"The grand necessity of existence"

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy writes this striking sentence (p. 560): "The grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man." The human heart instinctively longs for assurance that heaven is a reality, not a vain hope; and for ages mankind has been searching for the way leading to it. This earnest search has not been and is not yet, to many, entirely separated from doubt and discouragement, which temporarily preclude the certainty of attainment.

Philosophy is largely predicated upon the supposed self-sufficiency of the human mind; that is to say, upon human goodness and ability apart from God. Lacking, therefore, the real intelligence, the spiritual illumination and the inspiration of the one omniscient Mind, infinite Spirit, the search along these lines cannot be satisfying. Scholastic theology embraces materialistic concepts of the Supreme Being, formulates many doctrines, creeds, and dogmas, resulting in divergent religious beliefs concerning the supposed reality of both good and evil, Spirit and matter. Obviously, allegiance cannot be given consistently to two masters. Natural science investigates material phenomena. Human reason adopts various hypotheses from which to establish what are called laws, purporting to govern material phenomena. But natural science, philosophy, and theology, depending largely upon human reason and intellect to draw conclusions primarily from the basis of material sense testimony, cannot possibly explain real existence, which is wholly spiritual, and hence utterly apart from supposititious material existence.

Spiritual existence necessarily includes the kingdom of heaven. Christ Jesus effectively corrected material misconceptions and established the true concept, when he said, "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." What a contrast to false theories is this clear teaching! The spiritual fact can be realized by mankind, therefore evidenced in present human experience; and anyone, in the degree of his spiritual understanding, lives consciously in the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, as this understanding increases, one becomes more aware of the spiritual realities and gladly leaves behind the material unrealities. Being absolutely spiritual, the divine kingdom does not include material place, thing, circumstance, or personality: all that pertains to material belief is forever excluded, for matter, with its vagueness and uncertainty, cannot abide with reality.

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Sheltering Wings
October 3, 1936

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