Writing to the Corinthian church, Paul makes this provocative statement: "Ye are God's building." I Cor. 3:9; If this is so, what, then, are God's building blocks? Are they atoms or thoughts? Did infinite Spirit create His universe of matter-stuff or of spiritual thought-qualities and ideas?
These questions pose much more than a mere philosophical problem. They touch upon a deeply practical subject that is basic to the well-being of all mankind, for Christian Science reveals that an understanding of what substance really is can be of inestimable value in solving the multitudinous problems that beset humanity.
To the five physical senses matter seems obviously substantive. Every waking moment one is conscious of its presence as his own body, the visible identity of others, and the objects and conditions in one's environment.
But in the face of all this Christian Science asserts that real substance is spiritual. It affirms that matter in all its forms is a misapprehension of reality, a mesmeric mirage that counterfeits the real universe of spiritual ideas, which God, infinite Spirit or Mind, created to express Himself. With unassailable logic Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Spirit, God, has created all in and of Himself. Spirit never created matter. There is nothing in Spirit out of which matter could be made, for as the Bible declares, without the Logos, the Æon or Word of God, 'was not anything made that was made.'" Science and Health, p. 335;
Regardless of its obvious logic, is this view of the universe realistic? Can it be substantiated by actual proof? Yes, it underlies all genuine spiritual healing, and was clearly understood and utilized by Christ Jesus and his disciples.
The Master said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing," John 6:63; and he proved the scientific basis of this statement by his control of material conditions. His many instantaneous healings of serious illness were not the setting aside of God's universal law. They were demonstrations of a higher law that nullified the effects of an ignorant material sense of law and substance. Jesus knew "the flesh profiteth nothing"—that matter is but a figment of the human mind and neither constitutes man nor affects his health.
Mrs. Eddy's discovery of the Science underlying Jesus' words and works has resulted in a resurgence of spiritual healing firmly based on an understanding of the nature of God and of man's oneness, or unity, with Him. She teaches that God is substance, the divine Esse, the essence or nature of real being. He is Mind, the eternal Ego, and His subjective phenomena constitute His creation, man and the universe. Man, then, lives in God as a compound idea comprised of God's building blocks; and because this idea has unbroken unity with the creative Principle, not a vestige of evil can touch it.
This conception of the nature of God and man inspires the human mind to rise above itself into the substantive atmosphere of Spirit, calms and harmonizes its fear-impelled turmoil, and thus destroys the disturbance that causes disease. Christian Science heals by establishing the kingdom of heaven in consciousness. It is what Jesus typified as the leaven "which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." Matt. 13:33; Referring to this, Mrs. Eddy writes: "The three measures of meal may well be likened to the false sense of life, substance, and intelligence, which says, I am sustained by bread, matter, instead of Mind. The spiritual leaven of divine Science changes this false sense, giving better views of Life; saying, Man's Life is God; and when this shall appear, it shall be 'the substance of things hoped for.'" Miscellaneous Writings, p. 175;
Little by little, as we persist in challenging the mesmeric suggestions of the material senses, the divine qualities and ideas that constitute man and the universe become apparent. As we gradually learn to silence the aggressive urge of self-will, egotism, sensuality, and express more compassion, humility, integrity, and clean-mindedness, we lose the heaviness of materiality. The hypnotic mist of sense testimony thins out, and we begin to perceive something of what real substance is. We get clearer glimpses of divine Love's allness and our own real identity in and of this Love. Mrs. Eddy tells us, "This practical Christian Science is the divine Mind, the incorporeal Truth and Love, shining through the mists of materiality and melting away the shadows called sin, disease, and death." p. 205;
As the light of Truth dawns in thought, and progressively grows brighter, we lose all doubt as to its substantive reality. We find that it satisfies our deepest needs. We discover its healing efficacy. This inspires us to press on to a still higher, clearer vision of the real universe and real man, where substance is seen as the all-pervasive intelligence of God, Mind, and all creation is found to be joyously complete in Him. When this point is reached, we will be able to say with Paul, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." II Cor. 5:1.
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