reality. All that Mind produces is spiritual, and is governed by spiritual law. I love the authority and power in this statement: “The only intelligence or substance of a thought, a seed, or a flower is God, the creator of it.” That’s the WORD made flesh, Life evolving and producing its own idea and maintaining the conditions for its own being.

Section 6: God Is Supreme

No matter how many theories arise about the origins of man and the universe, the fact is there is only one truth. Everyone will find out sooner or later that matter isn’t the external reality it appears to be. Matter was never made, and all that truly exists is an idea in Mind, God. It’s not a choice—it’s a fact—and no human opinion can change that (B13). The psalmist vows to carefully consider the nature of God, and prays to have the veil of darkness, and ignorance of God removed so that he may behold the wonders of spiritual creation (B14).

The prophet foresees a time when all the earth will be filled with this same spiritual knowledge (B15). The book of First Chronicles calls upon all the people of earth to recognize God’s supreme authority and creative power, and acknowledge that God alone reigns (B16).

Our textbook tells us, “Spiritual evolution alone is worthy of the exercise of divine power” (S27). God, the supreme power of the universe, is all that there is. No other force or cause exists (S28). No human opinion can affect the inevitable realization of the Science of being. All of the data, analysis, and theories of the origins of life and the universe are only placeholders. What seems to be a material universe is not so. It all needs to be seen with the veil of materiality removed, so as to uncover the spiritual reality of things (S29).

Our Leader tells us that as we gain a better view of God and man “multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible” (S30). We’ve pondered this statement before. Perhaps she was referring to inventions and technological advances. For we are regularly seeing multitudinous objects we hadn’t known before. All these inventions began as ideas. Ideas are real, and perhaps that’s why they say, “If you can dream it, you can build it.” Now take that one step further and realize that everything is thought—not object—within, not without—and there truly are infinite possibilities. When we realize that matter is completely out of the picture, and that Life is Spirit, God, our understanding will expand not of its own power, but through divine power, into self-completeness, and that will be all we need.


After Giving Tuesday, we are SO VERY grateful to report. . .

Participation Goal Met!

Maintenance Musts Match Met (More info)

Adopt the Herd Matching Fund

In teh time since Giving Tuesday you helped raise $27,421 for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of $54,842 to help feed and care for CedarS wonderful horses. We still have approximately $37.5k to raise to take advantage of the full $65k Adopt the Herd match. (More info )

Many other Blessings:

Thank you for helping to raise camperships, replenish needed items, pray for today's youth, and launch our fundraising for summer 2018. Especially helpful are your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, that can be started and adjusted as you wish at: www.cedarscamps.org/giving ] All of your gifts add up to big blessings in the lives of today's Sunday School students!

With gratitude and love,
Warren, Gay, Holly & your CedarS Family

P.S. If you haven't yet had a chance to give, we still have many needs, big and small, that you can help meet by clicking HERE.

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 417-532-6699 or 636-394-6162

or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

[THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!]

[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) athttp://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

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