Wholly of God

PEOPLE have long turned to God to restore health. And in recent years it has increasingly been seen that the well-being of the ``whole person'' involves mental and spiritual factors. Even so, relying on prayer alone for healing might seem to many like walking a high wire with no safety net underneath. Some wonder how reasonable people living in a scientific age can trust their health entirely to God. When we accept the premise that despite the qualities a person may express, he is inescapably locked in a physical body, we inevitably equate health with a balance within the organism. Even when we believe attitudes and faith are important, this premise would have us believe it is risky to try to maintain health without occasionally adjusting the body. But if we inquire of our innate, God-derived spiritual sense about the nature of health, our concepts deepen. In the last analysis, health, the wholeness of man, can't really be separated from the basic facts of existence, facts of God, man, and the relationship between them. The Bible frequently speaks of God's allness; Isaiah, for example, records God as saying, ``I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.'' 1 So simple a fact as the allness of God, when fully accepted, has far-reaching implications for our everyday lives. For instance, if God, Spirit, is All, can man, His likeness, really be made of a fleshly, perishable substance? If God is All, can man fall victim to a force that turns well-being into illness? If God, good, is All, can man's rela tionship to God be one of a fallen creature continually pleading for rescue from harsh conditions that He has somehow permitted in the first place? Surely the Biblical declaration of God's allness is more than a pleasant doctrine at odds with the facts. When we accept it as genuine spiritual truth, it provides the foundation on which we can rest our conviction that spirituality, goodness, wholeness, and oneness with the creator are the actual state of man. This is not just an intellectual argument that dismisses disease but leaves the sick still suffering. When we worship God as the All-in-all, something concrete happens. The self-concept that may have seemed very real to us--that we consist of a material body, a personal mind, and only a spark of faith--recedes. The belief that we are formed of something unlike Him becomes an impossible sense of mistaken identity, and the fear and pain inherent in this misconception diminish. We enter into the recogniti on that we are made wholly by Spirit, God, that we reflect the very substance of Spirit, and we find that we are free from suffering. Christ Jesus showed us that the wellsprings of health lie deeper than observable physical or even emotional elements. He dealt with dire illness, and his sayings showed him to be fully aware of destructive human emotions. But never did he treat these as legitimate, self-constituted powers that must be manipulated physically or mentally. Instead, he saw individuals as the offspring of the sovereign Father. As others grasped something of this spiritual vision, they found themselves healed. Jesus demonstrated that health can be spiritually maintained because man is not a spiritual entity encased within a material body. He is wholly spiritual. The Master once said, ``Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,'' 2 and in the crucifixion and resurrection he showed his identity to be entirely sustained by Spirit and thus superior to every claim that the flesh determines life. Mary Baker Eddy3 writes of this statement of Jesus': ``It is as if he had said: The I--the Life, substa nce, and intelligence of the universe--is not in matter to be destroyed.'' 4 Even sincere faith would not be a trustworthy means of healing if that faith were placed in a God who had created a world of mingled flesh and spirit, good and evil, and who only occasionally intervened in its problems. But when we understand God, Spirit, to be the great All-in-all and ourselves to be His wholly spiritual likeness, our prayers become reasoned, even scientific, professions of actual spiritual fact. Not only is our health safeguarded by such prayer, but our feet are set upon the path of fu ll Christian discipleship, which leads us into the holiness that is the heritage of man. 1 Isaiah 45:5. 2 John 2:19. 3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 27.

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