Our divine inheritance
How often have we blamed a problem or a lack of some needed good on human heritage? We reason that if only we had been born into riches—or been given a stronger constitution, a comelier body, or greater intelligence—our life would be much easier and more enjoyable. It seems our human circumstances are determined by factors beyond our control, and we appear helpless to change many of the aspects of our situation.
But reasoning from this material standpoint will never lead us to the good we long for. To find real fulfillment, we must discover our true, spiritual heritage and recognize the blessings that are inherently ours as the children of God. And to do that, we must start from a spiritual standpoint.
Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “For right reasoning there should be but one fact before the thought, namely, spiritual existence. In reality there is no other existence, since Life cannot be united to its unlikeness, mortality” (p. 492).
Christian Science teaches that God, Spirit, is the only creator, and that man is spiritually conceived, endowed by reflection with every vital spiritual element of being, and is sustained by God eternally. To claim this inheritance, we need to accept our immortal selfhood and our inviolable relationship to God, divine Love. Eternal life, infinite capacity, and abundant supply innately belong to us as the children of God, and good unfolds naturally in our human experience when we see ourselves as the spiritual image and likeness of God, possessing all that is right and honorable, all the spiritual qualities that express the joy, soundness, and endurance of divine Truth.
As the Psalmist so eloquently states, “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.” Further on he adds, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope” (Psalms 16:5, 9). The Psalmist’s hope and joy flow from the clear understanding of man as the beloved child of God, perfectly maintained by his divine Parent.
The outlook isn’t so promising when existence is viewed from a material standpoint. Through the material senses, man appears to be a fragile creature who has inherited a finite sense of life, often rife with troubles and disappointments. Even the most privileged seem vulnerable to the vagaries of chance and the vicissitudes of aging and disease, for within the merely human context, man appears to be subject to material laws.
To find real fulfillment, we must discover our true, spiritual heritage.
But Christian Science shows that these so-called laws are false beliefs. They originate in mortal mind—not in the divine Mind, the only real Mind—and, therefore, they have no real power over the man of God’s creating, who never departs from absolute perfection. But it takes more than a superficial dismissal of material beliefs to loosen their mesmeric hold on human thought. We need to firmly deny these beliefs a place in our consciousness and replace them with the specific truths of spiritual existence. In this way we replace the ignorance of mortal assumptions with the enlightened understanding of spiritual facts.
To the extent that we stop thinking of ourselves as mortals with a human heritage, and claim instead our spiritual identity and divine heritage, we break through the tyranny of these false laws and are freed from the suffering and despair they produce.
Science and Health states: “The real man is spiritual and immortal, but the mortal and imperfect so-called ‘children of men’ are counterfeits from the beginning, to be laid aside for the pure reality. This mortal is put off, and the new man or real man is put on, in proportion as mortals realize the Science of man and seek the true model” (p. 409).
The Bible asks: “What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth” (Psalms 25:12, 13).
This biblical promise was fulfilled in my own experience many years ago when I was healed of what had been medically diagnosed as flat feet. I had been born with this condition, believed to be inherited from my father. As a child I was directed to do particular exercises for my feet and to wear orthopedic shoes. All of this was to no avail, and the effort was given up as time passed.
But years later, at the time of the healing, I was spending many hours a day in prayer. I had taken up an in-depth study of Christian Science and was gaining a clearer understanding of man’s spiritual identity, as well as a powerful sense of God’s care for each of His children. One day I got out of the shower and happened to look down to see arches outlined in my footprints. Amazed, I got back in the shower to get my feet wet again, and when I got out, indeed there were the arches. That summer, while I was walking the beach with my family, the completeness of the healing of flat feet was evident. My family rejoiced with me. I’m certainly able to be normally active, even engaging in outdoor sports on occasion, with no foot problems.
Eternal life, infinite capacity, and abundant supply innately belong to us as the children of God.
As riveting as this healing was, what I learned from it was of much greater significance. During my long periods of study and prayer, I had been gaining an understanding of God’s support for me, of His love and care for me, and this enlightened view was then expressed outwardly in the physical healing. The perception of my spiritual identity as God’s child had destroyed the inherited belief of standing “flat-footed,” unsupported or unprepared for life and its demands. This deeper understanding brought with it much-needed confidence and assurance of my innate spiritual identity and value.
Mortal belief says that material laws are irrefutable, but this healing of a prenatal abnormality proved the laws of mortal heredity to be fallacious. Many hours a day spent in learning about God, His goodness, and His love for His creation annulled any such material law by spiritualizing my thought. By gaining a clearer view of the strength and soundness of my true being, I was no longer left flat-footed. Instead, I was buoyed with the conviction of God’s complete goodness and of His infinite care for me.
Science and Health says, “It is man’s moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority” (p. 381). And elsewhere in the textbook we are counseled: “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man” (p. 393).
We are dearly loved of God, our Father-Mother, and we exist to manifest His divine goodness, beauty, and holiness throughout eternity. This is our true heritage, and we can rejoice in it!