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From Unity Magazine, December 1933
Download a PDF of Unity of Religion and Science from Unity December 1933.
Unity of Religion and Science
By CHARLES FILLMORE
Editor’s Note—This ia the text of the address that Mr. Fillmore made at a meeting of the World Fellowship of Faiths held during the Century of Progress at Chicago.
MY AIM IS TO PROVE that science, in developing the unseen forces of the ether is merely revealing the mechanical side of that realm which Jesus called the “kingdom of the heavens.”
The approach of religion to the “kingdom” is through Spirit; the approach of science to the same, under the name of the luminiferous ether, is through physics, chemistry, and kindred fields of research.
That science and religion have not worked in unity is borne out by history. Religion functions in the realm of ideas and science in the realm of facts. By facts we mean anything that may be proved by material tests. Christianity has been very jealous of its revelations and has assumed that they are far more valuable than the discoveries of science. When Saint Augustine proclaimed that “nothing is to be accepted save on the authority of the Scriptures,” a wall of ecclesiastical authority inclosed Christianity, and the pages of church history testify to the entrenchment within that inclosure of millions of followers of Jesus. There could be no new revelations from God; the slogan of religious authorities was “Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where they are silent, we are silent.” Then followed the persecution even to death of any one who dared to discover anything that seemed to conflict with the accepted interpretations of the Bible. The horrors of the inquisition are almost unspeakable.
But the proved facts of scientific research and discovery have bit by bit broken down the wall of narrow dogmatic assumptions reared by Christianity, and we are finding that we have, like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, been making the dead letter of Scripture revelation take the place of the living Christ. Jesus was a demonstration of the fact of God’s existence and power in this world, and when charged by the ecclesiastical congress with breaking their law He thundered, “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life.”
In their zeal to make the Scriptures the one and only divine authority the original translators dropped that little word “ye,” making the words of Jesus a command that they read the Scriptures, when it was a reprimand for too much reading of them and not enough understanding. This translation has been corrected in the American revision. The only revelation sanctioned by Jesus was the Spirit of truth, which He said would lead us into all Truth.
JESUS TAUGHT that the scientific realities of God were capable of expression here in this world. He taught that man within himself had God capacity and power. Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be the Son of God. Yet the Scriptures, which the Pharisees worshiped, had this bold proclamation, which Jesus quoted to them from Psalms 82:
“I said, Ye are gods,
And all of you sons of the Most High.”
Jesus differed from other men in that He proved by His works that He was the Son of God, while the average man is still striving to attain that excellency.
Jesus attributed His marvelous demonstrations to His acquaintance with a realm that He called “the kingdom of the heavens,” also “the kingdom of God.” He said that this kingdom was very near to us and might be made manifest in us.
The reports by His followers of what He taught clearly point to two subjects that He loved to discourse upon. The first was the Son of God: That He was the Son of God, and that we might all become as He was and demonstrate our dominion by following Him in the regeneration. “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” But Jesus did not promise the regenerate man divinity alone, He described in many parables and figures an environment, a kingdom in which regenerate man was to live eternally. He called it the kingdom of the heavens, not the kingdom of heaven, a place, as given in the King James Version of the Scriptures.
JESUS LOVED TO TALK about this kingdom of the heavens, and He compared it or said it was “like unto” this and that in many parables and mind pictures. This kingdom of the heavens was not, according to Jesus, a place to which the good go after death; it was a state to be attained by all who seek immortality, and its essential elements were right at hand, to be grasped and retained by the faithful. “The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” was the proclamation.
There has been much speculation as to the source of Jesus’ marvelous powers and many theories as to how He attained them. They have been classed as miracles, beyond the ken of scientific research. But the word “miracle” and the meaning attached to it are not found in the original text. Jesus did “signs” and “mighty works,” but there is no claim in the Scriptures that He did anything outside law. Mighty works are being done by modern science that in past ages would have been classed as miracles.
To perform its miracles modern science draws upon the kingdom of the heavens. It tells us that out of this kingdom come light, heat, power, color, sound, electricity, magnetism, life, and substance; in fact, that everything that exists in this universe came out of this invisible, omnipresent kingdom of the heavens, the luminiferous ether. They tell us that in their discoveries they have merely touched the hem of the garment of a kingdom that, by further discoveries along the same line, will revolutionize our whole civilization.
SCIENCE SAYS that a single drop of water contains energy equivalent to a year’s continuous supply of 200 horsepower—enough to run several motor cars. If you suddenly freed the energy that is in a lump of sugar, it would be enough to blow up the city of London. Jesus said, “Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”; which epitomizes these discoveries of science, and more.
We should remember that this kingdom of the heavens is interpenetrating. The ultra-violet ray of science, the X ray, the cosmic ray are within our body. They are the protons and electrons of the atoms of which our body is formed.
Dr. George W. Crile, eminent surgeon and scientist, says that our bodies are composed of “twenty-eight trillion electric cells. Every one of these twenty-eight trillion cells is a tiny wet battery, with negative and positive poles... Emotions—love, hate, fear, jealousy, are but stimulating processes, loosing currents of electricity through certain paths.”
Man does not destroy his body “with his intellect; he worries, fears, hates, and is jealous with his organs.”
Jesus said, “For out of the heart comes forth evil thoughts ... these are the things which defile the man.”
Dr. Crile further continues:
“If he [man] can learn to harness the hidden electricity of Niagara, can he not learn to control, to some degree at least, the electric battery in his own body?”
Jesus, referring to His body, said, “I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”
LEW WALLACE, in “Ben-Hur,” gives us a mystic’s view of this kingdom:
“There is a kingdom on the earth, though it is not of it—a kingdom of wider bounds than the earth—wider than the sea and the earth, though they were rolled together as finest gold and spread by the heating of hammers. Its existence is a fact as our hearts are facts, and we journey through it from birth to death without seeing it; nor shall any man see it until he hath first known his own soul ... in its dominion there is glory such as hath not entered imagination—original, incomparable ... What it is, what it is for, how it may be reached, none can know until the Child [Savior] comes to take possession of it as his own.”
Jesus taught that this kingdom of the heavens is the potential home of the inhabitants of earth. He said, “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” He pointed to faith in it as a mind seed that develops capacity in man and builds a structure that enables man to become a citizen of that kingdom. Faith as a grain of mustard seed will make man’s mind strong, wise, and divinely efficient.
This kingdom of God, which is so near to us, is not an abstract ether, as science has intimated, but according to Jesus and other great spiritual masters, it is inhabited by entities of intelligence and power far beyond our earthly comprehension. This kingdom of the heavens is not new to the wise men of the Orient. They have for ages taught its existence, and adepts among them explored it and entered into it long before the time of Jesus. By the mystics of India this kingdom is variously named, but all designations point to it as the source of tremendous power for good or ill to man.
OUR RADIO INVENTORS say that they can visualize a radio receiving set of the future with tubes so sensitive that they will pick up from the ether the words of Jesus, uttered over nineteen hundred years ago. Not only will these marvelous tubes catch the voices of those of the dim past but they will reproduce the voice of nature itself. Then we shall listen to the music of the spheres as idealized by Shakespeare:
“How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here we will sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
. . . Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins.
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.”
It may be literally true, as Pythagoras taught, that this universe is God performing a mighty symphony of creation, with the suns and planets merely musical notes on the staff of nature.
Another almost unbelievable marvel that our scientists anticipate is a phonograph record that will reproduce the voice of the speaker without mechanical means; that whole pages of our daily papers will record the voices of the speakers, and that those who read will hear every word without any appliance, other than the mechanism of this marvelous kingdom of the heavens, the luminiferous ether.
JESUS SAID that the seed planted in the soil represented the word of God. He also said that the kingdom of the heavens is like a field in which man, the sower, sowed his words, and that they brought forth some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold. He also said that we should be held accountable for our lightest word: “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
Whoever reads the words of Jesus with spiritual understanding, or even the imagination of a modern scientist, must conclude that He understood the properties of the ether and gave power to it even beyond the most vivid imaginings of any scientist.
To the superbly tuned mind and brain of Jesus the ether was a soil so eager with vibrant life that it would take only a few seed thoughts of supply, represented by the little lad’s five loaves and two fishes, and at the word of a master like Jesus, they would increase enough to feed five thousand men, besides women and children.
As we examine the marvelous inventions of science, and compare them with the so-called miracles of Elijah, Elisha, and Jesus, we find that they all were working in the same great field, the kingdom of the heavens, the universal cosmic ether.
Science is also proving by experimentation that living cells have within them the elements of continuous life, and scientists are at loss to know why man’s body should ever die, if it were properly fed and cleansed. Herbert Spencer came to the same conclusion theoretically. He said in substance that if man understood the issues of life in his body and was cast in a right environment he would overcome death. He said that “the theory of science would abolish the practice of both by substituting a perfect organism functioning in a perfect environment, into which death, having no correspondence with it could not enter. Then there would be eternal existence and perfect knowledge.”
THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED by Jesus, and through His understanding of how to release the protons and electrons concealed in the atoms and cells of His body, He overcame death. He said, “And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.”
We thus see that both science and religion agree that eternal life depends on a harmonious environment combined with an understanding of that creative mind from which such an environment is derived.
The attainment of eternal conscious existence by man depends on his adjusting his thought to the observance of certain laws of living fixed eternally by the one life and intelligence.
This requires thought purification, or the elimination of thought products that project discord into the environment, part of which is the body. This process of elimination includes the destruction or death of the false structures that have been formed by thought, and adding new enduring structures of a character agreeable with the principles of the divine law.
The flesh body of man has been evolved by a thought process at variance with the spiritual law, and that body must be dissolved and its elements reassembled according to its original principles, those of the divine law. This dissolution of the body cells and their reassembling under the divine law may take place with the daily influx of right ideas, or it may be accomplished in a short time, as exemplified in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Paul said, “I die daily.” He realized that his error thoughts were undergoing gradual destruction, that the “old man” of the flesh was casting off his sin, and that the “new man,” the man after the divine pattern, was coming into manifestation.
The thought aggregation that evolves the perishable body of flesh is called the “carnal mind” in Scripture. It is also known as the Adversary, Judas, and the Devil.
IN ORDER TO FOLLOW Jesus in the regeneration, we must become better acquainted with our soul and how it functions in and through the body.
The human soul is a form of what our modern scientists have named the ether of space. The soul is the intermediate between the spirit and the body. Soul may be compared to the radio ether that carries sound radiations that a receiving set converts into words. For aught we know, the radio ether is a living, breathing, intelligent entity, like the entity man, who uses it to transmit his intelligence. As the mind of man uses his soul to transmit his intelligence to his body, so God, the universal mind, uses that same soul force to transmit His ideas to man. So we find that physical science is discovering the unity of all things, visible and invisible.
They tell us that light, heat, and energy, and even matter are fast being merged into one primal force, which is radiation, and that this radiation fills all space. Formerly, science taught that space was empty, and matter the only reality. Now we are taught by science that matter is empty, and space the only reality. Thus we see that science is fast approaching the truths intuitively accepted by the spiritual-minded of every age, everywhere, and that God speaks to man out of the omnipresent heavens or ethers. It was not from some distant planet that Jesus talked to Paul, but out of the light; a light that blinded Paul and those that were with him, as they journeyed toward Damascus. The author of Acts in his testimony says:
“Suddenly there shone round about him a light out of heaven: and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? ... and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing; and they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.”
THIS LIGHT that shone upon Paul from the heavens was so bright that it blinded him, as persons are often blinded by a flash of lightning. This proves that all light is of like character. Space is filled with vibrations of light, and light is the vehicle of intelligence; so it is a logical and demonstrable fact that space is vibrant with life and intelligence. God is wisdom, God is light, God is love. God is thus everywhere present as Spirit, and there is no absence of that one and only all-knowing life and light. Thus “God is all, and there is none beside Him”
In a meeting of the Society of Arts and Sciences held in New York last December, Walter Russell, president, said that
The universal nature of light is one of the keys to this new puzzle. Light, according to tests with scientific instruments, is not merely what human eyes see, but essentially the same radiation as heat, X rays, radio waves, and all other forms of radiation. Moreover, light also is energy. And solid matter is also a form of “light" when the word is used in its broader meaning of radiation.
Getting down to the ultimate particles which form matter, which seem to constitute light, and which carry energy, scientists find them all acting suspiciously like some of the processes of human thought.
"The question arises,” says Russell, “is there any line of demarcation between a spiritual and a physical universe, and have we been calling the invisible universe spiritual just because we could not see it?
“We have begun to see something tangible and inspiring beyond place, mass, and dimension. There must be a limitless source of static energy somewhere back of all dynamic expression.
“If science finds itself justified in altering the traditional concepts of our Newtons, Keplers, and Maxwells in regard to energy, space, and motion, the first of the necessary steps will have been taken toward explaining God.
“Tomorrow physics undoubtedly will divorce energy from matter and give it to space. Perhaps space is all there is; all energy, all intelligence, and all concept. It is to space that science should look for a comprehensive God.
“Einstein forecast this far-reaching change of base from matter to space when he said that the next great step in science would be solution of space. 'It appears,' he says, 'that space will have to be regarded as a primary thing with matter only derived from it, so to speak, as a secondary result. Space now is turning around and eating up matter.’
“What we call the spiritual universe may prove to be the static source in space of electric energy. If Einstein's prophecy is fulfilled it would cause a far greater upheaval in science than Copernicus caused to the concept of Ptolemy.
“Basic conclusions of today would he either reversed or discarded entirely, for if energy belongs to space as the new cosmogony suggests, light would belong to space as Jesus inferred. When energy is found to belong to space, light will be understood to be an emergence from space, and God will have been found to be what Jesus said He was—light.
“As we study Jesus’ teachings from the point of view of science, we become convinced that He understood light, energy, motion, and space, and knew what filled apace. Jesus taught that life is eternal; that there is no death. Science may aoon prove this to be literally true, and that the body, like all other material phenomena, merely registers the intensity of the thinking of a supreme intelligence.
“If science proves this it will give meaning to the words of Sir James Jeans [the eminent British scientist] that 'matter may eventually prove to be pure thought.’ ”
RIGHT HERE let us say that Jesus did not teach that our body in its present material density is eternal, but that life is eternal. He taught and demonstrated, in the resurrection of His body, that the electronic energy in the cells forming the body could be released and synchronized with its source, the luminiferous ether (which He called the kingdom of the heavens), and that through this transformation the body would attain immortality. Paul wrote, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. ... then ... Death is swallowed up in victory.”
The space-filling ether is the mother of all life and intelligence. It may be conceived as the tremulous waters of life in which all things live as fishes in the sea. It is radiant with ideas. Its creations are ideas, and those ideas in their turn form infinite combinations from the original fount of ideas. These formed ideas crystallize into suns, planets, systems, and a universe of sentient beings at the head of which is man.
Thus the ether radiates intelligence and man, its most intelligent offspring, may cup the ear of his mind to the ether and catch its messages, as the plainsman lays his ear to the earth and hears the vibrations of the tread of animals far beyond his sight. The omnipresent ether is the throne of God, from which radiations of intelligence, love, and power continually flow to every living creature. As those who seek the same things are attracted to one another, so those who seek to know God open their inner intelligence to the radiations of the everywhere present ether.
WE READ IN THE 2d chapter of Proverbs:
“Incline thine ear unto wisdom,
And apply thy heart to understanding.”
Emerson said, “What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say.”
We listen with the fleshly ear so intently that the ear of the mind becomes dull. Incline the ear of your mind to the radiations of the spiritual ether and you will catch the ripples of the voice of Jehovah, as did Jesus and others who listen spiritually. You may not at first discern its source. Little Samuel at first thought he heard the voice of Eli. But practice in listening will train the inner ear until one will readily distinguish between the inner and the outer.
Just here it might be well to mention that the ether lying next the earth has been polluted by the error thought emanations of the human race and many voices clamor for the audience of man. Try the voices that sound in the stillness whether they be of God or men. All action of mind or body begins and ends in the ether. It is an interpenetrating, highly sensitive medium and is easily thrown into turbulence by the thoughts of the human ego. Angry, fearful, greedy, worried, anxious, impatient, or hurried man churns the ether into a whirlpool of discord and inharmony. God-Mind exists in a realm of peace, order, harmony, and must have a similar state of mind in those to whom it gives instruction. When man stills the outer consciousness in sleep or in peaceful meditation, the Jehovah-Mind communicates with the peace within and man calls it a dream or vision. “In Gibeon Jehovah appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.”
THE SCRIPTURES are replete with accounts of those in every walk of life who have been guided by dreams and visions, but never in the history of the race has Jehovah used this means of directly intervening in the personal lives of those who seek to follow His law so often as in our day. Men and women and even children, all over the world, testify to having received in dreams and visions messages from a source higher than that of earth. This avenue of contact between God and His sons is becoming so common that we see the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.”
There is urgent need of this direct instruction by Jehovah of the spiritual-minded. Our theological schools have lost the direct inspiration of Spirit through looking to the past for it instead of the present. The study of history is futile unless it can be made alive with present parallels. It does not benefit me to read that the Lord talked to the prophets of old unless I see the possibility of that same Spirit of omnipresence talking to prophets of today.
Science freely admits that it has not found all the potentialities that exist in the ether. It has released a few of the mechanical forces, but the great unknown intelligence—God—is still beyond its ken. But those who “tune in” to this kingdom of God with soul and body will effect a complete unity between the mechanical energies of the ether and the intelligent forces of spirit. Then will be fulfilled the vision of John: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dweli with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”