A gray whale mom and her baby of two months swam to the small boat we were in to see what was up with us. It was a transcendent moment of interspecies nonverbal communication. The mom watched as the baby whale put its head up right next to us, and we reached down to pet this enormous creature.
Baby rolled, cavorted, and scratched its back on the bottom of our boat while diving under it. Finally mom nudged the boat gently a couple of times and we separated, leaving those of us on the boat with the sense that we had experienced a profound moment.
There’s a wonderful and clarifying idea in the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible, which reveals that God created all and His creation is good – harmonious. The peaceful experience with the whales brought to thought something written in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, which expands on this idea: “All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible” (p. 514).
That’s a pretty radical way to think about the world around us. It urges us to go beyond the surface, to see “creatures” as more than physical animals – as fundamentally spiritual and peaceful creations of divine Spirit. And as Spirit’s creation includes us, too, it’s natural for interactions between us and our world to be harmonious and free from senseless ferocity.
There are positive implications to this deeper understanding of the true nature of God’s creation, to a fuller sense of the supreme governance of God, of good. For instance, it lessens fear of attacks, bites, or stings and even brings healing and safety.
When the biblical king Darius cast a man named Daniel into a lions’ den, Daniel was protected through his trust in God. To the king’s amazement, Daniel was unharmed, illustrating the dominion of spiritual strength over viciousness (see Daniel 6:16-23). The Apostle Paul was bitten by a poisonous viper and remained completely free from any aftereffects (see Acts 28:3-5).
Science and Health explains, “Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions’ den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless” (p. 514). Still today we can find healing through a willingness to acknowledge divine Love’s, God’s, absolute power to govern its creation harmoniously.
Some years ago, the day before a long horseback riding activity, I was kicked by a horse, and my thumb was broken. I immediately began praying, having seen the effectiveness of such an approach many times before.
I felt no anger toward the horse. I recognized that his intention had not been to harm me but simply to catch up to his buddies. And thinking about the “harmless, useful, indestructible” nature of the horse as God’s creation, I glimpsed something of what Daniel and Paul must have known about the lions and the viper: that a creature of God couldn’t truly harm me. Because we are God-created, truly spiritual in nature, we live in God’s loving care, safe and secure. Despite the pain and disjointed appearance of my finger, I felt I could hold to the understanding that harmony and wholeness were my spiritual reality, because that’s how God governs – and that this realization in my thought would result in healing my thumb.
Throughout that all-day ride, I kept this in mind. Praying from this basis – acknowledging, celebrating, and affirming the power of God, of good – I felt free from fear about my thumb or my ability to finish the ride, and by the end of the day my thumb was completely back to normal.
A favorite prayer of mine is the Lord’s Prayer, articulated by Christ Jesus, which states in part, “For thine is the kingdom …” (Matthew 6:13). To me this means that creation is always in God’s hands. This is where we and all creation actually dwell in harmony with each other – in God’s kingdom, under His peaceful control.
It is possible to witness evidence of this spiritual reality, as I did on that horseback ride and as the group did with the gray whales. As we separated from those magnificent creatures that day, another woman in the boat whispered a perfect refrain into the warm salt air: “Vaya con Dios” (“Go with God”). This embodies the holy feeling I had felt we experienced and, to me, points to the spiritual unity of all God’s creation, existing together in God’s harmony.