DEGENERATION generates plenty of news these days. Who hasn't felt pummeled by all the headlines about degenerating credit flows in global financial markets? By political news that degenerates into personal attacks? And there's the constant drumbeat of stories on the degeneration-prone human body and its vulnerability to debilitating conditions.
Medical sources define a degenerative illness as a condition resulting in progressive loss of bodily function and marked by deteriorating cells, organs, or systems. The number of people suffering from such conditions is said to be on the rise.
But wait a minute. Don't these thought-pictures of bodies and social systems in decline have something fundamental in common? Isn't the whole notion of inevitable degeneration premised on a material model of life and community? In terms of the generally accepted view of life's basis – what we're made of and how systems work – we may well be in the contemporary equivalent of a pre-Copernican world.
Copernicus revolutionized astronomical science by reorienting humanity's view of the Earth-sun relationship. Science in its divine meaning and practice is working an even more radical change – in the public understanding of the God-creation relationship. Human consciousness has only begun to grapple with the proposition that we're not made of matter. That the essential stuff of us and the universe is idea, and that our source isn't the human mind, but the divine Mind.
Spiritual idea-hood comes with profound implications. Ideas do not deteriorate, wear out, or die. After all, a 1 is a 1 and always will be. After millennia of heavy use, the number one has not degenerated into something less, hasn't declined in value, and hasn't lost any of its meaning, substance, purpose, or singularity. Even when it's involved in a computation mistake – as in 1 + 1 = 3 – the truth and integrity of 1 don't change. Numerical ideas are distinct, unchangeable, and, from a spiritual perspective, eternal.
And so are you. So is each woman, man, and child. To the loving God who originates us, each of us is a unique idea composed of spiritual attributes. That's not a new concept. It's as ancient as the first account of creation in the Bible, which speaks of the male and female whom God made as "image" and "likeness" (see Gen. 1). True, the image of a manlike god would be a material and time-bound personality – just a lesser version of a lesser deity.
Change your concept of God, however, to the infinite, all-creative Spirit – as Mary Baker Eddy's lifelong search led her to do over a century ago – and you must also change your concept of God's creation.
As Mrs. Eddy wrote with arresting logic in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit." As the image of limitless Mind, we must be intelligent ideas, equally limitless and spiritual. In answering the question "What is man?" she concluded, "He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; ... " (p. 475).
Christian Science turns to Christ Jesus for a radically different, revelatory life-model. Science and Health calls Jesus "the most scientific man that ever trod the globe" (p. 313), yet all the discoveries of organic chemistry and biophysics would come centuries after his era. The scientific truth he knew and lived – the Science of the Christ – wasn't a product of human knowledge. Jesus practiced the laws of Spirit and spiritual existence.
Luke's Gospel describes Jesus as moving "in the power of the Spirit" (4:14), or under the supreme law of Spirit. His understanding of divine law enabled him to heal blindness, hemorrhage, palsy, and mental illness – and to save people lost in moral degeneracy. He reversed the age-old curse of degeneration.
What the world calls "Jesus' miracles" were instances in which the Christ revealed something of the marvelous truth of life in God. That life is actually spiritual and by nature whole, well, vibrant, and constant. Let that fact's healing power speak, and it will be heard and felt.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.