Christian Science: Its Spiritual Idealism and Realism (Summary)
George W. Martin, C.S.B., of Melbourne, Australia
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science is grounded on the rock of ages, the omnipotence of God being the keystone of its teachings. These teachings therefore do not include a contention between God and a lesser power known to mankind as evil. By that statement, I would not have you think that Christian Scientists ignore the claim of evil to power and authority. Indeed they are wide-awake to the subtle methods by which evil would delude its victims into accepting its seeming power as real and formidable. These subtle methods, however, need cause you no further trepidation, because Christian Science proves beyond all question that a clear realization of God's omnipresence and omnipotence strips evil of its pretensions. Those students who demonstrate and preserve inviolate this realization are no longer slaves to the mesmeric belief in evil's power to delude and ensnare. However real the counterfeit claim appears to be, it is no more worthy of acceptance as real than a counterfeit coin.
God, being the one and only creator, there cannot be another cause. The great I AM includes all cause and effect. The divine cause being perfect, the effect must be harmonious. We shall awaken to the fact of the ever-presence of God's perfect kingdom, proportionably to our loyalty to those two great spiritual laws, the First Commandment and the Golden Rule.
Spiritual Idealism and Realism
The importance of the First Commandment and of the Golden Rule in the lives of students of Christian Science is summarized by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this practical religion, in these unmistakable words: "The First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' and the Golden Rule are the all-in-all of Christian Science." She continues: "They are the spiritual idealism and realism which, when realized, constitute a Christian Scientist, heal the sick, reform the sinner, and rob the grave of its victory," (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, page 5.)
Two words stand out prominently in this interesting passage. They are "idealism" and "realism." The efforts of the two diverse schools of thought known as "idealists" and "realists" to solve the world's problems have failed largely because they are material in outlook and endeavor. Both schools of thought are predicated of matter. Mrs. Eddy lifts these two words out of materialism when she speaks of "spiritual idealism and realism." She also points out that a knowledge of both is essential for the demonstration of Christian Science, which is the law of God.
Spiritual idealism is expressed in the First Commandment, that is, in the declaration of God's allness and oneness, and the perfection of His creation, including man. Spiritual realism is manifested in the practical application of the Golden Rule, that is, in acting towards others in the same way as we would have them act toward us. The First Commandment, which our revered Leader associates with spiritual idealism, must be expressed through the practical realism of the Golden Rule. Unless, fulfilled through the Golden Rule the First Commandment has but little value or significance.
Discoveries Are Mental Impressions
Jesus walked on the water without the aid of any material discovery. His manifestation of dominion over material laws and conditions brought suffering to no one. Whatever seeming good is brought forth from matter by physical science can be inverted to maim and destroy. The destructive forces of the world would take hold of new material ideas and use them to disrupt the human concept of progress and destroy the human sense of life. But evil minds cannot use spiritual understanding to further their plans for lust and conquest. This fact proclaims the Master's way of overcoming materiality and its limitations as the true method, blessing one and all.
Spiritual Understanding Can Be Cultivated
Christian Science has proved, and continues to prove, that the disciples' ability to heal was not a personal gift bestowed on them, but was the result of their awakened spiritual understanding. It should be clearly understood that healing in Christian Science is not one human mind controlling another. Through spiritual understanding alone can the mighty power of God be utilized in human affairs. Our textbook (Science and Health, page 67), will reveal to you, "that through spiritual ascendancy our Lord and Master healed the sick, raised the dead, and commanded even the winds and waves to obey him." This spiritual understanding may be cultivated today in individual consciousness. This fact is a fundamental point in the theology of Christian Science.
Was it not Jesus' knowledge of the truth that Life, being God, is eternal, therefore indestructible, that enabled him successfully to challenge death and defy the grave? Knowledge of Truth is the Christian Scientist's medicine. As Mrs. Eddy writes in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (page 266): "God's preparations for the sick are potions of His own qualities." This medicine is administered through prayer which causes the relinquishment of all fear and doubt as thought awakens to man's oneness with the divine nature and character.
Mary Baker Eddy
Most of the world's reformers have pioneered along some special line of humanitarian research. About three-quarters of a century ago, a New England gentlewoman, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer, Founder, and recognized Leader of Christian Science, pioneered in what has proved to be the greatest unfoldment of the spiritual facts of existence since the days of Christ Jesus. Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the Science of Christianity and her successful application of its spiritual laws to the problems of every-day living have flung wide open the prison doors, setting free the sin-laden and sick-bound thoughts of mankind.
For many years, Mrs. Eddy searched diligently for an understanding of the method of healing which the Founder of Christianity had demonstrated so conclusively, and when, in her great physical need, she touched the spiritual law of God, she was immediately restored to health. Through consecrated study of the Bible, this law of God became more clearly defined, and through obedience to that law in her daily activities, she became a practical exponent of the greatest and safest remedial agent ever known to mankind, namely spiritual healing.
Healing, as Mrs. Eddy demonstrated for approximately half a century, is the outcome of a spiritual awakening — the bringing to light of the original, perfect man. The perfection of God's creation, including man, is maintained by His spiritual law.