Is mankind by nature addicted to war? One school of thought contends that man is descended from killer apes and that murderous inclinations form a basic and ineradicable part of his heritage. Other anthropologists, though, have concluded that sharing, not killing, is an ever more primal characteristic of humanhood.
Christ Jesus declared that peaceableness was a distinguishing mark of man's divine inheritance, of his nature as a child of God. He said, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." n1 All men and women can be peacemakers, because they are capable of reflecting the patience, gentleness, and justice derived from their real source of being. It is God who fathers these qualities in man. This Father, the infinitely harmonious creator, has eternally established peace throughout His universe. His children are incapable of conceiving, much less causing, anything harmful or destructive, anything promotive of strife.
n1 Matthew 5:9;
A materialistic view of history, however, argues for quite a different version of man. It represents his nature as rooted in animality and therefore as inherently disposed toward conflict. This view fails utterly to detect reality. Instead, it charts the development of a mistake -- the belief that something other than the Father, namely matter, has intelligence and creative power. If man is evolved from matter and must scramble for adequate resources and food, then he has good reason to organize into groups and wrest them from others, and the prospects for eliminating war are very dim indeed.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m Mary Baker Eddy n2 brings out the spiritually scientific facts that refute the assumptions underlying this gloomy conclusion. These facts provide a substantial -- a spiritually realistic -- basis for trusting in and working toward the ultimate triumph of peace. At one point she states: "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being." n3
n2 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 63;
To be peacemakers, then -- to heal the warlike tendencies in human nature -- it's essential to find out more about man's true, primitive source, the Father who is Spirit. Over and over the Bible assures us of the peace that flows from a knowledge of God. "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace," n4 we read in Job.
n4 Job 22:21;
To know God intimately as our Father requires challenging every thought that argues His absence, even if such thoughts appear solidly backed up by what the physical senses tell us. We can declare inwardly that God is All, and that if He truly is All He is present now, capable of revealing Himself in our inmost thoughts.
If we engage persistently and longingly in this kind of prayer, we will break through to glimpses of reality. We will find God and feel the enlivening comfort of His presence, assuring us of our oneness with Him, dispelling our fear, and nurturing a conviction of the potency of good.
The prayer that acquaints us with God transforms our character by revealing in us more of man's primitive, peaceful nature. Although it's obvious that such a change can have an effect on those with whom we have personal contact, can't we also trust that knowing God has a beneficial effect on those we may never see , that the world as a whole will then feel a stronger impulse -- however slight -- to discover God, the source of man's being?
In this way we can hasten the day when this Bible prophecy is fulfilled: "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord." n5 Then the ignorance of God that gives rise to war will be forever vanquished.
n5 Jeremiah 31:34.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. Isaiah 26:3