IN many ways, there still seems to be plenty of darkness around. In fact, we might sometimes be tempted to add all the darkness up. Why all the famine, war, new disease, political disregard for truth and honesty, stupid materialism rampant? Why all the darkness? From the standpoint of Christian Science, there is something seriously wrong with the question. It's not wrong to probe, to inquire, but so long as we persist in holding on to this particular question in this form, we find it difficult to have mu ch light or progress.
If there could actually be an answer to "Why all that darkness? we wouldn't be satisfied, because it would simply confirm the "reality of what we know in our hearts must be profoundly unright and unreal. It would appear to make evil real; and God, who is infinite good, unreal. We need to start with light rather than darkness. We know where starting with darkness leads. It leads to more darkness and despair, not to constructive action. So why not try beginning with the counter question, Why light? Why is there anything in the world that seems so beautiful and meaningful and good? The question leads in a more productive direction. But it leads to something far more than that; it leads to God.
To find God and have His answer, we need to know where He is and what He really is. God, Spirit, is omnipresent and He is everywhere. That's our starting point in order to know Him, no matter how great the darkness of society or of our own lives may appear to be. The Bible includes that kind of wisdom and instruction. The Psalmist, for example, reminds himself, "My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comments, "Darkness and doubt encompass thought, so long as it bases creation on materiality (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures). In the Science of Christianity there is an alternative. Christian Science shows that creation is not to be assumed to be material in the first place, and so in the second place we are not mere mortals trying to wriggle free of this dark, material creation. There is in fact no such creation. God, Spir it, has created man spiritual, in His image and likeness. The real starting point is Spirit, God--His allness and holiness, His infinite light. Beginning there, with the truth of God and man in His image which Christ Jesus showed humanity, we can find freedom from the oppressing darkness.
The human mind, which bases its view of life on matter and its endless aspects of mortality, is named by Christian Science mortal mind. This so-called mind simply cannot conceive of the omnipotence of God, cannot see that Spirit, which seems so thin and intangible to it, actually has all the wisdom, power, and substance. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy gives a benchmark for progress out of this quandary: "As a material, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misapprehension of existence, the spiritual a nd divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it to 'where the young child was,even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light, chasing away the darkness of error.
This birth of the new-old idea is the coming of the Christ, or true idea of God, to our understanding. Because God is light, and the light of God's goodness and perfection in fact fills the universe, darkness is an imagined opposite. It is something mortal mind supposes until spiritual understanding dawns.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the January 6 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.