Standing on the little piece of Earth known as our backyard, my six-year-old child gazed up into the summer sky and wondered about the vast starry spectacle. ''How far away are the stars? How many are there? What is beyond all the stars?''
Aren't these the same questions astronomers and philosophers puzzle over in reasoning about the origin and nature of the universe? What created the universe? The ''big bang'' theory and others have been put forth. Yet any theory tends to leave us with the same perplexing question - ''but what was before that?m ''
One could hardly presume to tackle such an immense question in such a modest article! But I would like to share a spiritual insight on the subject, which I've found to be particularly helpful.
The very first sentence of the Bible relates to this subject: ''In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.''
Many years ago I read that for perhaps the hundredth time, all ready to say, ''OK, but what was before that?m '' when I found this explanation in Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy: n1 ''The infinite has no beginning. This word beginningm is employed to signify the onlym , - that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe. The creative Principle - Life, Truth, and Love - is God.'' Further along she continues: ''There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected.'' n2 This statement gently introduced me to the wonderful concept of an infinite spiritual universe with no beginnings and no endings, created by an infinite creative Principle.
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health, p. 502.
We seem so imbued with time/space/matter measurements that the idea of ''infinite'' seems at first foreign to our perceptions. I think my best concept of ''infinite'' used to come from imagining numbers in a row that just kept increasing on the horizon and never stopped increasing. But I'm letting go of that and getting a little glimpse that the spiritual concept of infinity, presented in Christian Science, doesn't mean endless calculation or number. It means incalculable; numberless; measureless; with no limit to it at all.m
Mental gymnastics? No; Christian Science is Science, and as such it affords the opportunity to apply a spiritual truth to a human situation.
At a certain point in my life I found myself swamped with responsibilities, and feeling that to accomplish work obligations and family tasks adequately would take some superhuman capability - which I felt far from expressing! I felt that all of it was pressing in on me - deadlines and needs that simply couldn't be put off without causing difficulty for others.
I started to pray - rather desperately at first. But as I turned to God, divine Mind, I began to feel calmer and calmer. I recalled that indeed Christ Jesus knew God's infinitude when he fed the five thousand with a few loaves and fishes; when he instructed Peter to let down his nets in the deep water, and Peter hauled in a great catch; when he passed through an angry mob untouched.
Humbly turning to man's infinite Principle, God, I reasoned that as His offspring I was governed entirely according to His divine, unlimited order. I was governed by the intelligence of the one Mind, and there could be no limitations inherent in me as God's, Mind's, idea. Recognizing that I was actually the reflection of infinite intelligence was a great help.
As a result, my thought changed, and all of my tasks became much easier, even quite joyful. Much was accomplished, and in a better way than I would have previously supposed possible.
I turn to God in this way quite often. It's getting to be a practice that I can't imagine doing without. The small glimpse I've gained so far of the infinitude of God and His creation is awesome to me. That the nature of spiritual creation will forever continue to unfold to man is cause for humble gratitude and deep joy. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. Pslams 147:5