The Mystical Teachings of Christianity
By Jim Lewis
The Nature of Miracles
Miracles have played an important part in the history and development of Christianity. Believing in specific ones has been required as part of the Faith. A person was not considered to be a Christian unless he professed to believe in such miracles as the Virgin Birth, the translation of Mary bodily into heaven, the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and others.
There have been many miracles reported by individuals over the years: miracles of healing, levitation, the miraculous multiplication of food, and the appearances of prominent figures in the Church. There are many miracle stories told in the Scriptures such as the parting of the Red Sea and the Jordan River, the restoration of life, the standing still of the sun and moon, the multiplying of the widow’s oil, the ability to walk on water, the changing of water into wine, and even the instantaneous occurrence of death.
A natural explanation has been given for some of these; however, the so-called “natural” explanation often seems more miraculous than the miracle itself.
Before we can discuss miracles and say whether we believe or disbelieve in them, we must first define them. This is a major problem and has been the subject of much discussion among religious leaders, scientists and philosophers down through the ages. I believe that even before we can define a miracle we must review our concept of the universe and the nature of God. Many traditional Christians have a misconception of both; they see God as a Being Who created the universe and man. We are supposed to have free will, but still He intervenes in our lives and affairs and bestows blessings or punishment according to His whims.
Many unpleasant things are attributed to this God. He is responsible for storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods and other tragedies. Of course He is also the Author of good weather, sunshine, refreshing rain, and other good things that happen. This is an immature view of God and it is based on a human interpretation of Scripture. We are told that we are created in God’s image and we assume that God must therefore look like us and have similar attitudes and feelings. So, we have thought of God as getting angry and vindictive over the bad deeds of man.
This is a false concept of God. I could never believe in such a god, for I would have to question his wisdom, intelligence, and integrity, and I would certainly doubt his love for me. Yet this is the god that many people are supposed to believe in, have faith in, and trust with their lives.
In Unity we teach that God is the Principle of Absolute Good; as such, He is eternal and unchanging. Many sincere Christians pray to God hoping that He will change His mind and bless them with some good such as healing instead of punishing them. They are really wasting their breath with such prayers, for God doesn’t punish them in the first place. He will never change. His will is only good and will never be anything else.
It isn’t God that must change, it is we who must change so that His good can manifest in and through us. Whenever something happens of a negative nature, let us not blame it on Him. Let’s just admit that we do not know why it happened and get busy knowing that it can be overcome with God’s help.
Principle had no beginning. It has always existed, always will exist, and it will always be the same: good. Principle is impersonal. Some feel this is a very cold concept of God, but I like it, for it tells me that God does not play favorites. The old personal god gave special favors to those who belonged to his church. It has been sad to see how Christians have fought and argued over which branch of Christianity was the true church. God is impersonal; it makes no difference which group one belongs to. The important thing is whether or not one is living in harmony with Principle, living in harmony with God. If one is obedient to Principle he will have good results; if he is not, the results will be undesirable.
In reading the story of creation in the Bible, we have come up with the notion that there was a beginning at some point in history. However, when the expression “In the beginning” appears in Scripture, we should realize that it is only a figure of speech. It is an attempt to help the intellect understand something about the nature of life. The bringing into manifestation of a solar system or a planet or an animal or plant is not creation, it is formation. Creation implies bringing something into existence that did not exist before, but this is impossible because the essence out of which all things are formed has always existed.
Many people think that every time a baby is born God has created a new soul, but this is not so. The Bible tells us very plainly that we have always existed. We are created in the image and likeness of God, which is only a way of saying that we have always been as God, we have always existed. Any system of thought that has as a premise that man had a beginning somewhere in the history of time cannot have its basis in truth. There is no way the mind can find peace and satisfaction in this type of thinking.
Formation and reformation are going on continually. When an aluminum company makes aluminum cans they do not create them, they form them out of something that already existed—aluminum. When they recycle the cans, reform them, they are not recreating, they are using the same substance, giving it another form. It may be a can but it could just as well be anything they wanted it to be.
Many of us were educated in a system that teaches that we are a product of nature, that we evolved from a lower form of life to our present level. Darwin’s theory of evolution jolted the theological world and radically changed our thinking about man’s history. Teilhard is another individual who has given us a very meticulous explanation of the evolutionary theory in his book, The Phenomenon of Man. As logical and sound as this theory of evolution may seem, it is nevertheless not quite true. All it is describing is the history of man’s regeneration. It assumes that all life had its beginning on this planet, which it didn’t.
It is this type of reasoning that leads us to believe that so-called nature produces us instead of realizing that it is we who have produced nature. You, I, and everyone existed somewhere in this universe before this solar system or this planet was ever formed. It is the collective consciousness of man that has produced this universe and especially this planet where we are at this moment in time.
This universe exists and maintains or adjusts and changes, not according to the whims of a god, but according to the collective consciousness of all of us who are here now and all who have ever been here. Everything on this planet is a reflection and expression of man’s consciousness. The beauty of nature is an expression of the beauty of man’s consciousness. We are not totally bad as we have been led to believe. There is much good in every person, even those who are doing so-called evil things.
The ugliness and what is considered evil or undesirable, the germs, sickness, and other deplorable conditions are also expressions and manifestations of man’s consciousness. Everything we see, every action that takes place is therefore the manifestation of Principle through the consciousness of man. Nothing happens by chance even though we use this expression to explain many things that we do not understand. It would be better for us just to say we do not understand, instead of using false reasoning. Everything that happens has a reason or explanation and one day we will understand why many things happen that we do not understand now.
Since everything that happens does so according to our relationship with Principle, we can be assured there are no dispensations. The concept that God dispenses with natural laws to perform special favors may sound pleasant, but it is a false concept. When we learn to live in harmony with Principle we will always have good. God cannot change the rules for any of us. He can help us understand the rules and apply them but not change them. We can beg and plead, but this will do no good.
What has all this to do with miracles? It has a great deal to do with it, for what seems to be a miracle is only the action of Principle through the consciousness of an individual or individuals. It is the application of Principle even if it is done without a full conscious understanding.
For example, let us say a person is sick with a terminal condition. When he is told his condition is terminal, he can take one of two attitudes. He can accept the verdict, cry or get angry about it, decide that his time is up and prepare to die. Or he can reject the verdict and affirm that something can be done about it. This person, instead of preparing to die, will call upon his friends, the prayer ministry of Unity, and ask for help in prayer. He will want the positive faith and prayers of those who believe that healing can take place regardless of how serious the condition is supposed to be. As a result of his positive attitude he is healed. We then say God answered his prayers and has performed a miracle.
This miracle is the way it should have been all along; it is only a miracle of restoration. Many people are experiencing an even greater miracle, the greater miracle of living and expressing life without being sick. The nature of the Principle of Life is to express as perfect health. God did not build into our nature the condition of illness or imperfection. We are perfect in the ideal plan. When we get in touch with this perfect image of God within us and express it we shall not experience any negative physical condition.
Life would express perfectly through us now if our consciousness were free of all negative beliefs about life. What beliefs? Well, for one, the belief that we inherit sickness. Quite often doctors will ask their patients, “Has anyone in your family had this condition?” I know they are trying to be helpful, but the implication is that a person’s illness may have been inherited from his parents or other ancestors.
There are many beliefs that we accept simply because we were told they were so. In our subconscious we believe that environmental factors cause degeneration and illness. We believe in the concept of age and the wearing down of the physical organism with the passing of time. We also entertain the notion that we must all eventually die, even though the greatest teacher of all time and one that many Christians profess to believe in has said, “If you live and believe on me you shall never see death.”
We believe that we are subject to all kinds of “natural” laws. Many of the laws that we think are natural are not natural at all. Is there a natural law of death? And is there one for aging and all the other negative things that happen? Instead of calling them natural laws and referring to this as “nature”, we should recognize them for what they are. They are laws of human consciousness and are based on our beliefs and experiences. It is only as we change our consciousness and begin to believe that something good is possible that we change these so-called natural laws. Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.”
To believe is to accept totally in consciousness; this is something that we find difficult to do. Many times we say we believe something, but this is only an intellectual expression. True belief is much more than this. Many find it difficult to accept something that is true because they have already accepted a negative concept. When they get instantaneous, negative results they would not think of calling this a miracle, but the same principle is working to produce a manifestation.
Many of the things that we classify as miracles should be normal happenings in our lives and one day will be. This includes the manifestation of food and supply. The way we maintain our existence today is very limited and difficult. Jesus manifested food for many very easily and quickly. He didn’t have to process the wheat and bake bread and he didn’t have to go fishing.
In the future we will have better means of communication than we do now. At the present time we try to communicate with each other through the spoken word, the reasoning power of the intellect, the printed word, and through mental influence, but we are not doing so well. After almost 2,000 years we haven’t understood what Jesus was saying to us. Libraries are filled with volumes on philosophy, religion, and scientific subjects and yet we do not understand. We think we are living in a very illumined age and yet what we do know about life is very limited. Much of what we think is true is actually false and we will discover this one day. When we consider the facts in the Britannica Encyclopedia we should realize this is only one millionth of the knowledge to be known. We know very little in comparison with what is yet to be known.
The best means of knowing and communicating is through Intuitive Sensory Perception. This is the ability to tune in directly with the Creative Source of Wisdom and Intelligence within us. As we learn to do this we find that we are guided in ways that lead to self-mastery, happiness, power, and control of our lives. The information that comes from this Source is always accurate and can be depended upon. Many are fascinated with what is called Extra Sensory Perception which is only the psychic or mental use of the powers of the mind. It is the ability of one mind to communicate with another on the mental level. This is a very limited use of the mental faculties and is not dependable. Most of the information received on this level turns out to be wrong and disappointing.
In the future we will understand the principle of levitation as Jesus understood and used it. He was able to walk on the water and we think of this as a miracle. But it was normal for Him with His understanding. He was also able to dematerialize His physical form and appear where He desired. He could move through physical walls without having to open doors. The things He did seem so preposterous that we find it difficult to believe they actually happened. Yet one day these things will be repeated and will be done by many.
When do miracles usually happen? For us they usually happen, if they are to happen at all, in a time of great need. They happen when one is ill, needs money or a job, or needs to be saved from a dangerous situation. In a time of great personal need the individual can generate the pure faith and belief and power to do what seems to be impossible. In these moments the individual doesn’t stop to think whether something is possible or not, he just believes that it is. People have lifted objects that were normally too heavy for them to lift yet they have not strained themselves or pulled muscles. Some have performed tasks they have never tried before. Paralyzed people have walked and they have done so without any conditioning exercises. I might add they have not needed to be cautious about falling down.
Why don’t more miracles such as these happen today? I suppose the main reason is that we are too timid. We have been told that we are unworthy of having good things happen and therefore we do not expect to have healing or demonstrations of supply. We are reluctant to make strong commitments to great expectations and we find reasons or I might say rationalizations to pacify us.
How can we develop the miracle working consciousness? The best and fastest way is through daily periods of quiet prayer and meditation. Every time we turn to the Creative Power within us with an open mind we are developing the consciousness necessary to live and express on this higher level. This sounds easy, but it will be very challenging. The greatest challenge will come in releasing many of our cherished beliefs that we think are true but discover are false.
Many people have this miracle producing consciousness working for them right now. It may not seem as dramatic as the emergency case, but it is much more satisfying and gratifying. They are getting more results and better ones than the dramatic miracle. They are living the life in which miracle results are the normal thing; it is this type of life that we should be working toward. We shouldn’t let down when things are going smoothly. The best conditioning of consciousness takes place when you are feeling good. It may seem that nothing is happening. It may seem that we are on a plateau and no growth or development is taking place, but let us not be deceived by appearances. Much growth is taking place.
In addition to our times of daily meditation we should constantly seek to improve our knowledge of truth through regular study. Reading and attending classes and seminars on truth help us to change many of our subconscious misconceptions. When we hear concepts or ideas that we “can’t agree with”, we should stop and give some consideration, for this might just be the place where we need a little or a great deal of growth.
We should also seek to apply some of the Principles we discover. We should be giving up or changing some of our habits instead of just living with them. Many times we keep reading or listening to truth ideas thinking this will produce miracles for us. Listening is beneficial, but attempting to practice what we hear inwardly and outwardly is very important.
Acting on some of the ideas will be challenging. For example, a person may be in need of greater prosperity. He prays and asks the Creative Intelligence within Him what he can do in order to have more supply, more money. The answer comes, “start tithing”. This is a jolt but if he will do it, it will begin a miracle in his life. He will learn how to keep going when it seems impossible to do so. He will see manifestations of supply come forth and will stand in amazement trying to figure out how it could possibly happen. He will learn how to discipline himself and he will have a more illumined attitude toward dedication.
It is amazing that so many consider this difficult to do. They are so attached to money that they are willing to do almost anything except part with a mere ten percent to share with God and others. They are willing to get an extra job and put in more hours of work thinking they need extra income. The act of tithing helps one build a prosperity consciousness. Without this consciousness there will be no difference in the life of a person even if he does get an extra job to make more money. That extra money will slip through the holes in his consciousness and he will wind up frustrated saying, “No matter how hard I try, I’m not getting ahead.” Tithing may seem difficult, but it is not that difficult and the results are one thousand times greater.
Miracles don’t just happen by chance; they are produced by God working through a receptive consciousness. We can build that consciousness and we can be assured that God wants us to do so and that He will help us by inspiring us with the ideas necessary to develop it. It is up to us to accept the ideas, no matter how challenging. Once the ideas become a normal part of our consciousness we will experience peace of mind, security, happiness, and many, many outer material blessings.
© 1981, Dr. James C. Lewis
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.