Christian Science: The Truth About God and Man
William D. Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
William D. Kilpatrick, C.S.B., of Detroit, Michigan, a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, delivered a lecture on Christian Science entitled "Christian Science: The Truth About God and Man," under the auspices of Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, Oakland, in the church edifice, 1330 Lakeshore avenue, Thursday evening, October 8, at 8 o'clock.
The lecturer was introduced by Lester L. Kohnfelder, First Reader of the church, who said:
In the 15th chapter of St Luke's gospel is recorded Jesus' well-known parable of the woman and her 10 pieces of silver. Having lost one of the pieces she lit a candle and swept and searched diligently until she found the missing piece, whereupon she called her friends and neighbors together to rejoice with her.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:" "Jesus demonstrated the power of Christian Science to heal mortal minds and bodies. But this power was lost sight of, and must again be spiritually discerned, taught, and demonstrated according to Christ's command, with signs following." Its Science must be apprehended by as many as believe on Christ and spiritually understand Truth.
As in the parable, Christian Scientists all over the world are welcoming their friends and neighbors to rejoice with them in the "pearl of great price" which they have found.
It is with same spirit of rejoicing
that Fourth Church of Christ,
It is my happy privilege to introduce
the speaker of the evening, William D. Kilpatrick of Detroit,
Mr. Kilpatrick's address follows:
Times like the present must give pause to the man who is inclined to think and weigh events in the light of intelligent analysis. One cannot look upon a world torn with strife, war, hatred, and all the baser passions of men, without some contrasting or contradicting emotions. The question is bound to suggest itself to the thoughtful as to just where the onus of guilt must rest for the mental and moral upheaval which seems to be tearing down and destroying the spiritual and intellectual building of the Christian era.
Where, one might ask, does Christianity fit into this picture of moral desolation? What, in the light of present-day savagery and unrestrained rapine, has the Bible accomplished in the hundreds of years it has been looked upon as a guide and manual for the conduct of Christian men and nations? One might be tempted to question within himself – Is there a God? If so, why all this murderous destruction, this strife between Christian peoples, this cancerous growth of hate, jealousy, and revenge.
Inner Questioning Of Consciousness
These inner questionings of the human consciousness, these doubts which stealthily and insistently steal into thought, these suggestions of pessimism and skepticism, are not without justification; and except for the explanation and light which Christian Science throws upon the Bible and the teachings of the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles, I am doubtful whether a convincing reconciliation of the present with the unequivocal promise of Holy Writ could be evolved.
However, through the revelation of the spiritual significance of Bible teachings which Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has given to the world in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," and other writings, the seeming ambiguities, inconsistencies, and contradictions which present-day conditions emphasize, are explained and all doubts and misunderstandings are replaced with the spiritual conviction and assurance which comes with the enlightenment thus provided.
Divine Prophecy in the Bible
I am convinced that divine prophecy, expressed through the pages of the Bible from cover to cover, is today being fulfilled not only in the history of the human race but also in the appearance at this time of Christian Science as a world movement – as the "Comforter," which Jesus foretold and promised would lead us into all truth.
The presence of Christian Science at this juncture in the affairs of men is not merely timely and opportune, but it is God's certain and directed answer to humanity's cry for freedom from doubt, skepticism, fear, and the bondage of hate, mad ambition, covetousness, dishonesty, political intrigue, strife, war, paganism, and the anti-Christ of totalitarianism.
Christian Science not only gives the student of this faith a full and analytical understanding of present-day events, but it supplies, with no uncertainty or equivocation, the answer to all human questionings and forebodings. It provides assurance of the eventual fulfillment of God's promises to deliver His people from the thralldom of human strife, contention, bitterness, and hate.
To those not blessed with the stabilizing and assuring influences with which the study of the Bible, in the light of Christian Science endows one, the future may seem to hold little of promise or hope, but when, through the lens of spiritual perception, gained in the study of Christian Science, the mists of strife, struggle, and rancor are pierced, there is revealed a background of spiritual beauty, holiness, and permanence which nothing can efface.
All Error Self-destroyed
Christian Science teaches us that error of any nature destroys itself, and that is precisely what is happening in the world today – error, or sin, destroying itself. Men had gotten so far away from God and the teachings of the Bible that there was little in experience that bore the stamp of purity and holiness, and when there was left little in human consciousness of the divine to stay the grosser impulses of men, evil had no alternative but to turn upon and rend itself.
In the light of spiritual perception provided through the study of Christian Science these present-day events will reveal themselves as purifying processes, and when this self-eliminating experience has accomplished the destruction of certain evils in human thinking, we may then look for a better world to live in. And I beg you, have no doubt. That day will come when there will be no more war on earth and men will live together in the holy bonds of Christian brotherhood just as certainly as there is a God. Ezekiel prophesies the subjugation of all evil where he voices the divine assurance: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is."
Human Progress in Series of Steps
History not only repeats itself but it provides an interesting, instructive, and reassuring background from which to evaluate the present-day enigma. If you will follow the footsteps of mankind from the earliest records of human endeavor down through the ages, you will see that the advancement of the human race from the lowest plane of human thought to its present mental and spiritual level has been accomplished through a series of progressive steps or periods, with each period of progression followed by a period of retrogression.
As human thought, through the influence of the invisible Christ, has emerged from its lower and baser levels it has risen to heights of spiritual consciousness which have brought a degree of freedom, happiness, and prosperity theretofore unknown to men.
Unfortunately, these periodical attainments of mental and spiritual freedom have not been accompanied by the perception and realization that the relief and prosperity thus achieved have been due to spiritual forces operating in the human consciousness, and as a result of this blindness the spiritual cause of these seasons of progress has been lost sight of by men. They have attributed their growth and accomplishments to personal ability and individual self-sufficiency and power.
Through this failure to perceive the true spiritual background responsible for their emancipation from their self-imposed bondage, men have completely lost their guiding star – the Christ operative in human consciousness – and through their egotism and sense of self-sufficiency they have attributed their achievements to their own human ingenuity, forgetting entirely the spiritual impetus through which their progress has been made possible.
Men Have Lost Guiding Star
Thus, after each period of advancement, has the race drifted back into sin, strife, war and, at times, heathen idolatry and retrogression has taken the place of progress. Then, after long periods of suffering, bitter experiences, and repentance, the light of Truth has again been permitted to shed itself on the human consciousness, and the return to spiritual peace and physical freedom has been begun.
The encouraging feature of the history of these periods of human advancements and recessions is that after the occasion of each season of retrogression and the ascent back to positions of security abandoned through these backslidings, men have found themselves, a little higher spiritually than ever before.
World Suffers Retrogression
The world today is suffering from one of these periods of human retrogression and spiritual stagnation. Just when the awakening from this ghastly dream will come and the return trip up the long road of spiritual regeneration will begin, no one can foretell; but the tide of human error cannot long resist the forces of good, and when the return to sanity and spiritual rectitude is accomplished it will be found that this period in world history has advanced men much farther in the line of spiritual achievement than any other like experience.
This superior achievement of spiritual regeneration and progress in the history of mankind is made possible today only because of the light of Truth which Christian Science has brought to the world and which has never before been present on the occasion of any like period. Is it too much to predict that the world's present state of moral deficiency will prove to be the last fateful step backward in the history of mankind?
In this connection it should be borne in mind that God and His kingdom remain eternally and infinitely spiritual, perfect, and changeless, untouched by the vagaries of materialism, while the history of the human race involves the problems and the phenomena of a creation entirely separate and distinct from God – a creation which, without the influence of an individual spiritual-afflatus, expresses the constant ebb and flow of human experience animated in large degree by the impulses of a carnal consciousness or a carnal mind in contradistinction to the divine. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 14), "Entirely separate from the belief and dream of material living, is the Life divine."
Men's Concept of God
Men have gotten away from God, and with a mental disunity between God and man, chaos and destruction are bound to follow. One of the paramount reasons why men have failed to glimpse their true spiritual perspective is because men do not know what God is. Man, the Bible assures us is the exact image and likeness of God. If men do not know what God is they cannot know what man is and thus are they denied the true sense of man's dominion over evil which is so freely vouchsafed us throughout the Bible.
Until men not only know what God is but also know God intimately, thereby realizing and expressing their scientific and eternal unity with Him, there can come no healing or surcease from the thralldom of hate, strife, contention, and misery. A national conscience expresses the composite of the mental status of its citizenry, and when the mental outlook of a people is unspiritual and material the national consciousness becomes subject to all the influences of the carnal mind – evil, bestiality, hatred, strife, avarice, covetousness, contention, and the like.
The People's Idea of God
In her book, "The People's Idea of God," Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 6), "Periods and peoples are characterized by their highest or their lowest ideals, by their God and their devil." If a people or individuals, through the lack of a clear understanding of Him, have lost their God, it is quite obvious that their animating influence must be God's opposite or that which the Bible terms the devil or evil. The devil is merely the supposititious absence of God.
If one has no correct concept of God to which to cling, he is bound to become the victim of a consciousness impelled by evil. Thus it is necessary that men believe in and worship the true God. A mere belief in God will accomplish little for an individual.
Unless one knows and is individually acquainted with the God in which he believes, one's belief does not include the elements of fruition and spiritual achievement. That knowledge or spiritual instinct or intuition which unites one with God is vastly more tangible, consciously satisfying, and eternal than the instincts and consciousness of human relationships. The conscious unity between God and man is divine, spiritual, holy, and a present and immediate possibility.
Foundation of Spiritual Endeavor
The apparent and paramount necessity of not only knowing what God is but of becoming acquainted with and united to Him lies in the fact that one's concept of God constitutes the foundation of one's spiritual endeavors and achievements. One cannot become acquainted with or united to a God whom he does not know or understand.
God is eternally omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and unchanging; but mortals, through a finite and personal sense of Him, so limit God and His omnipotence in their individual consciousness that they deprive themselves of the benefits and blessings which attend and attest an infinite and spiritual concept of Him.
If we measure God by human, physical, or personal standards, to that extent do we confine our individual blessings and benefits to human, personal, and physical limitations. As explained by Mrs. Eddy in her book entitled "Christian Healing" (p. 4), "Clothing Deity with personality, we limit the action of God to the finite senses."
Apply Concept to Human Problems
The only God you have or ever will have is in your consciousness of Him, or your concept of Him, and if your concept of God is a correct one you need have no concern as to how to apply your concept to the problems of human living. The omnipotence of God is proved only in individual experience – in the solving of individual problems through the correct understanding of God held in individual consciousness. God's omnipotence can never be proved through ignorance of God.
In other words, God's omnipotence can be brought to bear only through the understanding and application of God in individual consciousness. In the instance of mathematics the unerring rules of that science are not self-applicable; they require individual understanding and application to prove their infallibility. A man who knows nothing about the rules and laws of mathematics could not prove and apply them. A man who does not know and understand God could never prove God's omnipotence.
Jesus advised that to the extent we hold in individual consciousness the true concept of God and man, to that extent will we be able to accomplish our freedom from all the ills of material existence. Naturally the wrong concept of God held in individual consciousness could not accomplish one's freedom from evil because the evils of human experience exist only in individual consciousness.
Truth is its Own Impulsion
Existence is consciousness. While the real and eternal is infinitely spiritual and perfect, speaking from the viewpoint of human experience, existence is either spiritual or material, depending on individual consciousness. God is divine Mind, or Spirit. Divine Mind, or Spirit, does not include the recognition or consciousness of anything unlike itself. Spirit and matter are opposites. Therefore, God is not conscious of matter or a material creation. God's creation, then, must be spiritual.
On the other hand, and diametrically
opposed to that Mind we call God, is a suppositious counterfeit mind which
When the individual human consciousness admits carnal thoughts claiming to emanate from the so-called carnal mind, individual existence assumes a state of materiality. The objectified or externalized manifestation of the carnal held in individual human consciousness constitutes our material world, with all of its sin, its sickness, its misery, and its death.
As the carnal mind is not a creation of God it must be unreal and wholly erroneous. Therefore, the externalized or objectified manifestations of that carnal mind, matter and all that goes with it, must be unreal or an illusion. That which is cognized through the physical senses, that is, that which we see, feel, taste, smell, and hear, is simply the externalized manifestation of an individual material consciousness.
Existence Entirely Mental State
Spiritual existence, or true existence, is the consciousness of divine ideas emanating from the divine Mind or God. In either case, in the case of the untrue or the material, as well as in the case of the true or spiritual, existence is entirely mental. Matter is thought – carnal thought. In Science and Health (p. 123) Mrs. Eddy tells us that "divine Science . . . resolves things into thoughts," and thus do we find that matter, instead of being material substance, is simply erroneous thought made manifest.
To replace in our consciousness those carnal thoughts which externalize themselves as matter, with divine ideas, is to spiritualize individual existence. Thus the process of salvation from the bondage of materiality to the freedom found in spiritual thinking is a mental one.
Therefore, the true concept of God and man held in individual consciousness is the truth that Jesus said would make us free, and this truth is its own impulsion. Truth in individual consciousness is its own application. If you know the truth about any thing or any situation, you are the master of that situation.
An erroneous or inharmonious material situation or condition is the manifestation of wrong thought, and it is obvious that the application of the right thought in place of the wrong will correct the condition, because there is nothing to the material but thought.
The only place the error is to be corrected is in your individual consciousness. The correction of thought in individual consciousness constitutes the application of the truth. Your knowledge of truth is all that is necessary to application.
You will recall that on occasions Jesus healed the multitudes. Now in a multitude of thousands it is not reasonable to assume that Jesus personally administered the truth in each individual case of healing that was accomplished. His understanding of the truth was so clear and unadulterated that many in his presence were healed without directed thought. The truth which Jesus held in consciousness was its own application.
Truth a Law unto Itself
Your knowledge of Truth is its own impulsion. You do not have to make Truth work, because Truth in itself is a law of annihilation to all unlike itself, and therefore your knowledge of Truth establishes in consciousness the nothingness of error. As the only place error exists is in your own consciousness, the presence of the truth in consciousness is all that is necessary to establish harmony.
All error of any nature, errors of judgment, erroneous concepts of God and man, beliefs of poverty, limitation, sin, sickness, war, and inharmony, do not come from God. They are but the outward manifestations of the carnal mind expressed in individual human consciousness and therefore have no part in God's kingdom.
Naturally and logically, when the truth, or divine ideas, replace the carnal in individual human consciousness, the application of the truth is made instantly, spontaneously, and without human effort of direction or impulsion. You and I do not have to consume time or employ any effort of impulsion in applying the truth that the world is round to the belief that it is flat. Our knowledge that the world is round is its own application. If one should believe that the world is flat, it is in his consciousness, and in his consciousness only, that the error must be corrected.
The world itself does not need to be instructed that it is round. It is in individual consciousness that the remedy for the illusion that the world is flat must be applied. And it is in individual consciousness and in individual consciousness only that the illusion that matter, sin, sickness, poverty, war, strife, unhappiness, and the like, are real must be
War Outcome of Human Morale
This phenomenon called war is not something personal. It is not something national. It is simply the outcome of a universally decadent human morale. It is the manifestation of a universally debased human consciousness. The seat of war is the localized boiling point of a polluted and infected universal consciousness.
The errors or infection of a universally debased state of thought find outward expression through readily susceptible individuals and nations. For this reason we must realize, in our mental analysis of world conditions, that individuals or nations are but the willing tools of universal evil.
Hatred of individuals, peoples, or nations will never accomplish anything in overcoming war or in winning a war. Nations, national boundaries, and racial distinctions are mental phenomena and exist only in your and my human consciousness. God knows nothing about war, nations, national boundaries, human beings or hate.
The innate realization of the mental nature of matter and of its nothingness in the sight of God is true prayer and enables one to bring to bear on the arguments of war, strife, hatred, and contention the higher and more potent influence of spiritual understanding, revealing the utter nothingness and powerlessness of those influences which make for war.
No Hate, Malice or Revenge
To know that in the infinite realm of Mind there is no hate, malice or revenge establishes in consciousness a realization of the omnipotence of love, and thus is hate in individual consciousness rendered powerless.
The only power hate, war, malice and revenge seem to have is that which is given them in individual consciousness and a realization of the nothingness of these influences of evil is the only means of avoiding their injurious and devastating effects.
To hate some person or individual who seems to have become the medium through which universal disaffection finds expression is simply adding fuel to the fire of war and results in an abortive attempt to heal evil by the application of evil.
The foundations upon which a condition of war is builded exist only in the human consciousness, and the application in human consciousness of the facts of Spirit, or God, is the only remedy for war.
Where, for instance, does war originate? What is it that maintains strife among men? What is it that promotes and prolongs contention and conflict? Why, nothing but the thoughts of men. Not a war was ever started, not a battle was ever fought, not a soldier was ever killed, without the consent of the human mind.
In the human mind, and in the human mind alone, lies all the bitterness, the strife, the hatreds, and the envyings upon which all the wars of history have been waged. A war will never be permanently won or settled through cannon or bayonet.
A war will never be won or settled with hate, malice, revenge, and conquest as the background of national or individual endeavor. Principle, as God, and justice as the animating influence of thought and action must be the foundation upon which a contestant must depend if he would succeed in his conflict with evil intents and influences. And if a people or a nation takes its stand on the broad platform of righteousness, of love, and of justice to all, there are no powers of evil that can withstand these influences of divine support.
On page 19 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy has written: "We have no enemies. Whatever envy, hatred, revenge – the most remorseless motives that govern mortal mind – whatever these try to do, shall 'work together for good to them that love God.' "
The Concept of God
One's concept of God determines the measure of one's ability to avail himself of God's guidance and protection. If you have no clear and concise concept of God, you obviously have no knowledge of how to flee to God in times of trouble or distress.
If you believe that God is a far-away, unknowable, intangible, vague, and indescribable something, you are bound to be at a loss when confronted with problems incapable of human solution. If your concept of God is a humanly personal one, in other words, if you believe that God is a circumscribed, outlined personality who knows both good and evil and who is swayed by human passions, petitions, and desires, you have a man-made God devoid of any element of omnipotence, omniscience, or the divine.
If, on the other hand, your concept of God conforms to the revelations of Holy Writ, and the demonstrations of the prophets, the apostles, and Jesus the Christ, constitute the foundation of your faith, you will dwell in the comforting assurance that God is eternally with you and His directing arm and discerning eye will become your ever-present guide and protection under all conditions.
Divine Mind in Infinity
Christian Science, basing its conclusions exclusively on the Bible, reveals God as "incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (Science and Health, p. 465). Instead of a humanly circumscribed, localized personality, God is divine Mind existing in infinity. A mind naturally finds expression in thoughts or ideas. One could not conceive of a mind without expression, and the only expression a mind could have would be through its own thoughts or ideas.
Divine Mind, then, must express itself through divine ideas. You cannot conceive of any condition in which you might be placed where divine, or pure, ideas would not be instantly available to you, can you? If you are holding in thought divine ideas emanating from the infinite, divine Mind, could you ever hope to come closer to God? Could God ever become more vitally present with you than in your consciousness?
The divine Mind, or intelligence, which is God, is omniscience expressing itself in infinity as the all-knowing, all-seeing, omnipotent Principle of all true existence. This divine Mind is Spirit, or, in other words, a divine all-pervading consciousness which does not recognize the existence of matter.
Matter, as we have seen, is the externalized manifestation of a so-called carnal consciousness. The divine consciousness, or Spirit, knows no matter; hence matter, which is cognized only through the physical senses, is relegated to unreality. You will recall the words of Jesus, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away," and John's statement in Revelation, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea," meaning, of course, that the material concept of heaven and earth lies wholly in individual consciousness and that as rapidly as the human consciousness becomes instilled with divine precepts or spiritual understanding, the material disappears and the spiritual concept of existence is substituted.
Existence Which Is Counterfeit
Thus it becomes evident that material creation or existence is a counterfeit existence and that this material counterfeit is a mental rather than a physical phenomenon. Therefore, to become acquainted with the true facts of existence, to become conscious of the real in place of the unreal, is to mentally reverse, in thought, the evidence of the physical senses.
Material existence is a complete seeming reversal of the spiritual, and to know the truth about any material condition is to reverse, in consciousness, the evidence of the physical. Man, therefore, through this process of reversal, is not material, he is spiritual. Man, Mrs. Eddy tells us, is "the spiritual image and likeness of God" (Science and Health, p. 591).
The physical senses do not bear to us the truth about the man of God's creating. The physical senses would argue to us that man is a localized, circumscribed, material personality thrust out on an uncharted sea of error without pilot or rudder to guide him and with a mind of his own with which he must fend for himself.
Physical evidence would argue that man is encased in a human body in which is included a combination of self-supporting and self-acting organisms subject to all sorts of discords, interruptions and disorders. Physical sense would impose upon us the conviction that we, as individuals, have no control whatever over the issues of life and that life is subject to the whims and idiosyncrasies of this system of organisms; that all we can do is to obey the dictates of these uncontrolled agencies through which life is supposed to be sustained and that we have no power of rebellion, contradiction, or correction when some one of these material faculties decides to get off the track and go on a self-constituted tangent.
In fact, when you come to think of it, viewed from the standpoint of material evidence from the cradle to the grave, man seems to be about the most helpless and forsaken creature one could imagine.
The Bondage of Material Existence
Without the positive processes of salvation provided in an understanding of Christian Science there would not seem to be much hope for freedom from the bondage which a material existence imposes, but with the light of spiritual understanding and perception which this Science brings to bear, the hoax of materialism is probed and exposed, and its claims to power and authority over men are rendered null and void.
The truth about man as revealed in Christian Science is spiritual and not material. A realization of this in individual consciousness enables one to mentally reverse the specious arguments of the carnal and ushers one into the joy, freedom, and boundless bliss vouchsafed the children of God. Always bear in mind that the truth about spiritual man is the truth about you, and that this truth is just the reverse of that which the physical senses affirm about you.
Man, God's Responsibility
We are assured in the first chapter of Genesis that man is created in the image and likeness of God. An image, or likeness, is reflection. Mrs. Eddy, in Science and Health (p. 515), uses the phenomenon of reflection in a mirror to illustrate this point. The reflection in a mirror could not image forth anything not included in the original. The original and the reflection are alike in every particular.
If you stand before a mirror, the mirror reflects you in every least detail. If you move, your reflection moves. If you are short and stout, your reflection is short and stout. Thus does the reflection or the image in the mirror become the responsibility of that which is reflected. You, and you alone, are responsible for your reflection in the mirror. Your image has no responsibility, authority, or independence of its own.
If God is Spirit and the creator of all reality, as the Bible declares, God is self-sustained and self-perpetuated. He is the divine Principle of all true existence. As God is self-sustained and self-perpetuated, He is not sustained on food, air, or blood. He is not humanly outlined or formed and therefore does not include anything material. He is not sustained on the process of self-operating organisms. God sustains Himself as divine consciousness. God is infinite and therefore is not localized, though ever-present.
These, briefly, are a few self-evident facts about God. I emphasize them because of the Biblical statement that man is created in God's image and likeness. Obviously, the image and likeness of God could not be something as diametrically opposed to God in every particular as is the material concept of man with which you and I are familiar. Man, as the image of God, must be exactly like God, just as your image in the mirror is like you. Man could not manifest any element or feature not included in the divine consciousness of which man is the expression or reflection.
If God is infinite and without material form or outline, man must be infinite and without material form or outline. If God is not sustained on matter, air, and blood, man is not sustained on matter, air, and blood. If God is Spirit and man is the image of Spirit, man is under no geographical, geometrical, or physical limitations, or confinement.
If God and man are co-eternal and coexistent as Mind and idea, man has never passed through any experience of birth and can never come under any material law of growth, maturity, decrepitude, old age, senility, or death. If God is self-sustained and man is the image of God, man, then, is God-sustained and requires no organs of process for his existence. If God is eternal, man is eternal.
Truth About God – Truth About Man
The truth about God is the truth about man, and the truth about man is the truth about you. An image must be sustained by the original of which the image is an expression. God is Mind, and man is the compound idea of that Mind. That is, man is the conscious expression or reflection of all the ideas emanating from that consciousness which is God.
These ideas which constitute man remain forever in God. They never, for an instant, are separated from the divine consciousness conceiving them. Hence, man in God's image and likeness is never outside the divine consciousness. Man never leaves God. Thus does man remain under the eternal care, protection, guidance, inspiration and direction of God without individual effort or intent. Man cannot help but be perfect, remain perfect, and express perfection throughout eternity.
Now, apply these statements to yourself and you begin to bring into experience freedom from that bondage which a sense of materiality engenders. Material bondage, remember, is mentally self-imposed, and the correction of the mistakes of thinking which hold one in bondage is accomplished by the establishment in our consciousness of the spiritual facts or truths of real existence.
Man's reflection of God consists in man's understanding of God. As you and I begin to understand and know God, we begin to know and understand ourselves as reflection, or image, and thus do we begin to know ourselves and bring into our conscious experience that assurance, freedom, and consciousness of omnipotence bestowed by spiritual sense.
The Universe of Spirit
The universe of Spirit or God consists entirely of divine ideas which express God. Therefore, man, as the conscious reflection of God, includes and expresses all the ideas which emanate from the divine Mind. In Science and Health (p. 475), we are told that man "is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." A compound idea must be a composite of all ideas.
So, do you not see that man, as a child of God, cannot be conscious of one single quality underived from Deity? Hence, as we grow in our understanding of this truth about man's existence as an image of God we come into the satisfying and saving conviction that man is God's responsibility just as your reflection in the mirror is your responsibility. And what a comfort that conviction is!
One of the most prolific sources of fear, worry, anxiety, sickness, despair, helplessness, failure, and poverty is the belief that man is an isolated, circumscribed, material personality, thrust out into a world of sin, struggle, hate, intrigue, and strife, with a mind of his own with which, alone and unassisted, he must battle all the elements of adversity with which he is confronted.
Desolation of Hopelessness
The desolation of fear and hopelessness which comes with the self-imposed illusion that one is thrust out alone into a world of strife and opposition with nought but a human mind, which is subject to all sorts of limitations and incapacity, with which to battle the foe; that one is under life sentence to inexorable laws of heredity; that the lack of educational privileges has limited one to the lower brackets of income; that accident, injury, or laws of materiality have bound one to a life of invalidism or uselessness; that one is consigned to eternal punishment for mistakes of judgment or acts of moral turpitude long since abandoned and forsaken – is the aftermath of the Adam-dream that man is an individual entity separate and apart from God and the consequent failure on the part of mortals to recognize that man is God's eternal responsibility.
I do not know of anything that will relieve mortals of the self-imposed burdens of limitation (and all limitation is self-imposed) as will the realization that the government is on God's shoulders and that, therefore, man is unfettered by the bonds of human incapacity. We should always remember that it is the truth about God and the man of God's creating that breaks the bonds of human limitation and sets one free here and now to demonstrate the unlimited realities and possibilities of spiritual existence.
Man is, in reality, an involuntary child of God. Man does not exist as man because he has so willed it. Man exists as man because of God's will. Man cannot help being as perfect as his Maker. God is the Mind of man, therefore man has no will or volition of his own apart from God through which the carnal or mortal can find expression. Man's individuality and identity remain forever in God and thus does the brotherhood of man remain eternally in the divine Mind.
Man's every inspiration, intuition and direction come from God. Man's consciousness of perfection constitutes man. Man, manifesting the infinite nature of God, does not include, he expresses. Man does not contain, he reflects. Man does not include Mind. Mind includes man and Mind is eternal. Man does not include Life. Life, or God, includes man, and Life is eternal. Man is not sustained on material process or operation. God sustains man.
The Spiritual versus the Material
God's creation, or spiritual existence, is positive. It is eternal, self-perpetuating, harmonious and changeless. Material creation, or material existence, is wholly negative in all its aspects. In fact, material existence is an argument of reversal, reaction, contradiction and destruction from beginning to end.
The material is a state of existence which is wholly separate, apart from and unknown to the divine. The material, in its attempt to counterfeit the divine, claims to create its own manifestations entirely apart from God, it fashions its own man; it evolves its own universe, which it governs with its own laws and self-imposed conditions and self-imposed conditions.
Creates its Own Atmosphere
It creates its own atmosphere, its own climate, its own seasons, its own seedtimes and harvests, all involving process, conception, germination, generation; birth, growth, maturity, old age, decline and death. In the realm of the real there is no process. God's divine fiat maintains creation right here and now complete, finished and final. In Truth there is no material process of creation, operation or development. Completion, fulfillment, satisfaction and perfection underlie all reality. All material phenomena, no matter how beautiful to human sense, are, at their best, temporal, insecure and transitory, and, without the beatific influence of the divine, made available through the understanding which Christian Science brings to men, are fraught with constant danger, insecurity and uncertainty. Everything in the realm of the material exists only to be destroyed and extinguished. One form of material life exists on the death and destruction of some other form of material life.
I am reminded, in this connection, of the story of a certain minister; who, thinking to point a spiritual lesson to his young son through the examples of nature, took the young man for a drive in the country. After riding for some time and stopping now and then to point a lesson, here and there, the father halted at the side of a small pond of water, in the midst of which stood one of those long-legged cranes waiting for some guileless denizen of the deep to come his way. Finally along came a fish, and Mr. Crane stooped down and took him in. "There," said the minister to his son, "see how God has provided for all His creatures. He gives the crane long legs, so that he may wade out into the water to catch the fish which are necessary for his sustenance and life." The boy looked up at his father, thought for a moment, and then said: "Well, dad, you ought to know, you're a preacher, and I guess that must be O.K. as far as the crane goes, but what gets me is as to whose business it is to look after the fish."
Inconsistence of Materiality
This rather time-worn story of the crane and the fish is but indicative of the problem or inconsistencies of materiality. And these inconsistencies of human living, together with the tragedies, the heartaches, the grief, the sorrow and the helplessness which accompany them, all find their answers and solution in the light of Mrs. Eddy's great discovery and gift to mankind.
The story of material living, without the ameliorating influences of spiritual understanding, is, at its best, a rather sordid and cheerless story, but, thanks be to Christian Science and its Christly mission of salvation, the picture begins to change, and hope and the promise of freedom from all human bondage is finding its place in the consciousness of men.
No more need men look to matter and material manifestations for their estimate of life and its possibilities. No more need men live in dependence on the hollow and shallow pretenses of luck, chance and the vagaries of speculative and disappointing theories for their health, happiness and supply. No more shall men bury their fondest hopes in the dead ashes of reversal, disappointment and discouragement. In the words of Mrs. Eddy found in Science and Health (p. 298), "When the real is attained, which is announced by Science, joy is no longer a trembler, nor is hope a cheat."
Mary Baker Eddy
Obviously, these great truths of existence, which are given to us through Mrs. Eddy's discovery of that which she has been pleased to term Christian Science, could not be of human devising. Nought but spiritual revelation could have brought to light those deeper things of spirit which are explained in Christian Science and which are so antagonistic to the human and material. Error does not beget truth. Truth has but one source, and that source is divine.
Mrs. Eddy's life of devotion to God and her inherent spiritual nature made it possible for her to become the recipient of this light which is now casting its effulgence into the remotest corners of the globe. She was, from earliest childhood, an earnest and devout student of the Bible and was possessed of most unusual and significant spiritual intuition and instincts. Her two chief objectives in life were to know God and to help her brother man. She has accomplished those two objectives in a measure far greater than that achieved by any other individual since the time of Jesus the Christ.
You and I owe her a debt of gratitude which only purity, holiness and a consecrated devotion to God can repay. Deeds speak louder than words and bear more significance of our sincerity. None of us will ever be called upon to make the sacrifices which she has made and to endure the world's opposition as did she, that humanity might receive the blessing which her discovery brings to the receptive mind; but each of us can so order his thinking and living that our lives will attest our appreciation and in part cancel the debt which all humanity owes this meek, modest, New England gentlewoman.
And now, by way of emphasis and recapitulation, let me leave with you a few brief observations evolved from what has been said here today:
Remember that the truth about God's image and likeness is the truth about you, because the physical senses do not convey or reveal the true status of man;
That your concept of God constitutes the basis of your journey heavenward and must be correct if you would attain your goal;
That, as a child of God, you are now spiritual and not material;
That as His image and likeness you are under no geographical, geometrical or physical limitations, laws, inhibitions, or influences;
That error or evil is no part of your true selfhood, and that as the material inharmonies and problems with which you seem to be confronted exist only in a fictitious, individual, human consciousness, your remedy is right at hand.
Remember that Truth operative in individual human consciousness is its own impulsion and application;
That you are not an isolated, circumscribed, localized personality thrust out on an uncharted sea of error without pilot or rudder to guide you and with a mind of your own with which, you must fend for yourself, but that, as the image of God, God alone is responsible for your maintenance and perpetuation throughout eternity;
That, as the government is forever on His shoulders, to the extent that you relinquish the belief or delusion that you are an entity separate and distinct from God, you are admitting and permitting the power of the divine presence to order the minutest details of your daily experience;
That, as God is infinite and man is the likeness of God, you are held in the eternal consciousness of infinity and are now under no bonds of limitation, localization, or confinement;
That, as an involuntary child of God, you cannot help being as perfect as your Maker;
That, in the light of Truth, you have never left God, and, as your individuality and identity remain forever in the bosom of the Father, you and your Father are one.
What assurance lies in the conviction that here, now, and eternally, man dwells in the holy realization of his own perfection as a child of God; that he is forever maintained in the eternal calm of Spirit, the tranquility of Mind, the serenity of Soul, the atmosphere of Love and the "peace . . .which passeth all understanding!"
And may I leave with you, in closing, the admonition of the Master given us in the fifth chapter of Matthew: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
[Published in The Oakland (California) Post-Enquirer, October 9, 1942.]