As a teenager, I remember standing in a doctor’s office while he explained to me why I was going to have back problems all my life. He was showing me X-rays of my back and pointing out that my problem had been inherited from my father. He said, “You’ve got the spitting image of your dad’s back, and you’re going to have the same issues with it that he has.”
My dad regularly visited the chiropractor, and thus began my regular visits over the next few years. But the pain persisted. I was a basketball player, and it was sometimes so bad that I had to drop out of games.
Fortunately, I learned about another approach to healing – the spiritual method found in the teachings of Christian Science. My mom had begun reading a book called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” written by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, and it had shed some dramatically new light on the concepts of inheritance and identity. Mrs. Eddy perceived ideas in the Scriptures that she felt were actually “scientific” – able to be applied today as they had been centuries earlier, with healing results.
This gave me hope, and I reached out to a Christian Science practitioner, a professional who helps other people through prayer. The practitioner encouraged me to think about my back in a new way. Rather than seeing it in purely physical terms as a jumble of bones, muscles, and nerves, I learned to see myself as spiritual, conceived and supported by God. “Sometime we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has created men and women in Science,” Science and Health explains (p. 68). This is what I began glimpsing – that our real structure is purely spiritual, and that God, divine Spirit, is our creator, our real Father.
This means that God, who is purely good, is the source of everyone’s real inheritance. There’s an example of how powerful this profound idea is that I find particularly inspiring. It’s an account of Christ Jesus healing a man who was born blind (see John 9:1-7). A prevalent belief of the time was that such birth defects were the result of parents’ sins or the child’s. But Jesus disagreed: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” And the man’s sight was restored.
As I prayed along these lines, the chronic pain in my back was entirely healed, and I have enjoyed a strong and pain-free back for decades.
This healing, along with many others since then, has caused me to think about “DNA” in an entirely different way. I see these letters as standing for our “divinely natural attributes” – the inheritance of spiritual qualities such as health and joy that comes to us directly from God. Science and Health sums this up beautifully: “In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry” (p. 63). Beauty, goodness, purity – these are our divinely natural attributes, and there’s a lot more good where those came from!
Adapted from the April 19, 2018, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.