The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 1

The law of thought in religions and in accidents.

THE objections to the doctrine that man is the maker of his destiny are that men have no choice in being created, and no choice concerning their destiny; and that there is not more than one life on earth. Their experience would show that justice is seldom meted out; that the good often suffer misfortune, and that the wicked often prosper; that rewards and afflictions generally come to mankind without wise dispensation; that the weak and poor are oppressed, and that the strong and rich can get with impunity what they want; and that there is not an equal opportunity for all. Another factor militating against the acceptance of the law of thought as destiny is the belief in vicarious atonement. If individuals may be relieved of the consequences of their sins by the sacrifice of another, there is no reason for a belief in justice.

The hope of eternal bliss in heaven, and the fear of eternal suffering in hell, as a reward or punishment for the acts of one short life on earth, and based upon the mere acceptance or rejection of a doctrine, dull the perception and stagger the understanding. Predestination means that each doer is at birth arbitrarily created for good or ill: a vessel for shame or honor. This idea, when believed without question, enslaves the believers.

Those who accept an only God who, at will, dispenses blame or favor, raises or puts down, and gives life or death; those who are satisfied with the explanation that every event is the will of God or the ways of Providence, are, merely by holding such beliefs, unable to apprehend the law of thought as destiny. Some people believe in many gods, and others in a particular god, who will grant their wishes and condone their sins if propitiated by offerings and supplications. People who believe that they have such a god, do not want a law to which they cannot appeal for their selfish ends and get a desired response.

No religion can dispense with the law of thought, as destiny: it is the basis of moral law. No religion is without moral law; it must be in every religious system; and in some form it is. Therefore the moral aspects of every religion are shared in some degree by all. For this reason efforts have been successfully made to show the identity of religions in fundamentals, their moral code being the bond between them. Each religion, however, puts the administration of the moral law into the hands of that particular God whose religion it is. His power is believed to be so great that he himself is not bound by the moral law, being above it; hence the belief in the will of God and the ways of Providence; hence also, in some persons, some doubt of the management of that God, and eventually a belief in blind force and chance.

Another reason why some people may not wish to accept the law of thought as destiny is that they do not grasp it. They know of no system of the Universe; they know nothing of the nature of the gods, or of the parts which the gods play in creating, maintaining and changing the physical world; they know little about the nature of the doer and its connection with the gods. The failure of people to grasp these points is due to the absence of a standard measure by which the nature and relations of all matter and beings in the invisible worlds and their planes, and on the visible physical plane, can be estimated. Owing to his weakness and selfishness, man accepts force as that measure; his moral code therefore is practically that might is right. Man sees in his God a magnified man; thus he is prevented from seeing a system of thinking, without which he cannot have a key to the mysteries of the visible plane.

No religion can dispense with the law of thought as destiny. Yet theological doctrines are often incompatible with it. They make it appear in strange disguises, stories and teachings that conceal the law. Nevertheless these are forms used by Triune Selves to teach their doers as much of the law of thought as the doers can acquire. The faith which holds to “ways of Providence,” the “wrath of God” and “original sin” to mention but these few, even as the skepticism which speaks of mere chance and accident, is a station through which the doer passes while it is being educated by the Light of the Intelligence.

The law of thought as destiny works in silence and is unseen. Its course is not perceptible by the senses. Even its results on the physical plane attract no attention unless they are unusual or unexpected. Then by some persons they are called accidents, and are attributed to chance; by others, miracles or the will of God, and an explanation is sought in religions. It is not generally understood that religion is the relation between doers and the gods they have fashioned out of nature. The God or the gods which men worship are nature gods. This fact is apparent from the symbols by which they demand to be adored. These nature gods, however, are subject to complete Triune Selves: they are created by the embodied doers of Triune Selves. Triune Selves furnish to the embodied portions of their doers the means of accomplishing the worship due to—and even the worship demanded by—the nature gods. The “divinity” of each human, speaking within, is the thinker of his own Triune Self. Triune Selves educate their doers, and use religions as a means of teaching. Thus the doer in a human body is allowed to consider a personal God as its creator and source of power, and as the administrator of justice according to a moral code. In so far as the God’s acts or omissions do not fall in with the moral code—the very code which is attributed to the God—the doer believes in the “inscrutable ways of Providence.”

Sometimes small parts of the law of thought are to be found in religions; but then they are colored to fit in with the body of the theology. When the doer matures sufficiently to see that it is sense-bound in a body which is personalized nature, and to distinguish between the gods or God on the one hand, and, on the other, the Light it receives from its Intelligence, then by that Light will the doer understand the innate idea of justice, the real meanings of the “wrath of God” and of the doctrine of original sin.

Accidents and chance are words used by persons who do not think clearly when they attempt to account for certain happenings. Anyone who thinks must be convinced that in a world as orderly as this there is no room for the words accident and chance. Every natural science depends upon the recurrence of certain facts in a certain order. A physical law means facts observed and the assurance of their recurrence in orderly sequence. Such physical laws govern all physical actions, from sowing to harvesting, from boiling water to sailing a vessel, from playing a fiddle to the electrical transmission of sound and images by radio.

Can it be that there is no certainty of the orderly sequence of facts and events when we search for moral law, for moral order? There is such a law, and it accounts for so-called accidents: Everything existing on the physical plane is an exteriorization of a thought which must be adjusted through the one who issued the thought, in accordance with his responsibility and at the conjunction of time, condition and place.