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Law or Chance

Every observing and reflective mind is sometimes obliged to choose one horn of the dilemma—either all is law and order or all is chance. If chance rules all, if things happen, we might as well take life as easily as possible, for we are sure of nothing but the present moment, and even have our doubts about that. We must be submissive to fate, for it is supreme.

But if all is governed by law, by that which changes not, there is no fate save that which we make for ourselves through our ignorance of law, and submission is unnecessary, obedience is the necessity.

Let us apply to ourselves the illustration in the previous article, using it as a working hypothesis, and see if its application may not throw some light upon the problem of being—upon the factors of that problem.

We find the inventor, the inventive power, and his idea which is the invention, to be a trinity in unity—an indivisible unity, for no one of the three can be separated from the other two. Yet they remain distinct from each other by virtue of the nature of each. Distinctness without separation is a point not to be lost sight of, for much depends upon it further on.

Let us view God as the inventor, God's power as the inventive power, and man as the invention, and see what kind of a nature he would have in consequence. Clearly, his nature would depend upon the nature of God, as the invention, not only in fact, but in nature, depends upon the inventor.

But man as the invention or idea of Mind would not have the nature the inventor might choose to bestow upon him, for Mind, expressing itself in idea, would have no power of choice, no power to bestow this or that by preference. A human inventor could half-frame an idea, drop it incomplete, take up and complete another. Here a human and materialistic illustration fails to reveal the complete meaning sought to be conveyed.

But if we view God as “the beginning" of man—and of all things—as the inventor is the beginning of the invention, we shall see the definite relation of man to his cause. If we then see that God, as impersonal principle, as Mind, has no power of choice but must express itself, and that man, as the idea of Mind, is its expression, we shall see that the expression must have the nature necessitated by what God is, rather than by what a humanized God might choose to do.

An uncertain nature and fate for man would result from this kind of a God; a positive, changeless nature and an assumed triumphant destiny results from undeviating principle.

Cause and effect are in eternal unity because the one involves and evolves the other. God as Cause or Creator, the ceaseless action of God as Creative Power, and man, as the product or the Created, are, relatively, as the inventor, the inventive power, and the invention. Man lives, moves, and has his being in God. Effect is inherent in Cause. Man exists from God. Effect is projected by its cause. Cause is absolute toward effect; effect is relative to cause.

God is absolute to man; man is relative to God. The inventor is absolute to the invention; the invention is relative to the inventor. The connecting link between the absolute and the relative is the power inherent in and working from the absolute which produces the relative. The inventive power of the inventor, the creative power of the Creator, the Force of Primal Substance, the Motion of Mind—they are the same; they are the moving "of the Spirit of God" which brings something from no-thing.

If man as the something is the expression of God, he is endowed, in consequence, with that nature which nothing can change or destroy. If his cause is eternal, he is eternal, and his destiny is fixed by the fiat of logical necessity. Consequently, there is nothing to fear; and to be convinced that we live and move and have our being in God, is to be free from fear in the proportion that we can feel our conviction. Intellectual freedom comes with conviction; but soul-freedom is ours only when conviction has become feeling.

And here let us pause a moment to note the use of the personal pronoun, "he," in reference to man. Denoting ordinarily the masculine sex, here it refers to the sexless, or rather the sexfull, being which—rather than "who "—is the expression of God, is the invention of the inventor. We will not dwell upon this point till later. It is referred to here more as a matter of caution than of detailed explanation.

But we found a certain sequence in the illustration of the inventor and invention, a sequence extending beyond the trinity in unity. This trinity gave us the solid foundation for all that rested upon it—for all that was involved in it. While the invention or idea was whole and complete as such, known to the inventor, clearly seen by him as his idea, in itself it was ideal, not practical. It was known to the inventor alone. It was not manifested; and before it could have a practical value, whatever might be its ideal value, it had to be manifested, or demonstrated, to be.

Applying the illustration, we find that man as the idea of Mind may be ideal; but that he must have practical as well as ideal value. He must be demonstrated to be. We may take comfort, however, in the fact—if to us it is a fact—that man is, as the expression of God, all he can possibly be; and we have to put forth no effort in his behalf. We cannot improve the divine idea, neither is it at the mercy of chance. In his relation to God as the effect of cause, he is fixed. We can all say "I am." We know that we are. Perhaps we are growing able to see, in a degree, why we are and what we are.

If, before the invention has a practical as well as an ideal value, its nature must be demonstrated, the means by which this manifestation is afforded has next place in the sequence. For a corresponding idea must arise in the observer. He must be able to see the inventor's idea. His own idea must be the likeness of the first. How shall this come to pass?

By the ascension of ideas till the likeness of the divine idea is reached.

If there be ascension of ideas there is a beginning or starting point for them. What is it?

The visible object, the model, the representative of the invisible subject—the thing seen. The thing seen stands between the invention and its demonstrated nature and value. It is a means to an end, but the end must be like the ideal, not like the means.

Yet the means, the object seen, will suggest his first idea to the observer, from which ascent to the likeness of the true ideal must be made; and which will be made as the continued operation of the model*and the continued study of the observer reveal more and more the nature of the invention. This nature will be caught and framed in idea little by little, part by part, till the whole is seen and framed—till the likeness appears in the observer.

Man as the divine idea is to be manifested in like manner. The same sequence obtains with him. He is, but what is he? What is his nature, and what his powers as the idea of Mind, the expression of God? The means to this end must have place in the sequence from First Cause, an additional factor in the problem we are to work out.

The representative of the idea, the model representing the invention, the Figure that stands for the Number, is next in order, and as the object seen, will suggest the first idea to the observer; but his ideas must ascend before the nature of man is revealed, before man's powers are fully manifested. The observer's idea must rise to the level of the primal idea, before the sequence is finished. It cannot be complete till the likeness of the original ideal is found in the observer.

We have in this sequence, therefore, expression, representation, and manifestation; expression of "the beginning" of the whole, representation of that expression and manifestation of its nature, by this means; a manifestation which is cumulative, rising higher and higher through the ascension of ideas till the original level is reached.

Shall we not settle it with ourselves once for all by the help of this illustration and its application that so far from making our being greater, devoting our time and energy to that end, we had much better devote them to the gaining of a truer and higher idea of that being—of what we are?

God's work is all right, we do not need to alter it; but we do need to gain the true idea and understanding of it; and to this end we must correct the idea which has been suggested to us by the object seen. The physical person is not the living being, man, but is only the representative of that being. Looking at it, we have said, "This is I." Not so. It is the "Not-I."

But we have named it, called it man, and with this idea have failed to rise to the level of true being. With this idea we have believed in luck, chance, fate; have believed ourselves to be at the mercy of circumstances. "Thou hast said" and according to what we have said has our experience been.

I am. What am I? I am not flesh, blood, bone, and muscle. I am the expression of Deity, possessed of an eternal and changeless nature which waits my recognition for development and manifestation. All things are ultimately possible unto me in consequence, and I am master of fate. Through experience and its revelation I gain, little by little, the true idea of what I am. Nothing appalls me, nothing can daunt me, circumstances cannot control me. I am. "Thou hast said."

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Ursula N. Gestefeld

  • Born April 22, 1845 and died in 1921 (burried at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago).
  • Involved in Christian Science
  • Most famous work is The Woman Who Dares.
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