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Editorial
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


         Never before in the religious history of the world has the question of likeness to God been considered and discussed as it has since the advent of Christian Science. Prior to that time, the opinion seemed to prevail to a large extent that mortal man was the "image" and "likeness" referred to in the Bible, and here logic was dropped to make room for mere belief, since it is axiomatic that an effect can never be unlike its cause. Hardly anyone would presume to claim for the average mortal a likeness to Deity, if by this is meant a likeness in mind and character. This, however, was not the concept held as to the likeness; rather was it believed that, as mortals have bodily forms, God must of necessity have the same — to establish the likeness! It was indeed considered presumptuous, if not blasphemous, to claim that man's likeness to God must be an absolute likeness in nature, character, and activity, yet this is surely the teaching of Christ Jesus as understood in Christian Science.

         The belief that the human body is the divine likeness receives a strong rebuke in that wonderful passage in the eighth chapter of Romans where Paul says that Christ Jesus came "in the likeness of sinful flesh," a statement which nullifies the argument that Christ Jesus as seen by mortals was the likeness of God. His likeness to God, in nature and character, was not seen by mankind, else would they have understood his wonderful works to be the necessary expression of the divine nature. Mrs. Eddy says, "No form nor physical combination is adequate to represent infinite Love. . . . A limitless mind cannot proceed from physical limitations" (Science and Health, p. 256).

         Since this truth has been given to the world human thought has been rising surely, if slowly, to the recognition of a truer concept of God and man than the material or corporeal. A religious woman who had been exploring the slums once said to a Christian Scientist, that she was shocked at the awful types which she had seen there, and that she wondered where the image and likeness of God was to be found among those people. The Scientist asked if she felt sure that the "likeness" could be found in her own drawing-room when her cultured friends were assembled there. The lady was startled, and said she had never before seen the subject in this light — that she had always supposed the image and likeness to mean a fine physique and a "good face," but that she began to see the utter inconsistency of such an opinion. It was explained to her that as we are taught in Christian Science the real man — the likeness or reflection of God — can no more be cognized by the physical senses than can God Himself, and yet that no deep thinker questions the existence of Deity.

         Peter says, "Whom having not seen, ye love." Is it not true that what we really love in anyone is that which is invisible to material sense? Do we not love the mental and spiritual qualities and activities which prove man's likeness to a perfect creator, to divine Mind? And, be it understood, this teaching of Christian Science is no mere abstraction, for what would even human existence be without those things which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard" — without love and truth, without hope and faith, without intelligence and goodness? Without these life would indeed not be worth living, and God would be unexpressed — there would be no "likeness." But the Bible tells us that God has never left Himself "without witness," and so we have glimpses all through human history of the divine idea rebuking evil and proving the power of God, good, the light of Truth and Love shining most clearly through the nature, character and work of Christ Jesus.

         If it is true, as Paul declares, that "in Adam all die," it is no less true that "in Christ shall all be made alive." A false concept of God and man has failed to make any "alive" in the truest sense, but the true idea of God, revealed in Christian Science, shows us how "the likeness of sinful flesh" may be "put off," and as the divine likeness is proved in word and deed, we begin to realize the truth so beautifully expressed by Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians (Rev. Ver.): "But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."

 

Editorial by Annie M. Knott, CSD
The Christian Science Journal, July, 1908
 

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