DIDN'T Christ Jesus promise those who cast out evils in his name, who turned to the universal power of Christ for healing, ``Nothing shall by any means hurt you''?1 Can we expect to see this promise fulfilled in our own experience now? Christian Science maintains that we can. It does so on the fundamental premise that there is no sensation in matter, even though the very opposite seems to be true. We do, after all, confront pain in our lives. But through gaining an understanding that our true being is spiritual, not physical--because God, the one creator, is Spirit--we can begin to prove, even in small ways, that we're not governed by matter.
Understanding this does more than quiet pain, whether physical or mental. It's the foundation of happy, healthy, and useful living. To realize that true sensation is mental and that the actual senses of man are spiritual, not corporeal, is to gain increasing mastery over our bodies.
We don't have to accept the belief that we're subject to suffering. Because man is God's spiritual likeness, we can progressively gain dominion over whatever threatens to be hurtful.
I had accepted all this in theory for a long time, but I learned convincingly how powerful it can be in practical application some years ago on the first day of a holiday in Africa. Suddenly I began to have a very severe toothache. Years earlier I had had similar symptoms, and I had gone to a dentist. He had diagnosed an abscess and extracted the tooth. This time there wasn't a dentist for hundreds of miles around, and it looked as if my holiday were going to be ruined before it began. As we drove along the dusty track, I began to ponder the point that matter has no actual sensation, and to pray to be shown how best to demonstrate it in this situation.
Then a passage from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, came to me very insistently: ``Matter is inert, inanimate, and sensationless,--considered apart from Mind.''2 So I declared quietly but firmly--and realized--that this very small piece of matter was inert, inanimate, sensationless, regardless of aggressive feelings to the contrary. God, the one divine Mind, is the only power. The tooth stopped hurting almost immediately.
Once or twice the pain returned but was met with the same radical rejection in my prayer. After that I had no more trouble for the rest of the holiday, and the next time I visited a dentist he said that my teeth were in perfect order. I still have that tooth.
What brought about the healing? Was it an exercise in human willpower, fueled by my frustration? Or was it perhaps an exhibition of the power of the human mind over matter? It was something quite different from either of these. I had become more responsive to the prompting of God to guide both my thoughts and my feelings, and to give me the spiritual strength to deal with the situation. This showed me that the promise ``Nothing shall by any means hurt you'' is inextricably linked to the fact that man is actually God's spiritual likeness and that there is no sensation in matter. As we understand our relationship to God, we can progressively demonstrate safety and freedom--and not be hurt.
1Luke 10:19. 2Rudimental Divine Science, p. 5. Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour. Isaiah 43:2,3