How did the universe start?
How did life begin?
What is consciousness?
These are among the questions that a report in The Wall Street Journal suggested "we may never answer" ("Unsolved mysteries," Jan. 1, 2000). Even though some scientists characterize the centuries ahead as the "age of discovery," many also believe that, despite all the forward steps in science and technology, some mysteries may never be solved.
One other vital question has been raised that ought to be considered carefully, because our response to this question reveals which direction our own quest for answers to all others will take.
Posing this question over a century ago was the scientific thinker, religious leader, and author of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy. She invited thinkers to grapple with the following premise, and the question that follows, just as she had done: "One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind. Which one is it?" (pg. 270) Our answer to this question determines the direction of our search for truth in every area of human experience.
Mrs. Eddy had set the stage for asking it by drawing attention to a sweeping change she saw taking place in humanity's concept of being: the age-old conviction that the foundation of all life and intelligence lies within matter was - and still is - giving way to the idea of a metaphysical basis of being. Eddy recognized that people were catching a glimpse of what it means for every one of us to be the image of God, the spiritual idea of divine Mind.
We see examples today of society's awakening to this concept in the widespread interest in spirituality, in prayer, in family values, and in how much more openly people are talking about the healing and transforming influence that God has on their lives. Each instance of this newfound interest in God and spirituality takes on greater significance when seen in the context of the revolutionary change of thinking noted in Science and Health. It says, for instance, "Belief in a material basis, from which may be deduced all rationality, is slowly yielding to the idea of a metaphysical basis, looking away from matter to Mind as the cause of every effect" (pg. 268).
The author not only noted a radical shift in people's concept of being, however; she helped move it forward. And today, those who have begun to wrestle with the issue of what the true basis of being is, those who pray, those who are exploring and applying metaphysical concepts, are finding practical answers. They're experiencing the effects of spiritual understanding. For these thinkers and spiritual seekers, many of life's mysteries are being addressed and resolved. They are learning of the divine Principle of harmony and experiencing more health and wholeness. They are improving their capacities, strengthening their relationships, making important contributions to humanity's progress.
Spiritual understanding answers humanity's deepest questions about existence, about God, about ourselves, the universe, consciousness, intelligence, peace, every aspect of life. Perhaps the greatest eye-opener is realizing that the universe of divine Mind and its spiritual ideas is what's real and substantial. The sense of living in matter is not the reality it seems.
The years and centuries to come can indeed be an age of discovery, enormous discovery, and everyone can participate. The prayers and spiritual study of each of us will increasingly turn our thoughts to God, the divine Mind, and reveal a universe that is governed by supreme intelligence and love; one that operates harmoniously under spiritual law; one that is filled with life, goodness, health, freedom, for all.
Behold, I will do
a new thing; now
it shall spring forth;
shall ye not know it?
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society