FORTUNETELLERS, astrologers, card and palm readers, are among those who claim to know the future through special ``occult''--or hidden--knowledge. What is it that tempts us to believe such claims? Perhaps the main reason people think that such ``hidden knowledge'' can help them is the belief that God is an unknown quantity who created us and then forgot that we exist, leaving us to make our own way in a mysterious universe.
Yet the Bible's message tells us that God is actually quite different from what occultism, which is shrouded in secrecy and illusions, would have us think. Paul, a follower of Christ Jesus, specifically described God as knowable and understandable. In a talk to the Athenians he said, ``As I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you'' (Acts 17:23).
The basis for Paul's statement was the life and example of Christ Jesus, which made clear that God is a loving Father, who is always with us. God is all-knowing divine Mind. And as His offspring, we are spiritual and perfect, loved and needed. Through turning to this infinite Mind in prayer, we can gain whatever understanding we need in order to face and overcome the challenges in our lives.
But you may ask, ``How can I come to know God?'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has written a whole book that tells all of us how we can learn to understand Him better. Even if you have never been religious, you will find much to ponder in her book, which is called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it, she explains unknown this way: ``That which spiritual sense alone comprehends, and which is unknown to the material senses.'' She continues, ``Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as 'the great unknowable;' but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near'' (p. 596).
So, to know God, we can't rely on the material senses--physical sight, hearing, smell, touch, and so forth--but must rely on spiritual sense, which is innate in our own being as God's much-loved spiritual idea, expressing intelligence, integrity, purity, peace, and love.
As this concept takes hold in our thoughts, our understanding of what Christ Jesus accomplished in revealing the true nature of God and man to humanity will also grow. We will find that the Bible is no longer just a book of inspirational ``stories,'' but an actual guide to knowing God and living in obedience to Him. In short, we will be relying more on the spiritual sense of life and intelligence than on the unreliable material senses. And this will help us know God ever more fully.
While our newfound knowledge of God may not lead us to duplicate Christ Jesus' great works, we will see practical evidence of God's love in our lives. Perhaps our first steps will be small--some simple need met through turning to God in prayer. Gradually we will find more and more reasons to trust Him to guide us.
Such spiritual understanding also changes us. We begin to perceive that God is all-loving, that it is natural for us, as His offspring, to express love and to resist hatred, jealousy, and other traits that would blind us to His presence. Such a change in thought also helps to free us from the apathy or mental lethargy that may come from feeling that life is a mystery and God unknowable. God, whom we know from the Bible and from Jesus' teachings, would never leave us helpless in the face of events. And our prayers are imbued with the vitality and certainty that come from our unchangeable closeness to God.
Such progress in knowing God may come slowly or quickly, depending on how willing we are to accept our spirituality and our relationship to God. But each of us can give up belief in the ``unknown'' world of the occult with its crystal balls and murky futures. Instead, we can walk in the shining light of ever-present divine Love, heading toward a future that holds only predictable good.