Humanity and the question of spiritual evolution

A Christian Science perspective.

The Museum of Human Evolution, established in 2010 in Burgos, Spain, and designed by the award-winning architect Juan Navarro Baldeweg, is just 10 miles west from the Sierra de Atapuerca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and location of some of the most important human fossil finds in the world.

The museum displays almost every aspect of evolution – biological, neurological, and cultural – with the hopes of bringing a clearer understanding of who “we” are. It does not, however, depict humanity’s spiritual evolution.

Looking only at matter, with a “no spirituality allowed” agenda, is like examining the wood of the frame around the “Mona Lisa” to find out something of its genius. You’re not really going to learn anything about your subject.

So what is spiritual evolution? If material creation can be described as a series of arbitrary or random events, such as the big bang, or genetic mutations, spiritual creation – its opposite – must be the ordered, principled intuitions that have come to human consciousness. As these spiritual laws have been accepted over time, they have moved society forward.

Abraham, Moses, Elisha, Elijah, and especially Jesus are among the individuals who understood the power of spiritual ideas. For each one of these individuals, something happened that revealed God’s power and their relation to Him. Understanding the significance of these stories and allowing ourselves to embody the Christly ideas that moved their lives forward is of paramount importance for our progress.

These precious and powerful beacons of spiritual light have not been random. They have revealed the Christ, the spiritual idea that comes from God to human consciousness. The Psalmist says, “He shall call upon me, and I [God] will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him” (Psalms 91:15).

Those who felt the healing and saving effects of the Christ in their lives stopped looking for answers in matter. The result? Morals, health, and worship improved. In time the ancient stories of the evolving of spiritual ideas in human experience were written down in the collection we call the Bible.

Mary Baker Eddy saw that these ancient documents contained within them the spiritual insights into our identity that many are searching for. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she writes, “Material evolution implies that the great First Cause must become material, and afterwards must either return to Mind or go down into dust and nothingness.” She then adds: “The Scriptures are very sacred. Our aim must be to have them understood spiritually...” (p. 547).

The benefits of understanding God and holiness cannot be divorced from any correct or beneficial understanding of who we are. It is this desire to know God, and the answers that come to consciousness from that desire, or “spiritual evolution,” that continue to propel humanity toward a more spiritual understanding of God, Love, and therefore toward human progress.

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