The Atmosphere of Spirit

         Humanity stumbles along, grumbling at the weather, studying the sky and the barometer for some prospect of improvement, never dreaming that there is any connection between the condition of the atmosphere and the condition of human thought, that the purification of the human thought, or what Paul calls "the carnal mind," would result in a clearer atmosphere, with a lessening of the extremes of heat and cold. But Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, saw this great truth and dared to express it, when she wrote in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 374): "Above the fogs of sense and storms of passion, Christian Science and its art will rise triumphant; ignorance, envy, and hatred — earth's harmless thunder — pluck not their heaven-born wings. Angels, with overtures, hold charge over both, and announce their Principle and idea." And in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 106) she says: "Human mentality, expressed in disease, sin, and death, in tempest and in flood, the divine Mind calms and limits with a word."

         Many students of Christian Science have had the experience of the weather seeming to reflect their own state of thought; or have found that a true prayer, the realization of the presence and power of God, has changed adverse conditions, dispelling a fog, or stilling a storm. So, if all men realized that the heaviness and darkness of which they complain are but results of their own confused and dismal thoughts, they would learn to control these thoughts with spiritual understanding, to lift them to God, divine Principle, and would find themselves living in a clearer, cleaner world. In the chapter on Genesis in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy shows how sin and sorrow appear in the second account of creation after "there went up a mist from the earth." It was after this that Adam was made from the dust of the ground, from the same earth that produced the mist; later he falls into a deep sleep and dreams of the creation of a woman, of their temptation, sin, and consequent suffering; but there is no account of his ever waking from the dream. Yet throughout the Bible rings the call to "Awake"! "Shake thyself from the dust"! and even death itself, "the last enemy that shall be destroyed," is often spoken of as a sleep.

         There is nothing about dust or mist or sleep in the spiritual account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis. Instead there is an increasing sense of light, life, and activity. Man is made in the image and likeness of God, Spirit, and given dominion over all the earth. Jesus expressed this dominion by walking on the water and stilling the storm, and yet mortals have so little understood man's divine right, that they have thought they were at the mercy of the elements, of every change of weather, and so have lived in constant fear. Before they can control outward effects, however, they must gain some inward control over "the fogs of sense and storms of passion;" they must rise above the appeals of the senses and their confusing and contradictory evidence, into a clearer perception of spiritual demands, and learn to quell the storms of anger and passion in their own hearts. As they do this they will attain a freedom and calm that will be noticeable by those with whom they come in contact, that will affect difficult and trying circumstances and conditions, and this sense of harmony will surely grow and increase till the whole earth feels the power and dominion of good.

         Men have become so used to thinking of the earth geographically that they find it difficult to understand that the conditions out at sea, or in some unexplored jungle, or trackless desert, have anything to do with the general beliefs and thoughts of humanity. Yet thoughts are not affected by distance. It is just as easy to think of, or to pray for, some one on the other side of the world, as for some one in the same room. It is the universal belief in the reality and power of evil, of change, and extremes, that causes these evil conditions to seem universal. Whether men journey across trackless wastes of sea or land, amidst barrenness or beauty, they carry with them the fear of danger and harm, and so are likely to meet them in storms, or fogs, or intense heat or cold. If instead, they would carry with them the knowledge that God is the only presence and power, the knowledge that David expressed in the one hundred and thirty-ninth psalm, they would be immune from danger, they would find that the dispelling, both of storms and fogs, lay in a correct knowledge of divine Principle, and so would learn that extremes of heat or cold are only products of the ignorant human mind. These conditions, therefore, would no longer cause fear, and so would be less in thought, and would finally disappear with the disappearance of other mortal beliefs, sin, disease, and death; and a new heaven and earth would be attained.

         There were no fogs, or storms, or even darkness in John's vision of the holy city. In his description of this heavenly dwelling place he uses symbols that express only purity, transparency, reflection, and light. Like Isaiah, he saw the everlasting glory of God for the sun, and "there shall be no night there." Where there is perpetual sunshine there is no cold, nor should there be too much heat; for the promise is, "Neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat;" so in the holy city there are no extremes, no suffering of any kind. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." Mankind would no longer believe man to be a material creature with physical wants to be supplied through toil and labor, but would know him as a spiritual idea of God, "for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters."

         In the Glossary of Science and Health (p. 590) we find this definition: "LAMB OF GOD. The spiritual idea of Love; self-immolation; innocence and purity; sacrifice." In the vision of the holy city the fogs of sense have disappeared before innocence and purity, and the everlasting light and glory of God; the storms of passion before self-immolation and sacrifice, the spiritual idea of Love which entirely satisfies. "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness," sang the psalmist. In the holy city, the kingdom of heaven, the dream of Adam no longer exists, for man is and has been forever awake, rejoicing in the life and light of the creation of God.


"The Atmosphere of Spirit"
The Christian Science Monitor, November 3, 1919

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