Transformation not Annihilation

Christendom has come pretty generally to believe that only through the transformation of thought which reforms the sinful can the kingdom of heaven be entered. That is to say, salvation is won through reform. The sinner must cease to sin before he can succeed to the heavenly state. Christian Science teaches how sin is overcome and destroyed; how gaining the understanding of God and man, which constitutes the kingdom of heaven, transforms consciousness. Paul's familiar injunction, "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," in view of the teachings of Christian Science, becomes the way of salvation to all who will walk in it. It is the open-sesame to peace and everlasting joy.

This state of eternal bliss is gained only through regeneration. As mortals put off their false beliefs and gain the spiritual concept, they are transformed from a material to a spiritual state of consciousness. They become conscious of man's true selfhood as the divine idea, the son of God. That which one accepts as substance, as reality, determines his mental status; and the mental status governs one's life. The materialist who holds to matter as reality, to man as physique and supported by matter, fails to understand this fundamental fact of being—that man is not material but spiritual. Such a one has no concept of, no acquaintance with, the real man: to him the universe and man are material. Mrs. Eddy draws a clear distinction between these states of thought on page 573 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," where she writes, "This testimony of Holy Writ sustains the fact in Science, that the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material." To the spiritually-minded Revelator, John, the facts of being, of God as infinite Spirit and of man as spiritual, were disclosed. But to the mortal who holds to matter as substance, creation and man can be naught but material, the objectification of mortal thought. However, this very mortal is destined to win salvation; he is to become conscious of man's true selfhood as a divine idea, as the son of God. How? Through the process of transformation which Paul enjoined upon the Christians in Rome. That is, "by the renewing" of the mind; by putting off the old man, the false material sense of man, and by putting on the new, the spiritual concept. This is a process of transformation rather than of annihilation.

Annihilation connotes destruction; and while the false beliefs held in mortal thought are destroyed, yet their annihilation is wrought through the ministry of the Christ, Truth, which supplants them. The process thus becomes transformation. A mortal in belief lives in his consciousness and its objectification; and if the thoughts of life and substance which he holds to as true were to be destroyed without being superseded by improved concepts, he as an individual human consciousness would likewise be destroyed, annihilated, reduced to oblivion or nothingness. Mrs. Eddy expresses this with incomparable directness in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901 (p. 5): "We do not blot out the material race of Adam, but leave all sin to God's fiat—self-extinction, and to the final manifestation of the real spiritual man and universe." Through the process of transformation a mortal retains his state of consciousness, still lives in it, during the process of transformation. His state of thought changes under the transforming influence of the Christ, until he awakes in God's likeness; that is, until he becomes aware of true identity as a divine idea.

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Continuous Advance
May 4, 1929

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