I TOOK an archaeology course from a professor who had much teaching and field experience. His unyielding conviction of modern humanity's evolution from early primates was daily impressed upon the class. During one examination he placed six skulls on a table and asked us to identify them and describe the habits of each. It was during this examination that I thought to myself, "Is this really man's origin?
That weekend I became very ill. I also couldn't seem to get the image of those skulls out of my thought. Life appeared futile, cheerless, and depressing. As a Christian Scientist I was accustomed to turning to God when I needed help. So I began to pray to understand what man's true identity is. I was familiar with the first chapter of the Bible, where it says, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air , and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. . . . And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
As I looked again at these Bible verses, I began to see that I could trust their message to help me in my understanding of man as God's likeness--spiritual. God is Spirit, and He created His image and likeness, man, to reflect Him. So man--our genuine selfhood--has always been spiritual and whole because he has always been maintained and sustained by God. Because God is cause and man is His spiritual effect, man reflects God in goodness, wholeness, immortality.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes man this way in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect . . . . God made His offspring good, pure, whole, and complete. He couldn't make anything unli ke Himself.
Christ Jesus' healing works proved that the law of God, Spirit, is truly powerful. Jesus made evident that because Spirit, God, creates and governs man, man is spiritual and complete.
As I gained a clearer view of man's true, spiritual identity, I began to feel better. I was able to return my classes free of the illness and very grateful for a clearer understanding that man, God's creation, is indeed spiritual.
Reasoning from the fact that God is man's source and creator, we see that man is His image and likeness. This spiritual understanding brings increased evidence of health, wholeness, perfection, to our lives. There has never been a time when man--the idea of God, Mind, Spirit--was separated from his creator. Man is always coexistent with God, good.
Through prayer we each can learn of man's innate spirituality and steadily overcome the limitations of material evolution. God, or Mind, is the creator of spiritual ideas, and these ideas are good, eternal, mature, immortal. This is man's true, spiritual identity.
Praying to understand better the omnipotence of God helps us to see that His creation is immortal. Because God is omnipotent, He created all things good and spiritual. And man, as described in the first chapter of Genesis, is God's offspring.