Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #12
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 10, 1975
The great dilemma of man is that he has created God in his own image-likeness. This puts him under the guidance of a being who can, but may not, want to guide him. His God loves but also hates, creates and destroys, heals and also brings sickness, gives life but also takes it away.
We have thought of a God burdened with cares and problems of the world, something like a President of Presidents who has almost too many responsibilities. A little boy once said in his bedtime prayers, “...and God, please take care of yourself... if anything happens to you, we will all be sunk.”
The first step in the study of Truth is to break with the God-concept of past experience, to get a new, expansive, all-encompassing idea of the Infinite, and to come to know God as PRINCIPLE.
The ancient and modern Hebrews affirm in their prayers, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord God is One.” Principle in order to be principle at all, can only be one.
The doctrine of Evil as a power, of Satan as the Prince of Evil, and of hell as the resting place of many, is a blight upon the pathway of true religion. This two-power philosophy has come out of ignorance and from the inability to understand or justify human experience. To the native in primitive times, whose brother drowned in the river, the river did it willfully and the lightning is a devil-God chasing man.
This consciousness of an evil force carried over into Bible times. It is impossible to read the Bible and ignore the important part which it assigns to the Devil and to the place of everlasting torment. But rather than accepting these references as truth, it is more likely that this was an expression of writers who were surrounded by these beliefs in their cultures.
We can never really understand the Law of Being until we resolve the issue of evil and of the devil. Evil is simply the frustration of good. The devil as a personality arose out of primitive man’s tendency to rationalize things and conditions in his environment by giving them names and personalities. To these men, darkness and its shadows hounded them and stalked their pathways.
The Law of Being might also be called the Law of All-Good. The fundamental starting point of this teaching is the statement: “There is only one presence and one power, God, the good, omnipotent.”
Our weakness is that we so often begin at the wrong pole—we try to understand life. How can there be a God, we ask, when there is so much sin and injustice and crime and sickness in the world? Many conclude that God must be inferior for the Devil to play such a dominant role. But this is like walking into a dark room and saying, “How can there be any light when there is so much darkness?” Turn on the light!
The scriptures say, “The spirit in man is the candle of the Lord” (Prov 20:27) The light is always there even though we may frustrate it and cause violent shadows in our experience. But you can’t understand man by studying the shadows... and you can’t understand Being by studying what some call the works of the Devil.
When we say that God is one, we also mean that there is not God and man or God and you as separate entities. There is only God, expressing as you. As long as you think of God and man, you are back with the old anthropomorphic diety who is active in some realm outside of you, and you will think that the only way to make a connection is lean across the brink and beg for his presence. This is why I use the word Being. In the Law of Being, you live and move and have your being in God...who is Being. In a very real sense, you are Being being you! Unless you accept this, God to you is some external power actuated by entirely different motives than yours.
Meister Eckhart, the great medieval writer, said, “God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being, and let God be God in you” (clip 7). This is a challenge to you to rise above the concept that you were created by God, in the sense that a potter creates a pot and puts life into it completely separate from itself. Try to realize that you are the Law of Being in the process of Being. As your consciousness of Being increases, the more you have allowed it to flow abundantly through your life.
If you analyze the prayers of the orthodox, you will find them urging God to intercede between conflicting nations, or to change the hearts of men, or to bring victory to one side or another. And yet James tells us that God is not a variable quantity, and that with Him there “is no variableness neither shadow of turning.” God is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.” You can’t change God nor persuade Him to change his will nor make Him more or less that He is.
This can be a frustrating concept, and some complain, “But how can I pray to a principle?” Try to imagine a musician or mathematician praying to a principle, and you will see the futility. But this doesn’t mean that the principle cannot be even more effective when you act on the principle. We acquire musical or mathematical skills by understanding and conforming to the principle—by knowing the rules and working with them—and it is the same in metaphysics.
The old idea that prayer was a means of trying to reach God so that He might solve our problems for us is quite different than the view under our new insight into Truth. We need to get back to the principle, knowing that a wrong answer only shows a wrong application of principle. Whenever we go back to the first cause, we can put down the right figures and achieve the right answers.
Jesus used the sun as a simile or symbol of God. It causes its rays to fall upon the just and the unjust alike. It glints into the hospital cot, the prison cell, the palace and the hovel alike. It enters wherever men will permit it. So it is that in the Law of Being, the universe has no God-empty spots. The religions of the world should not be dispensers of special favors from God nor should they be dealers in different Gods. Religion should be but a method and technique of understanding the One that is universal.
While in His “becoming” stage, when Jesus was unfolding His consciousness of the Law of Being, He made a statement that has confused many: “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” Here Jesus was holding Himself out as an example of the process of Being being. It was His very adamant insistence of the success of His development that allowed Him to reach His goal. He also said, “Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.” We must know and follow the Law of our Being just as we follow the principles of math. So long as we insist that 2+3=4, we will always reach that answer. But as soon as we understand and use the principle, we will always get the right answer. Jesus was telling us the formula that worked for Him: Know the principle of your being, and that knowledge will make you master of yourself, set you free from errors and enable you to live a perfect life.
All the suffering that humanity brings upon itself is the result of an imperfect use of that which is inherently good; thus all suffering results from a failure to express the Law of Being.
We are presently in bondage to the belief in materiality, and our great task is to reverse the race belief that man is merely a physical being. We have accepted this just as in 1492 they accepted that the world was flat. We can live longer and more successfully and more happily, but we cannot achieve these things by wishing. We must study the new insights, and use the Law of Being in our mind, soul, and body. We must know that we are supported and sustained in health, beauty, harmony, prosperity and success... from within.
Under the Law of Being, whatever is true of God is true of man in potential, because man is the expression of God. This is the Law of Being, and if we work with it we can demonstrate limitless abundance in our lives.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth