Living in eternity

Getting to know our true nature as God’s children empowers us to overcome age-related limitations and brings fresh purpose and vigor to life.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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I was feeling old. I had been slowing down for some time, both mentally and physically, feeling more limited and less interested in activity, in learning, even in life itself. It was as if I were gradually going to sleep. It was subtle, so for a while I didn’t notice it. Then one day I became aware of this trend and recognized it as a challenge to my ability to demonstrate Christ Jesus’ promise of eternal life.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes about this promise in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “‘This is life eternal,’ says Jesus, – is, not shall be; and then he defines everlasting life as a present knowledge of his Father and of himself, – the knowledge of Love, Truth, and Life” (p. 410).

Jesus’ remark was not only a promise but also a statement of the fundamental nature of reality and the eternal relation between God and His children. In the science of mathematics, can numbers come one year and leave the next? Do they eventually wear out or lose value? No! As long as the principle of mathematics exists, so does each number, unchanged and perfect.

This is likewise true of man, whose existence is also inextricably bound to his divine Principle, God. As long as God, the infinite, eternal Principle exists, so do we as God’s image and likeness. And since God has no start or expiration date, neither does His likeness.

Jesus not only revealed the certainty of eternal being but also indicated that eternal life is wholly spiritual, permanent, and ever present. In a deeply compassionate prayer to God for his present and future followers, he stated, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16). And regarding those in need of healing, he promised, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

As Jesus taught and demonstrated, and as the first chapter of Genesis states, our life has its source in God. In fact, our life is God – Life itself – and is therefore everlasting and always developing. Life is not dependent upon what the ever-limited physical senses mistakenly perceive it to be: bookended by material birth and a transition called death.

Part of the definition of the word “year” in the Glossary of Science and Health illustrates our ability to understand and demonstrate this fact: “One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity. This exalted view, obtained and retained when the Science of being is understood, would bridge over with life discerned spiritually the interval of death, and man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony, where sin, sickness, and death are unknown” (p. 598).

While praying about this, I began to grasp the significance of life without interruption, reflecting divine Life, God. And this spiritual perspective woke me from the mistaken sense of having two lives – an earthly one here and now that is limited, physical, beginning and ending, and another one later that is spiritual, continuous, and unlimited.

The material sense of a limited life winding down would mesmerize us into accepting declining activity, diminishing interests, and a deadening of vitality. But we can all come to understand that we are already spiritual. We are already living in the kingdom of heaven, even though it doesn’t seem that way to the physical senses.

Inspired by this answer to prayer, I daily claimed eternal Life as the reality. I also strove to adhere to God’s requirements. For instance, when a man asked Jesus how to “inherit eternal life” (see Luke 10:25-28), Jesus referred him to the need for obedience to the commandments, specifically, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”

Taking these steps daily led me to new energy, a renewed sense of purpose, greater joy, and expansive and fulfilling activity. Gone were the pervading sense of growing old and the effects that I had been experiencing.

We aren’t destined to try to make a material life more spiritual. Our task is to repudiate material life and strive to demonstrate eternal life right where we are. Turning to our heavenly Parent in this work kindles within us an awareness of, and a capacity to demonstrate, our native spiritual identity in a God-centered universe, where all is eternal harmony.

Adapted from an editorial published in the Feb. 13, 2023, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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