God's Allness as Revealed by Christian Science
Margaret Murney Glenn, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, "The specific quest of Christian Science is to settle all points beyond cavil, on the Biblical basis that God is All-in-all" (Miscellany, p. 181). If we accept this Biblical basis of God's allness the logic and demonstrability of the Principle and rules of Christian Science will be apparent.
God Is Truth
It is the function of any science to make known the nature, character, and laws of its subject. Christian Science is no exception to this rule, for it makes known the nature, character, and laws of God and His creation. It banishes all speculation, mystery, blind belief, and superstition with regard to God, by revealing Him as infinite Truth, thus making Him knowable, for only Truth is knowable. Error or falsity cannot be known, it can only be believed. You cannot know that two parallel lines meet because this statement is not true. You can only believe that. Thus the very fact that God is knowable proves Him to be Truth. If He were not Truth it would not be worth while striving to know Him, in fact it would be impossible to know Him. Divine Truth must be All-in-all because nothing that is unlike Truth or, in other words, is untrue, could possibly have real existence. Then evil, hatred, ignorance, discord, and mortality, which are the antithesis of God, can these be true? No, for two opposites cannot both be true. Yet someone may say, "I can see evil, hatred, and mortality all around me and I can feel discord, so they must exist and therefore must be true." And indeed they would be true, could the material senses know the truth, but they cannot. These senses are not even able to see or feel that the earth is round. You have to perceive that fact with your intelligence. If I were to print in raised type, two times two equals ten so that you could both see and feel it, would that make the assertion true? No, and you would not believe it because your intelligence would inform you otherwise. These instances are but two of many which might be cited to illustrate the unreliability of the testimony of the material senses. May we not conclude that this testimony is equally unreliable when it denies the allness of divine Truth? If we cannot depend on our physical senses for a correct knowledge of human things, we certainly cannot depend on them for an understanding of things spiritual. A higher intelligence or spiritual understanding is requisite to know God, Spirit, and everyone of you here possesses that facility of spiritual understanding. You all can understand love, honesty, happiness, and nobility, the attributes of God, so you must be able to understand God, Spirit, who is their source.
God Is Spirit
Formerly I thought that Spirit was a nebulous, hazy sort of substance that surrounded God and was in fact God's substance, but when through Christian Science I better understood the Bible I realized, that if the fruit of the Spirit is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22), the tree must be like its fruit. Spirit which produces these fruits must therefore be Love, good, or God. Spiritual qualities thus became very substantial, practical, and real to me. I think any business man or woman in this audience will agree that these spiritual qualities mean a great deal in business and that employees are engaged on the basis of their spirituality. What you want in your business are people who are temperate, faithful, honest, loving, and intelligent, and you would much prefer having a joyous and peaceable person around than a gloomy or belligerent one, would you not? So you see Spirit and its manifestation are very real and substantial to you, although you may not yet have recognized that fact. If Spirit is All-in-all, these fruits must then be here and everywhere for us all to possess and to share.
God Is Mind
Christian Science teaches that we can know God as Mind only through the ideas that express Mind, such as ideas of love, of life, of strength, of beauty, and of holiness. The idea that God is All, that He is one Lord, besides whom there is no other, this idea helps us to understand Him, for we see that if God is the infinite One, the Only, no conflict, no opposition, no dissension exists for Him, nor can these discords exist in His universe which the one Mind alone governs. Job perceived this when he said, "He is in one mind, and who can turn him." The statement that there is only one Mind furnishes a basis whereby individuals and nations can understand each other and whereby they can solve the problems which today confront them. For how can we establish the brotherhood of man until we are of one mind, have the same Mind or God? At present mankind is making a greater effort than ever before to attain the unity of thought and action which can alone emanate from a knowledge of God as the one Mind. Mrs. Eddy writes on page 469 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," as follows: "There can be but one Mind, because there is but one God; and if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other, sin would be unknown. We can have but one Mind, if that one is infinite." If you and I therefore would stop claiming that petty, discouraged, unhappy, sinful, and sick thoughts constitute our minds and would claim God as the only Mind, as the source and governor of our thinking, we would all have Godlike thoughts, namely, loving, joyous, holy, healthy, intelligent thoughts, we would understand one another, rejoice in one another, for we would all have that Mind which was in Christ Jesus, that Mind which knows love alone, which is in fact divine Love and therefore ever loving. All the creations of the one Mind are necessarily at-one with that Mind and therefore at-one with one another. In the oneness of the divine Mind and its creation all is harmony. The fact that God is "in one mind" eliminates the possibility of discord, friction, or irritation which are always the resultants of the belief in two or more minds. Because God is one He is All, and because He is All He is one. As Mrs. Eddy has concisely put it, "God is one. The allness of Deity is His oneness" (Science and Health, p. 267).
God is Principle
Of course if God is conceived of as a person, like a mortal only much greater, more powerful, perhaps more loving and intelligent, but nevertheless a person, His allness would be impossible, for the conception of God as personal, no matter how extended that concept may be, must be limited unless we think of God as "infinite personality," as Mrs. Eddy puts it. Christian Science reveals God as divine Principle, the unchanging, fundamental source of all law, the only cause of all phenomena. We all admit that where there is effect there must be a cause and also that we are surrounded by effects. The natural scientists look to matter for the cause of these effects, whereas Christian Science points to God, Spirit, as the creating, governing cause or Principle. It is not difficult to perceive that divine Principle must be ever-present, everywhere, in other words All-in-all. The principle that governs the stars or the science of astronomy is right in this room, it is also outside of this room, at the North Pole, everywhere. You and I may not understand it, but it is here; and did we understand it we should be able to perceive and make use of the wonderful rhythm and law that govern the relations of all the celestial bodies. The same is true of the principle governing music. It is right here, everywhere, and if you or I understood it sufficiently we could compose most wonderful symphonies and overtures. If then the principles governing the natural sciences are ever present, certainly it is manifest that the divine Principle and the spiritual laws which govern man and the universe are everywhere. But some one may ask of what benefit this knowledge would be in daily affairs. Supposing that you knew some one who was egotistical, hateful, revengeful, dishonest, deceitful, and hypocritical, we will hope that you do not know such a one, but suppose that you did, would you not consider him unprincipled? Then let us see what your concept of divine Principle is. If you consider egotism, hatred, and revenge unprincipled, then you must believe their opposite, Love, to be Principle, and that is just what Christian Science reveals Principle to be, divine Love. If you believe dishonesty, deceit, and hypocrisy to be unprincipled, then you will certainly agree that their opposite, Truth, is divine Principle, and that is also exactly what Christian Science reveals Principle to be, divine Truth. We saw a moment ago that Principle is everywhere and that we need but to understand it to be able to perceive and enjoy its harmonies. Then what about this unprincipled condition of thought? What are we going to do about it? Why, apply divine Principle, Love, Truth to the situation. And how are we to do that? By recognizing that Principle or God is All-in-all, that beside Him there is no other; that there cannot be two opposite powers occupying the same space at the same time and that because God, Love, Truth, Principle, occupies all space, there is no room for His opposite, egotism, hatred, and deceit, and that these unprincipled qualities are not governing man, for if they were they would be God, and we know they are not God, because He is good. What would this line of reasoning or thinking do? Try it and see. You would find yourself free from any resentment or fear, you would be protected from any harm that might seen to emanate from this unprincipled state of thought, and if you knew this allness of God, Principle, clearly enough it would help to liberate any one who seemed to be in bondage to this false thinking.
Man Constituted of Ideas
This brings me to the subject of man, a subject which is very important for us to understand. You and I have been educated to believe that man consists of blood and bones, of matter, and that we have to be very careful of this matter creation because there seems to be something the matter with matter most of the time, and if it does not happen to be just now there undoubtedly will be something the matter soon. So prepare for the worst by being vaccinated or inoculated, but hope for the best! The writer of Proverbs clearly realized what man is when he wrote, "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he." That is exactly what constitutes man, his thinking, his thoughts or ideas. You will admit that it is a person's thinking which has made him congenial or uncongenial, your friend or your enemy. In our limited human way of considering man we have believed him to consist of loving and hateful, intelligent or ignorant, honest and dishonest, healthy and diseased thoughts. What an impossible conglomeration! As though good and evil, light and darkness, could dwell together. Christian Science proves man to be what the Scriptures declare him to be, namely, the image and likeness of God, of the one infinite "altogether lovely" God, good, divine Life, Truth, and Love.
Mrs. Eddy states that man is "the compound idea of infinite Spirit" (Science and Health, p. 591), also that he is "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas", (Science and. Health, p. 475). Mind manifests itself as ideas, so man is the manifestation, reflection, or image and likeness of God. Of course, the divine Mind must include all of its ideas, but it is not within those ideas; so God is not in man, but is reflected or imaged forth by man.
The truth that man reflects all right ideas has tremendous practical value. Mankind is striving in every human way to attain right ideas. It wants the right idea of health, happiness, supply, equality, and government, in fact the right idea of all things. The whole effort of each individual is to gain through education the right idea of whatever may be his particular talent of work, be it law, art, natural sciences, mathematics, engineering, or architecture.
For a simple illustration of the practical application of this truth that man reflects all right ideas, let us suppose that a boy has an examination in mathematics and that he is unable to find the proper solution of one of the problems presented. If he is a Christian Scientist he will turn his thoughts to the truth just stated, that God is the mind of man and that man reflects or manifests this all-knowing and intelligent Mind, and thereby includes all right ideas. As soon as he realizes that man reflects all right ideas the fear or suggestion that he does not know the right idea with regard to this problem will be dispelled and in place of confusion there will be clarity and in place of fear, confidence, with the result that he will be able intelligently to solve the problem. I have known personally of engineering and architectural problems being solved in just this way.
There is a right idea of health and of healing which when known will dispel or cure disease on the basis of God's allness, the basis of omnipresent divine Love in which there is no sickness, for divine Love could not conceive of or produce such a cruel effect, the opposite of itself.
Mankind, in trying to get the right idea of health, has spent most of its time studying disease or the absence of health and the result for humanity has been a corresponding absence of health. Physicians have limited the diseases which can be cured by medical treatment, but the Christian Scientists cannot thus limit God's ability to heal and save, for they ascribe to God all power, and believe all things to be possible to Him. When a physician says that a person has an incurable disease, does he mean that the disease is actually incurable, or is he simply admitting the limitations of material curative methods? It must be the latter, for remedies have been found for diseases that were once considered incurable. Then, I ask, were these diseases ever incurable? No, the knowledge or belief that they were curable was simply lacking. Mortals die, in belief, because they are ignorant of the power which cures disease. It is really ignorance that causes the belief of death. When my father was a small boy he lived in a part of the South where it was believed that tomatoes were poisonous and that people suffered from eating them. Were those tomatoes ever poisonous? No, never. Were the people that suffered, suffering from eating those innocent tomatoes, a vegetable that you and I enjoy so today? No, of course not. They were suffering from their false belief about those tomatoes from their ignorance. That is just what seems to cause the sickness and suffering of humanity today, ignorance; ignorance of the fact that God made man perfect and harmonious, that therefore he is so; ignorance of the right ideas that constitute man; ignorance of the fact that divine Mind, not matter, governs man; ignorance of the truth that man is spiritual, not material or fleshly, for as Paul says, "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God."
It follows that if ignorance as to the nature of God and man causes sickness, a correct knowledge of God and man must dispel that ignorance and heal its consequent suffering, so any one possessing this knowledge or understanding would be able to heal the sick. The greater the knowledge or understanding, the greater would be this ability to heal. Jesus of Nazareth possessed this understanding to a greater degree than any one the world has ever known. He knew so clearly the allness of God that when he was faced with the physical evidence of sin, disease, or death he was able to heal these discords instantly. In this as in all things, Christ Jesus was our great example. His way of thinking about God and man; his way of living or manifesting Life by overcoming all that tends to its opposite, namely, sin, disease, and death; his way of loving by forgiving, destroying, sickness and sin; his way of healing by spiritual not material means; his way of doing all these things must become our way, for he was the way and the Way-shower.
That which enabled Jesus to heal, live, and love as he did was his knowledge of the true spiritual idea of God and man. Christian Science teaches that this spiritual idea is the Christ. It was the Christ, or the image and likeness of God, which was his true spiritual selfhood, and to which Jesus referred when he said, "Before Abraham was, I am," and, "I and my Father are one." It is this spiritual idea which voices the truth and heals the sick today through Christian Science. This spiritual idea of God and man which comes to you and me dispelling our fears, our ignorance, our sickness, and our sorrows is the eternal Christ which Jesus manifested so perfectly in his every thought, word, and deed that he will always stand as the highest human embodiment of the Christ. It is this Truth or Christ to which he referred when he said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
When we realize that this spiritual idea is with us in consciousness, because, of course, the only place it can be with us is in our thinking, the illusion must vanish that presents fear, sin, malice, hatred, and disease, the opposite of God's image and likeness, as with us. As we have said before, two opposites cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Therefore, if it is true that the Christ is with us always, the supposition that sin, disease, and death are ever with us must be an illusion. By knowing the ever-presence of the manifestation of God or of the Christ the sick are healed in Christian Science and it was thus that Jesus healed them. Mrs. Eddy has elucidated Jesus' method of healing in these few words in our textbook (Science and Health, p. 476); "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick."
Christian Science Practice
Because the healing in Christian Science is accomplished by spiritual and mental means, this does not imply that there is any hypnotism or autosuggestion connected with it. In fact, what Christian Science does is to free mortals from hypnotism, releasing them from the illusions of suffering caused by ignorance and the mesmeric effect of believing in the evidence of the material senses. The fact that all Christian Science healing is accomplished from the basis of God as the one and only Mind eliminates the possibility of its being hypnotic, for hypnotism is the control of one mind by another and necessarily involves more than one mind. Christian Science healing results from knowing the truth about God and man, whereas hypnotism and autosuggestion deal with illusions only. The Christian Science practitioner, seeing things as they are, rouses his patient from the mesmerized state of believing in illusions. He shows the sufferer his reflection, revealed, by Christian Science as the image and likeness of God. In other words, he shows him things as they are, as divine Truth, or God, has created them. This reflection seen as true, releases the patient from his false beliefs in suffering. Thus it is clear that by seeing things as they are, or by knowing the truth, the sick are healed in Christian Science. If health were a hypnotic state, an illusion, it would not be worth while striving for. Christian Science teaches that health is a spiritual fact, therefore it cannot be suggested or produced by hypnotism, for it is self-evident that a hypnotic state is never a fact, never a reality. Now, I ask, is it not a comfortless theory to have health represented to us as an illusion which is all that a hypnotic state can be, rather than as a substantial, changeless, spiritual fact, the free gift of God, the manifestation of His love and goodness? What mankind really wants is health as a substantial reality, as permanent and changeless as honesty or integrity, which cannot be taken away by material conditions of weather, action, or food.
Mary Baker Eddy
There is a statement in the first chapter of Genesis which seems to have been overlooked or not understood for centuries, in fact, until Mrs. Eddy made her discovery of Christian Science. May I read this to you? This passage will be most familiar, but it will contain a fact which you may never have noticed. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." If God created woman in his own likeness then God must be feminine as well as masculine. Mrs. Eddy revealed this great fact to humanity, and what it portends is more far-reaching than any of us can possibly comprehend. She gave it first in her beautiful spiritual interpretation of the opening line of the Lord's Prayer, "Our father which art in heaven," in the words "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious" (Science and Health, p. 16). Not only did she reveal this great truth through her written works and the form of government which she gave to her church, but she manifested in her life, as no other woman in the world has ever done, the strength, spiritual intuition, tenderness, constancy, courage, wisdom, purity, and virtue which are the reflection of the motherhood of God. To her the words of Proverbs are most applicable, "A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."
Only a woman of extraordinary spirituality, purity, and intelligence could have discovered Christian Science. She submitted it to proof by healing the sick and reforming the sinning, and in the year 1875, "after nine years of arduous preliminary labor," as she herself writes (Miscellany, p. v), she presented it to the world through the publication of her great work, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." This book states clearly, logically, and simply the Science of Christianity which Jesus used in healing the sick, reforming the sinner, and raising the dead. It is the only book that does give a complete statement of Christian Science and of how to demonstrate it. The truth contained therein is presented from every angle possible, so that the philosopher, the natural scientist, the religionist, the statesman, the business man, the housewife, the mother, the child, the sick, the sinning, and the dying, each and all, will find within its pages that which will meet their particular need. Many have been healed by simply reading or studying this book, and its last chapter, entitled "Fruitage," bears witness to this fact, for it contains testimonies of those thus healed.
Great as was Mrs. Eddy's discovery and great as was her own healing work, for she healed consumption in its last stages, malignant diphtheria, carious bones, cancer, as well as restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, great as all this was, it remained for her to do an even greater work in organizing The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, The Mother Church, and establishing it according to rules and by-laws laid down in the Church Manual, which she also wrote. Thus she became the Founder of Christian Science. The untiring perseverance and patience, the deep insight into things spiritual, the ability to plumb the depths of human iniquity and protect her church against it, the magnitude of her love for God and man, her unfaltering courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, these are a few of the qualities which Mary Baker Eddy possessed and which made this great work possible. Had she left this work undone, her great discovery would have been lost in time to mankind, even as was the healing element of Christianity which Jesus taught and practiced. The by-laws of the Church Manual govern the publication of the Christian Science periodicals, also established by Mrs. Eddy. These by-laws establish the order of the Christian Science services; they enjoin the study of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook and designate these books as our only preachers. In fact, the Manual preserves to the world and to future generations this great revelation in all its purity.
Christian Science Prayer
The practice of Christian Science requires that the practitioner constantly reflect God's mother-love in his relationship to his patients, for the sick are healed through the exercise of that perfect Love which casteth out fear, by knowing that divine Love is All-in-all, consequently that there is nothing to fear, and through the operation of that Love which thinketh no evil because it knows that the divine Mind or good is the one and only presence and that therefore there is no evil to think, or to think about. If fear, which is the procurer of all disease, and evil, which, is the producer of all sin and death, can be eliminated from our thinking, we can be free indeed. It is this exercise or reflection of divine Love which constitutes the Christian Scientist's prayer. In her book "No and Yes" Mrs. Eddy writes, "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. . . . It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is."
When I was a young girl I had an experience which has always stood out in memory as most helpful. A letter came one day addressed to my sister and on the outside was the name of the writer. When I saw this name I was consumed with curiosity to know why this particular person was writing to my sister, and this curiosity was so great that my conscience was utterly silenced. I opened and read the letter and when I had finished I was about as satisfied as Eve must have been after eating her apple. I had just put the letter down when I heard the voice of say mother who had come in the room behind me, asking if I had opened that letter. Instantly it came over me what I had done, how dishonorable, deceitful, and unworthy it was, and I was so filled with shame that it cost me quite a struggle finally to say yes; but I did so, awaiting the rebuke that I knew I deserved. At this point, however, something wonderful happened, for my mother simply said, "That was not like you." Only mother-love could have said that, only mother-love could have seen through that act and perceived that it was not like the character of its child.
What happened to me in that limited human experience is what is happening in an infinitely greater degree to all those who, when in trouble, turn to the love of our Mother, God, as revealed in Christian Science. When you go to a Christian Science practitioner, believing yourself to be burdened with sickness, with sin, with shame, and with sorrow, the practitioner will tell you in substance, "Why, this is not like you, for you are Godlike; it is in fact so unlike you, the noble, healthy, harmonious, pure creation of God, that it is not you at all. You are God's beloved child in whom He is well pleased, His image and likeness, therefore you are manifesting strength, goodness, freedom, joy, abundance, all the qualities of God." Little by little you will find yourself letting go of the false, sinful, self-condemning, and sick concept of yourself, and turning whole-heartedly to the arms of divine Love, and your human need, whether it be for love, companionship, happiness, health, supply, or comfort, will be met.
What greater example have we of the healing and redemptive power of this loving prayer than in the regeneration of Mary Magdalene? Jesus, in this case, truly utilized the love wherewith God loves us, and this love gave him a keen insight into the true character of woman as God created her, pure, humble, loving, consecrated. After he had thus beheld the true woman, he asked the self-righteous Simon, "Seest thou this woman?" Knowing full well that self-righteous thinking never could see woman as she really is, Jesus thereupon described the love, penitence, and gratitude which Mary reflected and contrasted this with the spiritual barrenness of Simon himself, ending with that loving declaration of truth that Mary's sins were forgiven, or as the Christian Scientist understands forgiveness, they were destroyed. Again we see how Jesus' correct view of man, including spiritual womanhood, healed. An account of this example of instantaneous healing and the lessons in compassion and forgiveness which it teaches begins the chapter on Christian Science Practice in the textbook, "Science and Health." It thereby serves as a model of scientific practice for all Christian Scientists.
The recognition of the fact that God, Truth, is All-in-all includes an acknowledgment of another fact, namely, that all which is unlike God, good, must be untrue and therefore non-existent, for, as we know, a lie has no reality. In one of her Messages Mrs. Eddy writes: "If Christian Scientists only would admit that God is Spirit and infinite, yet that God has an opposite and that the infinite is not all; that God is good and infinite, yet that evil exists and is real, thence it would follow that evil must either exist in good, or exist outside of the infinite, they would be in peace with the schools. This departure, however, from the scientific statement, the divine Principle, rule, or demonstration of Christian Science, results as would a change of the denominations of mathematics; and you cannot demonstrate Christian Science except on its fixed Principle and given rule, according to the Master's teaching and proof" (Message for 1901, p, 23). The only reality to sin, disease, and death, God's opposites, is that these errors seem real to a mistaken or false sense of God and man, in the same way that a mistake in mathematics seems real to one entertaining an erroneous sense of mathematics. And just as in mathematics a mistaken or false sense of things is destroyed, by a correct and true view, or by the truth, so these mistaken beliefs about God and man with their resultant effects of sin, disease, and death are destroyed by the correct view of divine Love as all, and of man as Love's image and likeness. This truth revealed by Christian Science makes practical to mankind the words of Paul in his letter to the Romans that "of him, and through him, and to him are all things."