Godís Answer to the Deepest Fear

 

William Milford Correll, C.S.B., of Cleveland, Ohio

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

If I should ask you what's the most significant event in all human history, what would you answer? Nuclear power or space travel? Some development in the humanities, some discovery of ancient civilization? Would it refer to some achievement of Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, Mme Curie? I'd say that the most dramatic, the most significant event for all mankind in all time is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Just imagine the thrill that went through his followers when they heard that report, "He is risen, he is risen!" After the gloom and tragedy of Calvary it must have come like a burst of light.

Jesus' disciples and followers reacted in different ways. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary raced off with joy to tell the disciples the good news. Peter ran to the tomb to confirm the report. The doubting Thomas wouldn't believe it until he had touched Jesus' hands and his side.

The effect of the resurrection far exceeds any other event in human history. It goes to the roots of every individual's experience. It can determine his whole outlook and enable him to face life with some assurance of the presence and availability of divine power.

Jesus' resurrection brings hope and inspiration. It reveals the divine energies that are within our reach and the possibility of overcoming sin, disease, and death − the suffering that burdens humanity. What are the lessons involved in the resurrection? What are the discoveries coming from this momentous event that apply to our present day problems?

Well, the greatest lesson is that Jesus broke the bonds of mortality, the belief that life is material, limited, temporal, that death is inevitable. He struck right at the center of the problem of human existence and opened up a whole new realm of development that gives infinite promise to all who follow the Way-shower.

You see, our thoughts about life and death enter − either subtly or overtly − into the minute details of our experience. For example, almost every instance of sickness or suffering involves fear and fear stems from the belief in death, the death-process, or mortality. From a material standpoint life is temporary, fragile, limited. It's subject to disease, accident, chance, age, deterioration, decay − and fear is the common denominator. According to material theories there's no escape from mortality.

But Christ Jesus came to bring us an altogether different concept of Life. He demonstrated that Life is eternal, unlimited, infinite − independent of matter. Now, Jesus' resurrection wasn't miraculous. It was a breakthrough of scientific truth. He demonstrated the true nature of Life as God, infinite Spirit, indestructible and eternal.

Most students of the Bible will agree that God is Spirit, omnipotent and omnipresent. And in the Bible, Moses speaking of God, plainly declares, "he is thy life."1 Throughout the Bible we learn of the all-power of God, the creative intelligence that causes and governs the universe and man. God is the divine Principle of all creation, the power that energizes the universe, the life-force, the source of vitality and strength. He expresses Himself through law − the law of Life, the law of Love.

Jesus referred to the true nature of Life when he said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."2 Throughout his instructions he was turning his followers away from matter to Spirit as the real source of life. Life, then, is not to be considered as a chemical condition or an organic arrangement, but rather as the creative Principle of the universe expressed in man.

Just because we don't see Spirit with the material senses isn't any argument against its actual presence and power. There are other forces and laws that we don't see physically and yet we acknowledge their presence − for instance, the law of gravitation, the law of mathematics. The things of Spirit are invisible to the material senses.

 

Life is Spirit

The fact that Life is infinite Spirit is a scientific discovery of tremendous import. Through the resurrection and the many healings which Jesus accomplished, including raising the dead, we gain a glimpse of the indestructible nature of man made in God's likeness. We learn that man is made up of the qualities of God, that he's purely spiritual, that he manifests the law of God in his health, harmony and supply. We find that he's eternally sustained by the divine Principle of the universe. This real man is the true identity of each one of us.

Jesus taught that through identifying ourselves as the children of God we can prove man's oneness with God, oneness with eternal Life. We can be unafraid. As the Bible says, Jesus came to "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."3 Since God is All-in-all and infinite Life, then in truth there is no death, no death-process, no disease. In practical application many diseases have been healed by overcoming the fear of death.

We learn that the divine Principle, or cause, is a beneficent force, that it's indeed good, or God; that the real laws of being are the laws of Life, Truth, and Love. When we grasp the fact that the great and only cause of existence is divine Love, it adds a whole new dimension to our scientific knowledge. It reveals the motivating power behind Jesus' healing and saving mission. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."4

This discovery that Life is infinite Spirit, divine Love, endless and harmonious, was made by a woman who had spent a lifetime pondering and studying Jesus' healing works as well as his crucifixion and resurrection. Mary Baker Eddy began to grasp the basic law underlying Jesus' healing ability. She glimpsed the intelligent power inherent in his resurrection and the practical nature of that power. Through this understanding she was healed of chronic ill health and critical injury. She says of this healing, "That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence."5

The revelation of Christian Science to Mrs. Eddy wasn't a form or system of religious worship. It wasn't a creed or dogma, a personal cult; it was the revelation of the Science of Life. It was a discovery − a discovery of the spiritual laws that support creation and underlie Jesus' healing and saving ministry.

She saw that throughout his whole career Jesus was demonstrating Christ as the nature and power of God. He overcame limitation and disease from the standpoint that God, infinite Spirit, is the Life of man. To the paralyzed man he said, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."6 To the blind man he said, "Receive thy sight."7 And to the woman taken in adultery he said, "Go, and sin no more."8 He was opening their eyes to the fact that God, good, is infinite; that God is continuously governing man harmoniously; that man's health and harmony don't rest upon matter but stem from his divine Principle, infinite Life. He was proving that man as God's image and likeness isn't subject to sin, disease, and death.

Jesus' coming out of the tomb followed by his ascension together form the culminating victory over all limitation - over all the ills that flesh is heir to. He proved that the Christ, the true idea of God, is the remedy for every ill in human experience. The Christ can be understood as the presence of God revealed, the power of Truth made manifest, the nature of Love reflected. Mrs. Eddy speaks of the healing effect of the Christ in this passage from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The fact that the Christ, or Truth, overcame and still overcomes death proves the 'king of terrors' to be but a mortal belief, or error, which Truth destroys with the spiritual evidences of Life; and this shows that what appears to the senses to be death is but a mortal illusion, for to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process."9

 

Life is God

This fact that life is not in matter is a discovery of startling proportions. Medical researchers have dissected the body endlessly, but they have never found life in it. And among these researchers there's no agreement as to how to define life. They've spent much time and effort studying genetics, heredity, the various evidences of disease, the functions of the human body, as if there were causation and intelligence in matter. But these are effects, they're not causes. One must go far deeper; one must investigate divine cause in order to find the remedy for the burdens of suffering humanity.

It's essential to lift one's thought away from the limited, material basis of belief, to the infinite cause of all that is real. Creative intelligence does not exist in matter, in seeds, or in dust. It's in Mind, Spirit, God. You can get a sense of omnipresent Spirit from the following hymn, which paraphrases Psalm 19:

 

The heavens declare the glory

Of Him who made all things;

Each day repeats the story,

Each night its tribute brings.

To earth's remotest border

His mighty power is known;

In beauty, grandeur, order,

His handiwork is shown.10

 

To say that Life is limited, temporary, and destructible is to wrongly interpret the Science of real being. Life is more than an organic or a chemical condition. It's manifest in the spiritual laws of order, harmony, productivity. What is it that makes the crops grow, the fruit ripen, the flowers bloom? It is, in fact, the divine Principle that causes and governs the universe. Life is not contained in matter, limited to a material body, destroyed by accident. Man's Life is not at the end of a heartbeat, not subject to a twist of fate, or to accidental misjudgment. Life is God, the divine intelligence that governs the universe. And this Life is reflected in man as God's image and likeness.

To fear for one's life is like saying that a number could fall out of the mathematical table. Man's individual being can't disappear from the Science of Life. What a comfort it is to know that each one is encompassed in the love of God. If anyone here has lost a loved one, he can be assured of the permanence of identity and the continuity of individuality in the Science of being.

What does it mean to you, right now, to know that God is your Life? You can come to realize that you are not afraid. This fact that Life is infinite Spirit and that it is not in matter can relieve us of fear, worry, anxious thought about the body. Now this isn't dangerous to human experience. It involves no neglect of ourselves or others. It simply puts our attention where it should be − on Spirit, not on matter. It relieves the body of many of the oppressive beliefs that cause disease.

Just think of the time and attention people spend on diets and exercises, on drugging and massaging the body, on catering to its pleasures and pains. Then consider Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount: "take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"11 Jesus' attitude was caring and comforting, healing and saving; there was no neglect.

The fact that life and intelligence are not in matter was part of Mrs. Eddy's discovery. She expresses this in what she calls "the scientific statement of being," which begins: "There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all."12 Christ Jesus consistently referred to God, Spirit, the great cause of all existence. He said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."13

 

Resistance to Truth

You can easily see that Christian Science runs counter to general opinion and meets up with opposition. Mrs. Eddy, one of the great religious leaders of all time, challenged some of the longstanding basic concepts of theology and medicine. She met with resistance and ridicule, scoffing and persecution. Critics said that Christian Science was neither Christian nor scientific. But such resistance is nothing new. Every new development or profound discovery has met with opposition of established belief, entrenched interest groups, the status quo. Jesus was persecuted and crucified because he taught truths that were contrary to the thinking of his time.

Often people are suspicious of something they don't understand. But Christian Science is a demonstrable Science, and it rests on proof rather than argument. Mrs. Eddy abundantly demonstrated the power of God to heal, and she taught her followers to heal through spiritual means alone. She rested on the Biblical judgment, "By their fruits ye shall know them."14

A striking instance was seen in her healing of Calvin Frye, her secretary, soon after she moved to Chestnut Hill, near Boston. He was found by a member of the household one night, unconscious and apparently in a death stupor. He seemed to have passed on. One of her biographers describes what happened next.

"When Mrs. Eddy was notified, . . . she asked that he be brought to her . . . Mrs. Eddy, then in her eighty-eighth year, commanded Mr. Frye, with the voice of authority, to rouse himself, to awaken from his false dream. At first she met with no response, but this did not discourage her. She redoubled her efforts and fairly shouted to him her command that he awake. In a few moments he gave evidence of life, partly opened his eyes and slightly moved his head. Seeking to rouse him, (she) said, 'Calvin, don't commit self-murder.' He replied, 'I don't want to live.'

'"Disappoint your enemies and live,' she commanded. 'Say that you do want to stay and help me.'

"Then he took his first stand and answered, 'Yes, I will stay.' It was now about a half-hour since Mr. Frye had first been found. Mrs. Eddy told him to work for himself (that is, to resist the belief in death). Soon he walked back to his room unaided. He retired, slept through the night and arose the next morning in time to be down for breakfast at seven o'clock," fully restored.15

Does the interpretation of Life as divine Principle seem impersonal and cold? Is there any reason to believe that being scientific and unchanging this relationship of God and man is anything less than loving? The invariable nature of divine Love shows the constancy of Love, the dependability of Love, the everlasting bond of union between parent and child. The actual law of Love is indestructible. Mrs. Eddy speaks of "the eternal unity of man and God, as the divine Principle and spiritual idea; which is the indissoluble bond of union, the power and presence, in divine Science, of Life, Truth, and Love, to support their ideal man. This is the Father's great Love that He hath bestowed upon us, and it holds man in endless Life and one eternal round of harmonious being."16

 

Spiritualization of Thought

In order to follow in Jesus' footsteps, to conquer fear, and to heal as he taught us to do we're required to change the base of our thinking from matter to Spirit. Thought must be spiritualized to comprehend the Science of being and to reflect the Christ, the power of Spirit, to heal and to save. This is where the resurrection serves to awaken us to a whole new realm of spiritual existence, a new frame of reference. Mrs. Eddy defines "resurrection" as "spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding."17

But what does it mean to spiritualize our thought? If we start from the basis that matter is the source of life and intelligence we naturally interpret man and creation from a material standpoint and everything seems to be material and mortal. But if we realize that Spirit is the creative divine Principle, the source of all reality, and that God, Spirit, created man in His image and likeness, then we interpret creation from a spiritual standpoint.

The way to spiritualize consciousness is to consistently behold creation through the light of truth, through the spiritual senses. For instance, when we think of our friends or our fellow-beings, we want to think of the mental and spiritual qualities they express, the intelligence, the love, the compassion, the unselfishness. This is the substance of a friend rather than any material element. When we think of home, again we think of the qualities involved, the warmth of love, the unselfish care, the genuine affection. This is the substance of a home. When we think of business, we think of the service rendered, the productivity expressed, the integrity represented. This is the substance of business. And the substance in each instance is spiritual, not material.

We can learn to translate all creation into its original meaning or conception and find the harmony of God's creation when He "saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."18 In this light the universe expresses spiritual law and is the product of divine intelligence.

Through this spiritualization of thought we behold man in his true nature as complete, whole, harmonious, spiritual. We can realize our freedom from fear, our freedom from disease, from suffering, from lack. God as infinite good never causes sin or disease, evil in any form. Jesus taught and demonstrated that man as God's child can never be separated from Life. Mrs. Eddy writes, "The understanding that Life is God, Spirit, lengthens our days by strengthening our trust in the deathless reality of Life, its almightiness and immortality."19

 

Jesus' Life Triumphant

We're often taught to accept death, disease, calamity as inevitable, as the will of God. And yet God is pure good, eternal Life. Jesus constantly spoke of himself as doing the will of God, and this will of God was plainly manifest in his healing the sick, regenerating the sinner, and raising the dead. The compassion, the love, and unselfishness of Jesus, the Christly spiritual power that he manifested − all of these give us an insight into the nature of God, eternal Life, and define the true nature of Christ as the expression of God.

It's often said that Jesus died for us. Now no one would for a moment minimize the great sacrifice that Jesus made to show us the way. He went through all kinds of trials to prove the power of God to deliver us from evil. Instead of succumbing to death Jesus destroyed the power of death. Because of this, couldn't we more accurately say that Jesus lived for us?

After all, Jesus' life was one of triumph. He overcame death instead of yielding to it. He proved that there's no law of death, no inevitable demise. He rolled the stone away from the door of the tomb. He opened the door of eternal life to all who follow in his steps. We can come to have more faith in Life than we have in death. This was the message of Jesus' mission.

And yet we don't appear to have heard what Jesus came to tell us. He taught us the law of Life, and yet humanity seems mesmerized by the so-called law of sin and death. We experiment with drugs known to be deadly. People cling to self-destructive habits, like smoking, even in the face of warnings that such habits are detrimental to health. We're surrounded by suicides, assassinations, accidents, and murder. Why? What is it that's constantly condemning man?

"Animal magnetism" is a term used in Christian Science to designate this negative influence, mortal mind, this tendency towards self-destruction. Sometimes people are just mesmerized by the belief in death. They ponder it, mull over it, study the death-process, watch the violence on T.V., and devour the obituaries in the newspapers. Sometimes people are even taught to accept death without resistance. This whole self-destruct syndrome seems to culminate in the threat of nuclear holocaust, the extinction of humanity.

How do we break this mental mesmerism? The answer again lies in the spiritual nature of man as the child of God. The Bible instructs us, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."20 Man's spiritual nature is not subject to destruction any more than a number in the mathematical table is subject to any explosive force. Man in God's likeness is indestructible. We want to fill our consciousness with the truth of being − that Life is God, Spirit, diseaseless, deathless, ageless, sinless. Now this is not an ephemeral hope; it is a practical truth just as Jesus proved in his resurrection.

A belief in death or mortality often leads to a very temporary sense of things. It leads to immorality, a kind of reckless sense. A belief in fate may suspend one's conscience and paralyze his moral sense. "What will be, will be," is the popular saying. One of our lecturers was speaking on this subject and his title was "Lifting the Burden of Mortality." Well, it was mistakenly advertised in the newspaper as "Lifting the Burden of Morality." You'd be surprised how many people came to that lecture who would not normally be there!

 

Raise the Dead

The other day I received a letter from a Christian Science student in New England asking me, "Why aren't we raising the dead as Jesus told us to do?" In many ways we are fulfilling Jesus' demand. Every time a disease is cured in Christian Science we're challenging the belief in mortality and overcoming the fear of death. Every time a moral fault is cured and the individual regenerated we're raising the dead from trespasses and sin.

We may well ask ourselves "What about our occasionally deadened conscience? How many times do we abandon our moral standards, rationalize and let things slide in the wrong direction?" In one of the epistles, an early Christian wrote about those who were "speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."21 Through a deadened conscience, this author seems to be saying, they were consenting to things contrary to their basic religious teaching and morals. Is this happening today?

One example of this kind of deadened conscience in United States history is the so-called "good" men who went along with slavery. For one reason or another they accepted and condoned what they should never have allowed in the first place.

We may have to deal with apathy, dullness, lifelessness, and alienation. Have you ever known someone who appeared to be only half alive − without much purpose or motivation? Who perhaps said, "What's the use?" Isn't that a kind of deadness? And what raises it? An understanding of Life as God, the creative, motivating, divine Principle of the universe and man.

Mrs. Eddy speaks of "those dead in trespasses and sins, satisfied with the flesh, resting on the basis of matter, blind to the possibilities of Spirit and its correlative truth."22 She also writes: "The spiritual significance of this command, 'Raise the dead,' most concerns mankind. It implies such an elevation of the understanding as will enable thought to apprehend the living beauty of Love, its practicality, its divine energies, its health-giving and life-bestowing qualities, − yea, its power to demonstrate immortality."23

You'll recall Jesus' parable of the prodigal son. After the son had seen the folly of sin and the father had received him back into his home and had clothed him in right garments, the father said, "This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found."24 The Christ as the true idea of Love redeems the individual from the law of sin and death.

 

 

 

Scientific Study

Raising the dead, or resurrection, means spiritualization of thought. We can have our resurrection daily and hourly. To understand Christian Science we must devote time and thought to the daily study of the Bible Lesson-Sermons. These are comprised of citations from the Bible with correlative citations from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. They're published in the Christian Science Quarterly and arranged to explain the teachings of Christian Science on certain basic subjects, with the idea of enabling the student to understand the laws involved to the point of demonstrating them in his daily life. This is a method of research, exploring the realm of Spirit, examining the relations of cause and effect from a metaphysical standpoint. The metaphysician is a scientist in the deepest sense of the word. Spiritualization of thought, research, discovery, proof is the way to realize the truth that Jesus said would make us free.

Let me tell you of an instance of "resurrection" healing. A woman under the care of a Christian Science practitioner − that is, someone whose life is dedicated to healing through prayer − was taken to a Christian Science nursing home. She felt that she didn't want to live. She was troubled by internal difficulties causing nausea, fever, pain, and nightmares. Also, the future held problems that she was afraid to face.

The morning after her arrival at the home a Christian Science nurse came into her room. When she saw her, the nurse said, "Oh, dear one, live, live." The woman was deeply touched that a total stranger wanted so earnestly for her to live, but still she felt too tired to go on.

Some weeks later she felt an overwhelming desire to give her mental consent to death. A nurse sitting beside the bed sensed the temptation and urged her not to do it. The woman began to remember the loving care of the nurses, the devotion of her daughter and the practitioner. This lifted her thought and she knew that she didn't want to give in.

That night for the first time in two months she slept peacefully. Toward the morning she thought of Mrs. Eddy's statement that I quoted earlier, "The understanding that Life is God, Spirit, lengthens our days by strengthening our trust in the deathless reality of Life, its almightiness and immortality."

She awoke to a room that seemed filled with Life − wonderful, beautiful, vibrant Life. She was alive with gratitude to God and to all those who were helping her. In the face of gratitude and prayerful work of the practitioner, the disease beliefs were gradually dispelled and she experienced a complete healing. She returned to a musical career and the past fifteen years have been filled with delightful activity, travel, and interesting experiences. She was particularly grateful for the inspiration that came to her in the nursing home that Life is God, Spirit.25

 

Restoration of Bodily Harmony

The Christ as the healing and saving idea of God restores the human body to its normal harmonious condition. It's important to realize that in the resurrection Jesus brought his human body back, that is, he literally restored his body to its normal functioning. Once I was part of a group of representatives of various religions having an ecumenical discussion of the Easter experience, the resurrection. As we proceeded it became clear that none of these people thought that Jesus actually restored his human body after what seemed to be death. They thought that the resurrection was something subjective that happened in the minds of the followers. Jesus still lived in their hearts and the influence of his life was still with them. But the contemporary interpreters balked at the complete restoration of his physical body.

This apparently was in spite of the many Scriptural references that show that Jesus restored his body. After his crucifixion he ate with his disciples. He appeared before many witnesses. He showed the doubting Thomas the physical evidence of the torn palms and side. Jesus' healing was manifested in the normalization of his body.

Why don't we accept Jesus' total resurrection? Mrs. Eddy asks the question this way: "What is it that seems a stone between us and the resurrection morning?" And she answers, "It is the belief of mind in matter."26

Resurrection comes as we realize that life and intelligence are not in matter. They're the evidence of infinite Spirit. As we grow in our understanding of God as the Life of man this is shown forth in our increased dominion over the physical circumstances. It brings our activity under God's protection. Then we can have our daily resurrection.

In Science and Health we read: "Jesus said substantially, 'He that believeth in me shall not see death.' That is, he who perceives the true idea of Life loses his belief in death. He who has the true idea of good loses all sense of evil, and by reason of this is being ushered into the undying realities of Spirit. Such a one abideth in Life, − life obtained not of the body incapable of supporting life, but of Truth, unfolding its own immortal idea. Jesus gave the true idea of being, which results in infinite blessings to mortals."27

When do we face this belief in death and set about to overcome it? Do we wait until the physical challenge is upon us and we're forced to deal with it? Or do we daily set about lifting our thought and experiencing our resurrection?

We don't need to feel presumptuous in seeking to overcome death. After all, the Master overcame death and he's our Way-shower. His proof of eternal life wasn't miraculous. It was based on understandable law. He showed us how to gradually work up to the point where we have more confidence in Life than we have in death, more faith in living than in dying.

God is our Life, and God is infinite and eternal. He's limitless, diseaseless, ageless, sinless. Grasping these truths will enable us to overcome fear. It will enable us to feel a release from the mortal, limited view of life. It's comforting to know that you can never be separated from your Life, which is God, Spirit, "for in him we live, and move, and have our being."28

 

1.    Deuteronomy 30:20.

2.    John 6:63.

††† 3.Hebrews 2:15.

††† 4.John 3:16.

††† 5.Miscellaneous Writings, p. 24.

††† 6.John 5:8.

††† 7.Luke 18:42.

††† 8.John 8:11.

††† 9.Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 289.

10. Christian Science Hymnal, No. 329.

11. Matthew 6:25.

12. Science and Health, p. 468.

†††††††† 13. †††††††† John 17:3.

14. Matthew 7:20.

15. Irving C. Tomlinson. Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy. The Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, 1945, pages 58-59.

16. Miscellaneous Writings, p. 77.

17. Science and Health, p. 593.

18. Genesis 1:31.

19. Science and Health, p. 487.

20. Romans 8:2.

21. I Timothy 4:2.

22. Science and Health, p. 316.

23. Retrospection and Introspection, p. 88.

24. Luke 15:24.

25. The Christian Science Journal, November, 1979, p. 683.

26. Miscellaneous Writings, p. 179.

27. Science and Health, p. 324-325.

28. Acts 17:28.

 

 

HOME PAGE††††††††††††††† INDEX OF LECTURES