From a satellite’s-eye view, our planet looks very inviting. Along a trail I was hiking not too long ago, the view was more than inviting; it was inspiring. It made me wonder whether it’s possible to rescue nature from the things that would despoil it, and restore Earth’s loveliness, not just in the Gulf of Mexico, but around the globe. I know in my heart the answer to that question: Yes, it is. Through the practice of discerning the spiritual reality of God’s creation, we all can see the effective remedy that prayer provides.
Isn’t nature’s beauty inspiring because it hints at God’s presence and majesty? The early prophets discerned this. As the Bible’s book of Jeremiah asks: “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (23:24). God is divine Spirit. The creation of God, if it is to be discerned accurately, must be viewed spiritually, in the way God actually made it. Christ Jesus said, as John’s Gospel records, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (4:24).
Through a spiritual sense of things, we perceive, even if only faintly sometimes, divine Spirit’s breathtaking creation. Instead of searching for God in the material appearance of things, we find both God and His spiritual creation when we start our reasoning from the basis of divine Spirit as the only reality. Then we value more deeply God’s spiritual qualities, hinted at in nature’s magnificence, solidity, and beauty.
Knowing that God’s creation is substantial – or more accurately, spiritually substantial – gives us an effective basis from which to pray when we hear of poisonous mine tailings and oil spills, of deforestation in South America, Africa, and Asia. Why does prayer actually work to contribute to healing the environment? Because human experience is the outcome of how people think. In other words, our quality of life is determined by our quality of thought. And prayer, discerning spiritual reality, enlightens and purifies human thought.
In heartfelt prayer, we can humbly acknowledge the fact that God is the only power, and is therefore able to render harmless both mistakes and destructive impulses. No disaster can abuse or deplete the activity of God’s law governing His utterly spiritual creation. Knowing this doesn’t trivialize disaster – it brings divinely based power to bear on human needs.
For example, when Jesus and some of his disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee, a sudden, dangerous storm threatened to founder the craft. “Peace, be still” was Jesus’ authoritative rebuke to the storm. The power behind divine law understood, manifesting the truth of God’s harmonious creation, enabled Jesus to speak with this authority. The Bible account in Mark’s Gospel then says, “And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (4:39).
We can follow Jesus’ example and pray about human (and so-called natural) disasters – both the ones that happen suddenly and the ones that seem to be happening gradually. Knowing that we don’t depend only on human actions for solutions but on the one true cause and Creator, our Father-Mother God, gives us a sure, spiritual basis for restoring or maintaining Earth’s beauty and purity. God’s infinite goodness can’t ever be depleted or misused.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote this in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Eternal things (verities) are God’s thoughts as they exist in the spiritual realm of the real. Temporal things are the thoughts of mortals and are the unreal, being the opposite of the real or the spiritual and eternal” (p. 337). God’s perfect, spiritual creation is that upon which we all depend, and this is what the magnificence of nature points to when viewed from the proper perspective. From the simplest to the most majestic, seas, mountains, animals, all hint at the permanent place of every spiritual, good idea in God’s creation, constantly reflecting and expressing Him.