A Christian Science perspective.
Near the top of the long list of what appear to be intractable issues confronting policymakers today are the crucial negotiations, due to resume this week in Geneva, regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. An extreme test of statecraft faces negotiators seeking to accommodate Iran’s desire for nuclear power for peacetime use while building a fire wall that would preclude the development and production of nuclear weapons. Within the Middle East, and especially between Iran and the United States, decades of mutual mistrust and antagonism cloud prospects for success.
But above and beyond conflicting national interests stands a magisterial fact, embedded in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done.” As the Bible says, everything is destined to conform to God’s leadings – “to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Mere human will, narrow self-interest, and selfish ambition all fall before the power and direction of God, divine Love, to unify and establish the brotherhood of man.
Praying from the basis that the government is upon God’s shoulders, one begins to comprehend the irresistible, divine influence that governs the seven-nation talks over Iran’s nuclear future, coordinating, adjusting, reconciling differences, and compelling progress. Unity is not a matter of many human minds coming together but of the one Mind, God, expressing itself through individual human consciousness, through each of its spiritual ideas. As the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: “I once thought that in unity was human strength; but have grown to know that human strength is weakness, – that unity is divine might, giving to human power, peace” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 138).
The fact that one omnipotent God governs man and the universe speaks to the existence of an irresistible centrifugal influence that bridges all political, religious, and cultural divides. It aligns all human interests with the design of God. And it counteracts the centripetal forces of ignorance, exaggerated nationalism, and the warlike tendencies in human nature. God, divine Mind, is expressing Himself perpetually in human consciousness. And every one of His children hears, responds to, and obeys His voice. “Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,” Moses said of God, “that he might instruct thee” (Deuteronomy 4:36).
Not nationalism but the fact that man is created in the image of God constitutes the foundation of all true identity, and it is this that establishes the basis for true brotherhood and for the peaceful resolution of all human conflict.
Divine Mind has unlimited means to achieve peace among nations. In the face of doubt and skepticism, we can take heart that God works in ways that neither human history nor the human intellect can necessarily anticipate.
Mrs. Eddy writes that Christian Science “reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 490). The only impelling influence at work in the thought of all involved in the negotiations operates to achieve peace. It counteracts greed, the conflicting pull of divisive ideologies, the weight of national histories. And it does so by elevating ambition and purifying motives. Man is impelled by God, divine Love, to rise above personal and national interests in service to a higher good that protects and preserves the interests of all involved.
Viewing the prospects for a successful resolution to the issues on the negotiating table through the lens of God’s government, we can see that man is not governed by narrow interests but by the kindly impulses of divine Love. That the sons and daughters of God’s creating are not conduits for heated passions but, controlled by divine intelligence, express only the qualities of brotherliness, forgiveness, and respect. “When a man’s ways please the Lord,” Proverbs says, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (16:7).
The Old and New Testaments provide striking examples of the power of prayer to resolve the most complex and seemingly hopeless circumstances. This demonstrated equation between prayer and progress should provide encouragement, even when prospects for peace seem fragile and vulnerable.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” says the book of James (5:16) – even the attainment of peace among nations.