Before the time of advanced technological equipment and empirical studies, a man had a thought – it began one hundred years ago when a young Albert Einstein, staring at a clock started thinking, and came up with a revolutionary theory of gravitation. It culminated recently when a key prediction of his theory – the existence of unseen gravitational waves in space – was proved to be a scientific fact.
On the CBC program, Quirks & Quarks, science commentator Bob McDonald explains that “gravitational waves could open an entirely new window on the universe that could be as profound as the one opened by Galileo more than 400 years ago.” And, for anyone who needs “empirical evidence” in fields impacted by this evidence, this is wonderful news.
To me, however, what is applicable to all of us is Einstein’s approach to scientific enquiry. He never allowed what he could see with his eyes to limit his willingness to consider new scientific possibilities beyond this limitation. He looked beneath the obvious for a cause.
As a simple example: we see an apple fall off a tree, but we do not “see” the gravitation that causes it to fall. This was the kind of event that Einstein puzzled over, wanting to understand the cause.
His burning desire to search for answers beneath the obvious effect, whether as trivial as an apple or a clock, or as spectacular as the large-scale events of the universe, was the driving force of his life.
Understanding the limits of human thinking, Einstein’s thoughts sometimes touched on the Divine, such as in his wistful comment: “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.”
However, Einstein did not subscribe to the traditional views of God and religion. He saw the Divine this way, in the following two quotes:
My religiosity consists of a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit who reveals himself in the little that we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. (Letter to Milton M.Schayer.1927).
That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God. (A letter to an unknown recipient)
His desire for connection to what he felt was a divine intelligence that expanded the limited and changeable concepts of the human mind, was clearly important to him. And yet, Einstein was still always looking for and thinking about a material cause to a physical effect.
The famous 20th century scientist wasn’t, of course, the only or the first person to think deeply about cause and effect and to look beyond what his eyes told him was going on. Jesus was a similar thinker. He was different from Einstein in that he taught that there was really only one cause – Spirit. He attributed his ideas to the Divine, and felt clearly at one with the thoughts of God. He challenged us to think beyond material causes, whether obvious or hidden, to the deeper, unseen spiritual source of all life and activity. He said, for example, “The Kingdom of God is within you”.
Touching on this issue, Mary Baker Eddy wrote:
Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause.
His approach to deep thinking that saw the Divine as the only cause, was the key to his healing results. A good example of this was the case where he healed a man who had been born blind. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know whether the young man’s blindness was caused by his own sinful ways or those of his parents, since the belief that sin and heredity were a cause for ill-health was prevalent in those days. Jesus denied such a cause, maintaining instead the man’s innocence – because to him, God as, and is the cause of all that is good, but never the cause of evil. His affirmation of that resulted in the man’s sight being immediately restored.
Einstein regularly challenged what people of his era believed about the universe. His work continues to impact our lives today. Jesus alternatively, challenged the age-old belief that material things and forces are the source of life and the universe. His teachings and works can bless and heal the lives of anyone willing to inquire and explore beyond the human mind into the kingdom of Spirit.