Another perspective?

IN recent times, medical transplants and mechanical replacements of human organs have been in the news often. Certainly one can appreciate the humanitarian motives of the physicians involved and the release from suffering some individuals may experience, however temporary. But is man merely a machine? Certain passages from the Bible suggest there is another, awesomely important perspective on man. For example, ``Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils.'' 1 And, ``God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.'' 2 In the Bible there are spiritual insights about God and man that are far different from the material concepts that were, and still seem to be, more popular and deeply held.

Does man have a spiritual being that is entirely apart from the illusion of matter and mortality? He does, because his creator--God--is Spirit, as the Bible teaches, and man is God's image. We cannot see spiritual man with mortal eyes or touch him with our hands. But this doesn't mean he's nonexistent. If it did, by the same logic honesty, fidelity, wisdom, and affection would not exist.

Yet we all have spiritual senses, and it is through them that we know these materially invisible things do exist. In fact the reality of spiritual existence is the only reality. That deep thinker, Paul, wrote, ``The invisible things of him [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.'' 3

Can't we view the dissatisfaction and frustration with the materialism of the age as a cry from mankind for something spiritual and lasting, which many feel the deep need for but are not able to articulate?

Christian Science tenderly teaches the spiritual identity of man. In harmony with the Bible, it explains that in reality God is infinite good and man is His image and likeness, His expression. All the good that God is, each of His offspring individually manifests. So man is as perfect as the God that creates him. And, like his Maker, he includes no evil or mortality--no substance or character that can deteriorate or decay. This is our actual selfhood. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``To himself, mortal and material man seems to be substance, but his sense of substance involves error and therefore is material, temporal.

``On the other hand, the immortal, spiritual man is really substantial, and reflects the eternal substance, or Spirit, which mortals hope for. He reflects the divine, which constitutes the only real and eternal entity.'' 4

If we're not used to thinking in terms of spiritual reality, these truths may seem vague and distant, like looking at some object through a mist. But the more we ponder them, come to feel and know their reality through prayer, the more we appreciate that they are solid, understandable spiritual laws.

Discerning God's infinite nature and goodness gradually changes the base of our thought from the popular belief that man is a mere mortal made up of matter, to a perception of the sublime and tender truth we may have felt all along--that man is the reflection of Spirit.

We might think that the most spectacular result of this change is physical healing. Certainly the Master's healings attracted wide attention. But as an earthquake is a result of a shift of rock structure far below the surface of the earth, so is a physical healing in Christian Science a result and a signal of a deep shift of thought--a transformation of thought.

It may seem that most of our days are filled with worldly thoughts--shopping, the drive to work, a television show. But when we are mentally quiet, spiritually receptive, can't we sense that just beyond this haze of materiality is a reality of such light and glory that even the thought of it touches us with humility and joy?

Each of us can glimpse that he is more than a complex mortal. Who does not feel in humble moments that he is in some way immortal and holy? These are the stirrings of the Christ, the divine influence, within each of us, stirrings that the most widely publicized events in the material world can never still. The Bible declares, ``Beloved, now are we the sons of God.'' 5 These stirrings in us confirm that this is right. 1 Isaiah 2:22. 2 Genesis 1:27. 3 Romans 1:20. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 301. 5 I John 3:2.

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