How Christian Science Makes God's Power Available

 

Arnold H. Exo, C.S.B. of Chicago, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

In Jerusalem one afternoon almost two thousand years ago the Apostles Peter and John were on their way to the temple to pray. At one of the temple gates lay a beggar, crippled from birth. When he cried out to Peter and John for alms, Peter said (Acts 3:6-8): "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately," the Biblical account goes on to say, "his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."

One afternoon about ten years ago a sales manager I know asked for help in Christian Science. Because of a serious heart condition he had been a semi-invalid for several years. The illness had become so acute that the attending doctor had prescribed a series of medical treatments as the only possible way to give the sick man even partial relief. My sales manager friend had previously undergone similar series of treatments. Because of their painful nature and temporary results, he was reluctant to have more of them. In his extremity he recalled something he had heard of Christian Science and turned to it for help.

The man's wife telephoned a Christian Science practitioner, who, at the time of the call, was busy in his office with appointments. The practitioner only had time to say to the wife: "Tell your husband that man's life is not organic, is not dependent upon matter or its conditions. Life is God and is manifested in right action. Tell your husband that this spiritual fact is a law of annihilation to the mortal belief that the muscles and valves of his heart can in any way govern or limit his life."

The wife relayed this message to her husband. His healing was instantaneous. He got up from his sickbed, dressed, and drove to the practitioner's office to express his unbounded joy and gratitude. He returned to his home and threw out several kinds of special dietary foods, as well as the entire contents of a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Later that afternoon he worked in his garden, which he loved, but which for many months he could only look at through a window of the sickroom to which his ailment had confined him. Today this man is able and well. He is an active student of Christian Science. In the ten years since his healing there has been no recurrence of the heart condition.

What healed my sales manager friend who for years had failed to find help through material means? What restored the beggar past forty years of age (see Acts 4:22) and lame since birth? It was the infinite power of God! Said Peter to the wondering temple throng (Acts 3:12), "Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" In Psalms we read (62:11), "Power belongeth unto God." Said Christ Jesus (Matt. 6:13), "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever." In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote (13:1), "There is no power but of God." Continuing this chain of scientific reasoning, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 228): "There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God."

 

God's Power Available

What is God's power? Christian Science reveals that God's power is God's infinite ability and capacity to act, to express His infinite goodness without limitation. Christian Science reveals that this omnipotent power of God is as available to heal you and me as it was some two thousand years ago to heal the lame man, and as it was ten years ago to heal the sales manager.

Christian Science shows that in order to utilize this power of God we need only to be receptive to the Christ, Truth, just as were the lame man and the sales manager. Christian Science reveals that God does not share His power with any form of matter, but manifests His omnipotent goodness despite matter and all its ills and limitations. For example, Christian Science reveals that when we are spiritually inspired, the inspiration we feel does not come from a human brain, but is the manifest presence and power of God, who is Spirit. This manifestation of God's power inspires us to rise above material arguments and shortcomings and to heal our bodies through prayer, to find ever better ways to meet our daily needs, to raise our living standards, to advance culturally, to understand God. This inspiration comes to us as the still small voice of Truth, which can be heard clearly above the clamor of erring human reasoning when our thought is prayerfully receptive.

The infinite ability and capacity of God to act is likewise made manifest in the spontaneous ideas which emanate from the Mind which is God. These ideas flowing from God, the all-knowing Mind, give impulse to inquiry and initiative and guidance to all human endeavor. These ideas not only keep us from making mistakes, but they curb such human shortcomings as selfishness and mad ambition, and nurture such godly qualities as kindness and persistence.

Christian Science reveals that God is Soul, and that Soul manifests its power in the purification of human consciousness with a resultant purification of body, which is the objective state of human consciousness. In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy its author states (p. 210), "Knowing that Soul and its attributes were forever manifested through man, the Master healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, feet to the lame, thus bringing to light the scientific action of the divine Mind on human minds and bodies and giving a better understanding of Soul and salvation."

The Life which is God is made evident in human experience as a harmonious and healthful existence. This manifestation of Life, God, is never dependent upon matter or its conditions. This was demonstrated in the case of the beggar and the sales manager, just as it can be demonstrated by you and me in the proportion that we understand, accept, and put into practice the divine fact that God alone is the all-acting, that He alone is the only power.

God manifests the fact that He is Principle in orderliness, lawfulness, and stability, just as He manifests the fact that He is Truth in prudence and truthfulness, and the fact that He is Love in such godly characteristics as loving-kindness, graciousness, forgiveness, and compassion.

As God's reflected evidence the spiritual man of God's creating possesses without any limitation or hindrance the infinite qualities of God, such as orderliness, grace, inspiration, and purity. But man does not and cannot originate these qualities of God. God is the only power, therefore the only creator, and our real spiritual selfhood, as God's image and likeness, is forever at the standpoint of being God's individualized expression of His goodness and right action, and never the source of them. In Christian Science this perfect man of God's full representation is defined as (Science and Health, p. 475), "That which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker."

To thus learn that in reality our Father-Mother, God, is the only power and creator, and that our real spiritual selfhood is God's individualized expression of godly qualities and action, purges human consciousness of the false and harmful belief that mortals must and do possess a creative power and intelligence of their own, distinct from God. Such purification of thought enables us to see more and more clearly the nature of God and man, and thereby to demonstrate more and more godly perfection in our homes, our bodies, and our daily pursuits. In her book entitled "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" Mrs. Eddy states (p. 160), "To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science."

How often during the past twenty-four hours have you been tempted into believing that you lacked the ability to do something you really needed to do? How often have you felt that the wisdom, or the health, or the courage, or the strength, or the opportunity you needed for some sound, practical purpose was unavailable for you? You would have been greatly aided in overcoming these and any other limiting fears by understanding, as Christian Science teaches, that it is natural and normal for us to be orderly, purposeful, loving, capable, healthful, and vigorous, and unnatural and unGodlike for us to be frustrated, weak, or sick. It is natural and normal for us to be free, joyous, and successful, never burdened, sorrowful, limited, or a failure.

 

Evil Has No Origin, Reality, Intelligence, or Power

If God is the only law and power because He is the only creator, infinite and perfect, without mistake, fault, peer, or competitor, what about the mistakes, the discords, limitations, sorrow, strife, burden, and suffering which we see, talk about, hear about, and too often experience? Where do they come from? Does God know about them? Does He send evil to punish us?

Christian Science reveals that evil, regardless of its form or guise, is not power, but an illusion because it cannot come from, or be known by God, almighty good. The prophet Elijah discerned and declared this fact. In I Kings we read (19:11,12), "And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire."

Throughout the ages this question regarding evil and its origin has defied solution whenever the answer was sought in the realm of human reason. This is because human reason incorporates in its premise the false supposition that since the five physical senses see, hear, and feel the effects of evil, then evil must be known to God, must be real and powerful, capable of sometimes overcoming good. This faulty reasoning obviously cannot be in accord with either inspired Scriptural revelation or with sound logic. If it were true that evil, such as sin, disease, death, limitation, and sorrow, originated in God, and were expressed by Him as a part of man's real spiritual selfhood, then it would be disobedient and disrespectful to God for us to attempt to heal ourselves and others of sickness, because sickness would be a part of God's plan for us. It would be contrary to God's plan and purpose for us to attempt in any way to overcome such other manifestations of evil as sin, lack, sorrow, strife, business problems, and so on.

When some of his contemporaries put to the Master the question regarding the origin of evil and its workings, he reasoned spiritually and rightly, and thereby settled the question once and for all. Christ Jesus referred to evil and its workings as "a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states (p. 71): "Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense."

Evil is not power because God is the only power. Hate is not power because Love is the only power. Sickness is not power because health or wholeness is an irresistible manifestation of God's infinite capacity and ability to express right activity at all times and under all conditions. Lack is not an expression of God's power because Spirit, God, is infinite substance. Sorrow, burden, depraved appetite, malice, fear, aggression, lust, mad ambition, are not manifestations of power because God, good, is the only power, and He is continually endowing you and me solely out of His infinite goodness, perfection, and gracious love. Therefore we do not have to be sick or limited. We do not have to be poor, or sorrowful, or burdened. We do not have to be confused, or mistaken, or discouraged, or a failure. We do not have to accept shortcomings. God's emphatic plan and purpose for man is that God's image and likeness eternally shall be God's unrestricted evidence of all godliness and of nothing else.

 

Negation, Diagnosis, and Prayer

If, as the inspired Word of the Bible reveals and Christian Science demonstrates, evil is only illusion, without power, entity, or intelligence, then why bother to mention evil, much less negate it so thoroughly? Why not just say, "God, good, is the only power," and let it go at that? Because, as Mrs. Eddy found out, the perverted belief that God is not the only power − a false belief made evident in human experience as mortal woe − must be stripped of its imaginary identity, strength, intelligence, and reality by thoroughgoing denials. In Science and Health (p. 448) Mrs. Eddy makes this significant statement: "Evil which obtains in the bodily senses, but which the heart condemns, has no foundation; but if evil is uncondemned, it is undenied and nurtured." In his day the prophet Jeremiah protested against the failure to thoroughly negate evil whenever such negations were necessary. Said he (Jer. 8:11), "For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."

The reluctance, because of fear, apathy, or lack of understanding, to denounce evil's lying assertions that it is real is all that evil asks. As of yore it says (Mark 1:24), "Let us alone," when it should not be let alone, but should be seen for the falsity that it is, and thus never be allowed, either through neglect, ignorance, or fear, to become enlarged and entrenched in human consciousness and experience.

Effective negations of all beliefs associated with any case of sickness, such as beliefs in its type, symptoms, degree, cause, and effect, can be made only from the standpoint of Truth, never from the standpoint of evil's aggressive assertions that the sickness possesses power and reality. That is why a physical diagnosis of a sick body can neither initiate nor accelerate Christly healing. Plainly the Master said (John 8:32), "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." He did not say, "Ye shall know the error, and the error shall make you free." The Master never was deceived into judging according to the outward appearance and condition of the flesh. Rather he said (John 7:24), "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

To look at and probe a sick body, and then ruminate over the mental pictures impressed upon thought by the diagnosis, only adds to the bewilderment with which evil cloaks itself in order to deceive us into believing that the sickness is real − in order to falsely convince us that the illness has a certain course to run, and that possibly the outcome is doubtful. Out of her long experience as a successful practitioner of the Christly method of spiritual healing Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 395), "It is mental quackery to make disease a reality − to hold it as something seen and felt − and then to attempt its cure through Mind."

Christian Science, following the methods of the Master, neither prescribes the medical diagnosis of a sick body, nor its medical treatment. In Science and Health (p. 370) Mrs. Eddy states, "A physical diagnosis of disease − since mortal mind must be the cause of disease − tends to induce disease." In her autobiography, "Retrospection and Introspection," she writes (p. 25), "I beheld with ineffable awe our great Master's purpose in not questioning those he healed as to their disease or its symptoms, and his marvellous skill in demanding neither obedience to hygienic laws, nor prescribing drugs to support the divine power which heals."

The most effective diagnosis, as well as the most effective healing medicine, is to know oneself as he is known of God − as the right-acting evidence of the right-acting Supreme Being, who never errs, who is never sick, limited, burdened, or sorrowful. This right knowing of oneself can never be gained by looking at or probing sick matter, or by dredging around in the confusion of human beliefs and psychiatric opinions. Instead, knowing and demonstrating the truth about anything good can be accomplished only through prayer as Christ Jesus prayed and as Christian Science teaches. Such prayer is based on the understanding that God's right action is not some far-off thing to be experienced only in the future, but that it is ever present and actually expressed in what we spiritually and really are. Such prayer has its immediate effect in our human experience. It spiritually enlightens, strengthens, and elevates us so that we progress out of the shadows of wrong action in our bodies, our homes, and our daily pursuits. Thus we more and more find ourselves in our true character, as the reflection of God's own nature, as God's expression of His action, life, love, wisdom, health, peace, and joy.

 

The Christ, the Master, and the Comforter

There is only one Saviour. It is the Christ, the truth of God, the truth that God is the only power, and that God must and does express His infinitely good power in a right-acting man. This Christ, Truth, understood and demonstrated in its power and glory by the human Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary, is as available to you and to me as it was to the Master, or to such patriarchs as Abraham and Jacob, or to such leaders as Moses and David, and such prophets as Elijah and Elisha. These latter two healed by means of the Christ, Truth, as did the apostles such as Peter, and those early Christians such as Paul.

Christ Jesus' clear understanding that the power he demonstrated was not his own, but that it originated solely in God, and therefore was endowed out of God's omnipotence, constituted not only the Master's humility, but also his strength. This Christly understanding enabled the Master always to do the right thing at the right time and in the right way. It enabled him to offer more than doctrine to the sufferers who appealed to him for help. It enabled him to support his doctrine with healing, with proof that God's power is ever available and irresistible. He did not say to the man with the withered hand, "You have no hand." Instead he said to the sick man (Matt. 12:13), "Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other." In this typical instance of Christly healing the omnipotent loving action of God was made manifest in human experience, not as the destruction of the body, but as its restoration to normal action.

Our real spiritual selfhood, constituted by God of the immortal substance which is Spirit, does not require redemption, because our real identity, being God's reflection, is forever at one with God. But mortals most emphatically do need awakening from their false beliefs that man is or can be separated from God. Mortals need not only to be taught this Christly truth of being, but how to demonstrate it. It is for this purpose that we have Christian Science, the God-sent Comforter, to enable us to confirm the doctrine of Truth with deeds of healing. Our Wayshower, Christ Jesus, expected us to do this and showed us how to do it.

Because of the materialism of his time, only a few of the many hundreds who heard the Master's teachings, and witnessed the proofs of his teachings, were able to understand the divine Principle of what they heard and saw. Most of those who saw and heard the Master during his three years' ministry confused the corporeal Jesus and the incorporeal, healing Christ, Truth. They mistakenly conceived of God's omnipotent healing power as originating in a person, instead of in God, the only source and substance of right action. That is why the Master declared that it was necessary for (John 14:16) "another Comforter" to come and present the Christ, Truth, impersonally. Then mortals would be able better to understand and demonstrate that it is the ever-present, unlimited power of God which does the healing work.

 

Christian Science and Mrs. Eddy

The God-sent Comforter promised by Christ Jesus was discovered for this and future ages by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. She named her discovery Christian Science. If one be a sincere seeker for truth he will not lightly pass over the fact that in less than a century since Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science, unnumbered thousands of sufferers the world around, and in every walk of life, have been and are being healed by means of Christian Science. These healings are of every type of disease known to the medical profession. Hundreds of those healed had been given up by sincere and skilled medical practitioners as being hopelessly incurable.

Those who are receptive to the Christ, Truth, will not lightly pass over the fact that this spiritually-minded New England woman, in addition to her many other outstanding accomplishments, in her late eighties established and set the basic policies of what is now considered to be one of the world's greatest newspapers, The Christian Science Monitor. Of the basic policies set by Mrs. Eddy for the Monitor, the one which undoubtedly contributes most to its high standing throughout the world is its objective. Said Mrs. Eddy (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353), "The object of the Monitor is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind." The Christian Science Monitor blesses all mankind by presenting the news of the world in such an unbiased, factual way that its readers can accurately judge for themselves what best promotes the dignity, security, and advancement of mankind.

Critics of Christian Science, or of Mrs. Eddy, should not pass over lightly the fact that since Mrs. Eddy founded, in 1892, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, there have been established throughout the globe over three thousand branches of this The Mother Church. The membership of the world-wide Christian Science church totals many thousands of earnest students who endeavor to make good citizenship a practical ideal by supporting good government, good schools, and progressive community activities.

Mrs. Eddy found in the King James Version of the Bible a rich source of inspiration and strength. It was her guide and authority in understanding and evaluating God's revelation to her of the rule and method of the Master's demonstration of God's power. The first of the six Tenets of Christian Science is (Science and Health, p. 497), "As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." In 1895 Mrs. Eddy ordained the Bible and "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" to be the pastor of Christian Science churches and societies throughout the world.

 

God's Power Utilized

Mrs. Eddy not only discovered and demonstrated the rule and method of the healing system utilized by the Master, but, as was characteristic of her, she unselfishly made her discovery available in a carefully tested, organized way. Her careful work established the Christian Science movement on a firm basis. Its rules and government, provided by Mrs. Eddy in the Manual of The Mother Church, maintain the original God-given purity and vitality of her discovery, thus making it possible for this and future ages to utilize Christian Science in all its original power and effectiveness.

I am well acquainted with a Christian Scientist, a former businessman who, according to the testimony of the five physical senses, was on the verge of death from an ailment which was later found to be a virulent form of dysentery. This disease had appeared in the community in which this man lived and had caused a number of deaths despite the efforts of earnest medical practitioners. The man was restored to health through the steadfast prayers of his loved ones and the help of a consecrated Christian Science practitioner. This healing occurred over fifteen years ago, and today this man is hale and hearty.

I know another man, a building contractor, who had a chronic stomach condition characterized by severe pain and considerable internal hemorrhaging. This man became a student of Christian Science. In an acute attack he became very low because of excessive blood loss. But he had learned that God's power is superior to any illness, that blood is not power because God does not endow any kind of matter with life, substance, or intelligence. This understanding gave the man confidence. With the help of a Christian Science practitioner the condition was healed in about two weeks solely through Christian Science absent treatment. According to materia medica lore, a stomach condition of this kind sometimes may be relieved temporarily and partially by a major surgical operation. But no complete cure is known to medical science.

I know a manufacturer who, from his early childhood, had a severe skin ailment. This condition caused him untold suffering and much inconvenience. He spent thousands of dollars in a fruitless search for medical healing. Finally, after fifty years of suffering, he turned to Christian Science, which on more than one occasion he had ridiculed. He was quickly and permanently healed. Today this man has great respect for Mrs. Eddy and Christian Science.

In the healings of these three businessmen, as well as in the healing of the sales manager, it was demonstrated that God's ideal, endowed as it is out of God's power and perfection, is superior to amoebic dysentery, skin disorder, loss of blood, or the morbid action of heart valves and muscles. Christian Science healings are demonstrations in human experience that God, good, is the supreme and only power.

 

God's Power Individualized

Those who do not understand Christian Science might find it difficult to see how a Christian Science practitioner's treatment, consisting as it does of spiritually right thinking or true prayer, can heal physical ills. The skeptic may be willing to admit that a Christian Science treatment might be of help in overcoming such errors or evils as fear, discouragement, and confusion; a skeptic may even himself have experienced such help from prayer. But that one's physical body can be healed by either one's own or another's prayer is sometimes puzzling to those unacquainted with the Science of being as taught and demonstrated by Christ Jesus, and as set forth fully by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health and her other published writings.

Today thinking people all over the world are more and more coming to the conclusion that, as Mrs. Eddy discovered over sixty-five years ago, all existence is primarily mental. If matter objects were not essentially mental, we could never know anything about them. Because all existence is primarily mental, it is both logical and reasonable to assume that permanent cures can be effected only by spiritually correcting thought, just as Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated.

The Gospels reveal that Christ Jesus gave no credence to the physical appearance of the sick or to the symptoms of disease. Instead the Master so steadfastly held in consciousness the right idea of man as God's perfect reflection, and from this impregnable standpoint so thoroughly denounced the lies of mortal belief concerning the sick, that the purified concept prevailed because it was derived from God, who is irresistible power. Any idea derived from divine Mind, Soul, is not only impelled and protected by the omnipotent power of God, but, because such an idea is imbued with the infinite power of God, it sweeps into oblivion all mortal contradictions to itself.

Christian Science reveals that God's power is God's infinite ability and capacity to express His boundless goodness without limitation. Christian Science makes this limitless power of God, this limitless expression of good, available to you and to me by revealing that the real substance of our God-manifested identity already is, always has been, and forever will be constituted of God's infinite ability and capacity to act rightly at all times and under all conditions. Therefore it is always natural and normal for us to be loved and loving, to be healthful and free, to manifest our God-given dominion in joy, usefulness, alertness, compassion, nobility, health, and intelligence.

It is entirely in accord with God's law of immediate good for us to here and now accept literally and put into practice Mrs. Eddy's statement given in Science and Health (p. 393): "Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man."

 

 

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