God-created spiritual ideas
God produces not physical humans, but spiritual manifestations of Himself, or ideas.
NOT LONG AGO I jumped out of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and injured my ankle. By the next morning, I could barely walk.
I tried to pray through the pain, but I didn’t get very far. A bit later that morning, though, an interesting thing happened. As I was walking along very slowly, I suddenly thought about this idea from Mary Baker Eddy’s book on prayer and healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive” (p. 463). I considered this sentence for about three steps, and the pain stopped.
I was happily surprised by that. Even though the pain returned a few minutes later, I knew that I was on to something, and I kept thinking. A spiritual idea is the product of God’s creative action. God is our creator, but He isn’t a physical entity; God is Spirit, without any physicality. So, God produces not physical humans, but spiritual manifestations of Himself, or ideas—ideas that are adeptly designed to show forth His divine nature.
A spiritual idea is the product of God’s creative action.
Because God is perfect, His ideas naturally express health, strength, and beauty. That’s why it makes sense that “a spiritual idea has not a single element of error.” From experience, I knew that recognition of a spiritual truth is a very effective help when I am in trouble. And as I thought and prayed and reasoned with this truth, it became clearer and clearer.
If a spiritual idea doesn’t have a single element of error, it follows that it would never need any sort of improvement or recuperation. That said, what about the second half of that sentence: “and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive”? If God’s spiritual idea is continuously shining with God’s perfection, then the only things offensive are the false notions that God isn’t perfect and that God’s idea isn’t either! As I prayed for myself, I could see that the offensive state clearly wasn’t an injured ankle. The culprit was the erroneous belief that I, God’s pure idea, had somehow been changed by an accident.
Next came the most thought-provoking part of this whole experience. I’d been thinking a lot about the nature of God and God’s spiritual ideas, and now I really considered my own nature. Was I a physical being thinking spiritual thoughts—thoughts I hoped would do something to improve a material, damaged ankle? Or was I, in this moment, fully and exclusively an idea of God, divine Mind?
To answer this question, I turned to divine Mind for help. I knew I could do this because the Bible contains this encouraging verse: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). As I quietly became receptive to Mind’s presence and influence, an amusing hypothetical scenario came to my thought: Suppose I was asleep, dreaming that I was cornered by a hungry, roaring tiger. As long as I wasn’t aware that I was actually dreaming, I’d probably be pretty scared. I would be able to see the tiger’s claws, long whiskers, and, right behind those whiskers, some very sharp incisors!
Now, suppose that, while still asleep and dreaming, I could text a friend asking him to pray that this tiger would just close his mouth and leave me alone. This friend, however, would not be asleep at all. He’d be totally awake—and he’d know I was dreaming.
The next text I’d send him would be full of good news: “Thank you so much for your help, my friend! The threatening tiger has turned into a cute tabby cat, and now I am petting it while it purrs.”
My friend would probably be glad that I was not afraid anymore. Yet, he would know full well that the scary tiger and nice tabby cat were both dreams. Neither had ever existed, and I needed only to wake up to see what my friend already knew.
Reasoning forward, I thought that just as neither dream tabby cats nor dream tigers really exist, neither do any “dreams” of myself as matter. Why? Because I always remain God’s intact spiritual idea! In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes: “Now I ask, Is there any more reality in the waking dream of mortal existence than in the sleeping dream? There cannot be, since whatever appears to be a mortal man is a mortal dream” (p. 250).
So it came down to this: My prayers weren’t about altering a material ankle. They were all about being more clearly aware of my true, spiritual identity—my only identity—as Mind’s idea. My thought was now in a completely different place, and my experience changed to reflect this new glimpse of reality as completely spiritual. Science and Health explains, “Whatever guides thought spiritually benefits mind and body” (p. 149). The offensive and erroneous claim that I could be imperfect entirely evaporated. That very evening I had a tennis match. I arrived on the court fully healed and played in absolute freedom.
Christ Jesus showed everyone how to recognize and understand their spiritual identity. Seeing God’s perfection as the only reality, expressed in and as spiritual ideas, he consistently healed whatever confronted him that was unlike God—including sin, sickness, and even death. “Like our Master,” Mrs. Eddy points out, “we must depart from material sense into the spiritual sense of being” (Science and Health, p. 41).
To honor Jesus’ example—to have the mind “which was also in Christ Jesus”—we each have the opportunity to gratefully behold God’s constant perfection present everywhere. We can see ourselves and everyone as God-created spiritual ideas, right here and now.