"Eternal in the heavens"

Whoever carefully studies Paul's marvelous letters to the Christian brotherhood is sure to be impressed with the extraordinary conviction which he had gained of the omnipresence of God, of divine protection available to mankind, and of immortality. Of all the early disciples of the Master, none, it seems, grasped these great truths more completely than did this citizen of Tarsus. In his second letter to the Christians in Corinth, Paul especially sets forth his faith in man's continued existence throughout eternity, existence wholly apart from the belief of life in matter. His words are these: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." In these appealing words, the apostle expressed his faith in immortality. Paul recognized man's real existence as in no sense dependent upon matter; but rather as the expression of selfexistent Being, of God, who is infinite Life.

What and where is this "building of God," this "house not made with hands," for which he declared forever existence? Another statement of the apostle's, found in his memorable address on Mars' Hill, is directly pertinent to this question. When speaking of God as the known and knowable, Paul asserted without qualification that "in him we live, and move, and have our being." The "house not made with hands," the "building of God," is then, divine Mind, divine consciousness. For God, divine Mind, possessed of infinite consciousness, is conscious only of divine ideas, that is, of man and the universe. And man, held in divine consciousness, dwells in that mental state which is the "building of God," the house of "many mansions" where abide forever the sons of God. Once this transcendent truth is laid hold of, we gain some adequate understanding of eternal Life, of its indestructible nature, of its purity and perfection.

The fears which so commonly harass mankind arise from the belief that life is transient, temporal, and may be ended summarily, and at any moment. Anxiety and fear are the natural results of this belief, for it grows out of uncertainty as to the so-called future state. The logic seems inescapable that if life inheres in matter, if existence begins in matter and is supported by it, it must die out of it. And since the temporary character of mortal existence is patent to all, uncertainty as to what follows death is a common mental state with mankind. But Paul's words are reassuring. "We have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," where man forever abides. How to become occupants of that house is mankind's great problem; and the way is not difficult. Christian Science has opened the door to this kingdom through revealing how spiritual understanding may be gained; and spiritual understanding is the knowledge about God and man, is the Christ, Truth, the divine consciousness which is gained as thought changes from a material to a spiritual basis. Is it not quite clear, then, that as we lay hold of spiritual truth, we are entering the state of consciousness which constitutes the "building of God"?

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Following the Way-shower
August 10, 1929

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