How Christian Science Reveals Man's Greatness
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:
Christian Science reveals man's greatness by revealing God's greatness. In accord with the inspired Word of the Bible, Christian Science shows that the only real selfhood of each one of us is an individualized expression by God of godly greatness and glory. Said God of the perfect, incorporeal being of each one of us (Isa. 43:7), "I have created him for my glory."
Christian Science reveals that God without man as God's never-ceasing manifestation of His never-ceasing love, power, law, and life, would be a nonentity, just as the sun without its rays of sunlight would be no sun. Said God (Gen. 1:26), "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion."
Is it not natural that the image and likeness of God should reflect the dominion, the greatness of God? How could it logically be otherwise? In accord with the law of reflection, wherein like reflects like, the greatness and glory of God must be and is made manifest by God in great and glorious man.
Since the spiritual and only real selfhood of each one of us is God's reflected almightiness and perfection, it is essential that we understand God's greatness in order that we may more and more, here and now, demonstrate that greatness in our lives. The Bible states (Job ), "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." The mission of Christian Science is to acquaint us intelligently with God and thereby to acquaint us intelligently with our true spiritual selfhood, as God's image and likeness to whom He gave dominion.
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 587), its author Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, reveals the almightiness and perfection of God by defining Him as "The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Mrs. Eddy defines the spiritual man of God's creating as (Science and Health, p. 115), "God's spiritual idea, individual, perfect, eternal." In elucidating the term "idea," as used in Christian Science to designate the man God created in His image and likeness, Mrs. Eddy quotes this definition from Webster, "Idea: An image in Mind; the immediate object of understanding."
As God's reflected ideas we are not specks in space, isolated from God and from the life, love, perfection, and goodness which He expresses. Rather, as God's individualized manifestation of His greatness and glory, we are the immediate objects of God's infinite understanding; we are the immediate objects of Mind's knowing, seeing, and action; the immediate objects of Love's blessings, of Principle's law, of Soul's beauty, of Life's eternality, of Truth's actuality, of Spirit's inspiration.
As the immediate manifestations of God no space, element, condition, thing, or person can separate us from our Maker or from the greatness and glory which our Maker is continually expressing. In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote (8:38,39), "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
No Mediumship in God's Kingdom
As God's ideas we are God's direct evidence of every one of His qualities, with not one quality lacking, dwarfed, or obscured. To allow ourselves to be tricked into believing that we are or can be separated from God, and consequently from such godly qualities as alertness and composure, but that we can regain these qualities through the medium of a cigarette, is to deny our heritage that we are sons and daughters of God, that we are God's immediate evidence of all that He is, with nothing intervening or capable of coming between us and our creator. We likewise deny our sonship with God if we are deceived into believing the lie that social acceptance and business success are enhanced through the medium of alcohol; or that health is attained and maintained through the medium of drugs; or that human troubles and shortcomings are overcome in a narcotic stupor; or that a charm or an idol can bring us God's blessings; or that the movements of the planets can control existence; or that an unearned dole of a welfare state can guarantee us security; or that a person or a group of persons can bring us salvation.
In the immediacy of God and man there can never be any necessity or opportunity for mediumship of any kind, be it alcohol, tobacco, drug, narcotic, human will, push, pull, connivance, pressure, material condition, material personality, luck, chance, wealth, the position of the stars and planets, or occult calculations based on numerology and palmistry. To so believe only moves us away from instead of toward our demonstration of the great spiritual law that as God's ideas we already are, always have been, and forever will be God's immediate manifestation of the radiant reality of His infinite and perfect being.
Man's Spiritual Identity Revealed
Since God is Spirit, and the spiritual identity of each one of us is God's incorporeal manifestation of godly glories, inseparably coexistent with God, what about these three-dimensional fleshly bodies? Are they the reflection of Spirit? Do organic bodies, either well or sick, young or old, constitute the individualized greatness and glory of almighty God? Christian Science reveals that they do not! In accord with the inspired Word of the Scriptures, Christian Science reveals that a mortal, made up as he is of brain, blood, and bones, never could be Soul's immaculate image and likeness. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 475), "The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit."
In the words of Isaiah (), Christian Science says, "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" Christian Science reveals that the almightiness, the infinitude, and the glory of God could never be made manifest in matter, which is only a mirage-like effect of the illusion that God is not All.
Does this mean that the Christian Science revelation and demonstration of what constitutes man as God's incorporeal idea causes us to lose our identity? No, it does not! The mission of Christian Science is never to destroy but to reveal that which is real and useful. Christian Science reveals so plainly the actuality and perfection of what constitutes the real, eternal identity of each one of us as the individualized glory of God, that the mortal lie that finite, sickly, dying matter constitutes us will no longer deceive us nor limit us in our demonstration of good. "Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love," writes Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 477).
Christian Science reveals that a God-created idea without its God-created identity is an impossibility (see Science and Health, p. 507:7), because, as the Scriptures declare, God not only made man but made him Godlike − that is, God made each one of us to be a compound manifestation of every godly quality. Hence the kind of body we have depends upon how we identify ourselves. Christian Science, by revealing the real nature of God and man, enables us to correctly identify ourselves as we spiritually are − as the manifest greatness and glory of God, and not as drab limited mortals; not as finite corporeal beings, but as incorporeal ideas; not as dust-created mortal sons of Adam, but as the Spirit-created immortal sons of God, never lacking any good.
Christ Jesus unhesitatingly declared that his ever-existent identity was the glory of God. Said the Master (John 17:5), "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." Like the Master we too must identify ourselves as we spiritually are, as the individualized glory of God, if we expect to follow in the footsteps of the Master and heal ourselves and others of the drabness and limitations of materialism.
We must steadfastly identify ourselves as glorious spiritual ideas of God, even though to the five physical senses and to human reason we appear to be material and temporal.† Declared John (I John 3:2), "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." Seeing the glory of God we shall demonstrate that glory because the right idea of God is always the idea, man, as God created him − as Godlike, glorious, whole, free, eternal, never touched, enveloped, or encumbered by limiting, burdening, mortal beliefs. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote (II Cor. 3:18), "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory."
Spiritual Identity Tangible
In the transfiguration on the mount, Christ Jesus demonstrated to the wondering Peter, James, and John that this unfolding glory of God, which constitutes the incorporeal, eternal identity of each one of us, is both real and tangible. As related by Luke (-32), the Master "took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory. . . . But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him."
Have you ever wondered if prayer, after the manner in which Christ Jesus prayed, could help you demonstrate something of your true incorporeal identity as God's manifested greatness and glory; could help you demonstrate, at least in some degree, that real body is not material and limited, but is the individualized reflection of the "living Principle, Love;" could help you improve your work, your home, your marriage, your business, your church, your community; could help you put off, in an ever-increasing degree, the old, the drab, the limited, and put on the new, the glorious, the limitless, the perfect? Then note carefully what took place on the mount of transfiguration − the mount of the spiritual discernment of the real nature and essence of God, reached only through spiritually inspired thought. Where the five physical senses could behold only their own limited mortal concept of Jesus as a physical personality, there thought, spiritually uplifted and purified through prayer, was able to look beyond the limited horizons of the physical senses and behold the spiritual identity of the Master as God's individualized manifestation of godly greatness and glory. Of this God-reflected spiritual identity of Jesus, God said (Matt. 17:5), "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," as if to say, "This is My perfect evidence of My perfect being, of My greatness, glory, majesty, eternality, purpose, power, perfection, joy, and irresistible law."
As long as Peter, James, and John kept their own thought alert and elevated to the spiritual realities of being as portrayed by the transfigured Master, they were awake to the facts of God's greatness and of man's consequent glory. In this spiritually enlightened state of thought they were able to discern the spiritually tangible, never-dying, incorporeal identity not only of the Master, but also of Moses and Elias, who like the Master "appeared in glory." These were the selfsame Moses and Elias who, according to erring human reckoning, had many centuries before disappeared to that mortal state of thought which believes that man's real identity consists of the transient, fleshly body instead of God's individualized, incorporeal, eternal glory.
When like Peter, James, and John we are awake to the Christly facts of being, and through spiritual understanding remain awake to them, then we too can demonstrate in an ever-increasing degree our true spiritual identity as God's manifested almightiness. Then it shall no longer be said of us, "Ye are not my people," that is, we are not God's manifestation. Rather, it shall be said of us as Hosea prophesied (1:10), "And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God" − that is, right in the place and condition where we find ourselves at each moment of every day, there in that place and at that moment, in proportion to our spiritual understanding we can demonstrate through prayer that man is God's individualized manifestation of Life, of health, of joy, and of unlimited right activity. The answer to this kind of prayer becomes humanly apparent as increasing right activity in our businesses, our homes, our bodies, our churches, and our communities.
Prayer and Its Healing Power
Christianly scientific prayer that heals the sick and casts out error of all kinds might be defined as that activity of the Christ, Truth, in human consciousness which so purifies and elevates thought by revealing the nature and essence of God that the clamoring testimony of the fleshly senses that life, substance, and intelligence are finite and material is forever silenced.
Christ Jesus, the Wayshower, gave us a model prayer so that we too might pray as effectively as did he − so that we too might cast off the shackles of sickness, limitation, sorrow, and sin. This model prayer is known in this age as the Lord's Prayer. Said the Master (Matt. 6:9), "After this manner therefore pray ye." The Master cautioned his followers not merely to repeat the words of the model prayer which he gave. Said he (Matt. 6:7), "When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
It is not the mere repetition of Jesus' words which redeems human consciousness and lives. It is the Christianly scientific sense of the Lord's Prayer, or of any other prayer patterned after it, which alone is capable of purifying and elevating thought. This spiritually scientific sense of the Lord's Prayer was discerned by Mrs. Eddy through her discovery of Christian Science, and is set forth in the closing passages of the first chapter in Science and Health − the chapter entitled "Prayer."
How the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation by Mrs. Eddy provided the basis for a successful demonstration in human experience of man's God-given perfect being is seen in the following. One afternoon a Christian Science practitioner was called on the telephone from a distant state by a sincere young Christian Science mother whose small child, while at play, had been bitten on the foot by a large rattlesnake.
The practitioner quieted the mother's fears by assuring her that the real identity of her child was God's immediate expression of His greatness and glory, and that this glory of God could never be dimmed or brought low by any error, because Truth, Life, is always the master of error, of all evil. This fact, the practitioner assured the mother, constituted an irresistible law of nullification to every false belief connected with snake bite, including the widely believed error that rattlesnake bites are fatal unless emergency material methods, sanctioned by false material reasoning, are quickly resorted to.
At the conclusion of the telephone call the practitioner turned to the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation by Mrs. Eddy in order to fortify and clarify his own thought in overcoming the aggressive belief of quick death from rattlesnake bite. First he read, "Our Father which art in heaven," the Master's humble acknowledgment of God's absolute perfection and of man's perfection as God's expression. Then the practitioner considered Mrs. Eddy's spiritually inspired interpretation of the Master's words (Science and Health, p. 16), "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious." He realized that the all-pervading reflected harmony of the Father-Mother God embraced the child so completely that snake venom was rendered as utterly harmless as when the shipwrecked Paul confidently shook off the deadly viper and felt no hurt.
Jesus' next words, "Hallowed be Thy name" − the scientific interpretation of which is, "Adorable One" − the practitioner reasoned must and does have expression in the child's inseparable oneness with God, with omnipresent good. He declared that the child's eternal oneness with God, good, did not require the medium of anti-snake-bite serum to reestablish that which in reality never was or ever could be interfered with or sundered.
The Master's next words, "Thy kingdom come," and Mrs. Eddy's spiritually inspired affirmation, "Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present," reassured the practitioner that God's ever-presence is always made evident in perfect man, as are all of God's qualities. Therefore, man's eternal perfection could never be voided by venom, evil, or death.
The practitioner realized that the Master's next words, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," could not fail to be made evident in the child's experience. Christian Science makes plain that God's almightiness is not an abstraction, but an irresistible power demonstrable here and now, as Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of the Master's words indicate, "Enable us to know, − as in heaven, so on earth, − God is omnipotent, supreme."
As the practitioner continued to study the rest of the Lord's Prayer and Mrs. Eddy's scientific interpretation of it, he recognized that God never leads us into the temptation of believing in the reality of evil, of sin, disease, and death. Instead God delivers us from these errors of false belief by showing us, through the Christ, Truth, the unreality, powerlessness, and consequent nothingness of all that is unlike God, good.
In less than an hour the practitioner received a second call from the mother reporting that her own fear had lessened and that the child had no pain or flushed appearance. At the mother's request the practitioner continued Christian Science treatment for the child. That evening the mother telephoned to report that by bedtime the drugged appearance and listless action of the child had completely vanished. The little girl was alert, had heartily eaten her supper, and had gone soundly to sleep when put to bed.
The child slept restfully that night. The next day was spent quietly by the mother and child. By afternoon the child began to put her weight on her foot, and by the following day, less than forty-eight hours after she had been bitten, the little one was running about the yard with her playmates. Two days later the mother notified the practitioner to discontinue his prayers for the child. The swelling and discoloration had virtually disappeared, and shortly thereafter the mother reported that all traces of both were gone.
Solely through Christian Science absent treatment, by a practitioner over a thousand miles away, the child had been completely healed of rattlesnake bite.
Later in writing the practitioner the mother related in part: "I saw so clearly that the snake had never and could never touch this child's real spiritual being, and that always was and always would be her only being. I knew there was no kind of poison that could destroy Life, God. . . . I was greatly tempted in many ways and times that day, but it was so wonderful to rise above each suggestion and be the victor."
The healing prayers of the practitioner and the mother, like the Master's prayers, were no blind beseechings to God to heal the child. Christly healing is never a miracle, or the result of mental outlining, mental manipulation, or the exercise of human will power. The child was healed by the spiritual understanding that God ceaselessly manifests His greatness and glory in perfect, incorruptible man. This Christly scientific state of thought, when intelligently utilized and steadfastly maintained, always has and always will meet every human need, no matter how great or how urgent that need. Christian Science practitioners throughout the world are daily proving, in their healing work, that there is no such thing as too late or too sick.
Prayer does not change the realities of existence. Instead the prayer which constitutes successful Christian Science treatment, as Christ Jesus treated, sweeps aside the material illusions of existence and leaves only the glorious realities of being, unfettered by human hypotheses, unencumbered by mortality, by matter, by limitation. Said John the Baptist of the natural and irresistible healing operation of the Christ, Truth (Matt. ), "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
The Power and Wisdom of God
The healing Christ was characterized by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians () as "the power of God, and the wisdom of God." Christian Science reveals that the power and wisdom of God alone are capable of separating fable from fact, and presenting to mortals the true idea of God, the idea which is spiritual man, God's manifested greatness and glory. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states (p. 316), "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs." In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote (3:4), "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
By means of his Christliness, his true idea of God, the Master was able to demonstrate the Christ, the power and wisdom of God, more than anyone who ever trod the globe. His Christliness enabled the Master to set aside as nothing and powerless such manifestations of error as sickness, sin, death, and limitation. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states (p. 473); "Christ is the ideal Truth, that comes to heal sickness and sin through Christian Science, and attributes all power to God. Jesus is the name of the man who, more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true idea of God, healing the sick and the sinning and destroying the power of death. Jesus is the human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the Christ."
The Master declared that his demonstration of the Christly system of healing the sick, saving the sinner, and raising the dying through rousing the dormant understanding to the true nature of God and of man, constituted the highest manifestation in human experience of the spiritual idea of church. In the Gospel of Matthew it is related that when Peter beheld that it was the Christ, the power and wisdom of God, and not the human personality of Jesus which demonstrated the greatness and glory of God, Peter cried out (Matt. 16:16), "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." In approving Peter's declaration the Master replied, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." In commenting upon the Master's reply to Peter, Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 138), "In other words, Jesus purposed founding his society, not on the personal Peter as a mortal, but on the God-power which lay behind Peter's confession of the true Messiah."
The prime function of church in human experience is to rouse mortals to apprehend the Principle, rule, and method of spiritual healing after the manner in which Christ Jesus healed. In founding the Christian Science church to reinstate for this and all future ages the Christly system of Mind-healing, Mrs. Eddy gave practical effect to that which Christ Jesus originally established, but which became obscure to mankind about three centuries after the Master's ministry. About that time mortals permitted their Christly inspiration, their understanding and practical application of the power and wisdom of God, to become darkened by ecclesiastical ritualism, dogma, and scholasticism. Now as then, when mortals lose their true idea of God they lose their ability to demonstrate the true idea, man. Christian Science restores this spiritually right idea of God and man in all its pristine grandeur, and thereby restores Christly healing to the world.
Purpose of the
Mrs. Eddy was divinely inspired to
establish The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Mrs. Eddy foresaw that as long as there exists on this planet any false belief that the supreme All-in-all, God, is not the only Mind and Principle, and that the lie that matter is the necessary medium of God, Spirit, to express His greatness, glory, perfection, and power − just so long The Mother Church with its branches and all the established organized activities will be required to guide and support mortals in their passage from belief in the unreal, and consequent suffering therefrom, to the understanding and demonstration of the reality of being. These established activities are provided for in the Manual of The Mother Church by Mrs. Eddy. Some of these activities are Sunday services, Wednesday testimonial meetings, Sunday Schools, Reading Rooms, lectures, class teaching, and the publication and circulation of authorized Christian Science literature. This authorized Christian Science literature consists of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy's many other published writings, and the publications of The Christian Science Publishing Society. These, together with the King James Version of the Bible, may be read, borrowed, or purchased in any Christian Science Reading Room.
It is not only helpful but vital to the spiritual progress of students of Christian Science that they understand to the fullest extent possible the right idea of church in order that they may more successfully demonstrate the healing power of Christian Science in their homes, their bodies, and their chosen activities. The blessings of membership in The Mother Church and in a branch church, society, or college organization can promote health, success, and happiness only when the privileges and obligations of church membership are fully utilized.
Mrs. Eddy's Humility
Through spiritual inspiration and revelation Mrs. Eddy made her discovery of Christian Science in 1866 after many years of searching the Bible for a better understanding of God and of how the spiritual healings recorded in the Bible were achieved. In the succeeding forty-four years of her human existence she devoted her full attention, energy, inspiration, and rich talents to proving and establishing the ways and means for us to utilize Christian Science in healing ourselves and others as Christ Jesus healed. By her outstanding work, Mrs. Eddy's place in history as the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, hence as the revelator of the Christ, Truth, to this and succeeding ages, is forever fixed. Her legacy to mankind makes her one of the world's greatest benefactors − a fact which quickly becomes apparent to the many thousands who have been and are being benefited by her discovery.
The far-reaching effects of Mary Baker Eddy's lifework prove beyond doubt that the system of Christly healing which she discovered and founded was no mere personal achievement. Christian Science was God's impartation to a thought so imbued with humility, and so spiritually elevated above its fellows, that it and it alone was the logical one to receive the final revelation of absolute divine healing power, to test and to demonstrate the Principle of this healing power, and to permanently establish for all ages to come the exact instructions, rules, and methods necessary for us to be able to follow in the Master's footsteps, healing as he commanded we should heal. Hence no one on earth today knows anything about Christian Science, or how to utilize it, or will ever know anything about it and its successful application, except he learn it from Mrs. Eddy's revelation as set forth completely in Science and Health and her other writings − a revelation which she states is final, and which is sanctioned by the inspired Word of the Bible.
Christian Science Unique
Because Christian Science is God's revelation, it is unique and original. The only thing like Christian Science is Christian Science. It stands alone, pre-eminent as the healing theology of the Master − as the Comforter promised by Christ Jesus. Said the Master (John 14:26), "But the Comforter, . . . whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Christian Science reveals that no mediumship of matter or of materialism exists or needs to exist in the realm of God, because God is Spirit, the sufficient and only Life, substance, intelligence, and power. Christian Science reveals that our real spiritual selfhood is God's immediate manifestation of godly power, perfection, purpose, law, life, and intelligence, with nothing intervening or capable of intervening and dimming or dwarfing the individualized glory of God.
Christian Science proves that this never-ceasing glorious reflection of God, with no godly quality lacking, constitutes all there is or can be to your real, spiritual, eternal being and mine as perfect sons of God, as God's immediate and immortal expressions of His greatness and glory. Holding in thought these Christly truths about ourselves and others enables us to leave behind forever that which is less than great and godly, and to demonstrate more and more successfully our Godlike identity, perfect, whole, unlimited, and free.
When the Psalmist discerned that the greatness and glory of God is made manifest in great and glorious man, he cried out in joy (8:5), "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."