The High Oaks, Inc. Spring Meeting 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Report and Introduction by Nancy Miller Batty, Administrator
After our brief annual report, we’ll present our much anticipated opportunity to hear Dr. Laurance Doyle deliver a talk titled “There is no ‘outer’ space.”
Why is High Oaks featuring a talk which challenges our ideas about outer space? From his expert standing as a celebrated astrophysicist and drawing from his understanding as a life-long Christian Scientist, Dr. Doyle will expand our understanding of this topic, showing its profound and wide-ranging application to our work in Christian Science.
Looking away from the physical to the metaphysical is an essential part of our work at High Oaks. This year, as we’ve focused on monthly prayer topics, we’ve looked to the reality of a spiritual universe where there is no distance between divine Love and His ideas. We’ve seen many reassuring proofs of how the consciousness of ever-present God, Good, filling all space, affects the human experience, letting our perfection and completeness shine forth, and eliminating any sense of need.
We might even say we’ve been understanding a little more of Mrs. Eddy’s discovery. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“Unfathomable Mind is expressed! The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (Science and Health,p.520:3-5)
Prayerfully, with support and confidentiality, High Oaks provides financial assistance for individuals residing in 6 states which include the Christian Science nursing facilities of Lynn House is Alexandria, Virginia, Tenacre in Princeton, New Jersey, and High Ridge House in Riverdale, New York.
Requests for assistance include treatment from Christian Science practitioners, care at Christian Science nursing facilities as well as in the home by Christian Science nurses, Christian Science nurses training, tuition at Christian Science camps and necessities on a short-term basis. This year, High Oaks gave to several Christian Science organizations, as well as to several hurricane relief efforts to aid Christian Scientists living in Texas and Florida. We’re pleased to report that for 2017, High Oaks gave 317 grants totaling $304,995.
We express great gratitude for the continuing contributions and gifts in 2017 from our many friends of High Oaks. This year High Oaks’ work was acknowledged by substantial gifts from three churches for which we express sincere gratitude.
At the end of this past year, our financial statement showed a positive balance remaining after general expenses and benevolence grants. Our investments, overseen by the Finance Committee, cover all of the expenses and a significant portion of the benevolence grants. The market value of our investments benefited along with the rise in the stock market with very positive gains.
For all this good we are so grateful and thank you sincerely for support for our mission to make Christian Science care and healing possible for those who are in need and seeking it.
Now it’s my pleasure to introduce Dr. Laurance Doyle. Since 1987, Dr. Doyle has been a Principal Investigator with the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), exploring the fields of photometric detection of extrasolar planets, information theory applied to animal communications, and quantum physics.
He has been a visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, served as a Member of the NASA Kepler Mission Science Team, and currently teaches at Principia College where he is the founding Director of the Institute for the Metaphysics of Physics.
A life-long Christian Scientist, he has contributed to the Christian Science Sentinel and The Christian Science Journal and given numerous talks throughout the field.
There is No “Outer” Space”
By Laurance Doyle
A Talk for the High Oaks Spring Meeting 2018
There are various models of the universe, and a popular current one is that the universe is mostly – almost entirely – made of dead matter. If matter gets complicated enough, then there can occur small pockets of organic life – that somehow dead matter can change its basic characteristic and somehow become its opposite, life. In this model we look through an almost entirely dead universe for evidence of life, and we often constrain this search for life to a search for water or organic molecules, or other representatives of organic biology. The Native Americans have a saying, “The white man is crazy; he thinks everything is dead!” They have a different model. Mrs. Eddy wrote of them, “Man is the expression of Soul. The Indians caught some glimpses of the underlying reality, when they called a certain beautiful lake ‘the smile of the Great Spirit’.” (Science and Health, p. 477: 26-29). (This is Lake Winnipesaukee.) The Native Americans were, of course, not saying that the Great Spirit is in the lake, but that the lake – seen spiritually – expresses the spiritual qualities of the Great Spirit.
The Native American view of the Great Spirit expressing Him/Herself in the spiritual nature of beauty is closer to the Christian Science view of the universe. To the Christian Scientist, looking for organic molecules to find life is a bit like looking for chalk or pencils in the universe to discover mathematics. The mathematics is not in the chalk, and we do not believe that life is in organic molecules. How many people here think of organic molecules are sacred? [Raise hands]. OK, now how many people here think that life is sacred? [Raise hands]. If you voted “no” to the first question and “yes” to the second question, then you clearly do not believe that organic molecules are life, for if one is sacred and the other is not, then they are not the same!
The Christian Science model of the universe, as far as I understand it, is that the whole universe is alive, as an expression of the one, infinite, divine Life itself, which is another name for God! But does that mean that all matter is really alive and that life is inside everything? It is pretty clear from in-depth studies of matter that matter is not only not alive, but that it does not even exist unless it is observed. This is the result of recent experimental investigations into the microscopic nature of things at the atomic scale – a field known as quantum physics. King Soloman wrote, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee;” (I Kings 8: 27 will to ;). From this, if we consider divine, capital “L” Life as another name for God, then even the heavens of heavens cannot contain all of infinite Life!
So, if divine Life fills all space, and matter is not alive, then what is the logical conclusion for the Christian Science model of the universe? The only logical conclusion is that there is no matter! And this is what Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states specifically about the Christian Science model of reality or being. By the way, the word “model” that I am using here is the one used in the scientific community to mean a well-developed viewpoint, not a tiny plastic replica. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Question. — What is the scientific statement of being? Answer. — There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.” (Science and Health, p. 468: 8-15).
So what about Moon rocks? Are they spiritual or material? Are they constructs of objective, material atoms, or are they ideas of God that express infinite, divine Life? In Miscellaneous Writings Mrs. Eddy writes, “But, say you, is a stone spiritual? To erring material sense, No! but to unerring spiritual sense, it is a small manifestation of Mind, a type of spiritual substance, the substance of things hoped for. Mortals can know a stone as substance, only by first admitting that it is substantial. Take away the mortal sense of substance, and the stone itself would disappear, only to reappear in the spiritual sense thereof.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 27: 27-2.)
So it appears that we are to take away a “mortal sense of substance” rather than try to replace a material universe with a spiritual one. What needs to be taken away is the limited way of looking at things, which is the only thing that seems to be constituting a limited creation called “matter.”
So is it the Christian Science viewpoint that divine Life Itself is the only substance of the universe? Yes it is! And all the ideas of creation are expressions of this infinite Life, the divine Mind (capital “M”). So is Life in anything? In the Glossary chapter of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, there is actually a definition of the word, “In.” Mrs. Eddy writes this: “In. A term obsolete in Science if used with reference to Spirit, or Deity.” (Science and Health, p. 588: 22-23). So divine Life is not “in” anything. To infinite divine Mind there is no “outer” space! Everything is rather in this infinite, divine Mind which is infinite Life itself!
Did you ever hear the expression, “I’ve never been there?” Well, it’s true. I was thinking about this and I realized that I have never been “there” either. This is because every time I have traveled to “there,” before I get there it has turned to “here.” So I think the saying, “You can’t get ‘there’ from ‘here’,” is true. You can’t. And similarly you cannot have any time but “now.”
There are some concepts of God that put God into the universe He created — some put Him/Her far away. He is said to have wound up the universe and perhaps mostly left it to run by the laws of physics like an immensely intricate clock. However, the former slave and abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, had a different idea. She once said, “God is the great house that holds all His children; we dwell in Him as the fishes dwell in the seas.” So rather than God living somewhere in the universe, all the universe lives rather in God.
In the teachings of Christian Science we learn to think of God as infinite Mind, filling all space. There is no “outer” space to God. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “It would require an infinite form to contain infinite Mind. Indeed, the phrase infinite form involves a contradiction of terms.” (Science and Health, p. 257: 30-32). Thus, in Christian Science, then, the universe is the expression, the ongoing creation, of the one and only infinite Mind. The universe itself is the manifestation of infinite Mind, of the divine Principle, God, and so is the expression of the Mind that is God. And the ideas of this infinite Mind are being thought right now – and so the creation of the universe is an ongoing process.
So how does infinite Mind manifest itself? Doesn’t a mind manifest itself through ideas? And so what might be called the thinking of the infinite Mind is the ongoing act of the creation process—the creation of the ideas that constitute the universe, the expression of the Creator. And the ideas created by Mind cannot have any distance between them. God does not have to wait for one of His ideas to cross the universe to be near another of His ideas. How can there be any distance between the ideas in a mind? And so, in God’s true creation, there can be no distance, no separation, no loss, no loneliness, no “outer space.” God’s ever-presence precludes any of these.
A man once asked Christ Jesus to come and heal his son; he apparently lived about a day’s travel away. Jesus told him, “Go they way, thy son liveth.” And we read that “The man believed the words that Jesus had spoken, and went his way.” And when the man got home, his son had indeed been healed, and at the exact time that Christ Jesus had said he was healed (John 4: 46-53). This was but one of several times that Christ Jesus demonstrated the ever-presence of God, whom he called “our Father.” Jesus knew that the seeming distance between material objects was not real in the presence of the fact that God fills all space. And he was able to demonstrate this in what we might call “remote” healing.
However, he knew we can never be “remote” from God’s love and healing presence. As Mrs. Eddy writes regarding such healing, “Science can heal the sick, who are absent from their healers, as well as those present, since space is no obstacle to Mind.” (Science and Health, p. 179: 5-7). Christ Jesus knew God was already here and everywhere.
So as we explore the universe of God’s ideas, we can know that God fills all space. This means that there is no distance between His loving care and all of us. This means that the idea of separation of any ideas of God from each other, or from God is impossible. We can travel in the freedom that we can never leave God’s presence, or ever be outside of his loving Being and care—whether it is next door, to another country, to other planets, and even to the stars someday. Writing centuries earlier than Sojourner Truth, King David also described God’s all-presence in a similar way when he wrote, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23). He, too, understood that our universal home is God, and we can never leave it.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Heath that “The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars, — he will look out from them upon the universe;” (Science and Health, p. 125: 28-29 to ;). Note that “astronomer” is singular, while “stars” are plural. So she does not seem to be discussing mere space travel. She does not write that the astronomer will look out from another star. The astronomer, singular, will look out from the stars, plural! Now that is the perspective of the infinite Mind! Infinite Mind “looks out” from all of the universe, with an infinite perspective. And anything infinite divine Mind does, we can do as infinite Mind’s very expression – Mind’s image and likeness, His/Her reflection.
So are we looking out from the universe of infinite Life? And does this have any practical value? Sometimes when someone calls me up for help in Christian Science I start with the idea that God fills all space. That means that good is the only presence. That means that, for example, a stomach-ache cannot exist; since God fills all space God must fill that space too. So the very location where you think your stomach hurts, right there is actually where God, only good, is. I have found this a very healing thought, and a good place to start when declaring the spiritual perfection of reality. You know, Christ Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you!” How could that be unless God fills all space?
So, in conclusion, there is no outer space to God. And therefore there is no outside-God space for us. The Christian Science model of the universe is that Life is everywhere, and the real, and therefore only, universe is the thinking of the infinite Mind. We are each ideas of this infinite, divine Mind and so we are exactly like this Mind since a mind cannot think ideas unlike itself. Did you ever say, “Let me reflect on that a moment?” Well, you are God’s reflection. A friend of mine said, “We are God’s contemplation.” God is constantly saying about you, “That is a great idea!” And you are! This is the Christian Science model of the universe, and it heals. Life is everywhere, and matter is nowhere. Matter is only the notion of a limited way of looking at the real thing. It is not another universe that we have to get rid of or escape from. It is only a notion to be seen through. This is why Christ Jesus said that we would know the truth, and the truth would make us free. If it doesn’t make you free, then it is not the truth. So the very nature of Truth is to undue false notions of limitation. As Mrs. Eddy put it in one of the statements that is the platform of Christian Science, “God is individual, incorporeal. He is divine Principle, Love, the universal cause, the only creator, and there is no other self-existence. He is all- inclusive, and is reflected by all that is real and eternal and by nothing else. He fills all space, and it is impossible to conceive of such omnipresence and individuality except as infinite Spirit or Mind. Hence all is Spirit and spiritual.“ (Science and Health, p. 331: 18-25).
So there is never a “there” to God because God is All-in-all. God only knows “here.” And there is no “then” to God either, for the same reason – God is only eternal. So there is only “now.” God’s creation does not come in any size but infinite, and it does not come with any duration whatever.
As God’s expression, therefore, we express God’s infinity in having no limitations, uniquely representing the Being of God, as God’s thoughts or ideas. This is our identity. So when you go out into the universe today, see everything as alive, not limited as matter, but expressing the Life that is the Source of all creation. Enjoy the universe of infinite Life and your infinitely unique and infinitely precious place in it! Einstein once said, “I’m not interested in the color of this or the spectrum of that. I want to know what God thinks. The rest are details.” Well you are one of the ideas that help make Life itself, infinite. You are the very idea that God thinks! The rest are details.
As Mrs. Eddy writes, “Unfathomable Mind is expressed. The depth, breadth, height, might, majesty, and glory of infinite Love fill all space. That is enough!” (Science and Health, p. 520: 3-5).