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Stay with Genesis 1

From the September 19, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


When I became serious about studying the teachings of Christian Science, I remember reading the two accounts of creation in Genesis and having a moment of inspiration. I could see that“the Science of the first record proves the falsity of the second. If one is true, the other is false, for they are antagonistic” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 522). 

In the first chapter of Genesis it says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (verse 27). Referring to God’s entire creation, it reads, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (verse 31). God saw everything He had made as “very good.”

From Genesis 2:4 onward, a matter-based creation is described, and the creator, Lord God, is described as responsible for all the confusion that follows—for the mist; for Adam, and for Eve who was made from Adam; for a serpent, a tree of knowledge of good and evil, forbidden fruit, and so on.

So what is the Genesis 2 account showing us? If the first account is of God’s true creation, then the second account is a false view of creation, created from dust. Mortal experience and the accompanying so-called material world are to be seen as a subjective construct of mortal thought—variable and ultimately baseless. As Science and Health states, “No one can reasonably doubt that the purpose of this allegory—this second account in Genesis—is to depict the falsity of error and the effects of error” (p. 537). 

Mrs. Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, explains clearly in Science and Health, the Christian Science textbook, that the first account of creation is logical and true. It’s the basis of biblical healing and modern-day healing in Christian Science, from a century and a half ago through today. 

The logic of Christian Science flows from the premise, based upon the absolute truth in Genesis 1, that all reality is spiritual and good. 

“The scientific statement of being” in Science and Health summarizes what’s true about the nature of real life and what’s not. It ends with this: “Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual” (p. 468). 

Intellectualism, popular thought, or conventional wisdom may challenge the logic of Christian Science, but those who follow its teachings can attest to its healing impact—a healing impact brought about through a spiritualization of thought, a deepening understanding of spiritual truths coordinate with Genesis 1: God is Spirit; God is All-in-all; man is God’s image and likeness. Reality is seen through the lens of Spirit.

We wanted to get to the point of spiritual conviction, but clearly, our thinking had to change.

My wife and I became interested in the teachings and practice of Christian Science when we were on a working holiday in Athens, Greece, in the mid 1970s. We regularly attended First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Athens over a seven-month period.

During the early days of our time in that wonderful city, my wife shared a concern over a medical opinion with one of the members of the church. My wife had been told that she might not be able to have children, to which this member replied with a firm but gentle conviction that we must remove that from our thought. 

It was the conviction and simplicity of that reply, which got us both thinking. We wanted to get to the point of spiritual conviction, but clearly, our thinking had to change. We had to be more consistent in understanding and loving God, letting God’s goodness fill our thoughts, trusting all outcomes to His care. 

With study and prayer, our conviction grew. We began to understand what Jesus meant when he said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). We started to feel the conviction behind Jesus’ words and works. 

Eventually, we returned to Australia and continued our careers in education. About two years after we returned from Greece, our first son was born. Over time, our family grew to six sons. They are all adults now, and two have children of their own.

In raising our sons over almost three decades, we relied solely on God, through our own prayers and, on occasions, the prayerful treatment of a Christian Science practitioner, to work through health issues and other challenges. Attendance at a Christian Science Sunday School was a strong support to the boys as well.

As Christian Scientists, we have learned that we must continue to be diligent in studying and putting into practice the divine logic of Christian Science. We must continue to be diligent in having conviction in and feeling the reality of spiritual truth, which is clearly stated in Genesis 1.

To hold to—and feel and love—this truth is our daily challenge, because popular, mortal belief attempts to keep clamoring for attention. And no matter how logical or illogical its seeming claims, it often audaciously presents itself as “fact.”

Genuinely feeling the spirit of the truth that animated the works of Jesus, letting truth permeate our thoughts, gives us confidence to stand firm against what may seem to be popular belief. Holding to the absolute truths, as outlined in Genesis 1, gives no space to contradictions, as outlined in Genesis 2.

Clearly, Jesus had no sense of truth apart from that outlined in Genesis 1. His healing works were a clear outcome of a thought that didn’t compromise with error, a thought based solidly upon the allness of God.

The Bible account of the healing of Jairus’ daughter made such an impression on my thinking when I first started to study the teachings of Christian Science (see Luke 8:41, 42, 49–56). Despite the weeping and wailing of those around him, Jesus stood firm. He said, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.” 

Jesus gave no space to the confused, fearful, and scornful responses from a number of the onlookers. He invited only the parents and some of his followers to enter where the young girl lay. Jesus took her by the hand and called: “Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway.” 

Right where the problem seemed to be, I felt the allness of God’s care—a feeling of quiet confidence in God, good.

To the onlookers, the daughter of Jairus had been dramatically healed. To Jesus, he saw her ongoing perfection, and that’s what brought the restoration of the young girl.

Mrs. Eddy cautions us in regard to popular beliefs in general and, specifically, in regard to health issues and all the beliefs that go with those: “The so-called laws of health are simply laws of mortal belief. The premises being erroneous, the conclusions are wrong. Truth makes no laws to regulate sickness, sin, and death, for these are unknown to Truth and should not be recognized as reality” (Science and Health, p. 184). 

A short-term visit to another country, toward the end of last year, provided an opportunity for me to affirm what’s true and denounce what’s not. The schedule included meetings with a number of people over five days.

On the second day, I was confronted with an upset stomach and a belief that argued a connection with the consumption of unfamiliar food. It seemed to parade in thought as fact and suggested inconvenience, as well as suffering.

I determined that I was not going to accept any addition to or replacement of the perfect idea of man, as outlined in Genesis 1, as true. No matter what mortal mind argued on behalf of the mortal body, I was going to hold firm, knowing that “God hath made man upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

I held to my true identity as the perfect reflection of God as Spirit, God as good, God as Truth, God as Love—with no possible additional space available to any baseless claim clamoring for attention.

I was not going to add to the perfect picture of Genesis 1 any claims from an allegory outlined in Genesis 2. There was no additional room available in the completeness of God’s perfect creation.

That position in thought, holding to my sense of identity as the dearly beloved expression of God, became so significant to me that there was no space left in my thinking for an aggressive claim of mortal mind.

Right where the problem seemed to be, I felt the allness of God’s care—a feeling of quiet confidence in God, good—which was then evidenced in a perfect healing and in a number of fruitful meetings in this foreign country.

I felt no more discomfort. The meetings went very smoothly, and there was a wonderful sense of goodwill and achievement. There was no inconvenience and no restriction to this natural flow of good.

What led to the healing? The confidence in God as All gave no space to the temporal claims of a mortal body.

I felt the complete truth of the message of Genesis 1 in my heart. There was no space for anything else, and the body adjusted accordingly.

The healing was proof that “Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal” (Science and Health, p. 468).

Feeling the conviction that “Spirit is the real and eternal” gives no space in consciousness to the “unreal and temporal,” the false, material story outlined in Genesis 2. There can be no addition or compromise to the absolute message of Genesis 1!

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