The authority of goodness
A Christian Science perspective: The goodness of God is not happenstance.
The couple at the restaurant table next to us had a particular joy and tenderness with each other. Frequently they would clink their glasses, look deeply into each other’s eyes, and just enjoy being together.
My husband and I were curious what they were celebrating, and the fellow said very reverently, “We’re celebrating life.”
They explained that only a few hours earlier they had been in a serious car accident. But they both had survived without any injuries. They were so grateful and had completely forgiven the driver who had caused the accident. Only a few hours later, and already they had the freedom to leave the accident behind and value the real substance of their life together. We thanked God with them for keeping them unharmed.
When we hear news of an accident or the many instances of terrorism, it is tempting to believe that the goodness of God’s protection is at best happenstance. The teachings of Christian Science, however, offer a view of God that’s entirely different. God’s goodness is understood as law, not happenstance, and this divine law of Spirit, God, is both good and all-powerful.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this publication, was not naive about the onslaughts of evil in the world. She wrote this startling statement: “Evil is not supreme; good is not helpless; nor are the so-called laws of matter primary, and the law of Spirit secondary” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 207).
The supremacy of God’s goodness is not something people may readily admit, and yet this admission is the key to confidence in God’s love for creation. Right in the middle of the violence, or reading accounts of violence, we have the capacity to practice the spiritual poise that maintains the knowledge of God’s presence and power. Instead of being overwhelmed and incapacitated by evil, we can find ways, through prayer, to help each other find healing and freedom.
How do we access and maintain this healing perspective? Through what the Bible calls the “mind of Christ” (see Philippians 2:5). The Mind of Christ reveals God’s creation as good, pure, holy, and perfect – upheld and secured by God. Understanding God and His law of goodness to be omnipotent shows God’s harmony more clearly in our experience – it brings healing. So when there’s an assertion of danger, we can pray to see that God, good, is never truly absent. We have the right to appeal to this underlying spiritual reality to give us an assurance of the saving power of Christ.
This conviction is brought to light by our spiritual sense – our innate intuition that includes hope and faith – even in the most desperate situations. We are each endowed with the spiritual sense that acknowledges the perfect spiritual universe and sees that evil cannot prevail against the power of God.
An experience I had illustrates the point. A pleasant summer’s outing with friends in a small motorboat turned into a nightmare when we were run over by a ski boat. The woman next to me was knocked out of the boat with a severe head injury. Immediately, I began to pray. It was clear to me that the Mind of Christ had given me the spiritual poise to handle the emergency. My spiritual sense guided me to the woman in the deep water. When I found her, I prayed to understand that God, good, was closer to her than the impact of the accident. By the time we got to shore, she was fully conscious and healed of her head injury. The ambulance personnel couldn’t find the injury where the blood on her clothes had originated.
This experience, along with many others, continues to prove to me that no matter how cruelty and devastation assert themselves, they cannot disprove God’s care and presence. We are never truly separated from God’s goodness. Discerning this dissolves any shadow of evil and destruction with the light of God’s law.