What are We? What Does it Mean to be the Image and Likeness of God?

 

I hope that this material below is not copyrighted, but I am giving full credit to its author, Martha Wilcox, who was, I believe, a Christian Science teacher who was taught by Mrs. Eddy herself.  I’m going to comment on the parts that were most relevant to me.  To grasp the entire excerpt may be too much to absorb for the newcomer to Christian Science.  One needs to be familiar with the perspective from which Christian Science explains existence.

This is one big reason why Christian Science is so commonly falsely accused of being “unchristian”, or “contrary to the Gospels”.  It is anything but those things!  Being “Christian” in today’s world seems to require unquestioningly subscribing to what we are told  to believe, and to read the Bible in the manner in which we have been taught to read it by a humanized theology that has been evolving for over two thousand years.  And this policy is generally enforced by the fear of hell within that very theology.

Well, this is hardly what Christ Jesus did!  Jesus rebelled strongly  against the theology of his time!  He interpreted and understood Scripture on his own terms. Christian Science also steps out of that line, and as Christ Jesus did, openly ponders and analyzes the Scriptures outside of the boundaries of tradition, and thus uncovers the hidden science behind Jesus’ works. To really independently understand the Scriptures requires a lot of humanly difficult mental work.  Some refer to this method of thinking as “thinking outside the box”.  Jesus already once did the hard work of understanding being itself, and he presented it to an unaccepting and generally closed-minded theologically influenced world.  In the original Christian church, most of his message, including the ability to heal Christianly, was lost in the span of a few centuries due to external theological and political influences upon Christianity, which were adopted to make it more palatable to the people.  The most important legacy Jesus left was the record of his accomplishments of healing, and he encouraged us to work to understand God as he did, and to do the works that he did.  We will never be able to begin to understand the principle behind his powerful works and what men call miracles, as long as our minds are as closed to stepping outside of traditional doctrine, as were the minds of the scribes and Pharisees!

To comprehend Christian Science, one must be willing to do what is unnatural to human thought, and that is to absorb the propositions presented as if one were in complete ignorance, as if you know nothing at all about how to understand the world, completely unaffected by any preconceptions of the way you may presently interpret the world.  So, here are the parts of the excerpt below which struck me most powerfully:

We all tend to think of The Savior, Christ, to be something or someone outside of ourselves.   In this excerpt, Miss Wilcox expands upon this and upon the idea of identity.  She says this about man being the image of God:

“A reflection always does two things: it receives and it gives back what it receives. In this way, reflection establishes the divine Mind to itself as a great fact or entity. Just as, humanly, your idea of yourself gives back to you the fact of your own being, and establishes you to yourself as an entity. If we could only remember that “I can of mine own self do nothing,” then we could better understand that we are a living conscious reflection. We should know the tremendous importance of our function and our divine purpose — that of being reflection.”    She continues:

“The I, or Ego, or Mind, or Savior that is present is aware of Himself, and this awareness of Himself is His idea, or image like Himself, and is His individual child — as divine intelligence or myself. Himself, as idea, is myself.”

This establishes just how close to God we are, and just how close The Savior is to us right now!  Christ, is  the saving nature of God that resides directly in our own reflection of God’s perfect nature!   How can this be?  We can perceive it when we are able to realize that there are not many minds and many identities in the spiritual realm.  There is only  God and his many ideas emanating from this one  divine Mind, expressed as man.  So, when we are able to completely allow our consciousness to be governed by God, rather than by the human sense which falsely believes that we are all living in a realm similar to but separated from God, our very own thinking is one with Christ!

On a related note, I also recommend a book I just finished reading, and will be reading at the minimum a second time, entitled  As “I” See It. The Scientifically Spiritual Perspective  The author is John Hargreaves, the publisher Mulberry Press.

 

ALL THINGS ARE MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL

Excerpt from The Word Made Flesh

Association Address of 1937

By Martha Wilcox

 

I want to present a fundamental truth, and in order to make it clear and to aid those who are not so advanced in the practice of Christian Science, I shall illustrate it. This fundamental truth is that all things are mental and spiritual.

It is a wonderful thing to understand that all things are necessarily mental — formations of the one conscious Mind — and that all things are just as necessarily spiritual because of the character of Mind. I well remember when, for the first time, I understood that all things of which I am conscious are thought and never external to or separate from what I call my mind — that what I call my mind is not always seeing things as they actually are.

Once when I was at Mrs. Eddy’s home, one of her beautiful horses was in a serious condition. This was reported to her, and in substance she said, “What the horse is to you, is not actually the way that idea is.” Things are not what they seem. No, things are only what they are. They are figures of the true. If our faith were but more simple, we would see them as they are — expressions of the divine in forms we call material.

Mrs. Eddy showed us that the so-called human mind held within itself its own self-made concept of horse and attached to it its own qualities of being sick or well. And she also showed us that this one so-called mortal mind gives to each of us one and the same concept, horse. She then showed us that this beautiful horse which we all so much admired was wholly within the realm of consciousness as image or idea. She showed us that the divine Mind was the only power which could formulate an idea; that the divine Mind was the substance and character of every particular idea; and that the divine Mind was all there was to what the human mind called horse. She showed us that we did not need to heal a horse, but we did need to restore our vision from that which was untrue to that which was in the realm of spiritual consciousness.

The work was not to be done on the horse. The only horse there was already perfect. And she showed us that the true idea, horse, was the one and the same horse in each individual consciousness. We thoroughly understood that the horse which we saw as material and sick was to be seen as it really was. We were not to change a sick horse into a well horse, but we were to change our thought from belief to Truth.

We also thoroughly understood that the divine Mind was the I, or Ego, present that  we were calling the personal I, and this divine Mind, present, was conscious of, and was seeing its own contents or ideas as horse. The horse did not need healing. Mrs. Eddy only restored our vision to the truth or fact that the only Mind present was aware of its own perfection. And with the restoration of our vision from belief to Truth, the horse appeared to us as it always had been.  This was my first clear apprehension of the fact that what I called my mind, or the personal I, as seeing things, was always the one I, or Ego, present as self-conscious being; that what I called my mind only typified the Mind that was actually here.

This was also my first clear apprehension of the fact that a Christian Scientist has nothing to do with effects. If a Christian Scientist has the divine Mind present as the only Mind, this Mind itself sees and is aware of its own identity or effects. I understood for the first time that if I allowed the so-called human mind to have place, then the human mind would see and know its own imperfect concept — a sick horse needing healing. I understood the necessity of maintaining the fact of the one divine Mind.

True enough, it does seem there is a so-called human mind that sees and feels the contents and qualities of its own erroneous mortal self. And in order that what I call the personal I may see and feel the good, I must understand that the divine Mind, the one I, or Ego, is all there is present to what I call my mind. I must let that Mind be present which is the cause of good and which sees and feels itself as being all good effects. There is no other I or conscious being present.

It is the Savior, or impersonal Truth, or divine Mind that sees His own image and likeness. The human mind can see man only according to its own idea of itself, which is always material, corporeal, mortal and finite. And as long as I see or believe man as actually material and finite and corporeal, the Savior, or impersonal Truth is not present as my consciousness.

So every morning and many times each day, I declare: “The I, or Ego, or Mind, or Savior that is present is aware of Himself, and this awareness of Himself is His idea, or image like Himself, and is His individual child — as divine intelligence or myself. Himself, as idea, is myself.”

Students, do you see the importance of having that Mind present which sees and knows and is all things as they actually are? And do you understand that this Mind is the only Mind? The divine Mind is the great author of all His children — the sons and daughters of God, known in our human existence as men and women. But I must see and know men and women as they are — expressions of the divine in forms which we call material. We are each and all the infinite disclosures of the one divine conscious being, and as various expressions of one and the same divine Mind, we make up the spiritual universe.

God, the one and the same Mind, is the existence, the sub stance, the character and the intelligence of each one of us — just as the one light of the sun is the substance and the shining of all its rays. The one light is all there is. God, or Mind, is each one’s selfhood. God, or Mind, is all there is to each one of His children, or to all His children. There is nothing but the one divine Mind in His infinite disclosure or expression.

The Function of Man Is Reflection

The function of man, or the function of the sons and daughters of God — who appear to us as men and women, is never other than reflection.

Man, as the idea of Mind, receives all that he is from the Mind that constitutes him, and gives back to that Mind the facts of Mind’s own being. A reflection always does two things: it receives and it gives back what it receives. In this way, reflection establishes the divine Mind to itself as a great fact or entity. Just as, humanly, your idea of yourself gives back to you the fact of your own being, and establishes you to yourself as an entity. If we could only remember that “I can of mine own self do nothing,” then we could better understand that we are a living conscious reflection. We should know the tremendous importance of our function and our divine purpose — that of being reflection.

In substance, Mrs. Eddy once said to a student, “Every mortal has been taught to believe that he holds within himself the capacity to give birth to many things — in other words, to be a maker of many things.” Every mortal has been taught that he, of himself, can make a home, a living, a career, produce a condition, an atmosphere, or an organization — and all in the face of the Bible’s declaration, “The Lord is thy Maker.” God is the Principle and Life of all His ideas. He is therefore the only source of all that constitutes a ‘living.’ Man’s living then is made. God has made it and man has it in the measure that he is reflection. Man is dependent only on God for it.

What is this argument of my body — sick or well — my house, my family, my bank account, my letter which I am writing, my church, my disposition, but the belief that we can give birth to many things, that we can be a maker! In reality all that we can do is to reflect, and we have the infinite capacity to reflect the perfection of the infinite Mind.

I want to repeat these important points about reflection. Students, you can see that humanly you would not exist to your self were it not for the idea of yourself. The idea of yourself establishes you to yourself as an entity. Does not the idea or consciousness of yourself equal you? Would not this idea or consciousness include all that you are?

Reflection is what you are. Now, divine Mind has an idea of Himself and Mind’s idea of Himself is man. Then Mind is established to Himself as Mind, or as existence, because of His idea of Himself. His idea gives back to Him the fact of His own being. Now, can you see the divine purpose or function of man — as idea or reflection? There would not be the established fact of one thing in Mind’s creation were it not for man — as idea or reflection. Then is not Mind’s idea of Himself equal to Him although dependent upon Him? Then does not idea or consciousness include all that Mind is? You will admit that Mind’s idea is as all-inclusive as Mind is.

Reflection is now. Then why should a Christian Scientist select some certain thing that he would like to have true, and try to bring it to pass? There is a tendency among Christian Scientists to seek to demonstrate something — to demonstrate health or to demonstrate abundance, which is perfectly legitimate. But the fact is that what the divine Mind is, is now, and Mind is All. Man, the idea or reflection, is now. One cannot make a demonstration by believing that something is going to take place which is not already true and in existence, and is not already ours.

There is not a man in the universe that is less than the absolute expression of an infinite God and that is not the idea of all-inclusive good. There is one infinite idea or consciousness and that includes all things — includes the universe, includes all that place means, and all that plan means, and all that opportunity means. There is nothing bigger or besides God’s idea of Himself. God’s all-inclusive abundance is man’s all-inclusive abundance. God and man are one.

 

 

 

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