Christian Science isn’t “mind over matter”

In a recent autobiography of a former Supreme Court justice, I was surprised to read that his mother and grandmother were devout Christian Scientists and that he had attended a Christian Science Sunday School. But I was even more surprised to read his characterization of the writings of the Discoverer of Christian Science as “Mary Baker Eddy’s texts explaining the importance of ‘mind over matter’ ” (Justice John Paul Stevens, The Making of a Justice, p. 5). 

The belief that Christian Science is “mind over matter” is a misconception. Instead, far from advocating the human mind as a healing agent, Christian Science explains how the power of divine Mind, God, conquers fear and its resultant illness and brings healing to the body. Mary Baker Eddy herself did not have much good to say about the action of the human mind. She wrote in her seminal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “We should understand that the cause of disease obtains in the mortal human mind, and its cure comes from the immortal divine Mind” (p. 174).

What is this divine Mind? It is the infinitely good and wise God, Spirit. The designation of God as Mind has its origin in the Bible. For instance, Psalms 147:5 states, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” And in Proverbs we read: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (3:5, 6). 

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