The New Heaven and the New Earth
As Revealed by Christian Science
Margaret Matters, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Margaret Matters, C.S.B., of
Christian Science brings a new heaven and a new earth to everyone who understands its Principle and applies its rules. Through it, heaven becomes a present state of harmony, health, and happiness, and earth expresses heaven's glories. This Science makes all that is really desirable, worthy, and ideal possible of accomplishment. And how does Christian Science do this? By explaining God to us, thus making Him understandable, adorable, and demonstrable. Also, by making clear to us the true character - that is, the spiritual nature - of His creation, man and the universe.
In the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, God is defined as follows: (p. 587): "God. The great I Am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." Because God is our God, it is correct to say that God is our Mind, our Life, our Soul, our Principle, our Love, our substance and intelligence. All Christians unite in that prayer which begins, "Our Father which art in heaven." Then, with the clearer understanding of our Father, God, imparted by this definition, we can pray more intelligently for ourselves and others.
Suppose our life, or the life of a friend or dear one, seemed to be in danger, we could then turn to this declaration at the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, and substitute the name Life for Father, so that we would pray, "Our Life which is in heaven."
It is generally believed that there is no disease in heaven, for heaven is a state of harmony. Also, there is no hatred, no fear, no bullet, no poisonous gas, and no destructive weapon in that heaven wherein is our Life. Heaven is that state of consciousness that knows Life as our Father, as the source of our being, as the maintainer of our existence. It is most certainly impossible for death to enter Life, to affect or influence it, for then God would immediately lose His nature or character as Life, and would become His opposite, death.
And yet, most human beings believe that this impossibility is possible, for they admit as real that which they cognize with the physical senses. These senses deceive at every turn, so we cannot trust them nor believe what appears to them to be real. Jesus refused to believe these senses, even when they informed him, and those about him, that the widow's son, Jairus' daughter, and his friend Lazarus, were dead. Nor did he accept the appearance of death, for he knew that God, Mind, Truth, Love, Principle, is our Life which is in heaven - in eternal harmony.
The thought may come to you that Jesus' ability to do these things was supernatural, and that his relationship to God as His Son, was different from our relationship to God. But it was Jesus who taught us the prayer which begins with the words, "Our Father." He did not say, "My Father," but "Our Father," which makes ours and Jesus' relationship to God the same. This was recognized by John, who wrote, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." And he goes on to say, "Now are we the sons of God." Is it not a bit of heaven on earth to know that, now and here, we are the offspring, the outcome, the emanation of our Father, our Life, which is in heaven, in harmony.
Mrs. Eddy writes (Unity of Good, p. 37): "Human beings are physically mortal, but spiritually immortal. The evil accompanying physical personality is illusive and mortal; but the good attendant upon spiritual individuality is immortal. Existing here and now, this unseen individuality is real and eternal."
Man Is Not a Material Body
One of the most limiting and delusive of beliefs is that our life is in the material body, whereas we live in our thinking, in true consciousness. Then consciousness must be our abiding place, our home, our land, our universe, our heaven. When we accept this belief that we live in a material body, we are dwelling in the realm of dreams, in a state of deluded mortal consciousness, which Mrs. Eddy calls "the substratum of mortal mind" (Science and Health, p. 371). This mind dreams that it is conscious of sin, disease, and death, and it believes that it sees its dreams embodied, or materialized, in mortals.
The Biblical allegory about Adam, who went into a deep sleep and dreamed all sorts of impossible things - which seemed perfectly possible to him, as they always do to one in a dream state - is a graphic description of a material universe and a mortal man. Mrs. Eddy tells us that in this text in Genesis, the garden of Eden "stands for the mortal, material body" (Science and Health, p. 626).
Adam dreamed that he had been put into a material body, and it seemed to him in his dream to be a beautiful garden, until he met that impossible creature, a talking serpent. Then Adam dreamed that Eve listened to the serpent, and that he, Adam, also listened to it talking through Eve. But he thought it was Eve talking, whereas she knew that such talk could not come from man, and that only something as impossible as a talking serpent could say such things.
However, in the dream the serpent's propositions sounded tempting to both Adam and Eve, so they decided to test the fruit that would enable them to know both good and evil. As God had not created evil, and therefore had no knowledge of it, they would then know more than God knew.
Only in a dream state could one be made to believe that something exists which the all-knowing Mind, God, does not know, or did not create. Only one in a dream or a deluded state of thought, could imagine that a knowledge of evil, of materialism, of a physical creation, could be of any benefit to man, could enlighten him, or make of him a god. Rather does this knowledge put man in bondage to all the ills that flesh is heir to, and it makes him a mortal as well - with a helpless beginning and a hopeless, doleful end.
Is not this the dream we are all dreaming? Are we not dreaming that we have been put into a material body which we must feed, dress, and keep, just as Adam dreamed that the Lord had put him in the garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep it"? Except that today we do not believe that it is the Lord who demands of us that we feed this body certain vitamins, keep it in certain climates, and exercise it. Nor do we believe that it is the Lord who requires of us that we ask the body whether we are able to go to business, eat our meals, or feel healthy. But we do think that these are requirements of material medicine, hygiene, custom, or tradition, which we must obey. Thus these material modes become the gods we worship and the seeming power to which we are in bondage.
God, who, according to the Bible, is "of purer eyes than to behold evil," could not bestow on man the ability to behold it - an ability God Himself does not possess. So, as this allegory brings out, it is a subtle, serpentine suggestion which claims that man can know evil. In the Adam-dream, the serpent had to give to its claims an appearance of the power of authority, so it said, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Only in a dream could the lie seem true that God knows evil and that good can come through evil. And only in a dream could seem true this lie's resultant beliefs, that God sends or permits suffering, disease, and death, and that, in some unaccountable way, they can produce betterment.
If God sent disease and death, He would not have the power to destroy them, for, in reason and in fact, the cause of disease and death cannot produce their cure. Only in a dream state does this seem possible. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 656): "Sleep is darkness, but God's creative mandate was, 'Let there be light.' In sleep, cause and effect are mere illusions. They seem to be something, but are not. Oblivion and dreams, not realities, come with sleep. Even so goes on the Adam-belief, of which mortal and material life is the dream."
If sleep is darkness, then the works of darkness are but dreams, and we need not fear them, flee from them, nor suffer from them. The one thing we do need to do is to awaken from them, and behold the light of Truth, or that which is true about all things. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. . . . But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." This has been translated by Moffatt as follows: "Have nothing to do with the fruitless enterprises of the darkness, but rather expose them." Christian Science does expose the works or enterprises of darkness by showing them to be but illusions, dreams, false beliefs, errors, misapprehensions of truth, without substance, entity, or reality.
Today, the exposure of the works or enterprises of darkness is making their nature more clearly and generally understood. Many recognize that the use of human willpower to carry out unscrupulous designs, to exploit the baser instincts of the carnal mind, and mentally to invade nations and terrorize them with fear, must be overcome with weapons other than those employed in mere physical combat.
Quite evidently, a mental revolution, as well as human warfare, is going on today, and in the flux of this transitional state we are keenly cognizant of unhappy and discordant conditions. We hear of lack on every side, and we may well wonder what it is all about, as there is the same amount of land, sea, and air, and there are also the same seasons, mines, and metals, as there were in times past.
And yet, mankind is engaged in apparently destroying itself through senseless carnage. As these basic material resources have not changed, this upheaval - its causes, purposes, and aims - must be wholly mental. What, then, is the mental state that is causing the war; and what is the mental or spiritual state that will cure it?
It must be evident to all that certain mental influences, such as willpower, fear, greed, hatred, envy, dishonesty, domination, lust for money, place, and power, have moved men to physical combat; and that until these influences are disposed of, warfare of this sort will continue. It must also be evident that such things as poison gas, bullets, and bombs cannot destroy these mental influences; rather are they increased and inflated thereby.
Logically considered, Love antidotes hatred, Truth overcomes dishonesty, goodness dispels the evils of greed and lust, and the courage of intelligence eliminates fear.
Christian Science shows that the human will that would do evil cannot be met by another human will that would do good, as this would mean a conflict of wills. There is only one remedy, and that is to pray, "Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." Mrs. Eddy has interpreted this to mean, "Enable us to know, - as in heaven, so on earth, - God is omnipotent, supreme" (Science and Health, p. 17). We must utilize this divine will, which expresses God's omnipotence and is His law of good.
The human will that would produce evil claims to operate in the dark, unseen and unknown, until suddenly its effect is made evident in some injurious, discordant, or erroneous condition. It is not within the power of the human will to produce good, as God alone is good and is everywhere present. Good, therefore, cannot be, and does not need to be, reproduced; rather must it be discerned and utilized. The understanding that there is but one will, one Mind, one influence, one power and presence, exposes the nothingness of the claim to a will, an influence, a mind or power apart from God.
The attempt to influence others through the use of the human will, either for good or evil, infringes the rights of man to be self-governed, and to do his own thinking according to divine Principle. In order to preserve the rights of man in the mental realm, we must understand the oneness of divine Mind as our Mind which is in heaven, in harmony, where it cannot be invaded nor influenced, for it is All and besides it there is no other.
Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 490): "Will-power is but a product of belief, and this belief commits depredations on harmony. Human will is an animal propensity, not a faculty of Soul. Hence it cannot govern man aright. Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive powers of man."
Jesus told us that we were to know the truth, and that the truth would make us free. So, if we will but know the truth, namely, that the motive-powers of man are Truth and Love, we shall be set free from the suggestion that willpower is motivating man, driving and confusing him, making him apathetic, blinding him to the error which is attacking him, causing him to scatter his fire, and to be so weighed down with inertia that he is unable to follow up, with a continuance of energetic, intelligent, spiritual activity, victories he may have already won. The Christian's warfare, which is the Christian Scientist's warfare, can only be won with the weapons of Truth. These weapons, or ideas of Truth, overthrow all the mental arguments of will-power, and bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," as Paul puts it.
Many today are trying to find refuge from the evils of willpower by changing their geographical location and going to some place or land where there seems to be comparative safety. But there is only one land where there is true security and peace, and this land is wholly spiritual and mental, so that we can enter it instantly through thought, irrespective of circumstance, condition, or place.
This is the land of spiritual
existence sought by Abraham, Moses, and the children of
There can be no thought-transference of hatred, fear, or domination in this land, or state of consciousness, because the one infinite Mind which is everywhere present includes all thought, and it is good. Mrs. Eddy beheld this land, or state of consciousness, and spoke of it as "the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged" (Science and Health, pp. 226,227).
What are some of these rights of
man that are fully known and acknowledged in this
Freedom to know and do good, freedom to live that Life which is deathless, to live peaceably, to be useful, happy, healthy, radiant, strong, intelligent, are some of the rights of man that are fully known and acknowledged in this land of Christian Science.
The following Biblical statements are cited by Mrs. Eddy as setting forth the rights of man:
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion."
"Behold I give unto you power . . . over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
"If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
Then every time we prove that man is the image and likeness of God; that he has the dominion of divine Life, Truth, and Love; every time we utilize our God-given power over the false, injurious influences of the human will, and give evidence that the convulsions of the carnal mind as manifested in war, disaster, sin, and disease, cannot hurt us, we are exercising the divine rights of man. It is our divine right to turn to our God, Mind, rather than to matter, as our medicine, as that which maintains us in health; for the Mind that creates man preserves him whole and harmonious.
According to the constitutional
Bill of Rights of this country, it is the right of the people to be secure in
their persons, their houses, papers, and effects. In the
One of man's inalienable rights is to love and to be loved by God and man. War is a denial of this right, for it claims the right of peoples to hate one another, and to express this hatred in the destruction of life itself. One way to exterminate war is through exercising this right to love and to be loved by God and man, no matter what the material circumstances may appear to be. Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 571), "Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you." This truth realized will protect mortals from becoming either the instruments or the victims of hatred. In Christian Science, war is treated in the same way as is disease - that is, by awaking from its mesmeric suggestions to the truth that Godís harmony, love, and peace - His heaven - are actually here on earth.
The forces of hell would make us believe that there is no oneness of Mind, nor of men. These forces would deny that we have one Father, divine Love: that we are brethren; that we love one another; and that we can be governed by the rules of Christianity, as given us in the Sermon on the Mount. We all envision a world in which peace reigns, and war shall be no more. In God's universe, which is the only real universe, there is no conflict, no war, taking place. But in order to attain this universe, or state of consciousness, we must prove that the evidence to the contrary is but a mesmeric state, an illusion.
Jesus said of the times when there would be "distress of nations," that men's hearts would be "failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." And he added, "When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." If we keep our gaze and thought fixed on the things which are happening on earth, we are not going to be able to look up to Truth, or to what is happening in heaven, and behold its demonstration on earth. In Christian Science we are not attempting to improve earth's dream or its mesmeric state. Rather is our effort to cease dreaming, by being awake to Truth, by taking possession of the land of Christian Science through that spiritual understanding which acknowledges God as our Father, and beholds men as the sons of God, as brethren who love and cherish one another and who express God one to the other.
The Close of Material History
Mrs. Eddy tells us that "material history is drawing to a close" (No and Yes, p. 45). The beliefs of a material world, a material man with a mortal history, are being superseded by the apprehension of a spiritual universe, and by the truth of man's being as the son of God. The history of this son of God is written in the understanding and demonstration of spiritual being in the lives of men. Mrs. Eddy tells us (Christian Healing, p. 11), "We are in the midst of a revolution; physics are yielding slowly to metaphysics; mortal mind rebels at its own boundaries; weary of matter, it would catch the meaning of Spirit."
Human modes, theories, practices, and events are working out their own destruction, for their day is waning; and they are being replaced by the Science of Mind, with its unfoldment of the true and eternal history of God, man, and the universe. This history is good, harmonious, healthy, and constructive. There is nothing in man's history of which he can be ashamed, that he needs to hide, to fear, or from which he should flee. His status with God is eternal perfection, and this status is recorded indelibly in consciousness, or, as the Bible puts it, "in the book of life."
There have been various prophecies and prognostications about the end of the world, which is but another way of saying that material history is drawing to a close. Many have dreaded such a time, for the material world has seemed to them to be the reality, whereas spiritual consciousness, or the land of spiritual thoughts, has seemed distant and remote. To the Christian Scientist, the end of the world does not mean the destruction of people and things, but the destruction of a false sense of God, man, and the universe. Christian Science shows us that the end of materialism is to be welcomed, and that it can be brought about by translating all that is material into its spiritual original, about which the material is a lie. Matter is but a material misstatement about man and the universe, whereas the "new tongue" is the true spiritual statement about them. Mrs. Eddy says (Christian Healing, p. 7): " 'The new tongue' is the spiritual meaning as opposed to the material. It is the language of Soul instead of the senses; it translates matter into its original language, which is Mind, and gives the spiritual instead of the material signification."
If we know man as God knows him we shall never lose him. Neither sin, hatred, fear, disease, distance, nor death, hides man from God; and if we translate the material concept of man into the spiritual concept of him, we shall find that we include the right idea of him in our consciousness eternally. When we translate the human concept of one another into the divine, we shall know one another as our divine Mind which is in heaven knows us, and we shall behold one another as the image of God, untouched by materialism, unsullied by sin, undisturbed by sickness, unobstructed and unstopped by death. Each time we translate the material concept of man and the universe into Mind, the end of some worldly belief, with its material history, takes place. Every false earth-born belief must be replaced by a radiant truth.
In Christian Science we learn that, as more and more of our divine Mind or Being which is in heaven becomes apparent here, harmony replaces discord, joy conquers sorrow, and heaven is revealed on earth. Earth is today alight with heaven's glow; and that, because through the ages there have been human beings who have been awake to its effulgence, and have dared to walk in the Christ-light which has illumined their consciousness. The spiritual thinking of these individuals has made them clear transparencies for the revelation of the Christ, Truth.
The human being whose consciousness was the clearest transparency for the Christ, Truth, was Jesus. This identified him with the Christ, so that he is known as Christ Jesus; and the radiance of his example has made him the Way-shower. He showed us the way to heal, the way to love, the way to teach, preach, and prove God. And finally, by laying down his mortal life, he was able to show us that material history is not brought to a close by death and the grave. He rose above these, and even after his resurrection he continued teaching and revealing to his students the nature of God and man. When he had completed his work by translating every material belief, into its spiritual truth, the senses could no longer behold the glory of the divine Love and Life which he continued to express. Thus there was no longer any material history to record, for the son of man had been completely translated into the Son of God, who dwelleth forever in heaven.
The Little Book
Although Jesus was able to show us the way in the three short years of his public ministry, nevertheless he did not teach the rules and Science of his works. John, in recording the revelation of Jesus Christ, told what the further amplification of this Truth would be, when he wrote: "I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, . . . and he had in his hand a little book open. . . . And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up. . . . And he said unto me. Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."
It is evident from this that Truth was to appear again through a book which was to be studied, digested, and understood - or, as the Revelator put it, to be eaten up. Christian Scientists believe that this book has appeared in this age, and that it is entitled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." written by Mary Baker Eddy. It contains the truth about God and man, so that those who really eat it up - digest its spiritual import - are healed, comforted, and enlightened. It reveals a new heaven and a new earth to those who are suffering, sinning, or dying. The truth it contains opens blind eyes, and unstops deaf ears, restores happiness to homes, and shows that good, God, has indeed visited His people. Also, through this book, the way has unfolded whereby each one may learn how to obey Jesus' command, "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." This command appears as the motto on the seal placed on the cover of every textbook written by Mary Baker Eddy.
As a book shows forth the thinking of its author, you will be able to discern the character of Mary Baker Eddy as you read this book. You will also be blessed by the purity, intelligence, spirituality, and originality which she has brought to the recording of her discovery. Like thousands of others who have already studied it, your heart will go out in gratitude to the selfless, noble woman who wrote it. Mrs. Eddy once wrote to a clergyman who was desirous of meeting her personally, "Those who look for me in person, or elsewhere than in my writings, lose me instead of find me" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 120).
As you read the Christian Science textbook, it will be clear to you that its author is one of the pure in heart who has seen God, and who has been able to impart her vision to others. You will also realize that she loved God's law and lived it, and that only one who was inspired by Love, and sustained by the might of Mind, could have given such a message to a world whose thinking along the lines of Science, theology, and medicine was in direct opposition to her discovery. Christian Scientists are not unduly concerned with the personality of Mrs. Eddy, but they joyously obey the following Biblical injunction in Proverbs with regard to a woman of virtue: "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."†
Through this little book, each one is fed with glorious mental pictures or spiritual ideas, with ideas that satisfy, heal, comfort, and sustain, revealing the new heaven and new earth as here and now, within individual consciousness. It voices the tender plea that was voiced centuries ago, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The door is your consciousness. Open it, that you may behold a new heaven and a new earth.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, March 19, 1943.]