WE encounter reports of death daily -- from terrorist bombings to accidental fatalities. Each of us faces the necessity of coming to terms with this deeply troubling issue. Some of us may be convinced that life continues on eternally, while others feel certain that it ends with the death of the body. Does it really matter what we believe? Yes it does, because our state of thought relates in very tangible ways to the nature of our experience. More specifically, an understanding of God as eternal Life and of our own true selfhood as the immortal, spiritual reflection of divine Life, can uplift the quality of human experience.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this thought-provoking statement: ``The relinquishment of all faith in death and also of the fear of its sting would raise the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation, and would enable us to hold the banner of Christianity aloft with unflinching faith in God, in Life eternal.''1 Certainly society needs such uplifting. Then, isn't it worth learning to see beyond the seeming tyranny of death?
Christian Science teaches that our true recourse is to God, eternal Life. This conviction is based on the life of Christ Jesus, who showed through his resurrection that life is immortal and that this fact is proved through spiritual awakening rather than through mortal dying.
There is a Bible verse that says, ``In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.''2 Referring to this truism, Mrs. Eddy writes, ``As death findeth mortal man, so shall he be after death, until probation and growth shall effect the needed change.''3
Just imagine the implications of such a statement! If we really understood that death provides neither a shortcut to heavenly bliss nor an escape into oblivion, we would have to face the necessity of working out our own salvation step by step, taking full responsibility each day for the consequences of our behavior. Wouldn't this result quite naturally in a higher degree of integrity in our dealings with one another? And wouldn't we find renewed hope and strength in knowing that our opportunities for experiencing the blessings of God's love aren't draining away like sand through an hourglass?
An important fact that can be derived from the life of Christ Jesus is that an understanding of eternal Life confers dominion over both sin and disease. Jesus' view of man didn't terminate with the evidence before the physical senses but extended to include a vision of immortality so powerful that it enabled him to heal diseases that others regarded as incurable and to restore moral stature to people who had been cast aside as sinners.
After his disciples witnessed their Master's resurrection and ascension -- after being shown that death has no power over Life -- they too blossomed as spiritual healers. And today there is again convincing proof that by understanding the immortality of life it is not only possible but natural to heal sickness and sin.
As the earth feels the stress of increasing demands on its resources, and as more and more people are crowded together into smaller spaces, it is essential that the standard of health and morality be raised. If relinquishing false beliefs about death can contribute to this goal, isn't it worthwhile to take a more serious look at Christ Jesus' example?
Breaking free from the downward pull of materialism, which begins and ends in dust, we can get on with uplifting the quality of life in ways that not only create a better world but also establish a spiritual foundation on which to build for eternity.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 426. 2Ecclesiastes 11:3. 3Science and Health, p. 291.