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Extract from
God Incorporeal
GEN. ERASTUS N. BATES, CSD


         . . . Christian Science strongly maintains that “God is incorporeal." If God is God, He must be uncreated, self-existent. Our deepest intuitions demand this, and will be satisfied with nothing less. If He was created, and not self-existent, there must have been a Creator before Him. He must be the only Creator, else He could not be supreme, as He must be, to be God. We could not give our love, and homage, and worship, to anything less. Matter creates nothing. Mind is the only Creator. Mind is immaterial. It cannot be confined, or limited by time, or space, it cannot be put into form, or shape, any more than adhesion, or cohesion, can be.

         God, in order to be God, must be omnipotent. In order to be omnipotent, He must be omniscient, for if there was anything, anywhere, which He did not know, there must have been another power, another Creator, of which He knew nothing, and which He could not control.

         Not only must He be omnipotent, and omniscient, but He must also be omnipresent. If God is material, He must have a body, a material locality, and habitation. Limitations must apply to Him. He must be subject to change, decay, and death. He could not be omnipresent, unless indeed His body filled Infinite space, which is impossible. When in one part of the universe, His presence might be greatly needed in some other, remote place, in His dominion. If in distress and need of infinite aid, we sincerely, and earnestly, sought this aid in prayer, and no response came, how could we know where He was, or that He heard us? In such a case, the advice of Elijah to the four hundred prophets of Baal, would seem to be pertinent, and proper. He is and must be "a very present help in trouble."

         If there was any place, not larger than this room where He was not, He could not be God. Wherever there is a human being longing for Truth and Love, there must God be found. Were He excluded from some little nook, you my brother or you my sister, might be found pleading in vain, for help. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

         God, in order to be God, must be omnipotent. In order to be omnipotent, he must be omniscient, for if there was anything, anywhere, which he did not know, there must have been another power, another Creator, of which he knew nothing, and which he could not control. Not only must he be omnipotent, and omniscient, but he must also be omnipresent. If God is material, he must have a body, a material locality, and habitation. Limitations must apply to him. He must be subject to change, decay, and death. He could not be omnipresent, unless indeed his body filled Infinite space, which is impossible. When in one part of the universe, his presence might be greatly needed in some other, remote place, in his dominion. If in distress and need of infinite aid, we sincerely, and earnestly, sought this aid in prayer, and no response came, how could we know where he was, or that he heard us? In such a case, the advice of Elijah to the four hundred prophets of Baal, would seem to be pertinent, and proper. He is and must be "a very present help in trouble." If there was any place, not larger than this room where he was not, he could not be God. Wherever there is a human being longing for Truth and Love, there must God be found. Were he excluded from some little nook, you my brother or you my sister, might be found pleading in vain, for help. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." God in order to be God must be eternal. All of him, must be eternal. Materiality passes away and is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more forever. If God be material, we are without hope and without God in the world. The Bible says that God is a spirit; this passage, literally translated, would read Spirit is God, or Spirit is the God. We might just as well say God is God, as to say God is Spirit, unless we know what Spirit means. What then is Spirit? To us spirit may mean activity, power, energy. Pneuma, the word which we translate spirit, originally meant wind, air. At last, and with us, it has so lost its original signification that when we speak the word Spirit, we never think of its original meaning. It is easy for us to see how, in the mind of the Greeks, the word came to mean God. Wind, or air, has much which would call to the mind of the thoughtful Greek, his idea of God. As it moved in the whirlwind, or the tornado, with resistless force, the Almighty power of God came to his mind. Air could not be bottled up, nor confined, nor compressed into form, or shape. Neither could God. Air was their vital breath. They could not live without air. Thus wind became the reminder and expression of God, and at last, signified only God. God is Spirit, not materiality. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. So is every one which is born of the Spirit." "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."

         The Scripture says that life was in him, that life was the light of men. This can only mean, that it is divine intelligence, that lighteth every man which cometh into the world. So the life of every man, comes from God. Life is not man-made, it is immaterial. It is self-existent. It is Intelligence. It is Mind. It is God, and God is the only Life, the only Mind. In vain has mortal man labored long, and taxed his highest ingenuity, to discover the secret place of life. He has traced it, as he thought, in his research, from cell to cell, and as he supposed that he was just ready to solve the mystery, it has eluded his skill, and he was no wiser than before. Faithfully has he striven in his laboratory, by night, and by day, to originate, if but the smallest germ of life, but no germ has appeared.

         Nothing short of intelligent, infinite personality, could conceive of, much less, form and control the universe. Not all the mortal mind musicians that ever lived, combined into one, could have originated the principle of harmony. All the mathematicians of earth, could never have formed the law of mathematics.

         Principle is the Infinite, active, intelligence of the one Infinite personality. Principle is Love, Love all-embracing, all-inclusive, in which no child of the Father is unknown, and no child is forgotten, for God knows his own ideas.

  

Extract from "God Incorporeal" by Gen. Erastus N. Bates, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, November, 1893
 

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