I’m often asked about Principle as a synonym for God and recently I have been praying to better understand God as Principle. Principle is a name for God; it is divine Law. It ensures its own operation and governs Love’s spiritual creation. Man, embodied by divine Principle, is reliable and dependable in every aspect, is treated fairly and is predictable.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy we read (SH 6:14), “To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being.” To understand the divine Principle of being we need to apply ourselves, just as we need to apply ourselves to understand the principles of mathematics. And we can because, “The Science of God and man is no more supernatural than is the science of numbers…” (SH 111).
Let’s follow that train of thought – associating the principles of mathematics to the Principle of being – for a few minutes. Principle, being a name for God, is infinite and has infinite divine attributes, but there are ten specific points about Principle that have really resonated for me and clarified man’s relationship to God, divine Principle.
.1) There are infinite manifestations of man
Mathematics can’t be completely manifested without all the numbers in infinity and divine Principle can’t be fully manifested without the full representation of man. Since God is infinite there must be infinite manifestations of man. Joshua Bailey reported that Mrs. Eddy told her 1889 Primary Class, “Man reflects Him, but it takes all men and the universe to reflect him.” (Joshua Bailey 1889 Class Notes P. 7 A12065)
.2) Man’s goodness is invariable
The number 3 is ALWAYS 3; it has a fixed value. It’s never 3.01 or 2.9. Its value doesn’t slip around; it’s invariable. And so it is with man. Man is constant, consistent, and “very good” (Gen 1:31). Man’s invariable goodness eliminates the possibility of unreliability, unpredictability, of sickness or sin, of a broken home or a broken bone or even mentally going to pieces. Man is the invariable expression of good.
.3) Each expression of God is specifically and eternally required
Because numbers have fixed values, the number 3 can’t serve the purpose of the number 4. Each number has a unique purpose. Similarly each individual expression of God is uniquely valuable in divine Principle. Because this is so, one need not fear that he will become obsolete or ineffective. Each expression of God, each idea, man, is specifically and eternally required in divine Principle.
The space, value, and function of one being can’t infringe on the space, value and function of another. Each number is an integral part of mathematics and each expression of being is an integral part of divine Principle. Therefore, jealousy, envy, greed, hate, domination and oppression have no place in the kingdom of Principle.
.4) Christ carries out the activity of Principle
Even with infinite numbers something more is required to demonstrate the principles of mathematics. The mathematical operators, such as +, -, *, =, etc., are also required. With only numbers all you could do is count, but with the mathematical operators we can carry out the activities of mathematics; we can balance checkbooks, calculate distances, and determine the number of cookies we ate based on how many are left.
Similarly, even with infinite expressions of man, more is required to fully express divine Principle. The Christ is also required. The one ever-present Christ, expressed best by Christ Jesus, carries out all the operations of divine Principle, such as magnification, communication, redemption and healing. We can’t demonstrate Principle without the Christ.
.5) Good is yielded when man and Christ are properly engaged
In math 2 plus 2 always yields 4. When numbers and mathematical operators are engaged properly the result is predictable and consistent. In divine Principle, when man and Christ are engaged properly, the result is predictably and consistently good. Mrs. Eddy explains, referring to the “divine Principle of healing,” that “Its purpose is good, and its practice is safer and more potent than that of any other sanitary method.” (SH x:23-25)
.6) Man’s relationships in divine Principle are indestructible
Each number is in relationship not only with every other number, but also is in relationship with the overall principle of mathematics. Each expression of being is in perfect relationship to every other expression of being in Principle, and is in perfect relationship to Principle too.
All spiritual relationships reflect the indestructible relationship of God and man, Principle and its idea. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.” (SH 470:32)
.7) Man has every quality he needs to fulfill his God-given purpose
Each number has within itself every quality it needs to fulfill its purpose; it’s complete. And just so, each expression of man has within his being every quality needed to fulfill his purpose.
In any relationship each of us is capable of fully expressing all the strong, sweet, wise, forgiving, joyful qualities necessary. Mrs. Eddy put it beautifully in Pulpit and Press. She wrote, “Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One…” (Pul 4:14-15).
The absence, for any reason, of another person or pet or place can never take away your sense of completeness because you reflect the altogether perfect One.
.8) Man is not material and does not live in matter
You may have read about this part of the analogy before in the article, “Possession” by Adam H. Dickey, June 1917 Christian Science Journal.
Numbers are ideas, concepts, and not material figures; their value is neither in ink nor paper. Numbers would exist even if ink and paper had never been invented.
Man is idea; he is Principle expressed. He is not material. The quality and value of numbers has nothing to do with ink and paper and the quality and value of man has nothing to do with matter.
.9) Demonstrating part of Principle points to the whole of Principle
Some aspects of mathematics that are not yet proven need to be accepted as possible based on what is known and proven to be true right now. When our understanding grows we will be able to prove more. Some parts of divine Principle that are currently not proven need to be accepted based on what is proven, until our understanding of divine Principle grows.
Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Christian Science must be accepted at this period by induction. We admit the whole, because a part is proved and that part illustrates and proves the entire Principle.” (S&H 461:4-7)
Alright! We’ve finished covering through .9 of the math analogy, but there’s one more very important point that really must be considered before our exploration of Principle is whole.
1.0) Principle and Love together lift man to divine heights
In Mrs. Eddy’s published works 39% of all paragraphs that reference divine Principle also reference divine Love or love, and in 55% of those Principle and Love or love are in the same sentence. Principle is permeated with Love. Principle would be incomplete without Love. Love would be incomplete without Principle. To express Love we must express Principle.
Principle and Love are our two wings that lift us; they are the letter and the spirit, the law together with compassion. Utilizing Principle and Love together we fly to grand heights.
Divine Principle is the law of God that we can count on to establish and hold order, fairness, strength, permanency, predictability, reliability and dominion in our experience here and now. As Mrs. Eddy wrote, “In Science man is governed by God, divine Principle, as numbers are controlled and proved by His laws.” (SH 318:28-30)