Prayer and the "spiritual biosphere"

A Christian Science perspective.

Are you concerned about the material biosphere in which we live? Do you read of mountain glaciers and the Greenland icecap melting? How about coral reefs diminishing, animal species disappearing, and food production reduced by drought?

That the biosphere is diseased is pervasive in human consciousness. The driver of this disease is called climate change.

The book of Acts records Paul’s statement: “For in [God] we live, and move, and have our being” (17:28). Thus we are in God’s, Spirit’s, consciousness. The apostle was standing on Mars’ hill talking to Athenians. So he held this view despite the report of the material senses. You could say he was seeing the “spiritual biosphere.” Are the global disturbances that Earth is facing occurring in the spiritual biosphere? They can’t be, because they are imperfections. And Jesus characterized God, and His creation, as perfect.

Can prayer heal global-sized problems? In other words, can prayer make the spiritual biosphere a tangible reality to us? After all, which is real, the spiritual or the material biosphere? By studying Jesus’ healing works, we can glimpse his view of what is real. For example, he bluntly asserted that Jairus’s daughter was not dead, but sleeping, when those around her “knew” she was dead (see Luke 8:41-56). The mourners laughed at him. They saw only the material biosphere in which death and life coexist. But Jesus put out the mourners – in essence, the unbelieving thoughts – and proved the truth of his statement by awakening the girl, much to her parents’ astonishment.

Jesus said that whoever believes on him, which to me means whoever understands and lives out from his view of what is real, can make this truth visible for all to see, as he did. Affirming this reality is healing prayer. The fact that Jesus stilled the storm shows that such prayer is not confined to healing the body. It also shows that what was healed was not an objective condition, but something within human consciousness.

The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine Principle [God], before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. xi). Consequently, insistently living out from and holding to spiritual reality, as Jesus did, will make it manifest.

You may think, “Most of the 7 billion people on Earth are holding the diseased material biosphere in consciousness. What about that?” The reality of God is infinite. Next to this infinity, the beliefs of 7 billion are nothing. The Christ, the manifestation of God, comes in some way to each consciousness, to all life, and transforms it. Each individual will then live out from some understanding of reality. This enlightenment is (and will be) manifested in many practical ways, as has already happened with innovations such as trailer streamlining to improve truck fuel consumption, removal and sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, wind- and solar-produced electric power, and the conversion of seawater to Navy jet fuel.

These developments arise from the desire to do good. This also is prayer, as Mrs. Eddy wrote (see “Science and Health,” p. 1), whether individuals recognize it as such or not. And as Jesus pointed out, all good has only one source: God (see Luke 18:19). Thus the paths of these developments are part of a growing, world-wide healing whole.

This growth will continue. In fact, it must continue, because its opposite has no law to support it. The spiritual biosphere will be recognized as the real and will become increasingly visible. Climate change and its effects will begin to disappear. But the passage of time is not required for this: Jairus’s daughter’s true wholeness and life were revealed in an instant. 

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.