ONE of the more tedious, yet essential, aspects of working on anything going into print, to me, is proofreading. I remember a story told to me the first day I joined the staff at an advertising agency. A new restaurant had ordered menus, posters, and banners. All were proofread before being delivered. Three banners were flying in the breeze at the grand opening before someone noticed the spelling: HAMBRUGERS! I've found myself doing something comparable -- reading something that is correct again and again without really seeing the implications of what it is saying. One day, for example, I again came across this statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: ``Man in the likeness of God as revealed in Science cannot help being immortal.'' I can't tell you how many times I had read the phrase ``cannot help being immortal'' and slid right over the deeper implication and practical application of these words. But now, finally, the profound import of the sentence struck home. God's likeness -- perfect, spiritual man -- has to be immortal. And this spiritual manhood is, in reality, our own genuine identity!
I had always liked the idea that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Or, as the Psalmist puts it, ``The Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.'' And I could understand that whatever God, divine good, created would be like Him. As I realized that man can't help being immortal, I began to see that to know more about the real, immortal man requires knowing more about the nature of God.
A good place to start in learning more about God is with the fact that God is Love. And because He is, man created in His likeness cannot be unloving or unloved. God, Truth, gives man honesty and integrity; man reflects intelligence from Mind, God; strength, vitality, and joy belong to man because God, his creator, is Spirit. Who wouldn't want all this to call his own? And that's only a sample -- a small part of what God-created man is.
Man ``cannot help being immortal'' because he is spiritual. Yet our everyday lives sometimes seem to point to anything but the perfection of the immortal, spiritual man that is our genuine identity. Learning more of our spiritual identity as God's perfect creation, then, doesn't let us off the hook for right human behavior. Quite the opposite. As we understand more clearly that man is, in fact, made in God's likeness, we find that we also have to live more Godlike lives. It isn't always easy, certainly, but we can't appreciate and experience the joys of immortality without being obedient to God and acting in accord with what we really are as God's child to the very best of our ability. Seeing the immortal, perfect man is not always easy. But as we do a better job of understanding what man is -- what we are -- we'll do a better job of living spiritually. We can't help it!
No greater proof of man's immortality can be found than the resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus. Every evil, every form of hatred mortal man could conjure up -- including killing -- was inflicted on Jesus. Yet nothing could hold back the Christ, Truth, that's still present today to bless and heal mankind. Christ Jesus was our Way-shower and advocate. Step by step, through prayer and study, as we follow his example in our daily lives we will experience at least a hint of immortality here and now.
Isn't it great to realize that our immortality is in God's hands, that it's a fact in spite of anything we may do or think while we're learning to understand and demonstrate that man is totally spir-itual? Starting from this solid foundation, the journey forward becomes less a struggle and more a yielding to what already is.