Varying degrees of truth – or eternal Truth?

A Christian Science perspective: On universal, spiritual truths that heal.

When you think about it, we are exposed all the time to “truths” that really have varying levels of validity. For instance, of all the mountains on the seven continents, Mount Everest is Earth’s highest. Is that a timeless truth? Not really. Because of geological events, there will be a day when Mount Everest will be sand on the beach. Or how about the mathematical truth underlying the equation ten minus five equals five? Because it’s perpetual, that feels like a higher degree of truth.

And then, above all, there are truths that are so enduring that they reach all the way into the eternal category. These universal truths aren’t associated with physicality or human perspectives. They are spiritual in nature, existing above and beyond a material universe.

Here is a good example: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The capacity to be perfect – that’s a truth Christ Jesus presented to a crowd. That statement certainly seems untrue. “Perfect”? Could even the best human being claim to be perfect – without a single flaw?

But Jesus was acknowledging a truth that his audience hadn’t yet come to realize – a spiritual truth. The perfect man Jesus saw is what we all truly are, made in the spiritual likeness of God, perfect Truth itself. Though the human eye can’t see it, it’s logical that the divine Spirit that is God created us spiritually, not materially. Our very identity and purpose is to express the attributes of God, such as intelligence and perfection. More than a theoretical truth, Jesus saw this as spiritual reality that can be proved in a way we can tangibly see. By knowing the truth of perfect God’s perfect creation, he healed people over and over.

When Jesus saw a man who had been blind all his life, his disciples wanted to know what had caused his suffering (see John 9:1-7). Yet right away Jesus didn’t accept that blindness was a “truth” about the man. Instead, he said the man was created so that the works of God – of divine goodness – should be made manifest in him. And on the basis of that divine truth Jesus healed the man.

These spiritual truths are still valid and relevant today. For instance, many years ago, my vision became less clear. From what I’d learned from Christian Science about myself as the likeness of God, rather than being mortal and imperfect, I just couldn’t accept limitation in sight as part of me, even though it seemed very true. Eternal truth, on the other hand, is that God’s creation, including each of us in our real, spiritual identity, cannot ever erode.

A wonderful moment came when I realized that I was already governed by this truth simply because it is already true and in place. Truth wasn’t something that would become true once I believed it. The eternal, changeless fact that God is expressing in us the qualities of perfection and wholeness isn’t going to become any more or less factual than it is right now.

Over a period of weeks, I loved and really stuck to the truth of how God’s perfection is expressed freely in me, and is my perfection. From then on, and permanently, I could see with complete clarity.

I am certainly still learning much about these absolute, eternal truths. But knowing more about them helps me to discard more quickly the false “truths” I hear about imperfections as realities. Knowing the truth of what we truly are divinely created to be, Jesus promised, makes us free (see John 8:32). And people all over the world are discovering that truth can heal and transform us.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“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.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.