YOU may have noticed some recent news stories about depletion of the ozone layer. Several miles up, in the stratosphere, there's a protective layer of ozone that acts as a shield, blocking the ultraviolet rays of the sun -- rays which it is said can cause serious harm. But there is concern that this protective layer of ozone is disappearing, at least in part as a result of man-made chemicals. Much has already been done to cut back on the production and use of those chemicals -- chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, as they are called. And other steps can certainly be taken.
The situation, then, could be summed up this way: There is the sun, which is both beneficial and harmful, and the shield, which is both necessary and disappearing. Contrast that with a passage in Psalms which, while obviously not written about the ozone issue, offers a spiritual perspective. It reads, ``The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.''1
Environmental issues like this one sometimes force us to look beyond mundane considerations to understand more about our creator. They impel us to learn about our relationship to God and to see more clearly that He is a reliable source of safety. Think for a moment what it means that God, the one source of good, is both sun and shield. God includes and imparts that which is life-giving and vitalizing, that which we usually associate with the sun. And God also includes and imparts protection and safety, which we usually associate with a shield.
It is the very nature of God, the one divine Principle, the primal cause of the universe, to care for all His creation, for everything that He has made. God maintains what He makes. He holds His creation in a state of perfection, subject to neither excess nor lack. It is a good creation, a whole creation, an entirely spiritual creation, expressing the nature of God. Therefore, it is a creation that is not in a state of conflict with itself. One portion of His creation would not be capable of damaging or destroying another portion of it. Nor could any aspect of His universe deteriorate.
God cares for His children, for each one of us. Each is the offspring of the one God, who imparts life and preserves it.
The Bible makes plain the nature of God as Love. It clearly points to the true nature of man as not a sinful, vulnerable mortal but the immortal, blessed child of His care. In its very first chapter the Bible indicates the relationship of God and man and the perfect harmony throughout His creation.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, wrote its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It's a book that among other things looks back at Biblical examples of deliverance from harm, including environmental harm. It explores the underlying spiritual facts for such deliverance. And the book looks forward to present and future ages, showing how the same underlying spiritual facts can be applied today. One passage reads, ``The divine Love, which made harmless the poisonous viper, which delivered men from the boiling oil, from the fiery furnace, from the jaws of the lion, can heal the sick in every age and triumph over sin and death.''2
A prayerful realization of God's nature and care for man, and for all creation, really does make a decisive difference on the human scene. Such prayer can even undergird and stimulate intelligent discussion and action on what to do about the ozone layer or the CFCs that are said to be depleting that layer. Prayer, filled with an understanding of the God who is both Principle and Love, both sun and shield, and filled with recognition of man's relationship to Him, transforms our lives. It can open a window in thought to perceive better the kind of creative and innovative thinking needed for solutions to this challenge. And most important, it can help all of us see more of man's actual, indestructible nature and of his safety in God's care.
1Psalms 84:11. 2Science and Health, p. 243.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25