IT'S a subject referred to quite often these days: at parties, on talk shows, and in books that head the best-seller lists. It conjures up images of the exotic and the occult, lost continents and past lives. Its new name is ``channeling,'' but it's really an ancient concept, a belief that personalities from a so-called spirit world can speak through living people. Is man a channel for spirits? We might first ask some more fundamental questions. Is God Spirit? Is there more than one God?
Throughout the Bible and on through the Christian traditions of the last two thousand years, these words of Moses resound: ``Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.... Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you.''1 One power that is Spirit, undivided good, intelligence, Life, Love itself -- certainly this is the God of primitive Christianity.
But what is man? We often hear it suggested that man is a type of receptacle for Spirit -- a separate entity into which Spirit comes to dwell, whereby man becomes a personal spirit. We talk of ``your'' spirit, ``his'' spirit, and ``my'' spirit.
But is man's identity something independent of God, which Spirit passes through and eventually out of? Or is man the actual, perpetual expression of God? In other words, is our true being a tunnel through which spiritual light passes? Or is it the very expression of divine light?
Christ Jesus referred to himself as ``the light of the world.''2 He also said to his disciples, ``Ye are the light of the world.''3 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, once explained, ``If we say that the sun stands for God, then all his rays collectively stand for Christ, and each separate ray for men and women.''4 This analogy doesn't suggest many ``Christs,'' but it does show that the individual is never separate from God, the divine source, or from Christ, the complete expression of the divine nature.
Just as there are not many gods or many Christs, there are not many spirits. Mrs. Eddy writes, ``The sun sends forth light, but not suns; so God reflects Himself, or Mind, but does not subdivide Mind, or good, into minds, good and evil.''5 In short, man is the ongoing reflection of Spirit, but he is not a little spirit. Nor is he a medium for God. Man is much ``closer'' than that. He's inseparable from God, the actual expression of all that God is; his individuality is spiritual, indestructible, not corporeal and vulnerable to evil.
The fact that man is not a medium has wonderful and far-reaching implications. Because our true, God-derived nature is the very outcome of God, we do not operate as conductors for whatever might be (so to speak) passing through. We are not subject to the good and bad spirits we call moods -- not subject to anger, fear, depression, or even a mere momentary happiness. Our true nature expresses the constancy of a different joy, which is unmoved by circumstances.
Neither are we susceptible to the detrimental elements that run through society -- immorality, malignant contagions, and so forth. Superstition, and even the physical sciences, may insist that man is a channel for good and evil -- for personal powers, for human wills, minds, and microbes apart from God. But this premise is daily being proven outdated by the practical healings going on in Christian Science. Man's exemption from sin and sickness can be perceived now, and demonstrated through healing.
As these facts become more real to us, we turn more often to God for answers to life's questions, to find truth and wisdom, and less often to other people. Certainly the Bible speaks to our inner quest for understanding. In Isaiah we read, ``When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God?''6
If we feel fascinated by so-called spirits and other realms, we might seriously ask ourselves, ``What could another mortal, living or dead, have to impart of greater consequence than the infinite wisdom of the one, immortal, loving God?'' If we believe that we are possessed by the so-called evil ``spirits'' of sin or disease, we can remind ourselves that man is not a channel but God's immediate spiritual likeness, and through this understanding of our spiritual nature we can cast these so-called spirits out.
1Deuteronomy 6:4, 14. 2John 8:12. 3Matthew 5:14. 4The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 344. 5Retrospection and Introspection, p. 56. 6Isaiah 8:19. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:31