Finding our true heritage
A Christian Science perspective: A discussion of origin and heredity.
Have you ever wondered who you are? I certainly have. As a preteen, this was a big question. Who am I? Where did I come from? Why was I here? Am I really just an evolved animal? Gosh, to me there had to be more to life than that!
Fast-forward a number of years. I was reading a book titled “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, who is also the founder of this newspaper. Among many other explanations of theological questions, I found a spiritual interpretation of the Bible’s chapters in Genesis. A discussion of creation in the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them .... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 28, 31). Mrs. Eddy’s explanation of these verses includes this statement: “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God” (Science and Health, p. 516).
Later, in chapter 2 of Genesis, it reads: “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:6, 7).
Obviously, there are two different scenarios depicted here. The first chapter of Genesis shows that man is good, made in God’s perfect image – that God is man’s Father-Mother. But then the second chapter says something else. Man is now made out of dust, matter – the offspring of Adam and Eve. The natural question is: Which creation is true?
Speaking of this second account of creation, Mrs. Eddy states: “Matter is not the reflection of Spirit, yet God is reflected in all His creation. Is this addition to His creation real or unreal? Is it the truth, or is it a lie concerning man and God? It must be a lie, for God presently curses the ground” (Science and Health, p. 524).
Who then are our true parents and relations? That question may sound a little odd when we consider our biological parents. Yet the Bible tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Is that likeness material or spiritual? When you think deeply about this, God is Spirit, and we are the likeness of God – so that means our true being is really spiritual.
I learned a little about this spiritual relationship when I found myself with a physical problem that was very uncomfortable. I was in my car driving home one night after work and found painful hives on many parts of my body. This had happened before at other times in my life. My thought about this problem went something like this: Why is this happening to me again? What has caused this problem? Where did this come from? As I was asking these questions, the thought came to me that my mother had had this same problem. Maybe I inherited it from her, I thought.
Right on the heels of that thought was a different idea. I remembered reading this profound statement from Science and Health: “Heredity is a prolific subject for mortal belief to pin theories upon; but if we learn that nothing is real but the right, we shall have no dangerous inheritances, and fleshly ills will disappear” (p. 228).
When I considered the truth of these ideas in light of my situation in the car that day, I felt so relieved that I laughed out loud. If it was true that God made me, my only heritage was perfect, whole, and without any unhealthy element, just like God. I thought deeply about these intriguing ideas all the way home, forgetting all about the problem. I realized I couldn’t possibly have something that God didn’t give me, and I found the hives were gone when I arrived at my destination, never to appear again.
This change in the physical condition proved to me who I really am and where I come from. Reaching out in prayer for a higher concept of myself, I identify myself as the offspring of my Father-Mother God, who gives me only what is good. And I know this is true for all of us.