“All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
The name of the essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson looks familiar, and I remember quoting him saying “Earth laughs in flowers”. I learnt from Wikipedia that he led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century, which holds the idea that there is inherent goodness in both people and nature.
“Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement that was developed in the 1830s and 1840s in the Eastern region of the United States as a protest to the general state of culture and society, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard University and the doctrine of the Unitarian church taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among the transcendentalists’ core beliefs was the inherent goodness of both people and nature. Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.”
I agree with the notion that we are inherently good as we are made in the perfect and innocent image of God/Divine Love, unlike what some organised religions tell us about being “unclean sinners”. It is when people realise their inherent goodness that they live out this reality and manifest the goodness to the world.
Like what he said in a similar quote:
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
Yes, what lies inside of us is far greater, more beautiful and more glorious than what lies behind us and what lies in front of us. The beauty of the Divine in us is the hope of glory, which is the unseen reality.
The love and kinship we witness in this world, the compassion we read about in Jesus shown to people whom he healed and helped, and the provision of nature – sun shining and rain falling on the just and unjust – can be seen as visible evidence of the love of the Creator. But what about the fear, greed, injustice and violence in the world shown in nation rising against nation and brother against brother? I think these are only outward symptoms of people not knowing or remembering the inherent goodness inside of them, which unites and connects humankind at the very root source.
That which we have seen of Jesus, our true self, is the evidence of the inherent goodness in people and nature. Like air, love is all around us but cannot be seen; it can only be felt and known intuitively. Energy cannot be seen but we learn and know energy is ever present and cannot be destroyed. From the unknown to life to death to afterlife, there is the unseen and unknown, but like Emerson, in view of the invisible yet tangible presence of love as the highest, all pervading energy, perhaps we can also say together with him: “All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.”