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Editorial
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


         Apart from the teachings of Christian Science, the relation supposed to exist between soul and body was at one time discussed with a good deal of freedom, when we consider the impossibility of reaching any definite conclusions on the subject by material means. The writer once heard two good deacons disputing warmly over the location of the soul, one insisting that it was in the brain, and the other being quite certain that it was in the heart, and each quoted Scripture in support of his argument. It is needless to say that no one was enlightened by the discussion. Some time after this, the subject was publicly canvassed by several well-known medical men at a convention held in Chicago, and a distinguished specialist gave it as his opinion that man had no soul, because neither scalpel nor microscope could find any trace of it.

         The tendency of the human mind has ever been to cling to the body, to study its structure and constantly minister to it, and yet the Bible counsels us to be "absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord," the only mental state which can give us assured freedom. This state is not, however, reached in a day; indeed it can only be reached through entire spiritualization of thought, motive, and action, and this calls for an ever-advancing comprehension of the great truths taught in Christian Science. A student of Christian Science once remarked rather airily, during class instruction, that she had always believed God to be incorporeal. She was then asked if she understood man to be the image and likeness of God, and when she replied affirmatively, she was obliged to admit that the real, spiritual man must be like his creator, incorporeal.

         Mrs. Eddy says: "Man's true consciousness is in the mental, not in any bodily or personal likeness to Spirit. Indeed, the body presents no proper likeness to divinity, though mortal sense would fain have us so believe" (Science and Health, p. 302). It is therefore a mistake to attempt to trace our likeness to God by taking the physical body, or its members, even as symbols of divine ideas, and this is done only because mortal mind is so unwilling to let go of the belief of life, substance, and intelligence in matter. It is true that the Bible speaks of "the hand of the Lord," also "the eyes of the Lord," but it will surely be conceded by all Christian Scientists that it would be grossly materialistic, and even irreverent, to take these passages as in any wise relating to corporeality.

         On page 38 of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy explains that the hand of the Lord "expresses spiritual power," a concept of vital significance to us in every hour of need, but which loses its true meaning for the one who attempts to argue that his own hand cannot be painful or diseased because God's hand is not, an utterly false and unspiritual logic as will be readily seen when we attempt to apply it to the digestive system, brain, nerves, etc. Its tendency would be to lead thought away from the divine teachings of Christ Jesus, who said that God must be worshiped "in spirit and in truth," and away from obedience to the stern prohibition of the second commandment, which says, "Thou shalt not make unto thee . . . any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above," for it is no less idolatry to materialize our thought of God than it is to make a graven image and bow down to it. The gods of the heathen were all corporeal, but not so the one infinite Mind known of old as the true deliverer, and known today in Christian Science as ever-present Life and Love.

         It is true that it seems almost impossible for mortals to rise to the heights indicated and reached by Christ Jesus, indeed they can never do this until they cease clinging to the physical body in a vain attempt to make it symbolize Deity; but we are helped by knowing that the "human sense of Deity yields to the divine sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea, as one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love" (Science and Health, p. 576). If we could but realize always that the true sense of God and man alone can liberate us, and help us to free others from the oppressive bondage of belief in a material body with all its false pleasures and pains, we would never consent to the error of trying to link it to the spiritual idea. The "old man" must be "put off," not retained as a type of God's man, who is perfect because of his divine origin.

         Our Leader's inspired teaching on pages 260 and 261 of Science and Health cannot be too often studied and pondered, especially as it meets the human need of health and happiness by directing thought away from the body to the divine Principle of all being. We are there told to "forget our bodies in remembering good and the human race;" and we have this strong assurance: "Breaking away from the mutations of time and sense, you will neither lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity."

         Christ Jesus said we should take no thought for the body, and he not only declared the freedom which the understanding of Soul gives, but he demonstrated it in healing the sick, raising the dead, in walking upon the stormiest waters and stilling them. His last commands to Peter we may well take to ourselves, "Feed my lambs," and also, "Feed my sheep," not with mortal opinions, but with the truth which now and ever "giveth life unto the world."

 

Editorial by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Journal, December, 1913
 

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