The Science of Christian Healing
Jack Edward Hubbell, C.S.B., of Palo Alto, California
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The healing ministry of Christ
Jesus and its timeless import was a central theme of a lecture yesterday
evening by Jack Edward Hubbell, C.S.B., of
Mr. Hubbell received his degree in
engineering from the
Mr. Hubbell was introduced by Nancy King, a local member of The Mother Church. The following is an abridged text of the lecture:
A college professor I knew was a
patient in a tuberculosis sanatorium in
During his crossing, he found in the ship's library a copy of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," written by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy.
He read the book from cover to
cover, studied it, and upon his arrival in
Needless to say, the young woman was thrilled to see him again and see him well. He told her, "God has healed me and He can heal you also." And through the study of Christian Science, she, too, was healed and they were later married.
Now, what happened? Something must have caused the healing! What was it? Why did it occur just at that particular time? What changed during the voyage home? The professor's thinking changed.
His consciousness had been filled with the agonies of tuberculosis. But as he read, he began to learn more about God and man's relationship to Him. He discovered a radical new basis of thinking. Instead of considering himself a diseased, dying hunk of matter, he began to glimpse something of the fact that he was actually spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God. As his thinking changed, so did his state of health.
Now, if this healing of the professor had been just one isolated incident, then we could dismiss it as a coincidence, having nothing to do with prayer. But there are thousands of carefully documented cases of Christian Science healing on record, and all of them indicate a change of consciousness. This can't be just coincidence, but points to the operation of a law. It confirms a phenomenon recognized in Christian Science, namely, that there's a definite relation between our human consciousness and our human experience.
This phenomenon may be likened somewhat to that of a picture projected on the screen. We recognize the picture to be the objectification of the slide in the projector.
If the picture on the screen appears to be blemished, we don't correct the problem by cleaning the screen. Rather, we go back to the projector, inspect the slide, and clean the dust and lint from it. We see that they are no part of the real image on the slide. Once removed, they will no longer appear objectified on the screen.
Somewhat the same, if an imperfection appears on our body, it's only the objectification of an imperfect concept held in consciousness. When it's eliminated from consciousness, it no longer appears on the body. This was demonstrated in the healing of the professor.
Now this may sound like the theories being researched today by the medical profession. They are investigating how thought affects the body - such as biofeedback and the use of placebos. But this is not the same as Christian Science.
During the 1850s, extensive research and experimentation by Mary Baker Eddy led her to the conclusion that it was not the drug, but the general belief in the drug that affected the body. This turned her in new directions and set the stage for her eventual discovery of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy was a deep and devoted student of the Bible. She knew that the primitive Christians had been healers for some 300 years after Jesus. She writes in Science and Health, "... but I must know the Science of this healing, and I won my way to absolute conclusions through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration" (p. 109).
She learned that substance is Spirit, not matter; that matter itself is only the objectification of mortal mind. She confirmed that healing is the result of a change in consciousness. But the importance lies in what consciousness is and how it is changed. Is consciousness material? Do the elements of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, composing the matter brain, think and change their concepts through willpower or faith in medicine or hygiene? If so, isn't this a form of faith healing?
Mrs. Eddy learned that genuine healing is the result of a change of consciousness arising from a deeper spiritual understanding of God, divine Truth, and His laws. Therefore the healings performed by the early Christians were not miraculous, but the demonstration of divine law, a spiritual law as operative today as it was 2,000-years ago.
So, Christian Science is not mind over matter, faith-healing, or psychosomatic medicine. Christian Science healing is the result of the divine Mind acting on the human mind.
Actually, not only our health, but every aspect of our human experience depends upon the content of our individual consciousness. Regardless of what appears to be the problem - be it academics, human relations, financial or physical - it's only an externalization of false, mortal thought.
Jesus said, "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man" (Mark ). If the evil in consciousness defiles the man, then it stands to reason that to replace the evil with good shall bless man. Man is blessed in proportion as he improves his human consciousness.
Jesus showed in his Sermon on the Mount that he considered one's thinking vital in determining one's human experience.
Jesus ought to know! After all, he was the greatest healer the world has ever known.
What was the basis of his tremendous success? I think most would agree that it was his deep understanding of divine Truth, and the operation of universal, spiritual law.
Mrs. Eddy speaks of Jesus as the most scientific man that ever lived. (Incidentally, if you question the use of the word "science" in relation to Jesus or Christianity, I suggest you look up the word in a dictionary. I found one definition to be the knowledge of truth and the operation of universal law.)
It's interesting to note that Jesus was very consistent in his teaching. Much of it is based on two logical premises. The first premise is that every effect must have a cause and the second is that like produces like. In regard to the first premise, reason confirms that there must be a primary or original cause of all being. Jesus taught this cause to be Spirit, not matter, the creator we call God, and that God, Spirit, is the only cause and creator.
We read in the gospel of John, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). From this we can see that nothing possesses existence or reality except God and His creation. All being is comprised of divine cause and effect.
Like produces like
The second premise is that like produces like. Jesus explained that men gather figs from a fig tree, not from thorns, and grapes from a grape vine, not a bramble bush. He said, "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit ... For every tree is known by his own fruit" (Luke , 44). Like produces like.
It's axiomatic that cause must have an effect. Since like produces like, it follows that a perfect cause must have a perfect effect. If the cause is good, the effect must be good. If the cause is the only cause, then there can be no effect from any other cause.
Now, since God is Spirit, perfect and the only cause, it follows that God's effect, man, must be spiritual, perfect and not affected by nor the effect of any other cause.
The Science of Christian healing includes the understanding that God is perfect cause and man is His perfect effect. How simply Jesus put it, as translated in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).
Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "Well, that's logical enough, but if God's the perfect and only cause, then how do you explain evil and what is its origin?" That's a good question. It has puzzled thinking individuals throughout the ages.
Perhaps one explanation might be that God is not the only cause and there is another cause sometimes called the devil, that brings evil and imperfection. Another possible explanation could be that while God is the only cause and is good, nevertheless. He allows or even causes imperfection, evil and disasters, sometimes called "acts of God." This second explanation is the one usually offered by scholastic theology. But it defies logic.
A class at a major university was presented with the following premises as an exercise in logic. They went something like this:
1. If it's true that God exists, then He must be omnipotent and infinitely good.
2. If God exists but is powerless to prevent evil, then He is not omnipotent.
3. If God exists and has the power to prevent evil, but does not, then He is not infinitely good.
4. Evil does exist.
Conclusion: therefore God does not exist. This is the only logical conclusion - based on these premises.
Now, while this is just an exercise in logic, it does point out how completely inconsistent it is to accept that a good, perfect, loving creator could cause evil.
Theologians have been trying to resolve this dilemma for centuries. Logically, it really boils down to: if evil exists, then God does not exist; or, if God exists, then how could evil exist?
Based on what we see around us, evil certainly does seem to exist. The world accepts that fourth premise that evil does exist. Yet, in spite of the overwhelming evidence of evil's existence, Jesus held firmly to the reality of God. Was Jesus illogical? No, on the contrary, Jesus was very logical. Jesus didn't just believe in God, Jesus knew God exists. He said, "... we know what we worship" (John ). Then if God exists, the only logical conclusion is that evil has no real existence. It's but a lie! And this is exactly what Jesus taught and proved.
Jesus explained evil to be untrue. Speaking of personified evil, he said, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John ).
So we see that Jesus classified all evil, and that must surely include disease, as a lie or error. Of course, evil looks real. But only to the degree that we accept into our consciousness the false supposition that evil exists, do we see it objectified as reality.
It's not good enough to simply classify evil as a lie and then leave it there. We must destroy the lie.
Now, how do we destroy a lie? By knowing what's true! This is what Jesus did. He knew the truth.
Here we see the distinction between Jesus and the Christ. Christian Science recognizes the Christ to be the presentation of divine Truth, emanating from God and coming to our human consciousness to destroy the lies in our thinking.
Jesus was the individual who fulfilled the specific and unique mission of manifesting the Christ, "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" (Science and Health, p. 332). Jesus demonstrated the power of Truth to destroy error, and was so imbued with the Christ, that he is correctly titled "Jesus the Christ."
Christian Scientists love and
honor Christ Jesus and recognize him as the
In Christian Science, neither Jesus nor the Christ is accepted as God. God is primal cause, the source of intelligence, the source of love.
Golden thread of love
The golden thread that runs through all of Jesus' teaching is God's great love for man. God so loves the world, so loves you and me, that he gives us the Christ to destroy the error in thought. Although Jesus was imbued with the Christ, it is not restricted to just Jesus. The Christ comes daily, in some measure, to every receptive individual.
It wasn't the man named Jesus that came to the professor on board that ship; it was the Christ which Jesus exemplified. The Christ comes as idea, the idea of pure Truth. When you become conscious of the Truth, this is the coming of the Christ.
It was the Christ which enlightened the professor's consciousness with pure ideas of Truth, dispelling the false concept of tuberculosis from his thought.
With the Christ present, we accept the true and reject the false. The presence of the Christ reveals that one's true self is spiritual. To realize your true spiritual selfhood is to know yourself as you really are. This self-knowledge is salvation, for it saves us from accepting lies or misconceptions about ourselves. That's why we work out our own salvation, because no one else can work out your self-knowledge. That's why the Christ brings individual salvation. In the words of Paul, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).
Christ in you, is you being ever-conscious of what you are in Truth. As Jesus illustrated the ideal man, or Christ, so the Christ in you is your true self, the ideal man, appearing in your consciousness. As the Christ was Jesus' true spiritual selfhood, so is the Christ your true spiritual selfhood.
Jesus was so aware of his true self, so conscious of reality, so filled with the Christ, that he was the greatest healer the world has ever known.
Holding to perfect cause
We have an excellent example of the Master's work in the healing of the man born blind. There was no question in the disciples' minds as to the cause of the blindness. They saw it to be God, God's punishment for sin. Their question was, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2).
Jesus didn't directly answer that question. How could he accept the inconsistency of an imperfect effect resulting from a perfect cause, a cause that is infinite Love?
In spite of the physical evidence before him, he must have held firmly to the fact that God is perfect cause, and therefore, perfect effect must be manifested. He answered, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3).
This statement shows clearly that Jesus did not accept imperfection but perfection as the work or manifestation of God. It indicates that Jesus did not start with imperfect effect and try to reason back to perfect cause, but rather he started with perfect cause, God, and reasoned to perfect effect, man.
He must have seen the blindness as a lie. Jesus knew the truth and the truth freed man from the lie of blindness.
Jesus affirmed spiritual sonship, not only for himself, but for every individual. He acknowledged that we are all the beloved children of God, spiritual effects of spiritual cause, and, being spiritual, we are one with God in quality.
Now, let's pause for a moment and take stock. We've been considering how our human consciousness is objectified as our human experience. So, if our human experience needs improving, we must first improve our consciousness. Our consciousness is improved as we eliminate erroneous concepts from our thought, by being receptive to the Christ, the Truth concerning God and man. This is a simple statement of the modus operandi of Christian Science healing. Now, let's expand on this.
Unfortunately, for every true idea there would seem to be its opposite, a false supposition. These suppositions are presented to us as false suggestions. If we accept a false suggestion into our consciousness as real, then it is objectified as reality to us. Conversely, if we're conscious of the truth, then the truth becomes real to us. The truth is real. What is important is that we know it. Strange as it may sound, it's not good enough to be God's perfect child. We need to know it! Jesus knew he was God's perfect child. We're not that sure about ourselves and that makes all the difference!
For instance, if a million dollars were deposited in your bank account, unknown to you, it wouldn't exist as far as you were concerned because you would be unaware of it. Nothing is real to us unless we are conscious of it.
God gives us the Christ so that we become conscious of the truth. Our goal is to be conscious of that which already is - God's spiritual creation - so it becomes real to us. The name of the game is to acquire a perfect consciousness and herein lies a battle!
Since our thinking determines our human experience, we see why our consciousness is like our command headquarters, and is the prime target of aggressive false suggestions. We must defend our consciousness and not allow sickly, discordant, ungodlike concepts to gain a beachhead in our thinking. Our defense is to know the truth.
Remember now, if we accept false suggestions as real, they become objectified as reality to us, as far as we're concerned. We have been hypnotized into believing in the reality of the unreal. So, what appears as a problem isn't a condition of fact, but a mesmeric dream or false belief.
Let me clarify this point. Suppose you dream you're being chased by a bear. You see a phone booth up ahead and you manage to get inside and close the door, just as the bear arrives snarling and clawing outside.
Now what's the solution to your problem? Should you phone the police for help? Or, if you're a Christian Scientist, would you call a Christian Science practitioner to pray?
Or should you first call the zookeeper to find out what type of bear has escaped? After all, it may be a dangerous grizzly bear. Then you could phone the practitioner and ask for some citations from the Bible that are good for eliminating grizzly bears.
What's the solution to the problem? Wouldn't it be to wake up? The problem isn't a bear. The problem is a dream. Any attempt to do anything to the bear indicates you're still dreaming. To awaken is to eliminate the bear. Actually, you don't do anything to the bear. The only reality the bear had was the reality you gave it.
Where do we eliminate the bear? In our own consciousness. Why? Because that's the only place it exists. How? By awakening to the truth that there never had been a bear.
Now, let's suppose you dream you have a disease. The suffering seems unbearable. What's the solution to your problem? To treat a disease? To treat a man? To get a medical diagnosis to learn the type of disease so you'll know what to treat? Of course not.
The solution to the problem is to wake up. The problem isn't a disease, the problem is the dream itself. Any attempt to eliminate the disease indicates we're still dreaming. Only when we awaken from the dream is the problem met finally and completely.
So, in Christian Science we learn that we are not correcting real disease, but rather, awakening from the dream that disease is real.
Perhaps you're thinking, "Well, that's a poor illustration, because the disease you're speaking about was only in a dream. But the illness I'm suffering from - brother - it's real!"
Breaking the dream
That's my point. What appears to you as a real disease is nothing more than a hypnotic dream. I know it looks real and feels real. It's not imagination. But, if the tuberculosis which the professor was suffering from had been real, then a change of consciousness could never have destroyed it. Remember, what changed was his consciousness.
In her textbook, Mrs. Eddy writes, "To prevent disease or to cure it, the power of Truth, of divine Spirit, must break the dream of the material senses" (Science and Health, p. 412).
Wasn't this what Jesus did when he raised the daughter of Jairus from death? Speaking to the parents and those in attendance, he said, "Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth." And it is recorded that "they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead" (Luke , 53). But Jesus put the concept of death out. He knew the truth and raised the child.
Every disease, indeed, every problem, is nothing more than a false concept acting mesmerically in human consciousness.
To be healed, we must break the mesmeric state of thought. Fine, you say, I'm only too willing, but how do I do it? Well, so far we have identified the problem and discussed what to do about it. Now let's consider how to do it.
One way can be seen in this statement of Mrs. Eddy, found in Science and Health. She writes, "The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind - called devil or evil - is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality" (p. 469).
Why does one divine Mind exterminate error? Because the supposititious opposite of divine Mind (also called the carnal mind) claims to be and act as your mind. It presents a false suggestion in the guise of your own thought. It doesn't come to you as "You are sick" but rather "I am sick." But unless you accept this suggestion as your own thought, it cannot touch you.
Jesus reflected the divine Mind, the only Mind, as his mind, and since God is the only Mind there is to reflect, we must reflect the very same Mind that Jesus reflected. So, in the words of Paul, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5).
To let the divine Mind be in you is to think as God causes you to think. God doesn't cause man to be hypnotized and the fact that God is the only Mind precludes the existence of another mind to hypnotize or be hypnotized. Knowing this, we can affirm: "I am not a hypnotized mortal. I know who I am and how I am. The belief that I am hypnotized is a lie about me. I am well and I know it."
To let the divine Mind be your mind is to be conscious of reality, to be conscious of yourself as you really are. Isn't this the consciousness of the ideal man?
And so, in Christian Science treatment, it's vital to establish the consciousness of the real man as your consciousness and that of the patient. There can be no awakening from the hypnotic dream without being conscious of the truth, without the presence of the Christ.
Truth destroys the lie
As we let the divine Mind, the consciousness that was in Christ Jesus, be our mind, we shall exterminate error and demonstrate the Science of Christian healing. But no element of quackery can enter into its practice.
Christian Science does heal, but not through treating an imperfect man. Christian Science does not improve an imperfect man but disproves the lie about a perfect man. Otherwise, Christian Science practice would differ little from that of a medical doctor.
Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health, "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" (p. 395).
The correct method is, of course, to gain through the Christ a greater measure of understanding of divine Truth, and with the truth, to destroy the lie about a perfect, spiritual man. There's a world of difference between trying to correct an imperfect material man, and correcting the lie about a perfect spiritual man.
In Christian Science we learn that the patient is not man. So treatment is not directed to man, a sick man, or a man that believes he is sick, but to the dream depicting a sick man, or a man that believes he is sick.
I might ask the Christian Scientists present, "Have you ever prayed to overcome a physical problem and then looked at the evidence to see if it's improved?" Well, I have, and it's a sure giveaway that we aren't practicing Christian Science correctly.
I remember well an experience on a skiing vacation. My wife took quite a spill skiing down an icy slope and seemed to be seriously injured. We finally got her down from the mountain, back to our lodge, where she was placed on the bed. Then I turned to the Bible and Science and Health to read to her. I carefully chose just the right citations I thought would heal her.
After I'd read for a while, I asked how she felt. She tried to move her leg and replied there was no improvement. So I looked up some more citations and continued to read. Presently, I inquired again, "Now dear, how do you feel?" She answered, "I think I'm worse." "Worse!" I said. And then I frantically began searching for still more citations to read.
Suddenly, I stopped short because I realized what I was doing. I was looking for just the right citation like one would search for just the right pill to heal a sick man. I was using Christian Science like a tool to try and repair a broken object. Furthermore, I was turning to the physical evidence to inquire as to the status of my wife's condition. No wonder we weren't making progress.
I continued to read and pray. But now my motive was to be receptive to the Christ, to let the Christ-ideas uplift my consciousness, not to repair an injured leg. I became engrossed in the truth of what I was reading, and my consciousness was filled with an awareness of God's great love for His dear child.
Awakening in consciousness
I saw that divine Love is power, the power which gives impulse to divine law. I saw there couldn't be a momentary lapse in God's constant, undeviating law, resulting in an accident. So what appeared as an injury must be a lie. This awakening in consciousness was the coming of the Christ.
I glanced at my wife and she had fallen asleep. She didn't awaken until morning, when she hopped out of bed and was halfway across the room before she recalled that there'd been a problem. She was completely healed. She was able to ski the remainder of the week in perfect freedom.
Words do not heal. There's a difference in looking to a citation as the healing agent and being truly receptive to the Christ-idea which a citation may convey.
After Mrs. Eddy's discovery of Christian Science, many people considered it as an alternate method of healing without medicine. But she saw the healings as the evidence of the everpresence of the Christ. She saw prayer as the realization, the affirmation of divine Truth. The phenomenal growth of the Christian Science church in its early years was a direct result of Mrs. Eddy's healing work. She performed many healings.
Judge Clifford Smith has recorded in his book, "Historical Sketches," some of the healings resulting from her prayer.
One of the healings he relates tells of a teamster who, while passing Mrs. Eddy's home, was thrown to the ground. The wheels of the heavily loaded wagon passed over his body, crushing it.
The men who carried the body into Mrs. Eddy's home regarded him as dead. Mrs. Eddy heard the commotion, came downstairs to where the man was lying and began to pray. Presently, the man became conscious, sat up, said he wasn't hurt, and walked back to his team.
What was Mrs. Eddy thinking when she prayed? Well, we don't know precisely, but we do know that her life was characterized by courage, persistence, steadfastness, spiritual integrity, insight, and understanding. And we do know there can be no healing without the presence of the Christ. So we can safely assume Mrs. Eddy must have been conscious of the truth of being, which destroyed the false concept of an injured man. And of course, the man was healed.
Christian Science is far more than a unique system of healing. Mrs. Eddy discovered the science of all true being. The world doesn't recognize the importance of the textbook "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." But the Christian Scientist understands it to be a divine revelation, presenting to this age the Science of healing which Jesus taught and demonstrated.
This Science shows that the healings Jesus performed weren't miracles restricted to an age 2,000 years ago. They weren't miracles at all, but rather demonstrations of universal, eternal, spiritual laws, laws that can be utilized by anyone, anywhere, any time.