Our God-given liberty revealed

For the Lesson titled "Man" from September 2 - 8, 2013

The first two sections of this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson, titled “Man,” quote the Old Testament book of Job. Job is traditionally thought of as the book that confronts the question of theodicy, or the relationship between God’s goodness and the existence of suffering in the human experience. God challenges Job to witness God’s omnipotence rather than continuing to focus on his own trials and righteousness. By his doing so, Job’s experience is transformed. Not only does this Lesson challenge us to pursue a higher, God-centered consciousness, it also reminds us that the Christ serves as an always-present light, waking us from the dream that material consciousness affords us control, and showing us our true nature as God’s infinitely good image and likeness. 

The Lesson begins by setting up the juxtaposition of existence as it is in Spirit (Section 1) and existence as it appears to be in matter (Section 2). Mary Baker Eddy uses the metaphor of a mirror to describe life in Spirit, writing, “As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 516, citation 2). Nothing that is real is found in any bodily or personal likeness. As a reflection, we have the ability to obey only the original, God. Such an existence is characterized by constant renewal and permanent peace. 

On the other hand, existence in matter, as Job discovered, “is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1, cit. 6). It is like a dream state, in which we may think we have freedom, but instead we can experience great suffering and dependency. Science and Health describes this existence as the “counterfeit, the inverted likeness” (p. 285, cit. 7). Disease, sin, and death are not part of God’s creation, and so when we experience them, we can know we are being confronted with a counterfeit. We learn how to escape these evils from the great Exemplar, Christ Jesus. As Eddy wrote, “Explaining and demonstrating the way of divine Science, he became the way of salvation to all who accepted his word” (Science and Health, pp. 315–316, cit. 14). 

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