The ancient myth of Adam and his tribe gives definition to the term dysfunctional. It tells the story of a dust-made man who was placed in a lovely garden where it was assumed that he would thrive. But was he happy? No. He was lonely and bored. It’s not that there wasn’t a lot to do. There were fruit to pick and animals to name. But Adam didn’t like his job. It didn’t satisfy him. His solution? He got a mate.
What a gift! You would think they would have been a perfect fit, but not so. Unfortunately, she inherited a bit of Adam’s attitude. After all, she was pulled directly from his side. Eve was unhappy in her garden with all those animals. One creature suggested that it would be smart to eat fruit from a forbidden tree. Bad idea. And Adam, the poor dolt, followed his wife into the same trap.
Things slid downhill rapidly for the couple. Unhappy, dissatisfied, bored, disobedient, and now, exhausted… (Did I mention Adam was demoted from a fruit-picker and animal namer to a ground tiller?) … the couple decided it was the perfect moment to have kids.
Along came two sons. And, yup. Cain and Able were two apples that didn't fall far from the tree. Dissatisfaction led to jealousy, and jealousy to infighting. Given their roots, it seems only natural that they would become predators and victims in their turn.
The way the story goes, Adam’s tribe couldn’t really help themselves. They were born that way. It was the creator’s fault, of course - this miserable god who, out of mist and dirt, activated a storyline that was destined from the beginning to degenerate into dysfunction.
In all, the Adam myth is a pretty good explanation of what the nightmare of mortal existence looks like when we reason from the false premise that man is the victim of material circumstance, and that gods, or God, made us this way.
Some segments of the population take the Adam story as a literal truth. Certain others reject the general account while accepting the logic it emphasizes – material origins, dysfunctional comportment unavoidable – as generally correct. But a third point of view was first offered by a 5th century prophet, reiterated and demonstrated by Christ Jesus, carried forward by the apostles and early Christians, and later researched, proven and published in the works of Mary Baker Eddy. They give a better, accurate view of creation as spiritual, not material, and show us a way out of the chain reaction of dysfunction.
A discontented, discordant mortal is no more a man than discord is music. EDDY, SCIENCE & HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES,, 305
Through false estimates of soul as dwelling in sense and of mind as dwelling in matter, belief strays into a temporary loss or absence of soul, spiritual truth. This state of error is the mortal dream of life and substance as existent in matter, and is directly opposite to the immortal reality of being. So long as we believe that soul can sin or that immortal Soul is in mortal body, we can never understand the Science of being. When humanity does understand this Science, it will become the law of Life to man, — even the higher law of Soul, which prevails over material sense through harmony and immortality. IBID. 311
The good news about dysfunction is, we aren't born that way. It is NOT a life sentence.
We CAN do better, start from a better, correct view of who we are and where we come from. As we near the broader, spiritual interpretations of being, and gain clearer views of God and man, dysfunction will be - completely and finally - put off.
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Life without age or decay
A year or so after my first husband passed on, I caught a glimpse of a white head and wrinkly face on the living room mantle. I took a closer look at the last photo taken of him. I had no recollection of him like that.
He had been 34 years older than me; and yet, even after fifteen years of marriage, I had never noticed the age difference. In my eyes, he never acted or looked older. I showed my daughter the photo and asked if she remembered her dad as aging. She didn't, either.
A “Portrait of Dorian Gray” moment? I don’t think so. My husband just didn’t see himself as an aging mortal. He didn’t live his life that way. So, we didn’t see him that way either. I can only remember him as strong and handsome, vibrant and active. The photo may have captured the world’s belief about age, but he never looked like that.
Some months after the photo incident, I read an account of a woman whose child had drowned at about eighteen months. Seven or so years later, the mother still deeply grieved. Praying to have the heaviness lifted off her heart one afternoon, the mom fell asleep and dreamed. She saw a young woman, beautiful, who looked to be in her late twenties. The woman said to her, "I am happy, don't be sad." When she awakened, the grief was gone.
Had she seen her daughter in the dream? According to a mortal timeline, the child would have only been 8 or 9. But it occurred to the mom that she had seen her daughter – but not as a mortal or a ghost. She glimpsed the eternal idea of God, reflected by her daughter – beautiful, healthy and alive. She realized that while she, the mom, had believed her daughter had passed through mortal stages of infancy and toddlerhood, and that then her life had been brutally interrupted; that, in fact, she had only and always existed at her highest and best, as the mature and magnificent reflection of the divine, unending Life who is God.
The Psalmist said of God, “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life.” (16:10,11) Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun." (246)
If manhood (including womanhood) is the eternal noon of virtue and truth, and if this is the “path of divine Life” that God makes known to us, could it be that babyhood, adolescence and old age are simply mortal, limited views of a spiritual being that only ever exists at its highest and most beautiful?
A year or so after my husband passed on, I also dreamed of him one night. In the dream, he was preparing to work on the roof. In a brief conversation we said how much we loved each other. Then he climbed the ladder and disappeared. In this dream he looked exactly as I always saw him – active, healthy, brimming with purpose. I didn’t see an age or stage. In fact, he seemed ageless.
Pulling these pieces together in thinking about true being, I have a whole new sense of existence at “eternal noon”. God’s man is not, and never has been, an immature mental, emotional or physical being. We are neither underdeveloped (babies), overdeveloped (aged), nor under a state of development (uncomfortable, agitated adolescents). God’s creation exists right now at its highest and best. That is how God, as Mind, creates and reveals each one of us, His perfect ideas.
We are neither dimmed by decline nor needing to grow brighter to reach our noon. We are always the brightest and best. Each one of us! And this day is about recognizing some yet undiscovered (but very present) aspect of our brilliance – true spiritual being at its eternal noon - and simply letting it shine.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
(Psalm 16:5-11, NIV)
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_An Indiana Senate committee voted 8-2 on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would require public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science class. Is this progress? Or is the already murky water of the creation debate just getting an infusion of more mud?
On one hand, there is the materialist view of man's origin excluding Spirit from the equation altogether. This is found in the teaching that substance and life is 100 percent material and self-evolved.
On the other hand, there is a religious view of creation based on the Adam and Eve story, with man originating in divinely activated dust. Setting aside or perhaps unaware of Biblical scholarship that exposes the contrary, creationists teach that the 7 day explanation in Genesis, chapter 1, results in the hopelessly flawed Adam generation in Genesis, chapter 2, - as if these two accounts are one singular literal rendering of the origin of man.
Prayer and pest control
Our house was completely overrun with fleas one year. I tried everything I could think of to handle the problem. Sprays, bombs, powders, baths, liquid products, collars, and finally a professional exterminator... nothing helped. Funny thing was, neither the dog nor the cats seemed too bothered. It was my family that was being bitten.
I struggled for months trying different approaches to eliminate the problem, only to have the situation worsen. Then it occurred to me that I had tried everything except prayer to solve this problem. I turned to the Bible to find some direction for my prayer and came across an interesting story. It involved a snake infestation.
Find me on YouTube
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no
© 2011-2023 Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche, CSB. All rights reserved. Pages updated 2 December, 2022.