Christian Science: The Discovery of the Healing Christ
Geith A. Plimmer, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science is first and foremost the religion that heals. It is a happy, wholesome, thoroughly practical and deeply Christian religion. It is a religion so rich and full of the ideas of God that result in health and happiness, that it is an exhilaration and joy to study it. According to Christian Science divine Truth does not help in cases of sin but desert in cases of sickness. Certainly not; the God of Christian Science is the God of the Bible, healing sickness as well as sin, and by spiritual means alone. Actually, there is no problem of sin or disease outside the reach of divine Love.
I am always glad that it was
revealed so early in Scriptural history that it is the natural
Now Christian Science is the discovery of these exact spiritual laws by which the Master Christian healed with such precision. Their discovery and clarification in Christian Science can fairly be described as "wonderful." So spiritual a discovery could only have been made by a person of great spiritual perceptiveness. Such, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, most certainly was. Christ Jesus once said, "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father" (John 6:65). Had Mrs. Eddy not been close to the Father in unceasing prayer, she certainly could never have received the revelation of the divine laws by which the Son of the Father had healed the sick, awakened the sinner, and raised the dead centuries before.
Christian Science is called "Christian Science" because it presents, in systematic and provable form, these divine laws so effectively practised by the Founder of Christianity. The name, "Christian Science," has sometimes taken people by surprise; but to those who recognize the identity of this religion with Jesus' teaching and practice, and have proved for themselves that it heals as spiritual law, its name is both natural and logical. Christian Science is Science because based on fundamental divine Truth – on the primal facts of being, on the eternal perfection of God and man, including the universe. It proves the fixed Principle of its basic proposition of perfection by quenching every phase of imperfection. The mathematician does not worry his pupil endlessly about the supposed origin of a mistake. What he does is to relate the pupil's thought promptly to the perfection of the formula, or table, involved. The pupil then so applies this perfect idea as to supplant the error. In just such a manner, Christian Science removes errors and miscalculations from human lives by relating human thought to the Principle of divine perfection that supplants them, but one of the really great blessings for the inquirer into this Science is that it has a standard textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This great book was written by the one and only person equipped and eligible to write it, namely by the one who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. Christian Science is based on the allness of Spirit, and the consequent temporal and unreal nature of matter. It is this Science of the exclusive allness of Spirit, and not physical science, that is linked with the word "Health" in the now famous title, Science and Health.
I shall never forget the first practical link of this spiritual Science with my own health when I became interested in Christian Science many years ago. I was in a state of delirium from ptomaine poisoning at the time. The only coherent thing I was aware of was terrible sickness, and a great dread of the night. At in the morning, a Christian Science practitioner was rung up by anxious friends, told of the situation, and asked for help. She must have had a wonderful sense of the reality and actuality of the harmony of true being and the illusory nature of my fears and ills, for the dread and sickness were suddenly wiped as completely from my mind as horrid pictures from a blackboard. By the law of cause and effect this immediately freed my body to resume its normal harmonious activities; but the obliteration of the offending fear was so effortless that I was unaware of its even taking place. Within a few minutes, I fell asleep like a peaceful child and woke six hours later to find the sun shining in my room and myself perfectly well. I was filled with awe and wonder at the sudden way my suffering had melted into harmony. This first healing was a wonderful proof to me that there really is "no fear in love," as John said, and that "perfect love casteth out fear" (I John ). Certainly, I felt very grateful that morning for the way that Christian Science had taken care of my health.
The truth in Christian Science that dispels fear from the mind automatically heals the body. Indeed, Christian Science shows that health is not a condition of matter but of divine Mind; that it comes from God alone, and is a bestowal always included in His law. This being so, let us now gather from Science and Health, and its enlightening Key to the Scriptures what Mrs. Eddy discovered about the true nature of God, and the divine laws by which He sustains and maintains health and harmony in man and the universe.
The True Nature of God
What encouragement and hope we feel when we first read Mrs. Eddy's answer to a question in the first chapter of the Christian Science textbook "Are we benefited by praying?" she asks, "Yes," she says, "the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void" (p.2). You see, desire or prayer is very important for righteous prayer is the means of access to God. Mrs. Eddy's statement in the same chapter, "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it," began to change my whole attitude toward prayer. People often plead and pray to change God in their favor! But they are the ones who need to change, and here is a religion that will change them by compelling them to bring their human thinking to harmony with the true facts of creation, of spiritual reality, as God actually established it. I can never be grateful enough to Christian Science for so changing my own thought about God as to remove much of my ignorance of His unchanging wisdom and love. Here is the passage in Science and Health that particularly helped me to get rid of my personal sense of God:
"Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The rule is already established, and it is our task to work out the solution. Shall we ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own work? His work is done, and we have only to avail ourselves of God's rule in order to receive His blessing, which enables us to work out our own salvation" (p. 3).
Now, in this passage was a name for God that I had never heard before. Perhaps it is new to some of you - divine Principle. As I studied further, I found six other names for God frequently used in Science and Health and designated synonyms. Some I had heard before, but I had never thought of putting any of them in the place of the word "God," to enlarge my concept of Him. The wonderful thing about these seven names for God is that they are each "on the level" with Him, as it were; that is, one can think over any one of them without ever falling below God's heavenly nature. Listen to them now, and you will see what I mean: Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love.
As divine Mind, God assures intelligence to man; as Spirit, incorruptible substance; as Truth, faultless expression; as Soul, beauty and immortality of identity; as Life, ever-fresh eternal activity; as Principle, unerring government; and as Love, He assures security in trustworthy affection. But the outstanding thing about these seven great names for God is that they all represent a divine Principle to be utilized and loved through spiritual law, not a person to be pleaded with through personal desire. It is immensely important to understand this. The prayer of hunger for God is never wasted, we know, no matter how ill-worded or even if not worded at all; but true being is this spiritual Science, or truth, of divine Love, which sooner or later we must all come to understand.
The True Idea of Man
Until one understands Science he is likely to regard himself as a mortal, made by a manlike God. Soon he begins dimly to perceive that, in reality, in the Science of true being, man is not a mortal at all, but a Godlike idea, an upright, noble idea of immortal Spirit, the only creator. Now I think we have all heard of the "haves" and the "have nots." Some people, because of their difficulties, regard themselves as personal "have nots"! But when we discern, through Mrs. Eddy's Key to the Scriptures, that man is divine Mind's own idea, His beloved son, forever one with his creator, we see that man is really a spiritual "have," and not a personal "have not."
You can imagine what a change this
brings in one's outlook upon God, and upon individual men and women. For one thing, we begin to understand for the
first time what Jesus meant when he said, even to the Pharisees, "The
So not only is God, the creative Mind, praiseworthy, His manifestation also is praiseworthy. That is because creator and creation are one in being, in beauty and in bounty. As you lose materiality in your daily thinking, and gain in spirituality, you will be amazed what different thoughts you have about man and bird and beast and flower. Indeed, if you will but permit it, Truth will transfigure your whole universe for you, so that right where you used to see objects of sense, you will begin to perceive the ideas of Soul. But the most wonderful idea will always be man, because man is the highest idea of God. Man is utterly different from a mortal, though increasingly you are going to enjoy seeing this true man right where mortal man seems at present to misrepresent him.
Christ Jesus was, of course, the ideal exemplification of man. To most mortals, however, even he seemed a mere human being from Nazareth; but his thought and love and power were so far beyond the mortal concept of man, that when certain people used the word "man" in reference to him, it is clear that they referred to another kind of man altogether. "What manner of man is this?" they said, "that even the winds and the sea obey him" (Matt. ). What manner of man, indeed, but a type of God's man, the real man. "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did," cried another (John ); and a third, "Never man spake like this man" (John ). Though none can take the special, the unique, place in history occupied by Christ Jesus, yet it is clear from Scripture that the manhood he individually reflected as the Son of God is available to all the sons and daughters of God, by virtue of the kingdom of God each individually reflects. How otherwise could Jesus have dared expect Peter to walk on the water, or his disciples to feed five thousand in the wilderness, with no adequate provision visible? Mrs. Eddy says, "God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" (S&H p. 258). Christian Science healing does not work toward this perfect spiritual man. It begins with him. It does not plead for his appearance; it accepts his presence in Truth, in accord with David's injunction, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright . . ." (Ps. 37:37)
I once knew a person who was haunted by a sense of inferiority and insecurity. He was constantly afraid that his knees would let him down. He also had a horrid hollow-feeling in his stomach, as if he were permanently afraid of failing an examination. After a time it suddenly became clear to him that his real weakness was a fear that his understanding was not strong enough to keep his thought firmly and steadfastly on the truth of himself as God's idea. You see, he had a fear of letting down this spiritual sense of himself in face of the material beliefs about man. This of course accounted for the weakness in his knees and his empty feeling. Then he remembered the Scripture, "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees" (Isa. 35:3).
Physical ills are never really physical; they are always mental, basically. Hence, as this young man began to claim dominion over material sense as part of his spiritual inheritance from God, and then each day practised standing courageously firm in the exercise of this dominion, the physical weakness, and the sickening fear inside, entirely and quickly disappeared. You see, he had marked "the perfect man" in Science, and had beheld "the upright," and so proved, as David then says, that "the end of that man is peace" (Ps. 37:37). Yes, man, in reality and in Christian Science, is a truly wonderful idea. God's idea indeed. It is not a sin of presumption then, but a divine right of assumption, for us to say today in ineffable humility, "Thank You, God, it is a lovely and holy thing to be Your idea; I am filled with awe and wonder to know that Your kingdom of right ideas is within me, by individual spiritual reflection."
The Liar and the Lie
And now, to make the truth of man even clearer, I must talk to you about something quite different, about a liar and a lie – I might even say, the liar and the lie. Please don't close your ears now and say you don't want to hear. The Bible tells us, not only that we are not to be afraid, but also, and no less important, that we are not to be dismayed, which means "upset" or "shocked." It is therefore completely orderly to know about the evil Jesus called a "liar," because then one is not upset when one sees some of its lies at work. The great thing to remember is that the product of a liar is lies, never truths. The detection and denial of lies is indispensable to the healing practice of Christian Science, but remember that a lie as Jesus remarked, cannot abide in the truth because there is no truth in it. The one liar is the carnal mind, and its biggest lie is that God's universe is material not spiritual.
Now, the carnal mind is an unreal mind, a suppositional mind – that is all it can ever be, because God, the only creator, is the only Mind. Therefore, the carnal mind is merely a make-believe mind, powerless, unreal and untrue. Like a mirage, it exists only in illusion, and as illusion; but it seems determined, in enmity against God to prevent humanity from ever seeing the wonder of infinite Mind, and the radiant beauty of its wholly spiritual manifestation.
The carnal mind hates divine glory, as the Pharisees showed from the way they treated Jesus, the first ideal man evident on earth, so it always does everything possible, in belief, to impose its own misconceptions of man upon mankind. Some say that a battle is now afoot for the mind of man. Actually, it is even more afoot for the concept of man that one should hold in mind. Shall it be the man of the first chapter of Genesis, the image and likeness of God, God's man, now unveiled in his full Scriptural majesty by Mary Baker Eddy's Key to the Scriptures? Or shall it be the so-called children of men invented by the carnal mind, and now being foisted upon the world in more aggressive forms than ever – the sinning so-called man of scholastic theology, the sick so-called man of medical theory, the nervous so-called subconscious and unconscious man of modern psychology? The carnal mind has literally scores of systems, each pushing different kinds of counterfeit men and women upon bewildered humanity. The wise man in Scripture commented aptly, "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl. 7:29).
No one doubts the sincerity and devotion of those investigating the so-called man of biology, scholastic theology and psychology, but they are only too sadly confirming what Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, "Man has 'sought out many inventions,' but he has not yet found it true that knowledge can save him from the dire effects of knowledge" (p. 196). Would the investigating of these so-called men lead us to the understanding of the real and true nature of man? Indeed not; so today, a very serious voice is crying out to the human race, not merely, "Choose you this day which God ye will serve," but also, "Pray ye this day which man ye shall study."
A teenager came to me one day to say that his teachers were complaining about the way he had to peer at the blackboard from very close range in order to see it. He was a Christian Scientist. I said to him immediately, "What kind of man have you been studying lately?" realizing that a false sense was trying to darken his vision of man as God's idea. From his answer, it was obvious that he had been studying the kind of man who has done so much to darken humanity's vision – namely, the Adam man, the so-called man of biology, psychology and false theology. I said to the boy, "You know that if your teacher described to you in class a five-legged horse that he had dreamt about, you could listen to his dream with courtesy, and even write an essay about it; but, in order to keep your teacher's five-legged horse in perspective as an illusion, you have only to remember that real horses actually have four legs?" He smiled ready consent to this. "Well," I went on, "as far as the real man, the Godlike man, in Genesis, Chapter One, is concerned, the Adam man is just as much an illusion as a five-legged horse. He is a false concept, a dream-man. Now, when you hear of him from your teacher," I said, "remember the five-legged horse, and then this false sense of man won't either fascinate or mesmerize you. You will have dominion over it by keeping it classified as illusion." The boy laughed and set off to refocus his thought on the true man, and that, I am glad to say, cleared his sight. Incidentally, it has often helped me in subsequent years to remember that a kick from that five-legged horse is as unreal as the horse itself! But do observe what happened to this teenager, for Christian Science is a precision religion with a scientific method. It is not here to play with two kinds of man, any more than with two kinds of God, or to patch up mortals with immortality. Not at all - it is here to compel an exchange: the dropping of the material, the adoption of the spiritual.
Now the Truth that exposes the division between these two states of consciousness, the spiritual and the material, the first, real, the second, unreal, is known in Christian Science as the Christ, Truth. Its greatest exponent was, of course, Christ Jesus. But Jesus did not merely distinguish between tares and wheat, good fish and bad fish, in his parables, and then leave them together. Not at all; he provided for destruction of the tares and the elimination of the bad fish. So you see, the Christ, Truth, can only come in as a genuinely effective Messiah, or Saviour, to our problem if we permit it to supplant the material by the spiritual. The Christ is a divine influence; it is not a person, but is God's divine ideal, which manifests His presence and power. It corrects, comforts, and consoles; disciplines, directs and protects; rescues, revives and rehabilitates. It reveals the truth of God and man throughout all eternity. Before any problem arises in belief, the Christ already has its solution in Truth. It makes the impossible possible, and provides a way through the supposedly impassable. It is full of grace and truth.
Whoever entertains the divine truth of God and man is entertaining the Christ, though he may know it not. Whoever applies this Christ, Truth, without compromise will find it reveals a way, opens the door, guides like a shepherd, and proves itself the Comforter. It is infinitely trustworthy. It never allows coaxing conversations with temptation; and sudden dismissal is its only treatment for sin. It makes no peace treaties with bad habits. Never, never fear to yield yourselves to its demands. In all its activities in human thought, the Christ operates to divide, then conquer – that is to separate lies from Truth, then conquer them with Truth. Its only power is to bless. It knows only the full glory of God's universe of Mind and idea, and man it holds forever in God's likeness. It is this Christ, revealing the truth of God and man, that does all the healing work in Christian Science. No power can excommunicate it or wither its fruits. Mrs. Eddy says, "The law of Christ, or Truth, makes all things possible to Spirit" (S&H p.182). This we must now illustrate:
A Christian Scientist was set upon by thieves some years ago, and left battered and unconscious in the street. When I saw him a few hours later, he presented the most disfigured countenance I have ever seen. As I stooped low to greet him, I was touched to hear him say "I know that I have never been outside the presence of divine Love." That utterance of Truth was so potent that you can see at a glance that beliefs of cruel and greedy men had absolutely no power against it. So free was the man's thought from resentment, that the carnal mind never had a hope of foisting any other kind of man onto his thought, to disfigure it. "I know that I have never been outside the presence of divine Love"! What perfect medicine! I can only say that I was in awe at the rapidity of the clearance it produced. The cruelty and greed were so exposed as lies, in the face of the divine Truth and Love entertained in this case, that they and all their physical signs and symptoms disappeared in a mere nine days; yet he had been injured so badly that it was three days before I had recognized that this victim was a man whom I knew.
You will notice that this healing confirms the basic teaching of Christian Science that disfigurement and disease are wholly mental in cause and character. The effects of the physical blows were not treated physically; not in any degree. They were dealt with entirely mentally - as mental impressions, as false beliefs that greed, destitution and cruelty have real power. The victim's consciousness of the ever-presence of God's love never gave these beliefs of evil a leg to stand on in the victim's thought. That was why their physical manifestations beat such a hasty retreat from his body. In this incident, there seemed to be two concepts of man, but the distinguishing power of Christ, Truth, proved there to be only one real man: the satisfied, loving and harmonious idea of God. This truth of man was seen to embrace both victim and perpetrators with equal love and protection.
Humanity owes Mrs. Eddy gratitude quite beyond measure for bringing this healing law of Christ, Truth, forward for recognition again in her momentous discovery of Christian Science.
Mrs. Eddy and Her Church
Jesus once told a parable of a woman who lit a candle and swept her house, so finding a piece of silver that had long been lost. No more precious piece of silver was ever lost than Christian healing. Some 1600 years it was lost. She who discovered it again was Mary Baker Eddy; her candle was her unfailing love for God and the Bible; under its light she saw how to sweep from the Scriptures the personal interpretations of the ages; and there was the piece of silver: the divine law by which the divine Principle, Love, always heals sickness and sin when consulted with the whole heart.
Now divine missions cannot be
carried out by limp thinking or loose organizations. The Discoverer of Christian Science saw that
means as majestic as her discovery would be needed to protect and propagate its
healing message. Hence, the nine years
she devoted to writing the Christian Science textbook were followed by more
than thirty years' devotion to the formation of her church, The First Church of
Christ, Scientist, in
Protection Through Scientific Prayer
And now before we conclude,
let us see how to apply prayer scientifically to give our daily lives and
activities the spiritual protection they need.
Said a Sunday School child once, "Why was
it that Jesus was the only child saved when Herod slew the children of
Yes, one of the richest blessings of Christian Science is the way it shows the power of the Christ, Truth, to keep manifestations of good in our present experience in the embrace of protective divine law. Good motives and manifestations should all be seen in terms of the divine ideas they represent, and then kept related to God, whose law of Truth, through this very recognition, then takes care of their human expression.
Some people are made unhappy and even sick, through not knowing how to relate good intelligently to God, the only source of good. They think good is personal, then they get anxious about it, feel responsible for it, and resent the fact that it is not appreciated. Man is the reflection of good, not the originator or author of good. What ease from anguish and suffering this vision produces, and what freedom it gives the human manifestation of divine ideas.
I once heard a sick businessman say, "Of course, you know I run my own business, don't you?" No wonder he was sick! What he said wasn't true anyway, because it was obvious that his business was running him. But when he saw his true business to be his reflection of God, this not only released the power of God for the benefit of his health, but in relation to his business also!
And what of the world? We need to hold it every day in the palm of our thought, and defend it from the aggressive activities of the carnal mind. Men and nations in this age need very much to come under the protective ministration of the motherhood as well as the fatherhood of God. This vital influence not only prevents nations from hurting each other and themselves, it also helps each to discover and develop from within its relationship to God, its particular contribution within the design of God, to the universal brotherhood of man. Christ-healing inevitably includes the healing of the nations.
Christian Science is a wonderful religion, spiritually inspiring and humanly trustworthy. Its revelation of the Christ inspires life with new purpose. So, you who have feeble knees, who find it hard to stand firm and feel life is worth facing, do open your hearts generously to the power and presence of God.
This will gird you with new hope and faith, truly it will, the moment you accept the teaching that, in Truth, you are God's idea, supported and sustained by His love and care.
And you who are peering at the blackboards of life with narrowed eyes, do let the Science of Christianity clear your vision of mortal beliefs about man, and turn you back to the model of your perfect manhood in Christ.
And what about him who seems to have been set upon by thieves in the back streets of life? Let him recover his standpoint of divine perfection, unsoiled, unspoiled, and say firmly, "I know that I have never been outside the presence of divine Love."
So, to all of us, Christian Science says with authority, and I quote from Science and Health, "All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal. The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth." (P.151)
Whatever these individual leadings may be to each of you, and wherever they may take you, do hear the voice of the Christ saying behind you always, "O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong" (Dan. ).