A look at man's true substance

A Christian Science perspective: Understanding what man is brings healing.

Preparation for Thanksgiving dinner starts early here in New England. It begins with getting out the old traditional family recipes and making a shopping list of all the ingredients needed to create a sumptuous feast for one of our favorite American holidays. I usually start gathering the items on my list early in November. When shopping, I’m aware of what each item is made of by checking the list of ingredients on the back of the packaging.

This process got me thinking recently about what we, humanity, are made up of. What makes us what we are? Our driver’s license or passport identifies our physical features, but that’s just the outward appearance.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this international news publication, writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” on page 475: “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.” Further down on the same page she writes: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; ....”

Clearly Mrs. Eddy’s description of man is quite different compared with what most of the world thinks we are. But the Bible was her authority for the idea that our identity is totally spiritual as the perfect reflection of God, our creator (see, for example, Genesis 1:26, 27). I’ve come to understand that this is what Christ Jesus proved through his healing works, which can be discerned spiritually through an inspired reading of his ministry. For instance, he said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). He proved that man, as a child of God, is spiritual – God’s likeness, inseparable from Spirit. He brought healing to the people in his community who suffered from various mental, moral, and physical ailments. And when he said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), he was speaking not just to his disciples but to all people of all ages.

So, if we are made in God’s image and are “very good” – as it says in Genesis 1:31 – then what is God? Mrs. Eddy defines God this way: “God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (Science and Health, p. 465). These seven synonyms help define the God that man reflects.

Realizing that as the expression of divine Spirit we are entirely spiritual, resulted in healing for me the other day. I awoke with an unexpected shooting pain in one of my hips. At first I thought I would need to cancel some activities planned for the day and curtail others. I turned to God in prayer, remembering this counsel in Science and Health: “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man” (p. 393).

Thinking about the fact that we are “bestowed” by God with spiritual dominion, as indicated in the first chapter of Genesis (see verse 26), and knowing that this includes dominion over the ills of the flesh, I slowly proceeded to go about my day. By afternoon, I realized that there was no trace of pain in the hip – the situation was completely healed through an understanding of our spiritual heritage as children of our heavenly Father-Mother God.

I am sincerely grateful for a growing knowledge of what man is by learning more about what God is through Christian Science. This understanding has led to healing of various difficulties in my life. It is every man’s birthright to learn of this Christ, Truth, and experience the freedom that comes from understanding man’s spiritual nature. Undeniably there is a lot to be grateful for!

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“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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