God is not in the earthquake

by Bruce Fitzwater, From the October 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Humanity has long been victimized by erratic natural forces, acts of God, as they are commonly called. Is this always to be? Not if we are willing to address the challenge through divine Science, beginning with the insight revealed to Elijah about the divine Ego.

 

The Bible relates that Elijah, fleeing death from an enraged Queen Jezebel, ascended Mount Horeb seeking consolation from his God. There, an awesome spectacle of violent physical forces paraded before him. First a powerful rock-smashing wind, then an earthquake, and finally, fire. But Elijah realized “the Lord was not in the earthquake,” and neither in the wind nor fire. At last, Elijah heard and received God’s ministering love through “a still small voice” (I Kings 19:11, 12).

 

During Elijah’s time, people believed God to be at times a fearsome personality, and this misconception of God’s nature is still broadly held today. Elijah’s experience, however, definitively revealed that God’s nature is not manifested in destructive natural forces.

 

If God is not “in” the earthquake, what then is? Natural disasters are an element of what Mary Baker Eddy terms mortal mind,” “error creating other errors” (Science and Health, p. 591). More specifically, disasters arise from mistaking selfhood in God and man as being both good and evil, and often controlled by the latter. Referring to those believing this concept in Jesus’ day, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “This evil ego they believed must extend throughout the universe, as being equally identical and self-conscious with God. This ego was in the earthquake, thunderbolt, and tempest” (Unity of Good, p. 46).

 

One may wonder how simply believing in an evil ego, whether in God or man, can so adversely affect humanity. Fear is the culprit. To believe in evil is to fear evil. To believe the Almighty may erratically send disasters is to dwell in a fear that diminishes and distorts humanity’s natural awareness of God as truly loving. This misunderstanding of God’s nature subjects humanity to tyrannical fears of disaster—and to disaster itself.

 

If natural disasters are correlated in human experience with a false sense of ego in God and man, is humanity to continue to suffer this mental menace? No. In this concern—as in all life issues—our Saviour is Christ. Jesus, speaking of true, spiritual selfhood, declared, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). He lived this unity with God in his teachings and demonstrations of the reality of good overturning evil. Further, Jesus invited all to recognize not only their own oneness with God, but also the oneness of all of God’s children with Him, the one Ego. Oneness here clearly does not mean sameness; rather, it’s the lived recognition that the existence and continuity of God-created individuality remain in the divine Father-Mother.

 

Understanding that all true identity and creation stand safely on the permanency of one divine Ego, which reflects only divine goodness, is much more than a mere metaphysical insight. With this standpoint that all creation is the expression of one all-good Ego, we’re given the means to ameliorate, and even prevent, catastrophes. The healing of earthquake, hurricane, fire, and other so-called “natural” disasters begins with rejecting the error that one’s being can be separate from God.

 

The tragic delusion of fearing evil cannot go on forever. Why? Because this falsity, like all error, is destroyed as truth appears. We see this illustrated in Elijah’s experience. His fear of Jezebel brought deep despair, so he turned more wholeheartedly to God for direction and was led to Mount Horeb, where God lovingly revealed life-sustaining insight. Seen from another perspective, the fear inflicted upon Elijah actually advanced its own destruction through his seeking greater intimacy with God. Suffering is neither sent by God nor of God, but humanity’s mistaken beliefs and fears become their own scourge, which urges humanity to break out of its delusion and recognize God’s love and a clearer understanding of being.

 

Divine Science is, indeed, our only real means of ultimately preventing disasters. Elijah’s intimacy with God through the “still small voice” foreshadows Jesus’ life of oneness with the divine Father-Mother. By this Science we are led, through advancing demonstrations of God’s goodness, up our own Mount Horeb, symbolically the mount of revelation. Science reveals to each of us the natural self-destruction of destruction through the divine order that governs all. Secure in the safety of communion with God, we too, like the awakened Elijah, gratefully know the one all-good, divine Ego and God’s wondrous, diverse, harmonious creation.

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