Countless poems, songs, novels, television programs, and movies share a perspective on what love is – but many, if not most, miss the mark. Today people are looking to smart phones to define love – even recording each other’s pulses on phones equipped with heart-rate monitors as a way of showing how much they love each other.
But basing love on these measurements isn’t where we find the answer to what love is, because love isn’t something that is physically seen. It is not a measurable entity. We can’t reach out and touch love or take love’s temperature. This is because love is a quality – a quality that, in its truest sense, comes from the highest power there is – namely, God.
The Bible points to this, saying that “God is love” (I John: 4:16). The Bible infers that Love, or God, is infinite, and this is why we could never measure Love, or measure the amount of love that emanates from God. We could never use a limited metric, such as a tape measure or smart phone, to calculate infinity. Similarly, we cannot physically see Love or God because the material senses cannot see omnipotent Spirit. The physical senses are limited tools, which cannot grasp infinity. In order to see love we must use another sense.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, called this other sense spiritual sense, which is something everyone has. It is through our innate spiritual sense that we can understand things that are spiritual. Things of the Spirit – love, principle, truth, and so on – are good and eternal. They are true qualities of God. As the Bible explains in Genesis, God is good and made everything, including man, good. It was through this enlightened sense, through the inspired Word of the Bible, and through her life’s demonstration of healing, that Mrs. Eddy was able to discover how Christianity brings healing – and she named this discovery Christian Science. Through this spiritual lens she was able to see that “[t]he Christianly scientific real is the sensuous unreal” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 353).
Understanding this statement with our spiritual sense means that what is actually substantial, permanent, and real is Spirit – a reality only barely recognized by what we see with material sense. A merely material sense of ourselves and everything around us fails to perceive our spiritual nature, which is natively good, harmonious, lovable, and loving. Spiritually understanding God, Love, and man as his image and likeness is what enabled Mrs. Eddy to heal, and her message continues to help countless others to heal today.
The Bible records many experiences of people calling on the power of Love to heal. In fact, the best healer of all, Jesus Christ, not only taught us to love one another, he actually commanded that we do it (see John 13:34). By loving, Jesus was, through spiritual sense, seeing man as the reflection of God – all perfection. Mrs. Eddy describes Jesus’ ability to heal this way: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (Science and Health, pp. 476-477).
The less our thought is absorbed in a sensual view of ourselves and others, and the more we see others as Jesus saw man, the more we are able to find a permanent peace and joy that brings us into harmony with the description of man outlined in Chapter 1 of Genesis – where man is described as being created in God’s image and likeness, the likeness of Spirit or divine good. Casting off sensuousness enables us to perceive Spirit and what each of us truly is as Spirit’s likeness. Seeing with spiritual sense brings our experience into harmony with eternal good, and this is where we find healing. To the degree that we turn away from physical sense, we make way for infinite Love, which is caring for its entire creation. This understanding of Love brings joy to our relationships, because it brings a love that is lasting and true.
According to Mrs. Eddy, “Jesus was unselfish. His spirituality separated him from sensuousness, and caused the selfish materialist to hate him; but it was this spirituality which enabled Jesus to heal the sick, cast out evil, and raise the dead” (Science and Health, p. 51).
As we understand the permanent joy of Spirit, we not only find the answer to the question “What is love?” but we are able to heal ourselves and others. We learn more about what love is by loving one another and find a higher sense of life.
In the words of First John: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” (I John 4:12).