Christian Science: The Revelation of God's Man
John W. Doorly, C.S.B., of London, England
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Christian Science declares that Jesus revealed to man the absolute truth about God and about man. This teaching Christian Science says is truly scientific, infinitely demonstrable, and is the only way of deliverance from materialistic reasoning and its effects, — sin, disease, war, and death. In fact, the truth about God and about man which Jesus revealed must some day be accepted and practiced by everyone. The truth is wholly spiritual, and has nothing whatever to do with material theories but obliterates such theories and their results. This spiritual idealism of the mighty Nazarene must be taught as the primary necessity of education in our schools and in our colleges. This idealism will be found to be an infinite Science: in fact, the Science that includes all other sciences. It will also be found to be wholly demonstrable.
When this era arrives men will understand what constitutes real salvation from a false sense of God, a false sense of man, and from materiality. Some day our schools and colleges must make the teaching of materialistic theories secondary to the teaching of that absolute spiritual Science, that exact knowledge of God and of man, by which Jesus healed the sick, reformed the sinner, cleansed the lepers, walked on the water, fed the multitude, raised the dead, and brought to men an absolutely pure spiritual idealism which we have called Christianity.
The coming to human thought of the truth about God and about man is the perpetual coming of the Christ. Because Christ reveals to men the truth both about God and about man, mankind can have no proper sense of the Christ until it knows something of the truth, not only about God but also about man. This spiritual understanding of what constitutes the true God and man in His likeness is what Paul terms "the Mind of Christ," and concerning which he said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." It was what Paul called "the mind of Christ" which enabled Jesus to disprove materialism in its every phase and to overcome evil of every kind, and as the ordinary individual gains more of this right mental and spiritual condition, he too will be enabled to overcome materialism and its effects — sin, disease, and death. Let me remind you, however, that the Mind of Christ is not nebulous, metaphysical abstraction, but is, as Christian Science makes clear, a practical, demonstrable, scientific, spiritual understanding of God and of man in God's likeness. What then do the Scriptures and Christian Science say of God and of man in His likeness?
The True Nature of God
The Scriptures teach that God is almighty or omnipotent. Consequently, Christian Science says that man is the likeness of omnipotence and must always express and reflect infinite power. In like manner the Scriptures teach that God is eternal. Consequently, man must be eternal in his very nature. He therefore never began and he never ends. Also, God is omniscient. Man therefore must be the likeness of omniscience. He must consequently express infinite knowledge. God is omnipresent. Then man must express the nature of omnipresence. The true man therefore cannot be a finite organism confined to a locality! The fact is that you cannot confine the truth about man to a locality any more than you could confine the fact that two and two are four to a locality. Whatever is true is universal and expresses the nature of omnipresence. At this point let me draw your attention to the fact that as we gain a true sense of man we will be looking for him and finding him not in a material body but quite apart from any material condition. As one looks away from the material organism which we call the body and which is only a false sense of man, and is wholly the outcome of mortal thought, then we will find that the true man is a divinely mental and spiritual being expressing God's own nature. This man can be understood and cognized only through spiritual thinking. Let me invite you, then, to look away from the material body, and through spiritual thinking to behold man in God's likeness.
The Scriptures teach that God is invisible to the physical senses. Timothy writes: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." Since God is invisible to the physical senses, then man in God's likeness must be invisible to these senses. Therefore, we can never see the true man through the physical senses, but we can behold him and understand his nature through spiritual thinking. This is undoubtedly what Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus. Again, the Scriptures teach that God is perfect and Christian Science insists that man must be perfect. Jesus commanded, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Consequently, man in God's likeness must always be perfect. Mortality, however, or the false sense of man, can never be perfect. God is holy, as the Psalmist sang: "Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy." Then man in God's likeness must be holy. God is righteous, for Jesus addressed him as "O righteous Father." Therefore, Christian Science says that man in God's likeness is and must be righteous. God is good, for the Psalmist says, "Good and upright is the Lord." Then the true man is good. God is just, for the book of Revelation declares, "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." Consequently, man must be just also. God is impartial, for "he maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Also God is faithful, as the Psalmist said, "I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation." Then Christian Science says that the true man is impartial and faithful, because God is impartial and faithful. Moreover, the Scriptures teach that man is at-one with God and is inseparable from God, for Jesus stated: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." Again it is stated in the book of Ephesians, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
Christian Science, then, is teaching us that man is the likeness of the omnipotent, the eternal, the omniscient, the omnipresent, the invisible, the perfect, the holy, the righteous, the good, the just, the impartial, and the faithful One, whom we call God. Now what have any of these things to do with physicality or corporeality? Nothing at all. Consequently, Christian Science declares that man's true selfhood has nothing whatever to do with physicality, but is always in spirituality or in true mentality. Let me remind you that these statements are demonstrable and that they are being demonstrated in every detail of life by a multitude of intelligent men and women scattered all over the civilized globe.
The purpose of this lecture, frankly, is to show that physical personality or corporeality is not God's man, but that God's man is and forever has been God's own likeness; also that the divine facts about him can be understood and demonstrated through spiritual thinking. Christian Science teaches that God is infinite Spirit, or divine Mind, and that man in God's likeness is wholly spiritual, or divinely mental. Because man is a spiritual and mental being, this does not make him any less real or definite. How real or definite is this physical corporeality we call man? Is he not subject to every form of evil and disease you can think of? Is he not here today and gone tomorrow? How much reality or definiteness is there in such a proposition? On the other hand, the true man in God's likeness, who is the spiritual reality of all men, is as definite as God Himself, and is never influenced by anything but by God. Consequently, if we desire to attain any real or definite health, holiness, or happiness, which are the birthright of the sons of God, we must know something about God and about the true man in God's likeness.
Man As God's Likeness
Let me invite you, then, to consider a few more facts about man, always remembering that when we speak about man in Christian Science, we mean God's own likeness, the spiritual man, and not the physical organism, which is mistakenly called man. Christian Science teaches that man in God's likeness always has life and liberty. He is immortal, is amenable to God alone, and he has divine rights. Man has infinite individuality. He is born of God and has no other Father or Mother. Man in Christian Science has God-given ability; also divinely bestowed influence and protecting power. He is supplied, sustained, and supported by God alone. Mrs. Eddy has written of man as follows (Science and Health, p. 302): "Immortal man has existed forever, and is always beyond and above the mortal illusion of any life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter."
Man, Christian Science says, is always sinless, healthy, and normal; he can do no harm. He can neither sin nor suffer, nor can he ever be deprived of life. Man exists because God exists, and he is controlled by God alone. He is free spiritually and free from matter. He is forever harmonious and real. His happiness can never be interfered with, for he is always God's image or idea. The true man has tangibility, form, outline, color, quality, quantity, but these are all mental or spiritual, and not in any way material. Man has spiritual senses and he is forever free to enter into the secret place of the Most High. He has never lost his divine estate as the son of God. He lives, moves, and has his being in God.
Man, according to Christian Science, reflects and expresses eternal joy and bliss, also divine beauty and goodness. He is neither young nor old, and he is forever co-existent with God. Man is never physique, nor is he organic; he is always God's idea. He has not anything underived from God, but he reflects all that belongs to God. Man is never subject to accident, to fatigue, cold, heat, contagion, nor any human belief; he has infinite abilities and he never lacks anything, because God is ever available to him. Man is always the object of God's love and care, and he is never left to care for himself. He is always conscious of God, of true existence, and of his own perfection in God. God's man does not attain to perfection but he exists at the point of perfection; he has dominion over all the earth. He is eternally saved, and is a witness forever testifying to God's perfection.
Man Born Of God
Man, Christian Science teaches, has no mind apart from the divine Mind, God; he has not one quality underived from God, but he expresses spiritually all that belongs to God. Man is the outcome of God alone; he is the perfect effect of a perfect cause. He knows no birth, growth, maturity, nor decay, for these things all belong to mortality; but man is forever God's likeness. When Jesus admonished, "Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven," he meant exactly what he said. As long as we believe in the mortal man, born of materialism, we will pay the price of mortality, sin, disease, and death. As, however, we begin to understand that God alone is the creator of man, and that man forever exists as God's likeness, and as through spiritual sense we begin to understand and behold this man, then we gain the joy, the bliss, the freedom, the immortality, the health, the holiness, the happiness, and the sense of dominion which belong to man in God's likeness. Paul declares: "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." Did Paul mean what he said? Is this teaching practical or is it too idealistic for humanity? If it is too idealistic, why claim to be Christians? The fact is that there is no hope for mankind but in the practical adoption and demonstration of just these facts. God is Spirit, and the true man is wholly spiritual or divinely mental. The understanding of these facts and the willingness to give up mortality would demonstrate for mankind the reality of the spiritual man. Men would then practically and intelligently walk by faith; that is, by spiritual thinking and living, and not by sight, not by the testimony of the physical senses. This perfect, spiritual man, whom we have been understanding and beholding through spiritual thinking, is the reality of all men. Consequently, the right idea of man is forever available to each one of us.
The Teachings of Jesus
Which of these teachings do you accept? Do you accept the teachings of the lowly Nazarene of a perfect God and a perfect man in God's likeness; also the demonstrable nature of such teachings? If so, these teachings will lead you out of that horrible dream that we call mortality, which includes all sin, disease, decay, death, and darkness. Or, do you accept the reality of the mortal and all that it means? If so, I would say to you that some day, either through suffering or through Science, you will have to be awakened to the utter falsity of this mortal. Is it so difficult to see that a spiritual understanding of God and of the true man in God's likeness can deliver us from the dream of mortality, which is wholly the outcome of false thinking or of the carnal mind? Was it not the Mind which was in Christ Jesus that nineteen hundred years ago stilled the tempest, fed the multitude, cleansed the lepers, healed all manner of disease, and raised the dead? Did not Jesus' understanding of God and of the spiritual man, nineteen hundred years ago, disprove mortality and its false laws in every detail? Is it not true that all of the good that has come to men has come as the result of knowing more of God, of His Christ, and of the true man, and so coming out of the dream of mortality?
Spiritual understanding is the way of salvation for men from every human woe, and there is no other way. Sooner or later, individuals and nations must gain the Mind of Christ and so overcome the so-called carnal mind and mortality. The understanding of the true God and the true man put into practice in daily life constitutes real prayer. When one prays such prayer one can truly say, "Father, * * * I knew that thou hearest me always," for one knows that spiritual understanding always operates to deliver from mortality. There is no phase of sin, of disease, or of human woe which the spiritual understanding of God and of man cannot efface. Even death itself must yield its supposed sway, before this spiritual thinking and living. Prayer, to be true prayer, and to be Godlike, must be constant and consistent. The letter of Christian Science revealing the truth about God and about man would fail entirely, if it is not understood and practiced competently in daily life. As one gains the vision of the true God and of man as God's own likeness, existing apart from any corporeal or material organism, he will then become a good healer, a good citizen, and a good family man. His affections, however, will never be confined to his own affairs or to his own family, or even to his own nation, but he will begin to express the impartial and universal nature of the divine Mind, God. Today there is no more desirable prayer than to desire and endeavor to gain the impartial and universal consciousness which is the birthright of the son of God. Such a consciousness impels one to live and to work for God and for mankind. Mrs. Eddy has written (Science and Health, p. 9): "The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently with our prayer? If selfishness has given place to kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly and bless them that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty simply by asking that it may be done. There is a cross to be taken up before we can enjoy the fruition of our hope and faith."
Mary Baker Eddy
It was this impartial and universal love for God and for man that impelled Mrs. Eddy and that enabled her to rise triumphant over every difficulty that beset her path. There has been no clearer proof in our age of what the spiritual understanding of God and of man will accomplish than has been exemplified in Mrs. Eddy's own experience. When this understanding first came to her she had been for years practically an invalid. It healed her when she lay on what seemed likely to be her deathbed. This understanding later enabled her to heal and redeem numberless men and women, and to build up a church whose spiritual influence has been deeply felt in every walk of life. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, built wholly on a spiritual basis. She knew that if her mission to man was to last it could only do so in so far as it was built on the truth about God and about man. She bent her every effort to gaining more of the truth, and impressed on her followers that through spiritual understanding alone could one hope to attain health, holiness, happiness, and all that constitutes the kingdom of God. Because of these things Christian Scientists love and revere Mrs. Eddy as few men or women have been loved. She proved what she taught and proved it in manner that could not be misunderstood. Perhaps no great religious reformer has ever had a more loyal and devoted body of followers than Mrs. Eddy has. This devotion, however, is in no way personal. Christian Scientists are devoted to Mrs. Eddy because she has taught them the way of salvation from mortality. She has taught them how to put on the Mind of Christ, how to gain a practical, demonstrable understanding of God and of man in God's likeness. She, in fact, taught and demonstrated for this age the only way of salvation. Christian Scientists therefore accept as practicable and demonstrable Christianity Mrs. Eddy's statement in her textbook (Science and Health, p. 519): "Mortals can never know the infinite, until they throw off the old man and reach the spiritual image and likeness. What can fathom infinity! How shall we declare Him, till, in the language of the apostle, 'we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ'?"