Reading about Russian literary critics circa 1917, I came across one of their practical principles: Before you can explain or evaluate something - be it a work of art or an idea - you need to first find out what it is.
For example, if you and I were to have a discussion about "ozzulers" without defining what we mean by the term, we'd run into trouble communicating. Maybe you're thinking that an ozzuler is a two-headed fishlike creature, while I'm thinking it refers to an ancient Greek mathematical principle. Hardly the basis for a fruitful conversation.
We'd each need to know what we mean by ozzulers. We might disagree on which definition should apply, but at the very least we would have formed the basis for discussing the subject meaningfully. If we were then to tackle the problem of whether ozzulers exist or not (they don't, as far as I know), we would understand what we were referring to.
I've found that concept helpful in sorting out all kinds of issues, including the question of the existence of God. The ongoing debate is popularly framed this way: Many people say God doesn't exist. Many others say God does exist. Obviously, it's important to clarify what the word God refers to.
The Bible indicates that God is ever present: "Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?" (Jer. 23:23). That God made us: "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4). And that God helps us: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).
The woman who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, concluded from her study of the Bible that God is Spirit; therefore, that God is invisible, incorporeal, ever present, and eternal. She saw that God is Mind, that God is intelligence, and that God - not the brain - is the true source of thought.
God is Life and is the omnipresent, all-powerful Principle of the universe. And God is good. In fact, good isn't just an attribute of God. God is good. As Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" says, "In the Saxon and twenty other tongues good is the term for God" (pg. 286).
All this means that God is not a humanlike or mysterious being, is not far away. God is the vibrant Spirit, the intelligence, life, and goodness that animate us and that are right here with us. As God's creation, we are Godlike - spiritual and perfect. It is natural for us to express Her/His divine character. To see in others and ourselves the purity, wisdom, creativity, confidence, contentment, strength, stability, resourcefulness, happiness, discipline, receptivity, insight, compassion, joy, health, that are really always, inexhaustibly, present.
This understanding of God has rescued me in all types of situations. I've seen physical, emotional, and financial troubles melt away by relying on the power of our Mother-Father to make good evident. In tangible, practical ways, I've come to realize that God indeed is good itself - announcing itself to us in the exact form we need right at this moment. I'm learning that if we need peace, we can rely on God to supply it. If we need courage or opportunity or justice or guidance, we can be assured that these are from God, and that they will take beautiful, practical form in our lives.
When we commune with God, turning our thought in quiet, humble prayer to hear the divine Mind speak, we'll see abundant spiritual qualities - the things of the Spirit - spring to life in our consciousness. Beauty, wit, gentleness, resilience, integrity, excellence, magnanimity, patience, coherence, ingenuity, unselfishness, humility, love, and the capacity to love will define and transform us, perhaps in amazing ways.
We are the idea of God. The image. The child. God's good work. Rejoice!
The Lord is
the true God,
he is the living
God, and an
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