How I Used Truth - Lesson 7 - Annotation 3
Explain the meaning of the words temporal and eternal.
3. The word temporal is related to time and space. Webster's dictionary indicates that it means "limited by time, esp. . . . some designated time or period." On the other hand, the word eternal means unlimited. The dictionary defines it in this way: "everlasting," without beginning or end . . . having no element of time; timeless."
That which is eternal is of God -- unchanging, unlimited, and without form. That which is temporal is of the world of phenomena, that is, of form. By this we do not mean that all that is temporal is error; but rather that the temporal is subject to change, while that which is eternal is changeless. The eternal comprises all of the divine qualities or ideas of God, Divine Mind. In order for these ideas to manifest in the visible world they must take on forms. However, an idea can never be confined to any form, for the form is always the temporal. The rose we see is temporal. The petals will fall, and the visible rose will cease to be. But the rose idea is eternal. The idea of the rose will remain the same, and will produce other roses again and again. The forms the rose idea takes may change as horticulturists experiment with hybridization, bringing forth different varieties. But no matter how much the outer form may change, the basic idea back of this particular flower is the rose idea.
Holding to the truth that God's ideas are the changeless, limitless, eternal inheritance that God gave to each of us, we are able to view temporal things and conditions from the standpoint of Truth. We may not like the outer appearance of some condition and may desire to be rid of it. When we go deeper, we find the eternal idea that can produce what we really want. There is much reason for rejoicing in the fact that appearances in our outer world can be changed. If they are negative, we are glad they can be changed to that which is desirable.
Growth always brings some change in form, so even the temporal conditions and things that may bring us happiness at the moment will expand into greater expressions of good. The bud becomes the rose. The flowering time gives way to harvest. The bare trees of winter are lying dormant only that they may come forth new in the spring. The baby becomes the adult. All of these are changes in form but not in the eternal idea lying back of the visible forms.
With the right understanding, we see negative appearances as the outpicturing of our misuse (through wrong thinking) of the eternal ideas of God. When we do come to this realization, we are prompted to return in consciousness to the principle of right or scientific thinking, in order to bring forth forms and conditions that are desirable. The form (temporal) of sickness can change to health through the right understanding of the life idea (eternal) as it is handled by our mind in thinking and feeling. There can be a reversal of the condition of poverty to that of affluence, with a return in consciousness to the idea of abundance. When we recognize the Truth, we need to follow through in the expression of the laws of mind that govern the true expression of any divine idea.
We often read in our Truth study that the eternal is the real. Sometimes we refer to the "unreal," meaning the outer manifestation. No manifestation could be sustained were it not based upon a real or eternal idea. In this lesson, we go a step further in considering the temporal, or what may be called the "unreal." On page 73 of the text Doctor Cady refers to certain emotions of the human mind that are not realities, such as envy, unhappiness, selfishness, jealousy, fear, and the like. She refers to these as being "a lack" but we have already established that in reality there is no lack, no absence of any good. On page 74, however, Doctor Cady does qualify her previous statement by adding, "In the deepest reality there is never an absence of the good anywhere, for that would mean absence of God there."
It is this realization that enables us to affirm the Truth in spite of conditions that seem to belie the omnipresence of good. We are strengthened in our faith by understanding that conditions of the outer world -- especially undesirable conditions -- are only temporal. Through appropriation of the eternal ideas of God, outer conditions and things either change completely or expand into greater manifestations of God's good. "Remember that man makes all appearance, and names it good or evil according to the pleasure it gives him. God furnishes the raw material as it were, out of which this appearance is formed, and this is always good, because its pure essence cannot be polluted."
Preceding Entry: Where does the belief in the "absence of good" exist?
Following Entry: How would you help a dear one who appears to be "going wrong" (text, page 75) and expresses unkindness?