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Effect and side effect

From the February 25, 1980 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


God and His creation constitute the allness of being. God is omnipotent, supreme good. He is the essence of all being, the divine consciousness that includes the whole of reality. Man is the reflection of God. He is specific evidence of Spirit, divine substance. Mind and its idea, Principle and its expression, Love and its manifestation, all are ways of describing the allness of God, the relationship between God and man.

God is cause—the only cause, the supreme and infinite cause of all existence. Matter cannot be the consequence of infinite Spirit. Error cannot stem from all-embracing Truth. Ignorance cannot be the result of ever-present Mind. Because God, Spirit, alone is cause, man and the universe are eternally spiritual, perfect.

These basic points of theology enabled Christ Jesus to restore the sick, the sinner, the deceased. Discernment of these fundamental truths is essential if we are to follow Jesus' example and exercise the healing power of Christ. Realizing the proper relationship between God and man brings a direct and potent effect to our life. Making a distinction between this effect and what might, in a way, be described as a side effect can be helpful to a healer who is applying the truths of Christian Science.

"The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind," Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 162; explains Mrs. Eddy. The scientific truths of being do bring a necessary stir to the human mind—they transform consciousness, giving it a more Christly character.

Often our desire, quite naturally, is to end pain, rise out of depression, conquer a persistent lack of funds. But that desire is most effectively fulfilled as our motives are lifted and we find ourselves loving specific truths that reveal our relationship to God. Freedom from the material limitation becomes a byproduct, subordinate to spiritual growth. The side effect is certain; it is an inevitable outcome when the primary effect, the regeneration of thought, is our objective. When the primary intent of prayer is to bring a specific Christianizing effect to consciousness—when prayer promotes a deeper recognition of God's allness and man's perfection—the byproduct will always be positive, one that lifts us out of evil and moves us in a God-dictated direction.

The Christ-cure, taught by Jesus, contrasts sharply with a drug cure. For many reasons, both practical and metaphysical, scientific Christian healing is superior to the use of drugs. When once asked about the advantages of her system over other methods of treating ills, Mrs. Eddy pointed out how an individual is not only healed physically but uplifted morally and awakened to recognize God, Mind, as including the antidote for all evils. "It is more effectual than drugs; curing where these fail," she insisted, "and leaving none of the harmful 'after effects' of these in the system; thus proving that metaphysics is above physics." Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 33–34;

In view of the proliferation of drug use in recent decades, this point takes on growing significance. It is increasingly important for the advantages of metaphysical healing to be made clear. The fallacy of drug use lies in the assumption that matter is true substance. The supremacy of the Christ-cure lies in a realization that Spirit alone is substance.

The effort to bring a particular effect to materiality always includes the mistaken premise that the trouble is in matter. The error is never in matter. It is in believing that matter is substantial, that man is mortal. When we attempt to drug matter, regardless of how sure we may think the effect will be, the side effect is never certain. Sooner or later we will be led to reassess our approach. We will be forced to outgrow the belief of matter and to accept Spirit as the true basis of existence.

Christly healing, purification that brings us closer to God, is urgently needed as people learn that a hoped-for release through drugs can lead instead to deeper difficulties. Spreading the practice of pure Christian healing is of great service to society. Spiritually regenerated lives will help the public recognize the advantage of radical dependence on the Christ and help people see the fallacy of looking to drugs for health. Mrs. Eddy writes, "If we can aid in abating suffering and diminishing sin, we shall have accomplished much; but if we can bring to the general thought this great fact that drugs do not, cannot, produce health and harmony, since 'in Him [Mind] we live, and move, and have our being,' we shall have done more." ibid., p. 8.

The effect of divine Science is a transformation that opens our eyes to reality. The result then is a release from physical, mental, and moral evils. The more thoroughly we show this proper effect and byproduct in true healing, the more quickly society will outgrow its use of drugs and the sooner people will be relieved of any side effects that might follow.

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