One of the greater impositions facing mankind on a daily basis is the belief that life is finite and death is inevitable. Daily news reports usually include incidents that involve loss of human life. In our own lives we might face the loss of a loved one or interact with someone who has experienced such a loss. In these times, the range of emotions may include shock, grief, or loneliness. People tend to deal with these emotions differently based on their own beliefs about death and what occurs after death.
The problem of death—and the solution to this problem—is best understood through the teachings of Christ Jesus. Not only did Jesus raise others from the grave, but he also overcame it for himself. Before his crucifixion, he explained to his disciples that three days after it occurred he would be resurrected. Based on accounts in the Gospel of John, it seems his disciples didn’t understand what that meant, for following his crucifixion they returned to their former occupations. And Mary Magdalene, when she returned to the sepulchre and saw Jesus, did not at first recognize him.
But when his disciples did gain this recognition, they caught a glimpse of the uninterrupted continuity of Life as demonstrated by their Master, and they were forever changed. The proof that death could be overcome through the power of God gave them a deeper perception of the reality of life in Spirit and the unreality of death.
Jesus’ disciples caught a glimpse of the uninterrupted continuity of Life.
Mary Baker Eddy, speaking of Jesus’ resurrection, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The belief that man has existence or mind separate from God is a dying error. This error Jesus met with divine Science and proved its nothingness. Because of the wondrous glory which God bestowed on His anointed, temptation, sin, sickness, and death had no terror for Jesus. Let men think they had killed the body! Afterwards he would show it to them unchanged” (p. 42). She continues on the next page: “The magnitude of Jesus’ work, his material disappearance before their eyes and his reappearance, all enabled the disciples to understand what Jesus had said. Heretofore they had only believed; now they understood.”
Do we understand Christ Jesus’ works? Do we understand the fundamental truth that underlies these works—that Spirit, not matter, is the only power? In the first chapter of the Bible it is recorded that God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). As God is Spirit, it must follow that man, His image, is spiritual. The real man is not imprisoned in a mortal mind and body.
My wife and I, from the time we were first introduced to Christian Science, relied on this divine Science as an ever-present help and guide in life. When we’d face challenges in business, our health, or in our family, regardless of whether it was a minor or major issue, we found that prayer and listening to God guided us successfully. So when my wife passed on, it was our study of Christian Science about the reality of God and man—including the fact that man is not and never has been material, but always spiritual—that came to thought. I saw that neither her life nor mine had ever truly existed in matter, and this healed me of grief and a feeling of loss. I was fully confident that my wife was continuing on.
The belief that man exists in matter, living and dying in the body, is the mistaken basis for all beliefs in death, grief, sorrow, and loss. Science and Health notes that Jesus’ disciples had “believed his body to be dead” (p. 45). The belief that man is material is expressed in the second account of creation in Genesis 2, which declares man to be made from dust. But as Jesus showed us, this “dust” man can be proved to be a false concept, as it is the exact opposite of the man revealed in the previous chapter as made in God’s likeness. The spiritual understanding of the falsity of this second account frees us from the bondage it imposes.
A glimpse of Christ, Truth, begins to reshape our views of existence.
It is in human consciousness that the seeming reality of life in matter needs to be addressed. On the human scene, there seems to be a struggle between what is real and what is not; material sense argues that life is a mixture of spirituality and materiality. But a glimpse of Christ, Truth, begins to reshape our views of existence, bringing us into a full recognition that God is All—that He is Life, Truth, and Love, the sole creator of a marvelous spiritual universe, including man. Where God’s law of harmony operates—which is everywhere—no sin, sickness, disease, death, mortal mind, or material body exists—there is only good, God, and His spiritual creation. Through Christ, Truth, stubborn material beliefs disappear from human consciousness, and that which before seemed intangible—spiritual substance—appears. Then we can, like the Apostle Paul, “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:18).
This understanding brings freedom from what can often feel like a heavy weight of grief when we lose someone close to us. As a result of my healing of grief after the passing of my wife, I was able to help my children and grandchildren understand some of these truths. I have also been able to share with other individuals what I’ve learned; this has resulted in the lessening of their sense of grief and loss, and they have expressed gratitude for this help.
Science and Health states: “Knowing the falsity of so-called material sense, you can assert your prerogative to overcome the belief in sin, disease, or death” (p. 253). While it takes spiritual growth and persistence to meet this demand, we can begin at once to understand to some degree the indestructible nature of Life, God, and to rid ourselves of the belief that life ends in death.
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