A Christian Science perspective: A young child learns why we can’t see God with our eyes.
Questions that appear to come out of nowhere really come from somewhere deep within, and I was grateful to have an answer for one such question recently. I was sitting on the floor in front of a window in our family room with a small weekend project, when my son, sounding rather flustered on the phone, called to ask if I would explain to my granddaughter why she couldn’t see God.
One thing I have learned through my study of Christian Science is the importance of always being ready to help. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, structured her church with a weekly Bible Lesson that people can read and study prior to the Sunday service. Every day I read this lesson with fresh eyes, gaining more heartfelt understanding each time I do. This particular week a citation from Mrs. Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” taught me that “Spirit blesses man, but man cannot ‘tell whence it cometh.’ By it the sick are healed, the sorrowing are comforted, and the sinning are reformed. These are the effects of one universal God, the invisible good dwelling in eternal Science” (p. 78).
As I heard my nearly 4-year-old granddaughter wrap her little hands around the phone, her question stumbled out. While she spoke, I looked up to where the treetops waved in the soft morning air.
I asked her to look out her window and see if the trees were moving where she was. She could see them, so I asked if she could see the wind before it moved the trees. She whispered, “No.” I explained that although she couldn’t see the wind, she could see the effect of the wind moving leaves on the trees. Once I knew she understood this, I reminded her that God is Spirit.
In the Christian Science Sunday School she is learning the seven synonyms for God that Christian Science teaches, which are gleaned from the Bible, and one of these names for God is Spirit. In the Bible we learn from the Gospel of John, “God is a Spirit“ (John 4:24). A definition of God can be found in the glossary of Science and Health, which reads, “The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence” (p. 587).
In a way that a young child could understand, I explained that although we can’t see Spirit, we can see the effect of Spirit, God, just as we see the effect of the wind as the breeze moves the leaves of the trees. The difference is that the breeze is very limited in where it can be, whereas Spirit is God, who is infinite and constantly present. Mrs. Eddy writes, “ ‘God is Spirit;’ and we can only learn and love Him through His spirit, which brings out the fruits of Spirit and extinguishes forever the works of darkness by His marvellous light” (“Rudimental Divine Science,” p. 4). We see the effect of the presence and power of Spirit in the healings of sickness, injury, financial difficulties, and more, as well as the spiritual regeneration people experience, through prayer in Christian Science.
I asked my granddaughter if she was happy. Once she answered, “Yes,” it was easy to explain that joy was also the effect of Spirit, God. We are happy as we understand and trust God. In the Bible we read that Paul, a later disciple of Christ Jesus, preached, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23). These are simple ways even the youngest spiritual thinkers learn how to “see” God.
After we hung up, I mentally stayed engaged in this conversation. I prayed about each of the synonyms for God, and each one took on new meaning as I considered the effects of His presence. As we understand God to be divine Mind, and begin to recognize that we are His image and likeness, we are guided by the spiritual ideas that come from Mind, God. We confidently appreciate the presence of God as any given situation demands. Through our relation to God we are fully equipped by Him, who imparts to us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding we need. As we cherish this view of God more in our day, we will be ready to help others, and we will grow alongside those with whom we share; in my case, on this one Saturday, it was a child who offered a simple way to begin that sharing.