“Women’s History Month in March recognizes the contributions of women to events in history and their influence on contemporary society. The theme for this year is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. Mary Baker Eddy has earned her place in this shining constellation of many stars. Science and Health is acknowledged by the Women’s National Book Association as one of the 75 books by women whose words have changed the world.”
18th Mar 2014
by Virginia Harris, C.S.B.
Recent scholarship on how Americans think about the Divine is very revealing as there appear to be four distinct ‘definitions’ of God among believers. But even more surprising to the researchers is how these deeply-held definitions dramatically influence the way individuals think about and act on social and moral issues in society today.
Since 80% of Americans have no doubt that God exists (PEW Research 2012), getting a better understanding of the Divine influence on one’s individual thinking is pretty critical to the wellbeing of society as a whole.
In “America’s Four Gods: What We Say About God and What That Says About Us” the authors describe four types:
- The Authoritative God—who is both engaged in the world and judgmental;
- The Benevolent God—who loves and helps us in spite of our failings;
- The Critical God—who catalogs our sins but does not punish them (at least not in this life);
- The Distant God—who stands apart from the world He created.
The attributes of these four definitions are rooted in many of the Abrahamic-based religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What is interesting to me is that the basic premise of each is how God negotiates the material world (and us) and the assumed evil in it.
“God is…infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love…omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Being…The attributes of God are justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on.”
She also adds,
“…we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity.
In fact, the entire book is revolutionary in how it describes who God is, who we are, and who we are in our forever and tender relationship with God. Having this understanding fosters healing – physically, morally, spiritually.
Eddy recognized what future scholars and authors would come to see, that what you believe about God tangibly influences your daily life. She courageously challenged thinkers of her time – and our time – to accept a wholly different view of God as,
- Authority of Life – the Creator and consistent preserver of the all and only life that is spirit not matter, and has dominion over the material;
- Unconditional Love – the Merciful, who guides and guards with the sole purpose of goodness, never evil, and embraces all of humanity;
- All-knowing Wisdom – who is always just and never judgmental, because all God knows is what She creates, and all She creates is good, orderly, supremely logical;
- All-present, Ever-active, All-powerful One – the very atmosphere of Spirit, allowing for no other atmosphere, the only operating and never passive influence in which we live and have our true being.
Eddy’s premise is that the more one knows the truth about God – she calls Her ‘Adorable One’ – the better one lives as love, and therefore the better one is able to help family, friends, and community. This is the purpose and meaning of a divinely-oriented life. What a contribution this woman has made to humanity!
In describing how to think and act each day, Eddy states:
“Jesus urged the commandment, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal, thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, – even God, good.”
Knowing this, living this, is your unique contribution to humanity.
Women’s History Month in March recognizes the contributions of women to events in history and their influence on contemporary society. The theme for this year is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. Mary Baker Eddy has earned her place in this shining constellation of many stars. Science and Health is acknowledged by the Women’s National Book Association as one of the 75 books by women whose words have changed the world.
How are you contributing to your world today? Ask yourself, ‘What is influencing me? Am I knowing more about who God is and Her qualities and who I am as Her creation? Am I better expressing these qualities in how I think and act?’ Each day, consider a new attribute or quality of God – then embrace it for yourself and live it for others! It is the purpose and light of your life.
“Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” (Job 22:21)