OURS is often considered an age of uncertainty. Questions about individual identity and purpose remain, even though much of the world has been explained in terms of material processes. Thoughtful observers have come to recognize the limits inherent in even the most precise expressions of unaided human reason; these could be compared to a pioneer who cuts larger and larger clearings in a forest to gain security, but still sees wild beasts lurking in the surrounding darkness.
Many have sought in the Bible a higher, spiritual certainty of their place in the scheme of things, and they have been able to echo with conviction the words of the Psalmist, ''Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.'' n1 But in these uncertain times some find the Bible's meaning itself obscure. Can the Scriptures, written when the world was viewed so differently, speak to us authoritatively today?
n1 Psalms 119:105.
If we really were that creature described by psychologists as a bundle of conscious and unconscious drives, by biologists as self-perpetuating genes, and by astronomers as inhabitants of a tiny planet in space, the Bible could surely seem incomprehensible. But instead of interpreting the Bible in light of our contemporary world view, why not look at ourselves and the universe in light of the Bible?
Our very desire to understand the meaning of our lives is far more than a human longing strangely out of place in a world of indifferent matter. When honestly pursued, this desire can lead us to discover a selfhood quite different from our ordinary self-concept: a spiritual identity inseverable from God, from the creative Principle of the universe. We can discern our actual nature to be the very image of God-which is how man is described in the first chapter of Genesis.Of course, we know this because we read it in the Bible. But, more basically, we read it in the Bible because this spiritual reality has been perceived through the ages, and carries with it the absolute authority of Truth, of God Himself. Paul pointed to the truth of man-which we all, sooner or later, will prove in full-when he declared, ''As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.'' n2
n2 Corinthians 15:49.
Although we may approach the Bible with habits of thought common to our time, the light of Truth will still find us if we want the truth more than we want to keep our preconceptions.Paul's initial hostile attitude toward Christianity did not prevent the light of Christ from overtaking him on the road to Damascus (see Acts, chap. 9). Neither can today's conventional logic, which tends to regard things of the spirit as objects of either blind belief or skeptical disbelief, indefinitely hide the actual Word of God. When we humbly search, we find the Bible's light, because in our true selfhood, we're inseparable from spiritual light.
And as the Bible unfolds to us the spiritual structure of creation, the belief of life in matter-which may seem so solid and convincing-diminishes. Spiritually interpreting Genesis 1, verse 2, Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, ''Divine Science, the Word of God, saith to the darkness upon the face of error, 'God is All-in-all,' and the light of ever-present Love illumines the universe.'' n4
n3 The Discoverer and founder of Christian Science
n4 Scoemce and Health with key to scriptures, p. 503.
We need not gaze anxiously into the shadows of a material world; the Bible reveals to us our established place in a universe of light. It brings us certainty today. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4