The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way .... When he prepared the heavens, I was there. .... Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him" (Prov. 8:22-30). These are words of wisdom from the book of Proverbs. But how aptly may one utter them in recognition and acknowledgment of man's pre-existence and coexistence with his creator.
Before we came into Christian Science, many of us probably accepted the belief, general among Christians, that life begins for us here and that we can look forward to spiritual immortality hereafter. Christian Science shows us that anything which has a beginning must have an ending and that which is immortal must be eternally immortal.
To unillumined thinking, the idea of pre-existence can bring with it little spiritual comfort or inspiration. What can be known, or even theorized, about this idea by mortals if their thought can only go back to monkeys and molecules or to transmigration? However, in Christian Science the revelation of God, Principle, as the true origin, cause, and governing law of man and the universe brings to light spiritual causation and the eternal continuity of perfect effect.
As Christian Scientists we acknowledge one infinite God as the only cause and creator, and man as His effect. Therefore all cause must be Spirit, and effect spiritual. Infinite Mind being all-inclusive, there can be nothing outside of it. Everything included in infinity, untouched by time and space limitations, always was, is, and ever will be. Infinity never began. Thus there never was a time when individual man, as a complete and perfect idea of infinite Mind, did not exist. He did not have to be made out of nothing. To understand this correctly is to understand something of pre-existence.
It is very important for us intelligently to acknowledge our pre-existence; in fact, it is as important as to acknowledge our immortality. Pre-existence is included in our immortality: it is part of it. Jesus did not say, "Before Abraham was, I was." No. He said (John 8:58), "Before Abraham was, I am." He knew the continuity of his true being and could say (John 8:14), "I know whence I came, and whither I go."
Mary Baker Eddy says in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 189). "The meek Nazarene's steadfast and true knowledge of preexistence, of the nature and the inseparability of God and man,—made him mighty." Have we, any of us, sufficient "steadfast and true knowledge of preexistence, of the nature and the inseparability of God and man" which makes mighty? If not, why not? The power is always in the spiritual right idea, and this right idea of the true knowledge concerning pre-existence and the coexistence and inseparability of God and man is revealed to us in Christian Science now. Is it not imperative for us to ponder this and lay hold of that which can bring us newness of life, great comfort, encouragement, and joyful inspiration?
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy states (p. 557), "Divine Science rolls back the clouds of error with the light of Truth, and lifts the curtain on man as never born and as never dying, but as coexistent with his creator." "Never born," "coexistent with his creator"! If we do not recognize what that means in relation to our pre-existence, we are surely leaving something which needs to be recognized.
Anyone who does not know enough about pre-existence to acknowledge and accept it with joy must have as yet a very incomplete concept of his immortal being and therefore cannot rejoice in that glory which Jesus had with the Father "before the world was" (John 17:5). If we did not have that glory with God in our pre-existence, we can never have it. Our Father-Mother God, the infinite divine Love which is changeless Principle, knows no variableness or shadow of turning.
Let us refer again to that rousing challenge to us all—to come out of the darkness of materiality into the glorious light which reveals the splendor of our immortal being. "Divine Science rolls back the clouds of error with the light of Truth, and lifts the curtain on man as never born and as never dying, but as coexistent with his creator." How marvelous to have that curtain lifted, that veil swept away, and to know ourselves, our true, immortal selfhood, as coexistent with our creator! Divine Science reveals this coexistence to us today, for our enlightenment, encouragement, and joyous freedom. Let us claim it, demonstrate it.
Never born and never dying— that is the truth regarding man, and to understand and demonstrate it, we must go back to man's pre-existence and claim all that belongs to it. We must claim the continuity of the perfection which belongs to each one of us as the perpetual reflection of perfect Mind, the emanation of divine Love.
To begin rightly is important. So let us ponder spiritual causation and with awe and joyful gratitude demonstrate what an understanding of man's spiritual origin means for us. From that standpoint, each one of us can declare with complete confidence such truths as: "My background, as God's idea or reflection, is wholly satisfactory. I am the effect of spiritual causation alone. My nature, therefore, is wholly spiritual, Godlike, perfect, complete. It always has been, is so now, and always will be. My origin is perfection, and the continuity of this perfection is my immortality."
Mrs. Eddy has shown us that our Master's true vision of man's spiritual, eternal perfection was the basis of his marvelous healing ministry. May we not all feel that it is both comforting and encouraging for us to turn from the false evidence of material sense, ponder man's original and eternal perfection, and identify ourselves and our fellow men with it? Perfection is the truth of our being, and it is mighty!
We must constantly endeavor to see ourselves through the lens of Spirit. How sympathetically our Leader brings this out in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 129): "And how is man, seen through the lens of Spirit, enlarged, and how counterpoised his origin from dust, and how he presses to his original, never severed from Spirit!" To see ourselves, the universe, all things, no longer through "a glass, darkly," but through the lens of Spirit, will surely dissipate the mistiness of the Adam-dream, and the reality of all things will come to light.
The Bible records that out of the whirlwind Job heard the voice of God saying to him (Job 38:3, 4): "I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding." Is not this divine demand uttering itself to us today, asking for a right understanding and acknowledgment of our pre-existence and coexistence with our Maker?
As all that is implied in this demand unfolds to our thought, we shall find ourselves able to reply understandingly to that momentous question, "Where, wast thou?" with joyous conviction (Job 38:7), " 'When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,' I was there."
Lord, "I was there "!
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