Progress for women

IN 1984 the sports world witnessed the first ever Olympic marathon for women. In astronautics a Russian cosmonaut was the first woman to walk in space. And in American politics a woman was for the first time on the presidential ticket of a major political party. What is the key to obtaining substantial and permanent gains, on an even wider basis, in the achievements of women? Perhaps the need is for women, as well as men, to get a better sense of their wholeness, their completeness as offspring of one Father-Mother God. The Bible, in the first chapter of Genesis, reveals some helpful facts about God's creation. It tells us that Deity made man, both male and female, and that God saw what He made and found it to be good--not limited, inhibited, or handicapped, but good.1 It's in the second chapter of Genesis that Eve, formed from Adam's rib, gets caught in the trap of being a second-class citizen. In this separate account of creation, Adam definitely comes first, although in the end both Adam and Eve are cursed by their creator. Christian Science views this second account of creation as a counterfeit of the true, spiritual account found in the first chapter of Genesis. It's seen as an allegory that vividly and accurately reveals the workings of evil, the false concept of man and woman. Perhaps women need consciously to deny any Eve-related heritage, particularly the belief that Deity has doomed them from the start with underachievement, inferior status, weakness. The true history of us all is not patterned after Genesis 2. The first account of creation in the Bible tells us who we really are. We might gladly remind ourselves that God saw what He had made (man, both male and female) and saw that it was good. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``Sometime we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has created men and women in Science. We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood.'' 2 Our highest selfhood is our only genuine being--our spiritual identity, our God-derived nature, which is infinitely more and better than a limited, physical sense of identity. God, divine Spirit, endows each of us with qualities such as intelligence, integrity, strength, joy, purity, love, wholeness, as Christ Jesus showed through his healing works. These belong to our incorporeal, illimitable nature. Full freedom for men as well as women depends on our discovering our true, spiritual identity as God's man, which includes both male and female qualities. We discern the true nature of men and women through prayer, prayer that acknowledges God as the sole creator and man as His spiritual likeness, not a physical form. Loving God supremely and striving through prayer and study of the Scriptures to understand Deity, we gain a deeper sense of man as God's image. We begin to perceive our own and others' Godlikeness. The Discoverer of Christian Science herself exemplified the freedom that comes with a spiritual sense of identity. It was 1879 when Mrs. Eddy founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and 1908 when she established this newspaper. These were not times that encouraged women to speak out on religious, social, or political issues. Mrs. Eddy faced considerable condemnation and ridicule. But by leaning on the might of divine Spirit, by turning constantly to divine Mind for guidance, she fulfilled her mission. Mrs. Eddy demonstrated in her life that true womanhood is strong and resilient as well as gentle and kind. Most women reading this article will probably never run a marathon, walk in space, run for high political office--or establish a world religion. But don't we all, men and women, want our talents to be fully developed? Don't we want our individual abilities to be fully utilized and appreciated? Each of us, as God's own creation, has spiritual qualities demanding expression. Our creator needs each of us to bear witness to His goodness. Claiming our spiritual heritage more consistently, we'll find fewer and fewer barriers to our progress. Whatever our gender, we'll find that more is possible, that more options are available, when we identify ourselves as children of divine Spirit. Discerning and expressing our Godlikeness, we'll inevitably reach new heights of achievement whether in homemaking, the business world, or on board a space shuttle. 1 See Genesis 1:27, 31. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 68.

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