What really makes us what we are?

Consumer DNA tests have become more popular than ever as people seek greater knowledge about their roots. Here’s an article exploring a radically different take on one’s origin and the impact an understanding of God, Spirit, as our creator can have on our day-to-day lives.

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In 2018, people purchased as many consumer DNA ancestry tests as had been purchased in all of the preceding years combined. By the beginning of 2019, more than 26 million people had taken such a test. Such a fast-moving trend shows how very interested people are in learning more about their origins. That’s certainly natural.

Lately, however, I have been finding how surprisingly interesting it is to go even deeper than what a DNA test may provide. What is it that really makes us what we are?

Christian Science has prompted me to think of myself and others in a completely new way: as created by a substantial, powerful, divine presence that has made us all as its conscious, wholly spiritual offspring.

We may rightly define such a presence as God, but it couldn’t have been a man-on-a-throne-in-the-clouds, supermortal kind of God. The life and teachings of Christ Jesus revealed God as not having any mortal features, but literally as infinite, all-present divine Spirit and Love, which is defined by spiritual qualities instead of material elements.

Like produces like, so if a very conscious presence who is Love and Spirit truly conceived us, this opens up a thought-provoking question. A common view of creation includes a material beginning followed by an expulsion into a physical realm, where we ultimately end up alone and vulnerable. But are we truly just an assemblage of material components?

It was Jesus who said, “Thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee” (John 17:21). That which is conceived spiritually could never be expelled out of God, but remains forever inseparable from Him, the very expression of all-present Spirit. This is a wonderful way to think about oneself, and it carries with it invaluable benefits.

Many years ago, after chipping the corner off my front tooth, I began exploring more deeply my origin in God. This exploration, and the reasoning that followed, could well be defined as prayer. I found such comfort as I studied and pondered the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy. Through this I learned more about my oneness with all that God is and with all that God gives.

Understanding my true, spiritual origin helped me reason clearly and intelligently about my present state: The chipped tooth was not part of what I really was. Gradually, I recognized that nothing can damage the relation of infinite Spirit to its manifestation – which is the true identity of everyone.

Some weeks after the tooth had chipped, I noticed that there was no longer a chip broken off the tooth. That tooth was entirely whole, just like the others. As I remember it all now, this healing makes me want to explore my spiritual origin even more deeply!

The takeaway here is that a spiritually conceived being remains spiritual. Science and Health observes, “Whatever reflects Mind, Life, Truth, and Love, is spiritually conceived and brought forth” (p. 303). And God being absolute good, God’s spiritual children can never leave Him; God’s goodness is never separate from us. Neither are health, abundance, wholeness, love, and ability, which God expresses in us at full strength. “God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us,” says the Bible (I John 4:12).

A DNA ancestry test might give some interesting information, yet only spiritual inspiration can provide insights as to our true origin. Jesus declared, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Naturally, our whole sense of ourselves changes when we recognize what we include as manifestations of Spirit – such as intelligence, patience, humility, might. As we open our thoughts to this inspiration, we come to see just how much of an impact it can have on the quality of our present-day experience.

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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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