That moment of wonder. It happened when the Archimedes Principle was discovered. When an apple purportedly fired Newton's imagination to define the laws of gravity. When it dawned on Einstein that E=mc2 (whatever that might mean to you or me). More recently, a lot of wonder has arisen over the mapping of the human genome.
Scientific breakthroughs tend to signify a crossing of thresholds in understanding how nature behaves and how to utilize technology for our comfort and well-being.
As a beneficiary of such breakthroughs, I'm glad there are people who keep exploring. As a beneficiary of spirituality, I'm even gladder there are other discoverers - ones who explore the nature of God and report their findings. These people make scientific breakthroughs, too, in moments when some new view of the supreme power becomes clearer.
One of these spiritual pioneers was Elijah. Like Archimedes' discovery, Elijah's came about as a result of daily work and even struggle. He was once in a spiritual funk, running for his life from people opposed to his beliefs, and despairing at the reckless behavior of his people. He even wanted to die in the wilderness. But something deep down revived him. He found his way to a cave, and that's where he had a breakthrough in understanding God - an insight that still stands today as a vital probe into the nature of good and evil. One that still serves as a practical model for prayer that heals.
Out there in the wilderness, after first looking at the destructive forces of the wind, of an earthquake, and of fire, Elijah discerned another force that ultimately outweighs all the destructive forces. It was the voice of God. "A still small voice" (I Kings 19:12).
This empowered him to look beyond his discouragement to the fact that there were several thousand of his fellow citizens who were faithful to God. His life wasn't over, as he had feared. Hearing God's voice had brought him hope and light. And he soon found another potential prophet, Elisha, whom he could mentor in understanding and applying the power of God.
Elijah's vision of a spiritual power that outweighs any physical force could certainly be classified as a scientific breakthrough - one of a series related in the Bible. These may be beyond the grasp of physical measurement or intellectual cataloging, but they do supply the practical proof, beyond theory, that any science demands.
Jesus was a master at applying God's power in practical, healing ways. His words still provide people with insights into the true nature of God, and when the spirit of these words comes through, they still heal people's sicknesses and loosen sin's hold on the human heart. They prove, at least to those benefited, the validity of all that Jesus said.
Like all scientific breakthroughs, the discovery that there was a provable principle behind the healings of Jesus only had to be made once. This discovery is what the Christian Science Monitor's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, set down in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." But the application of such a discovery by people who pray for healing goes on every day.
Like many other people, I have successfully prayed - applied the laws of God - when there was a need to cure an illness or heal an injury, to restore a broken relationship or get out of financial trouble. And I've experienced regeneration in my character as well.
In another book, Mrs. Eddy wrote this about prayer: "It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is" ("No and Yes," pg. 39).
Anybody who makes his or her own discoveries of God's nature and power is taking humanity across new thresholds of understanding the divine Spirit. Each such discovery is a "eureka of the heart." A meaningful scientific breakthrough.
You can read other articles like this one in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society