Faith in God is seen as true approach to spiritual understanding


A chrysalis is defined as "the form which butterflies, moths and most other insects assume when they change from the state of larva or caterpillar and before they arrive at their winged or perfect state." Mary Baker Eddy uses the word strikingly in her illuminating discussion of belief, faith, and understanding on page 297 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She says: "Faith is higher and more spiritual than belief. It is a chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the ever-present, is becoming understood."

To Christian Scientists belief, faith, and understanding indicate three important states or stages of human thinking. Belief is a human concept. It has no reality and no permanence, but is as fleeting and changing as the mortal so–called mind that fathers it. In the paragraph just cited, Mrs. Eddy also states, "A belief in Truth is better than a belief in error, but no mortal testimony is founded on the divine rock." Mortal beliefs have no relation to or knowledge of the one Mind that knows, that has created all and maintains all perfect. Mortal beliefs are the evidence of the five physical senses, and this evidence is neither valid nor consistent. It is only as real as we believe it to be.

In the "Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind" (Science and Health, p. 115) the first degree, physical, under the marginal heading "Unreality," includes evil beliefs; in the second degree these evil beliefs are disappearing and the moral or transitional qualities are appearing. Among the latter is faith. The third degree, or spiritual reality, includes wisdom, spiritual understanding, and spiritual power. This illustration shows how belief, examined in the light of Truth, inevitably gives place to faith and understanding. Faith is a transitional, a chrysalis state of human thought that has progressed from a previous state and, more important, is progressing toward something higher. It is a strong and steadfast quality of thought, but like the road signs on the highway, it but points the way onward to the destination.

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February 5, 1949

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