This entry has been updated with Part 2, resulting from the answering of a comment below.
Since the Scopes Monkey Trials in the 1920s, during which Darwin’s materially scientific theory of the origin and evolution of mankind clashed powerfully with the Fundamental Christian interpretation of mankind as being the literal descendents of Adam and Eve, material science and traditional religion have become increasingly at odds with one another. Christian Science asks two questions to open minded and sincere seekers of the Truth of being: First, what if both sides of this argument are correct with respect to their own respective premises? Second, what if the absolute and correct answer to the question of the origin of mankind depends upon a set of absolutely spiritually true premises; lost premises which have were presented in practice by the Master Christian, Jesus Christ, over 2 millennia ago? In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science which was first published in 1875, author Mary Baker Eddy presents the following potential syllogism in a paragraph bearing the marginal subheading “Rejected theories” on page 269:
“The theories I combat are these: (1) that all is matter; (2) that matter originates in Mind, and is as real as Mind, possessing intelligence and life. The first theory, that matter is everything, is quite as reasonable as the second, that Mind and matter coexist and cooperate. One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind. Which one is it?”
Darwin’s theory of evolution begins with proposition (1). Evolution explains man’s existence as the result of the action of intelligent matter. It begins with the premise that everything substantial is comprised of matter. Evolution leaves the presence of God, or a source of intelligence capable of arranging such complex action, either out of the picture entirely, or it assigns intelligence to matter itself by the presence of a substance which has been more recently called DNA. Some justify their belief in both God and evolution by assigning God the credit for the design of DNA. No matter what the individual view of the supporter of evolution may be, evolution in general includes the premise that all substantiality or entity is contained in material forms. Evolution does not provide for any explanation of entity either before of after appearance in the material form. Spiritual entity is “off limits” in the evolutionary explanation. This is one of two common points of human view.
The story of Adam and Eve begins with proposition (2). As Mrs. Eddy states, it is just as reasonable (or unreasonable!) to assume that matter is derived from the divine intelligence of God, as it is to assume that matter contains its own resident intelligence. The story of Adam and Eve in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the book of Genesis reveals a human understanding of man which is based upon the premise that man was created by the Lord God out of matter, out of the dust of the ground, but is animated with God’s divine intelligence. The rules of this explanation also state that man must be born of flesh, live in flesh, and that this flesh, being finite and limited in nature, must again return to a lifeless form of matter. This second explanation goes one step higher than the initial proposition, in that it provides some explanation of a spiritual entity or consciousness. The entity of the Adam-man is said to reside within a finite soul which lives on after the death of the body. This is the second of two common points of human view. This traditional analysis has never been able to explain why man appears in a fleshly form, even though he is admitted to already have an immortal nature in consciousness, already assigned by God.
Christian Science intervenes with a deeper analysis and an explanation of the apparent physical appearance of man in human consciousness. In the human experience, man appears to be physical in spite of his already immortal nature. This immortal nature is reflected in man’s being as Soul. Christians understand God, good, to be omnipotent and omnipresent, the source of all valid entity. Christians also understand God to be Spirit, and thus that God cannot be comprised of matter. To attempt put God into a material form would assign God an impossible limited, finite, and mortal nature, contrary to the very definition of God. God as cause is the only substantial and permanent entity, and man as effect is God’s image and likeness. Matter is not that likeness, and hence not the effect of God, Spirit. Matter must then be the opposite of Spirit, and evil is unmistakably the opposite of good.
Yet, our human experience proclaims that good and evil, spirit and matter, reside alongside one another. How can good and evil coexist, and how can spirit and matter coexist, where all valid entity is good and spiritual? They cannot! Is it not possible that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the forbidden fruit described in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 of which Adam and Eve partook, resulted in Adam’s curse on himself – a false awareness of the presence of evil in his life? God told Adam not to partake in the belief of evil – to avoid partaking of that tree. Adam did, and humans continue to follow that Adam model. Why do humans continue to partake of it, accepting that both good and evil, spirit and matter, are ever present? Because, we so educate ourselves to live human life. We must reverse this education if we hope to find spiritual reality and eternal life. How could God, Spirit, good, comprising all valid entity, allow a place for His opposites, evil and matter, to reside? Where all space is filled only with the entity of God, nothing remains but good! To say that God allows evil, could be likened to saying that the sun sets aside a place for darkness to reside. The sun dispels darkness by shining. So, God dispels evil by BEING, and man dispels evil by thinking as God does. As the sun simply shines, so God simply IS. Since God, good, created all which is valid, must not all which is valid, be good? Is it not a present possibility, based on this logical analysis, that evil, the opposite of good, is simply invalid? Can the sun emit rays of darkness, or only rays of sunshine?
The conclusion being that man’s real entity is spiritual in nature, what then could be the purpose of our living life in matter? There actually is none. God did not put us into a material form. Adam only created the illusion of this environment, this apparent material form, by partaking of the forbidden fruit. Spiritual man, existing in an eternal spiritual form, is the reality. Adam’s life is only a dream.
Why would God, the creator of all that is substantial, perfect, eternal, valid, and spiritual have reason to put man into a material universe, in which law appears to operate independently from the universal law of God, good? God, Love did not, could not, and would not! Instead, humans continue dreaming the Adam dream initiated by figuratively partaking of the forbidden fruit. The first chapter of Genesis clearly states that the universe was already created by God, and that it was created to remain perfect. God had already rested on the seventh day to behold Himself and His creation of perfection. Matter and evil were not part of the perfect and complete spiritual creation of Genesis Chapter 1. No mention of them appears except in the context of man’s supposed second, material creation, in Chapter 2.
Mankind continued and continues to dream the Adam-dream of existence in a material realm. Later, Christ appeared in the form of Jesus to take away to take away the sins of the world. What were these sins? Following the initial creation of spiritual perfection, from whence came sins, or from whence could sins come? Could sins have proceeded from the initial and perfect creation, in which man was made in the image and likeness of God, good, as in Chapter 1? Or, did sins derive from man’s false perception of himself as the descendant of the fleshly Adam, as in Chapters 2 and 3? Sin is most simply defined as the false recognition of any power or entity existing outside of the perfect and infinite self-containment of divine Love, Mind, God. Because Jesus came to take away the sins of the world, he could only take away sin from the Adam-concept of man – not from God’s spiritual and perfect man. God’s image and likeness, spiritual man, is permanently sinless, residing in a perfect and infinite realm wholly apart from that of the Adam man. The spiritual man needs no salvation. His perfection is unimpeachable. We rarely see, or feel that we are experiencing being this spiritual man because we have buried our sense of our spiritual nature in the belief and dream of material living.
From what does the Adam man need to be saved? He needs to be saved from his own false sense of material existence; an existence he began dreaming when he fell into a deep sleep (Gen 2: 21). Adam needs to regurgitate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. What evidence do we have from the New Testament to support this understanding?
In I Corinthians 15: 26 Paul wrote” The last enemy that shall be overcome is death” Death, then, cannot have its source in God. Otherwise we would not be advised to overcome it. Jesus plainly overcame death by bringing at least three people back from its seeming grip, not to mention his own resurrection.
Paul also wrote in Romans 8:6 “ For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” The word carnal indicates a fleshly existence. We are being clearly told to dwell in the spirituality of our consciousness, not its apparent materiality. What does Paul say is the result of dwelling on materialism? Death. Death, which we have already shown by Paul’s previous statements, has no origin in God, and is the very opposite of the eternal Life which Jesus demonstrated. Death is explained by Paul to be the by-product of keeping thought buried in materialism and the carnal nature. The carnal nature has its roots in the Adam-dream.
In I Corinthians 15:22 Paul writes “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Christ is the perfect spiritual man. The Christ nature was most perfectly lived by Jesus. By partaking of that Christ, our true spiritual nature, we find eternal life. The sense of matter and evil, is all that must die, and that sense finds its origin in the belief of living life in the material Adam-dream.
How can we arise from this Adam dream and enter into our heritage of eternal life? Again, Paul wrote (I Cor 15:53, 54) “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” We can choose to align our thought with the Christ thought through continual awareness and self-purification. As we drop the false characteristics of our old identity as an Adam-man, we gain increasingly clearer perceptions of our spiritual identity as a Christ-like man. In proportion as we do this, our lives more closely approximate the perfect life demonstrated by Jesus. Matter and material law become increasingly less influential and more powerless as our self consciousness aligns increasingly more closely with the perfect spiritual Christ-nature.
Here enters the logic of the second set of premises in our quote from Science and Health: “One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind. Which one is it?” In this sentence, proposition (1) still refers to evolutional theory, while proposition (2) emphasizes man’s perfect and spiritual nature, where, according to the evidence presented in the above logic, matter is entirely excluded.
Man’s nature as the child of God excludes mortality and carnal existence. We can rejoice now in the assurance that we can and will awake from the Adam dream to find ourselves where we always were, safe and sound in the arms of divine Love, where matter is found to be only a distorted representation of God’s already perfect ideas.