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What Is God Like?

A FEW months ago one major American newspaper ran a special focus, written by and about young people. One article asked questions that many of my friends and I have had. The writer was wondering what God is like. She said, "Everything I know about God is what other people have told me-things that I am just supposed to accept and not question. I get confused sometimes about what I really believe, because people are always trying to get you to believe what they think is right" (The Boston Globe Magazine, February 4, 1996).

One of my friends once told me that for years she couldn't even bring herself to say the word God, because to her it represented an uncaring being who sent good and evil, who was distant, and didn't really care about anyone. No matter how much people tried to talk to my friend about God, the minute she heard that word she became uninterested in what they had to say.

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But one day someone told her about Christian Science, which for her had a different way of describing the Divine Being. It presented seven central synonyms for God: Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Soul, Spirit, and Principle. These synonyms are discussed in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. These terms described a God that my friend could accept. The synonym that meant the most to her was Principle. She loved the thought of a God who was lawful, because it meant God was truly steadfast-a God you could count on, not one who was changeable.

Other synonyms were helpful, such as Mind, which told her that God is the source of all intelligence. As she studied Christian Science, she learned that she was made to express God's intelligence. These new ideas about God's nature began to change her whole view of God, as well as of herself. She saw that she was God's child and was spiritual, because God is Spirit. Her questioning of the existence of God had come to an end. She concluded God was worthy of her love and trust.

Science and Health says, "Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as 'the great unknowable;' but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near" (p. 596).

You could say that I'm just telling you what to think about God. But you can prove the nature of God for yourself. For example, suppose you have to take a test; you can pray, as well as study. In your prayer, you can remember that you are the child of God, the divine Mind, who is unlimited and intelligent. Because of that, you can't make stupid mistakes. You can't be tempted to cheat, because you have your intelligence directly from Mind. You don't need to be scared or confused. If you understand this, you'll be able to see a definite change in your performance.

That is, perhaps, a small way to prove that God cares for you. But knowing God means more than this. If you are at all familiar with the life of Christ Jesus, you know that he did much greater things. Christian Science comes from the teaching of Jesus. He healed people of terrible sicknesses, raised people from death, and fed thousands with what seemed like hopelessly small supplies of food. These deeds were possible because he so clearly knew God to be his and our creator, and he taught others how to pray to God.

God loves each of us, and wants us to succeed in doing good for ourselves and for others. Jesus made an enormous promise in this connection. He said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do" (John 14:12). I think I'd be happy if I could just heal people or still storms as he did (never mind doing the "greater works!") The fact is that through studying the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings, I have been able to heal myself and others. And each time I have one of these experiences of healing, I feel I've understood a little bit more of the love that God has for each of us.

If you've been wondering what God is-or if He is-why not think about what these synonyms say about Him? If you do, you'll find that a loving God is right with you, always willing to help you.

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