Thursday, August 23, 2007

Q: There is no "in"

This comment came in response to the "If something is real, its opposite is not. Pick one" entry from August 9.

I sometimes wonder how Mrs. Eddy concluded Spirit to be omnipresent, yet not be in It’s reflection. Have I missed a turn somewhere in her logic? I would think all reflection to be the animation of Spirit.

Fascinating! This led me to do a quick search on the term "not in" in Science and Health. (If you're doing this in the Concord computer program, you need to put quote marks around the exact phrase in the search box. Otherwise you'll get a huge list of every citation that does not have the word "in" in it.)

After reading through and contemplating the search results on "not in," it seems to me that Mary Baker Eddy is being firm on the point that Spirit is not in matter. Spirit cannot be contained within something finite. This refutes the common theological view that Spirit somehow inhabits material forms as a way to express itself or to enact the divine will.

Here are some of the passages I found this morning (there were 50 total), along with my customary comment or two.

The identity, or idea, of all reality continues forever; but Spirit, or the divine Principle of all, is not in Spirit's formations. Soul is synonymous with Spirit, God, the creative, governing, infinite Principle outside of finite form, which forms only reflect. p. 71:5

The forms that we see and feel all around us are not created or inhabited by Spirit. They are the outward manifestations of our own limited concept of reality. For this reason, they are malleable, subjective. You know how people sometimes say that misfortunes are God's will and therefore we should accept them? By understanding that Spirit is never in matter, you can instead fight misfortune as not in line with the divine will, and by changing your own concept, you can change the outward manifestation. This is therefore a vital point to understand for healing.

Along these lines, check out what MBE has to say here:

Science reveals Spirit, Soul, as not in the body, and God as not in man but as reflected by man. The greater cannot be in the lesser. The belief that the greater can be in the lesser is an error that works ill. This is a leading point in the Science of Soul, that Principle is not in its idea. Spirit, Soul, is not confined in man, and is never in matter. p. 467:17-23

Here's a place where she explores the mirror metaphor:

Spirit is God, Soul; therefore Soul is not in matter. If Spirit were in matter, God would have no representative, and matter would be identical with God. The theory that soul, spirit, intelligence, inhabits matter is taught by the schools. This theory is unscientific. The universe reflects and expresses the divine substance or Mind; therefore God is seen only in the spiritual universe and spiritual man, as the sun is seen in the ray of light which goes out from it. God is revealed only in that which reflects Life, Truth, Love, — yea, which manifests God's attributes and power, even as the human likeness thrown upon the mirror, repeats the color, form, and action of the person in front of the mirror. p. 300:23

The mirror, of course, is the metaphor for reflection. Our reflection in the mirror has no substance of its own, and we are not in the reflection even though it is an exact likeness of us. Likewise, God's reflection (you and me) does not contain bits and pieces of Him, even though it (us) is the exact image and likeness of His being. God is not fragmented into a material or physical creation. He exists whole, perfect, in the spiritual universe, and it is spiritual man who is the reflection.

This next passage explains this point further:

A picture in the camera or a face reflected in the mirror is not the original, though resembling it. Man, in the likeness of his Maker, reflects the central light of being, the invisible God. As there is no corporeality in the mirrored form, which is but a reflection, so man, like all things real, reflects God, his divine Principle, not in a mortal body. p. 305:5

I bring up these points to lay the foundation of what MBE has said about the "in" concept. Now, to the original comment.

To my mind, "in" is only a concept that we need when we're thinking in material, spacial terms. Where there is no space, no three (or more) dimensions to define existence, there is no "in."

Trippy, eh? In the same way that you can have more than one idea in your thought at the same time, the spiritual universe can contain all that is itself in no space and all space. In spiritual reality, there is no "in," because there can be no "out." All is one.

Right now, we are as "in" it as we've ever been, and will ever be. It is only the illusion of materiality that keeps us from seeing in these terms.


Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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3 Comments:

At 8/23/2007 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

When discussing this concept in class, we were told to consider the mirror in which we looked at outselves. The reflection was perfect, never distorted..but the mirror may be distorted. So if we are looking into matter for reflection, we see a distorted picture whereas when we look into Spirit, all is perfect and clear. This was helpful in understanding how important one's standpoint is.

We do reflect good, and it is seen in our "human" lives in the way we think and behave towards others. I am part of God, He/She is not partitioned... or limited to me or you or time or place.

 
At 8/25/2007 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laura,

You surprised me by devoting a blog to passages from the S&H book, plus your comments, dealing with the seemingly ambiguous concept of God being everywhere present (omnipresent), yet not being in It’s reflection. This to me was like saying God is everywhere present, with the exclusion of everywhere. Thank you. I agree, Man, being God’s likeness, can come up with his own subjective translation of reality – call it his own reflection - and God may not be present here.

I’ve printed out all of what you wrote so I can keep it handy as I ponder more fully God’s reflection in the coming days.

In S&H, pg. 336, XXII, the words “reflection” and “emanation” seem to have synonymous usages. I can relate to the concept of God’s emanation better than I can that of God’s reflection, even if they are the same. Reflection can sound so far away at times, like the moon’s image reflecting in the lake thousands of miles below. But emanation sounds to me like something close at hand, like, say, even emanating from within our own thoughts.

I think some words of Jesus should be included in any pondering of this word “in” in regard to God’s Spirit. Look at John 14:10, for example, where Jesus says to his followers, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Should Jesus have said, “The Father who dwells OUTSIDE of me does his works”? This doesn’t sound right. Note that Jesus didn’t say he was the Father – “I do not speak on my own authority” - although he was “one” with the Father (John 10:30 reads, “I and the Father are one”).

Jesus also said, speaking prophetically in a portion of his long prayer to his Father just prior to his crucifixion, “The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me” (John 17:22-23). It is hard to conceive here that the word “in” is being used erroneously, instead of using the word “outside.”

Perhaps your “trippy” comment regarding using the word “in” as it might apply – or not apply – to spiritual life can be useful. You said, “In spiritual reality, there is no ‘in,’ because there can be no ‘out.’ All is one.” Original thinking!

I think, incidentally, maybe Mrs. Eddy’s desire to distance herself from being labeled as a pantheist may have caused her to include words such as “absorbed” and “confined” when talking about Mind not dwelling in man. Otherwise I can’t figure why she would even bring the words up.

 
At 8/27/2007 08:37:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things.... I think some of the things to consider about reflection are that you cannot have a reflection without an original, and you cannot have a reflection with no connection to the original. There is no separation between reflection and original, they are inextricably linked, they coexist.
And I find it helpful to think of rays of light as being a metaphor for Spirit's emanations. If you have a room that is lit up with sunlight, where is the sunlight? Is it IN the room? If you close the curtains, do you still have a room full of sunlight? The sunlight is a manifestation of the sun and this sense if is not IN the room, although it is expressed in the room.
I think this helps to explain how Spirit and its manifestations are in and of Spirit, inherent in Spirit and not "in" anything else.
Don't know if this helps.
Amanda

 

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