Man as Image

Certain fundamental words in the Scriptures also used by Mrs. Eddy in the elucidation of Christian Science are so meaningful that a deep study of them is necessary in order to learn their full significance. For example, comprehensive examination of the word "image" is necessary in order to gain adequate understanding of man; in fact, a clear concept of God's idea is scarcely possible without such consideration. So frequently is this term used in Christian Science to describe the divine idea, that one is forced to conclude that by it our Leader conveys an exact meaning which must be grasped in order to gain a clear concept of spiritual man.

Webster's definition of "image" as "an imitation of a person or thing in the solid form, as a sculptured or modeled figure" seems to conform to the fundamental meaning of the word, which is derived from the same root as imitari, to imitate. As the most accurate imitation is that which most nearly represents all the qualities of the original, the word "image," as commonly used, is best comprehended in the concept which includes the substantial representation of a person or thing. That is to say, a statue which conforms to the outline and figure more fully represents a person than does either a portrait, a photograph, or a silhouette. By analogy, the use of the term "image" to represent man, God's idea, takes cognizance of the substance of man, which is Spirit. Thus "image" takes on a significance somewhat variant to that conveyed by the word "likeness." That is to say, "image" and "likeness" are not exactly repetitive, are not quite redundant; but rather each conveys its own meaning, differing somewhat from the other; each complements the other, and thus aids in conveying a clear comprehension of spiritual man.

In making plain that the divine image, man, never loses his perfection, Mrs. Eddy in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 259) introduces the word "reflex," thus: "If man was once perfect but has now lost his perfection, then mortals have never beheld in man the reflex image of God. The lost image is no image." The word "reflex" also has an important significance. It is defined as that which is turned back or reflected. A reflex image, then, is one which throws back and thus reveals the qualities, attributes, and conditions of some object, its primary. Man as reflex image reveals, makes apparent, through turning back, the attributes and qualities of God, substance. Furthermore, man as image truly reflects the divine source, possessing no quality underived from God. As there can be no effect without a cause, so man can by no possibility be possessed of any attribute or substance unlike the divine. When this fact is grasped in its full significance, healing of sin and sickness, through the destruction of the false, follows as the natural operation of divine law.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

June 9, 1928

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.