Man or Superman?
About a month ago I went with a friend to see the movie Superman II.m The minute Superman appeared on the screen, the audience burst into applause and cheering. The cheering continued throughout the movie, reaching a peak when Superman neatly outsmarted and defeated the villains.
As the lights came up, I noticed that most of the audience was made up of groups of teen-age boys -- roughly 17 to 20 years old. But certainly it's not only teenagers who want to cheer Superman. Who wouldn't like to have the power of the Man of Steel? We all want to be able to control our own experience, to overcome limitations. But do we have to have been born on Krypton to do it? Isn't there any way to gain dominion now?
A closer look at the word "superman" can give a good starting point. The prefix "super-" means "above or over man" -- in other words, a bigger or better man, suggesting that man by himself lacks something. But does he?
If we think of man in physical, three- dimensional terms -- part mind, part body -- he does lack something. But Christian Science offers a radically different way of thinking about man. It insists that man is entirely spiritual; that he is a divinely mental entity. Man, Christian Science says, is a spiritual idea.
Spiritual ideas have always existed; they have no life span, no starting or terminating points or dates. And if spiritual ideas have always existed, then the Mind that originates them must also have always existed. In other words, there must be a self-created Mind. This Mind, having always existed, is therefore eternal. Whatever is eternal cannot be stopped or thwarted or even changed. This means that nothing has power over it. Because nothing has power over it, Mind is also omnipotent, or all-powerful. Being omnipotent, having all-power, Mind must be infinite -- filling all space, absolutely without limits. Finally, if Mind is eternal, omnipotent, and infinite, then Mind is God.
God as Mind means that all creation is idea. Man is therefore Mind's idea.
Christ Jesus was conscious of his identity as Mind's idea. And he knew others as God's offspring, not as diseased or disabled material entities. He knew they must be eternally perfect and complete. This perception of man and all creation as actually perfect enabled Jesus to heal. This view also made it possible for him to walk on the water and to feed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes.
In the latter example, instead of pleading with God for more food for the people, Jesus gave thanks to God. He must have known that true food is a spiritual idea in Mind, God, and as such is always available and abundant. In doing this he was actually resolving "things into thoughts." As Mary Banker Eddy n1 writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:m "Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul." n2 Through Jesus' resolving the thing -- food -- into thought, and recognizing that the thought actually represented an unlimited spiritual idea, the human need was met despite physical appearances.
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health,m p. 269.
The prophets and apostles in the Bible also demonstrated, although to a somewhat lesser degree, the nature of man and all reality as spiritual and indestructible. Elisha raised the Shunammite woman's son, Peter healed the lame man at the temple gates, and Paul was unharmed when a viper bit him. In this age, Mrs. Eddy not only healed herself and others but also explained in Science and Healthm the Science that underlies all true Christian healing. Through deep study and practice of the scientific truths contained in this book, many today are proving in some measure the truth of Christ Jesus' promise: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also." n3
n3 John 14:12.
We don't need to envy Superman, because the need is not for a Superman -- a super human being. The real need is for a better understanding of the real man. And in Christian Science we can find the tools to achieve just that. DAILY BIBLE VERSE What is man, that thou are mindful of him? . . . Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. Psalms 8:4, 6