A number of years ago, I spoke to an association of atheists on Christian Science. I’ll admit, I was prepared for a debate. Instead, I encountered a thoughtful, respectful audience cherishing the universal desire to experience lasting good.
While the word “God” was loaded with too many unhelpful connotations for them, we could dialogue on intelligence, on Life, Principle, Truth, Love— all terms used in Christian Science to describe the universal Good that is God.
I learned from that encounter that we all have spiritual sense – the capacity to break through restrictive barriers and beliefs to discover and understand God as He really is. Mary Baker Eddy called this spiritual sense “a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.”
In the Glossary of Scriptural terms in the Key to the Scriptures part of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy gives a definition for God that exposes the divine from many angles.
“God. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence." p.587
That one definition alone gives everyone a jumping-off point to understand God.
The Bible speaks of God as an unchanging power, or law, in whom is “neither variableness nor shadow of turning.” (James 1). In Christian Science, the term divine Principle describes the invariable law of Good that is God. Principle is always expressed in good. Good doesn’t end. Love never quits.
Scripture also identifies God as Spirit. So God that is Principle and Love, is also everpresent Spirit. This means that God’s creation – you and I and everyone, really - are spiritual – that is, we are made by, and of, the substance of Spirit. Love equates to unlimited goodness, Principle to invariable law, Spirit to true substance. Do you see the expansive nature of the God vocabulary of Christian Science? And it is practical, too.
The facts of God are like the facts of math. You just can’t know too much. The more math facts you know, the less of a problem you find in daily calculations. Who is afraid of a multiplication problem, when they have learned their multiplication tables? A kid who knows his 9’s table isn’t afraid of 9 x 9. Just the opposite. He can’t wait to use his 81 every chance he gets!
Considering the true nature of God from so many angles, can actually change the way one deals with life problems, because an expansive sense of God gives ready answers to any issue that may arise.
Now some may be tempted to think, “But I have always been bad at math!” Whether it is the truth of math or the Truth that is God, we are all equipped with the spiritual sense necessary to know what is true.
Christ Jesus used the term “kingdom of God” to describe spiritual sense.
"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20,21
"This kingdom of God 'is within you,' — is within reach of man's consciousness here... In divine Science, man possesses this recognition of harmony consciously in proportion to his understanding of God." Science and Health 576:21
The kingdom of God describes God’s revelation of good to His creation. Spiritual sense is a term used in Christian Science to convey our capacity as God’s children to understand what God is. Spiritual sense lets us experience the divine in everyday life. We all have it, but we don’t all use it. Why?
Jesus answered that. He knew that we often become buried in, preoccupied with, material sense – what I call the “Eat, Drink, Clothing syndrome” of a focus on material comforts and discomforts.
Material sense pulls the attention to externals, instead of to seeking the kingdom of God within. Material sense is the backward, downward drag of the perpetual, mistaken belief:
Jesus challenged this:
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? ... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6, King James Version
In The Message, I think Eugene Peterson has a helpful take on Jesus' words, showing the contrast between the masters of material sense and spiritual sense, when he paraphrases:
“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other...There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body...People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met." Matthew 6, The Message
And the rest of Jesus teachings show that when you put first things first, and exercise your spiritual sense, human needs are met without the drag of limitation, risk or fear.
“Take no thought” is not a Pollyanna approach to life that ignores problems. It’s work. Hard work! Christian Science makes strong moral and ethical demands on one. It’s not enough to know God’s law of good if you don’t obey it. It’s not enough to know math facts if you never work an equation. We must take what we learn of God and live it through honesty, purity, selflessness and love, even when it is difficult. This is the spiritual and moral sense that gave Jesus the power to heal sickness and sin and to supply human needs. It can do the same for us.
Mrs. Eddy once wrote – “The talent and genius of the centuries have wrongly reckoned. …They have not accepted the simple teaching and life of Jesus as the only true solution of the perplexing problem of human existence.” Unity of Good, Eddy, 9
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is within us. God’s kingdom of health and harmony is with us, within all of us, already, right now. We all have the spiritual sense that allows us to understand and experience God and His marvelous creation.
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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