How Does One Become a Student of Christian Science?

HOW DOES ONE BECOME A STUDENT OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

All you need to do is study the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and strive daily to put into practice what you are learning. You do not need to join a church or group, although these are available in many areas for those who find such support useful. Churches provide an opportunity to meet other students, and to use what you are learning about Christian Science in a supportive atmosphere.  The church (known as The Mother Church, the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts) does not have a monopoly on the textbook, and those who do not want to get involved with organized religion may feel free to study Science and Health and call themselves students of Christian Science.  But the local churches are a good place to hear testimonies of healing and make friends with other Christian Scientists. Most have Sunday School available for children up to age 20.

The textbook itself is a teacher and guide, and, in conjunction with God’s daily revelations to you through individual prayer, should be sufficient for your spiritual education. But, if you would like to have personal instruction, there are experienced Christian Science teachers available. Their names are listed in The Christian Science Journal, which is available from The Christian Science Publishing Society in Boston online or in Christian Science Reading Rooms. If you have a Reading Room in your area, you might find it a great source for Christian Science and Bible literature.

The Christian Science Publishing Society also publishes a study guide, The Quarterly Bible Lessons.  These are daily lessons focused on a theme for the week. On Sundays, the lesson is read at CS church services all over the world. Mrs. Eddy had designated the Bible and Science and Health as the official “Pastor” for CS churches.  This means that you will not hear a personal sermon delivered from the podium, but will be listening to the Word of God straight from the books, with no comments from the Readers. Unlike other worldwide religions, however, the same lesson will be read at all Christian Science churches and societies, so no matter where you travel or move, the message will be consistent.  It sends a powerful prayer out into the world each week.

Also helpful are public practitioners of Christian Science. Most are authorized by The Mother Church in Boston and are listed in The Christian Science Journal.  You can also find other healers online.  Most of these dedicated people are in the full-time ministry of the practice, but some are part-time or beginners. Call them for prayerful assistance if you would like to try spiritual healing for your problems. Most would be happy to work with you and get you started in your study of Christian Science.

A great one-stop source online is JSH.christianscience.com (JSH Online).  There you will find lists of Churches and Societies, Practitioners, Teachers, CS Nurses and more.  Also JSH (referring to Journal, Sentinel, and Herald — the official publications of the Christian Science Publishing Society) provides access to thousands of articles published since the late 1800’s, plus recent podcasts and webblogs.  Much of the content is free to the public; but to reach more you can subscribe.  You can also learn more about Christian Science and the Church at ChristianScience.com.

 

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How Can Christianity Also Be a Science?

HOW CAN CHRISTIANITY ALSO BE A SCIENCE?

Christianity, as demonstrated by Christ Jesus, is based upon God’s laws. These divine laws can be studied, put into practice, and demonstrated as Truth on a consistent basis by those spiritually prepared and working from an understanding of God, rather than from belief alone, or blind faith.

Christian Science is a Science because it is a body of knowledge and facts that can be studied and analyzed. It explains and demonstrates the nature and essence of all Being and the relationship between God and His infinite ideas. It sets aside all human theory, opinion, beliefs, religious creeds and dogmas, and accepts as true only those facts, rules, and laws which can be understood both spiritually and scientifically, and proven true by demonstration.

Christian Science is also a Science because it teaches the scientific classification of all true ideas, and the identification of these ideas with the one Divine Mind. Only those effects that can be traced back to the one true Cause, God, are classified as “real.”  Christian Science also teaches the classification of all false concepts, and the identification of these errors with their source: the carnal, mortal mind and its beliefs of the five physical senses. Those effects that cannot be traced back to the one true Cause, God, are classified as “unreal.”

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

“Christian Science differs from material science, but not on that account is it less scientific. On the contrary, Christian Science is pre-eminently scientific, being based on Truth, the Principle of all science.” (S&H 123)

“In Christian Science mere opinion is valueless. Proof is essential to a due estimate of this subject. Sneers at the application of the word Science to Christianity cannot prevent that from being scientific which is based on divine Principle, demonstrated according to a divine given rule, and subjected to proof. The facts are so absolute and numerous in support of Christian Science, that misrepresentation and denunciation cannot overthrow it. Paul alludes to ‘doubtful disputations.’ The hour has struck when proof and demonstration, instead of opinion and dogma, are summoned to the support of Christianity, ‘making wise the simple.'”  (S&H 341)

What are the Essential Points of Christian Science?

WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL POINTS OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

The best way to learn Christian Science is through careful study of its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and the immediate or steadfast mental application of what you learn. Christian Science is an infinite subject!  We never stop learning.  But here are just a few of the essential points of Christian Science in the words of its Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy:

“This is Christian Science: that mortal mind makes sick, and immortal Mind makes well; that mortal mind makes sinners, while immortal Mind makes saints; that a state of health is but a state of consciousness made manifest on the body, and vice versa; that while one person feels wickedly and acts wickedly, another knows that if he can change this evil sense and  consciousness to a good sense, or conscious goodness, the fruits of goodness will follow, and he has reformed the sinner.”  (Miscellaneous Writings, 219)

“The superiority of spiritual power over sensuous is the central point of Christian Science.”  (S&H 454)

“This conviction, that there is no real pleasure in sin, is one of the most important points in the theology of Christian Science.” (S&H 404) 

“Two essential points of Christian Science are, that neither Life nor man dies, and that God is not the author of sickness.” (S&H 349) 

“The chief stones in the temple of Christian Science are to be found in the following postulates: that Life is God, good, and not evil; that Soul is sinless, not to be found in the body; that Spirit is not, and cannot be, materialized; that Life is not subject to death; that the spiritual real man has no birth, no material life, and no death.” (S&H 288) 

“This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man — governed by God, his perfect Principle — is sinless and eternal.” (S&H 304)

“The heart that beats mostly for self is seldom alight with love. To live so as to keep human consciousness in constant relation with the divine, the spiritual, and the eternal, is to individualize infinite power; and this is Christian Science.” (Miscellany 160)

A study of the textbook Science and Health will explain the meaning behind those statements, some of which may sound radical to the first-time reader.  When it is realized that man, the “image and likeness” of God, is actually a spiritual idea of the divine Mind, and not the mortal that is testified to by the physical senses, they come to make sense and offer a path out of the the wholly material view of the universe.

How does Christian Science define God?

HOW DOES CHRISTIAN SCIENCE DEFINE GOD?

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,  one brief answer to this question “What is God?” is as follows:

“God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.” (S&H 465)

Mary Baker Eddy goes on to explain that those terms are “synonymous,” and writes:

“They refer to one absolute God. They are also intended to express the nature, essence,
and wholeness of Deity. The attributes of God are justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness,
and so on.” (S&H 465)

Elsewhere, in the Glossary of Science and Health, she defines God this way:

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.

The entire textbook explores the “nature, essence, and wholeness” of God, which is the
foundation for the system of Christian Science. Christian Scientists study and pray daily
to get a better understanding of our heavenly Father-Mother.

What is the Mission or Purpose of Christian Science?

WHAT IS THE MISSION OR PURPOSE OF CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

Those who have studied the life of Mary Baker Eddy know that she desperately sought relief from years of physical suffering. When she found that God’s laws are available to heal sickness, she devoted her life to proving these laws, and teaching others how to demonstrate them, so that the whole world would benefit from her discovery. She recognized that Christian Science does more than heal sickness; it heals the root cause of physical suffering: the false belief that God’s child is a sinful mortal, rather than the spiritual “image and likeness” of God. She writes:

“It is not alone the mission of Christian Science to heal the sick, but to destroy sin in mortal thought. This work well done will elevate and purify the race. It cannot fail to do this if we devote our best energies to the work.” (Miscellaneous Writings 4)

“Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness. The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin; and this task, sometimes, may be harder than the cure of disease; because, while mortals love to sin, they do not love to be sick.” (Rudimental Divine Science 2)

In addition to healing sin and physical problems, Christian Science enables us to improve our lives in other ways. For example, many students have proven this statement by Mrs. Eddy:

“The term Science, properly understood, refers only to the laws of God and to His
government of the universe, inclusive of man. From this it follows that business men
and cultured scholars have found that Christian Science enhances their endurance
and mental powers, enlarges their perception of character, gives them acuteness and
comprehensiveness and an ability to exceed their ordinary capacity. The human mind,
imbued with this spiritual understanding, becomes more elastic, is capable of greater
endurance, escapes somewhat from itself, and requires less repose. A knowledge of
the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. It extends
the atmosphere of thought, giving mortals access to broader and higher realms. It
raises the thinker into his native air of insight and perspicacity.” (S&H 128)

Is Christian Science Based Upon the Bible?

IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BASED UPON THE BIBLE?

Yes. Mary Baker Eddy explains: “I have found nothing in ancient or in modern systems on which to found my own, except the teachings and demonstrations of our great Master and the lives of prophets and apostles. The Bible has been my only authority. I have had no other guide in ‘the straight and narrow way’ of Truth.” (S&H 123)

The Bible is given in-depth study by most Christian Scientists, who have found new meaning in its timeless lessons by learning to recognize the spiritual intent behind familiar words and stories. We follow the teachings and example of Christ Jesus, who is the Son of God, our Master, and our Way-shower.

What is Christian Science?

This is the first of a number of questions and answers on Christian Science that originally appeared on the website First Lessons in Christian Science.

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN SCIENCE?

Christian Science is a system of spiritual healing. It is a religion and a science.
In a higher sense, it is the term for the divine laws of God that govern His universe.
These laws were discovered by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. She spent the rest of her
life bringing this discovery to the attention of the world and helping others to understand how to demonstrate these laws in healing sin and sickness. The complete explanation of Christian Science is found in Mary Baker Eddy’s primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, originally published in 1875.

The Eighth Commandment – A Christian Science Perspective

“Thou shalt not steal.”

 INTRODUCTION

In an ideal world, everyone would be completely satisfied with what they have.
No one would feel a need to steal in order to feed a family or a drug habit. No
one would need to steal another’s spouse to find a mate. There would be no
temptation to stoop to larceny or corruption in business, government, churches,
or charitable organizations. There would be no scams, schemes, phony offers,
bait and switch ads, or cynical con artists preying upon the innocent and elderly.

There is such an ideal world. It is called the kingdom of heaven. This realm of
harmony can be experienced now – here on earth – when mankind is willing to
seek it. Jesus told us: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(Matthew 6:33)

When we become convinced that there is no lasting pleasure in material appetites
or passions, which often bring pain and suffering in their wake, we will be ready to
seek the kingdom of God. The Ten Commandments help to discipline our thoughts
and actions as a foundation for spiritual growth.

One of the first lessons of childhood is that we should not take things that do not
belong to us. Parents or guardians who insist that this code of conduct become
deeply ingrained in the moral character of their children are fulfilling a vital
responsibility. The laws of good government also support this ideal. The Eighth
Commandment is the foundation for this important moral law. But it is not just a
simple rule to live by – it is a spiritual promise!

The Eighth Commandment is not just about stealing from our fellow man. In the
book of Genesis, we learn that “God saw everything that he had made, and,
behold, it was very good.”
(Genesis 1:31) Is it possible that we “steal” from
God, when we attempt to take away the wholeness, unity, and perfection of
God’s “very good” creation by portraying it as being divided into the haves and
have-nots, the deserving and the undeserving, the promising and the washed-up,
the plentiful and the depleted – beliefs which set us up as potential thieves or the
victims of thieves?

That is a limited way of looking at God’s universe, which is based upon the
testimony of the physical senses. By lifting up and improving our concept of God
and His “image and likeness,” we can gain a more expansive spiritual outlook
which would eliminate any need to steal or any reason to be a target of theft.

The Bible makes a promise in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:

“And it is in God’s power to provide you richly with every good gift; thus you will have ample
means in yourselves to meet each and every situation, with enough 
and to spare for every good cause.” (II Corinthians 9:8, New English Bible)

All things spiritual come from God, Spirit. Our needs, both human and heavenly,
are met by God. We do not need to steal from others. We only need to develop a
deep trust in God, our true Father-Mother, to provide us with everything we need at
the proper time. This requires faith in God, but most importantly, this faith requires
an enduring trust built upon a spiritual understanding of Him.

Before we can gain this spiritual understanding of God that unlocks the treasures
of heaven, harmony, in our lives, we must learn to be obedient to the laws of God
that spring from this heavenly Principle. The Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt
not steal,”
was given to mankind to protect us from unintentionally breaking the
law of Love, which supports us, just as a loving parent would do. God is Love, and
Love gives to all freely, unconditionally, abundantly. A heart that lives this divine
Love has no fear or anxiety. It is generous with all, resists selfish motives, and is
never tempted to take what belongs to another. How much better it would be to
live in a world where no one ever steals, because everyone is satisfied and
content with the riches given to us by divine Love.

If this sounds like the kind of world you would like to experience, you can start by
digging deeper into the meaning of the Eighth Commandment, until its essence
permeates your consciousness and your life.

We will now take a step toward that deeper look at the Eighth Commandment,
first by exploring how it is taught in the Bible and, secondly, how it is applied in
the spiritual and metaphysical demonstrations of Christian Science, as taught by
the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: Mary Baker Eddy.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND

A study of this theme in the Old Testament shows that the Eighth Commandment,
“Thou shalt not steal,” is not simply about property rights, or about those who “have not”
trying to take from those who “have,” but is also about greed, ingratitude, and a fear of
lack versus satisfaction, gratitude, and a trust in God’s care for all.

To emphasize the importance of this Commandment, it is repeated a number of
times and a number of ways throughout the Old Testament (KJV). We are told:

“And the Lord spake unto Moses saying: . . . Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither
lie one to another.”
(Leviticus 19:1, 11)

“Neither shalt thou steal.” (Deuteronomy 5:19)

“Then said he [an angel] unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face
of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side
according to it.” (
Zechariah 5:3)

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying . . . The people of the land have
used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy:
yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. . . . Therefore have I poured
out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath:
their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.”
(Ezekiel 22:23, 29, 31)

The Bible makes clear that stealing is a sin which will bring punishment. And yet,
it is a sin which comes with a very clear path to redemption, as outlined in the Old
Testament. The Bible scholar William Barclay writes:

“The law of the Old Testament does not simply condemn stealing; it has much to
say about the penalty for it. The law of the Old Testament never fails to insist that
restitution has to be made; in fact, the restitution is usually the punishment. One
of the notable features of the Old Testament law is that it is just as eager to see
that the victim is compensated as that the criminal is punished.”
(Barclay, William:
“The Ten Commandments,” Westminster John Knox Press, 1998 edition, pg. 162)

This is illustrated in the book of Exodus 22:1-12, in which Moses outlines in detail
the punishments and compensations for stealing. Part of it reads:

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen
for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. . . . If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour
money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found,
let him pay double.”

We also learn that there is a very harsh penalty for stealing a man in order to sell him
into slavery:

“And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall
surely be put to death.”
(Exodus 21:16)

“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh
merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil
away from among you.”
(Deuteronomy 24:7)

What is also interesting in the Old Testament is the nature of certain crimes
considered stealing. Both usury – the lending of money at interest – and
manipulating weights and measures, were severely condemned. God is shown
as caring for the poor and needy and demanding that those in a position to help
should do so without exacting too much in return:

“If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to
him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. If thou at all take thy
neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun
goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein
shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear;
for I am gracious.”
(Exodus 22:25-27)

“And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt
relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with
thee. Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother
may live with thee. Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him
thy victuals for increase.”
(Leviticus 25:35-37)

William Barclay has some interesting comments on usury that show a principle
beneath the commandment:

“Is this a total prohibition of lending money at interest? The real principle of this
goes much deeper than that. It is not simply a prohibition of lending at interest;
it is the commandment of God that no man must ever take advantage of his
brother’s misfortune. No man must, to put it in modern language, cash in on his
brother’s need. There are times when it is possible to drive a hard bargain, or
to charge a high price, simply because someone desperately needs something.
The law of the Bible is that no one must ever take advantage of another’s need,
and use that need for his own profit and enrichment.”
(The Ten Commandments,
pg. 170)

The Old Testament has at least five instances of condemning stealing by the
use of false scales and measurements, such as the verses below:

“Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt
not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. But thou shalt
have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have: that
thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For
all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto
the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 25:13-16)

“A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.”
(Proverbs 11:1)

“Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not
good.”
(Proverbs 20:23)

We start to get the point that even in the smallest of details we must be honest
and forthright. Taking advantage of others is a form of stealing that is an
“abomination” to God. Barclay comments further:

“It may seem a quite extraordinary thing that the Bible should take up so much
space to speak about weights and measures, and the accuracy of scales and
containers and units of measurement. It is intensely significant that the 
assumption
is that God is interested in these things, and that careful justice 
and meticulous honesty
in these things is the natural and essential expression 
of true religion.

“The Bible lays it down that there is something badly wrong with the religion of
the man who will worship on the Sunday and who will then go out to be a careless
or a dishonest tradesman, robbing others by offering less than his best, or a
man in any kind of business indulging in smart practice to make a quick profit,
or a clever opportunist using someone’s need as a chance to make more for
himself, or an employer who is blind and unsympathetic to his employees’
needs.” (The Ten Commandments, pg. 171)

It is not enough to avoid stealing from our fellow man; we must see to it that we
do not steal from God. According to the Old Testament, God seemed to take
notice when tithes were withheld or shortchanged (a tithe being one-tenth of
one’s goods or earnings):

“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we
robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have
robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse,
that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the
Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a
blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
(Malachi 3:8-10)

In the “Glossary” of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key
to the Scriptures,
by Mary Baker Eddy, we read part of the metaphysical definition
of “tithe” as used in the Bible:

“TITHE. Contribution; tenth part; homage; gratitude.” (S&H, pg.595)

This indicates that the qualities of homage and gratitude are what God is
expecting us to contribute. Gratitude can be symbolized by the giving of material
goods or financial offerings, but sincere thankfulness should be the motive from
our heart, and giving money should not be done as a superficial exhibition.
Withholding heartfelt honor and gratitude for all the good that God has given is
a form of stealing, and would therefore be one way to break the Eighth
Commandment.

We now move into the New Testament to see how Christ Jesus taught and
demonstrated the Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”

JESUS AND THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT

After Jesus was baptized by John, he was led into the wilderness where he was
tempted by the devil. The very first temptation that Jesus had to face down was using
his Christ-power to create a comfortable material life. We read:

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that
these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
(Matthew 4:3-4)

This is a temptation that faces every spiritual seeker at some point. How shall we use
our developing spiritual sense, understanding, and power? Shall we use them in
turning stones into bread, so to speak – using prayer mainly for personal material
gain and satisfaction – or do we seek Truth for Truth’s sake, feeding upon the Word
of God which nourishes our spiritual identity, something matter alone could never do.

While the New Testament does not indicate that Jesus spoke much about the Eighth
Commandment, it does show us that he strived to teach us about the evils of greed,
ingratitude, and lust – all qualities that could lead to stealing. Jesus urges us to turn to
God, and trust Him for our needs. Some of his miracles directly relate to this law of
abundance: he turned water into wine; he fed thousands with just a few loaves and
fishes; he paid taxes with a coin found in a fish’s mouth.

Jesus taught that if we put God first in our lives, we would have no desire to steal, and
we would also not set ourselves up to be victims of those who would steal:

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and
where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor
steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Matthew 6:19-21)

We also get an idea of how strongly Jesus felt about keeping our consciousness –
which is our true spiritual temple or church – free from those sins which would attempt
to rob God and invade His rightful territory, in this episode at the temple in Jerusalem:

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in
the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that
sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of
prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
(Matthew 21:12-13))

How often do we let the thieves of daydreaming, fear, worry, and other sinful
thoughts, set up tables in our temples of prayer or meditation? Are we accomplices
to these thieves, or do we overthrow them?

“Be faithful at the temple gate of conscience, wakefully guard it; then thou wilt know
when the thief cometh.”
(Mary Baker Eddy – Message of 1901 18:1)

We may think we do all the right things – perhaps we have never stolen anything, or
shoplifted, or cheated on taxes – but Jesus tells us that stealing is an evil thought,
which would defile us if left unchallenged in our conscience, whether we act upon it
or not. Evil thoughts must be condemned before they take root in thought and spring
into action. Jesus once explained:

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications,
THEFTS, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but
to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
(Matthew 15:19-20)

Jesus taught that we must be grateful to God no matter how little we may seem to
have. In Luke we see that Jesus taught that our motive means more than money:

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he
saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I
say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have
of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast
in all the living that she had.”
(Luke 21:1-4)

Not long after Jesus completed his earthly mission, the Apostle Paul would write to
the Christians at Ephesus: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour,
working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that
needeth.”
(Ephesians 4:28)

As the above citation indicates, God’s goodness can come to us through what
appear as normal human avenues. We may be given opportunities to earn money
to buy what we need, or we may be able to barter for goods or services in exchange
for what we can offer. Sometimes our needs may be met by inheritances or gifts
from others, and maybe, just when our prospects seem bleak and all doors of
opportunity seem shut to us, we just might find what we need in a fish’s mouth!

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “What hinders man’s progress is his vain conceit, the
Phariseeism of the times, also his effort to steal from others and avoid hard work;
errors which can never find a place in Science.”
 (Miscellaneous Writings 234:12-15)

What about those in extreme poverty, who might be tempted to steal just to meet
basic needs? It would be hard to blame them, wouldn’t it? And certainly we want to
have mercy on such brothers and sisters who have found themselves in dire
circumstances, and help them in any way we can to improve their lives. But stealing
is rarely justified, if ever, and would prevent us from seeing the opportunities God
provides His children through infinite avenues, even if it is the temporary willingness
to accept charity, when necessary. Our real need is for trust in God, divine Love.

There is always a better way than stealing for getting to where we need to be –
whether that need is having food, housing, or a sense of the kingdom of heaven on
earth. As we read earlier, Jesus instructed us how to begin this better way when
he said:

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things
shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow
shall take thought for the things of itself.”
(Matthew 6:33-34)

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT

There is a beloved statement in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures
, by Mary Baker Eddy, which says:

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” (S&H 494:10)

Thousands of Christian Scientists have put this promise to the test during times they
needed to look away from fearful thinking about some lack in their lives. Knowing
that God is Love, and that by expressing more Love in our lives, we can find answers
to every problem. Mrs, Eddy tells us further:

“God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never
ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you
wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. What a glorious
inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love! More we
cannot ask: more we do not want: more we cannot have. This sweet assurance is
the ‘Peace, be still’ to all human fears, to suffering of every sort.”
(Miscellaneous
Writings 307:1)

The Bible teaches that God is Spirit. We are taught in Christian Science that God
is also infinite Mind. Both are synonymous names for God in Christian Science.
Therefore, the substance of Mind is Spirit. What Mind, Spirit, creates must be of
the same substance; it must be spiritual. God’s creation, therefore, consists of
spiritual ideas – not dying mortals or material objects subject to loss or decay.
God’s highest creation is man, His “image and likeness.” Man’s identity is spiritual,
and God has created each of His children to be complete, perfect, wanting nothing,
and including all that is needed to fulfill God’s plans for His infinite universe
throughout eternity.

If we do not see this spiritual perfection now (and the five physical senses do not
bear witness to spiritual reality), we will start to grasp it when we begin to spiritualize
our thinking by bringing it in line with God’s ideas of good. A daily study of the Bible
and Science and Health helps us in this spiritual journey.

These spiritual ideas that God gives us, come to us in forms we can see and utilize,
even though they are in reality forms of Spirit. What is happening is that God’s ideas
are present, but our interpretation of them may be cloudy or obscured by material
thinking and fears. In the book of Genesis, this obscurity is symbolized by the
“mist that went up from the earth.” As our thinking becomes more aligned with
spiritual truth, we will experience more divine ideas in consciousness – ideas that
are more beautiful, more tangible, and more abundant than our material senses
have ever known.

With this habit of thinking, any temptation to steal from others simply vanishes. We
see that stealing not only breaks the Golden Rule, but is an attempt to rob God of
His perfect “image and likeness.” We lose opportunities to witness God’s care
for us and others when we attempt to take matters into our own hands by stealing.

Soul is a name for God which indicates the sinless, infinite Consciousness that is
aware of all creation, all identity, all beauty and goodness. In Science and Health,
Mary Baker Eddy, writes of Soul:

“Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be
more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul.”
(S&H 60:29)

If mankind would look through the mist of materiality to see this vision of God – the
Supreme Being with infinite resources to shower upon His children – there would be
no desire to steal from others. Everyone would find that God, who “saw everything
that he had made, and, behold, it was very good,”
has already provided each one
with all that we need to live well. Christian Science teaches us how to do that.

One of the first lessons in getting to know God as the source of all our needs, is
learning to discipline our thinking with the Eighth Commandment. We must be
willing to obey this law in humility and trust. We must ponder the lessons of Jesus
about greed and ingratitude. Christian Science builds on these foundational lessons
by showing that the law behind these teachings is divine. For instance: God is good.
God is infinite. All is infinite good. There is nothing good lacking in God’s kingdom.
God’s children are given all good to use and enjoy. But good is Spirit – it is not to
be found in matter, materiality, or the physical senses. We seek God’s kingdom
through our spiritual sense, through our thoughts of good that come to us from
God, the divine Mind.

These spiritual concepts are taught in Science and Health, and many new readers
of this textbook have found their lives redeemed, regenerated, and blessed with
abundance. They discover that their search for God and a quest for meaning in their
lives, has taken them to a new way of thinking about things. They learn that Spirit is
the only reality; that matter is not what it appears to be to the physical senses, but is
merely a false sense of the substance of Spirit. While the belief of matter is limited
and capable of being lost or destroyed, Spirit is limitless, permanent, eternal good.
In a paragraph subtitled “Self-completeness,” Mary Baker Eddy writes:

“As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of
creation, which before were invisible, will become visible. When we realize that Life
is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness,
finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness.”
(S&H 264:13)

CONCLUSION

Most everyone agrees that stealing is wrong. Society could not function well over the
long term if people’s property rights were not respected and protected. The fact that
Moses heard this as one of God’s commands shows that the choice to resist stealing
is based upon divine law.

Jesus taught that our motives and thoughts are just as important as any act of sin.
We can break the Eighth Commandment mentally as well as physically. Therefore,
we should discipline thought towards the notion that man must earn or be given his
possessions, rather than take them forcefully or deceitfully from others. And we
should rise above all pettiness of thought – be generous and honest with others,
never stealing their time or opportunities, their reputation or character. We do not
steal by gossiping (see the Ninth Commandment!), and we do not steal our own
valuable time coveting what others have (see the Tenth Commandment!).

Mrs. Eddy stresses this in one of her comments on the Eighth Commandment:

“‘Thou shalt not steal;’ that is, thou shalt not rob man of money, which is but trash,
compared with his rights of mind and character.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 67:7-9)

Christian Science teaches that man and the universe are in reality spiritual ideas of
the infinite divine Mind, and include all that they need, all that God has given, through-
out eternity. We should look to God, to Truth, to reveal our perfect completeness.
We must learn to claim our right to have a sense of abundance by seeing no limits to
God’s infinite ideas of goodness which thrive in the atmosphere of the kingdom of
heaven here on earth.

As humanity struggles to get in touch with its spirituality and to purify consciousness
in order to see and experience God’s kingdom, there certainly will be times we
“miss the mark.” We should not condemn ourselves or others if we have fallen victim
to the temptation to steal. We must recognize the sin, and denounce it. But, through
the understanding of man’s true identity as taught in Christian Science, we can turn
from this sin as no part of our spiritual nature. “Go, and sin no more,” as Jesus said
to the adulterous woman he had just forgiven.

When we no longer believe that God creates a capacity to steal, we shall no longer be tempted to believe in this sin’s power to harm. Divine Love is in control – on earth, as it is in heaven. Love is the great Giver, and bestows its blessings fairly and abundantly.

In summary: There is no cause, no motive, no need, no desire to steal, because man’s true selfhood is spiritual and complete.

As we reach out in earnest communion with our Father-Mother God, with the humble request of the Lord’s Prayer – “Give us this day our daily bread” – divine Love responds with an angel message: you already have it!

Copyright 2008 Vicki Jones Cole

 

Teaching Children the Seventh Commandment

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

[Note:  This article is based on the teachings of Christian Science.  You might wish to read the previous posts on the Seventh Commandment for background explanations.]

It may seem like an uphill battle to protect the innocence of modern young people. Some parents may give up too soon, thinking it an impossible task, or that it doesn’t really matter in today’s world. But purity and innocence are very important in our spiritual development. Jesus tells us in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This Beatitude means that our understanding of God requires a purity of thought and motive.

The pleasures of the senses would adulterate, or muddy, our clear sense of God and His universe. We would continue to walk blindly through the mists of earth, if we did not attempt to rise above the clouds of sin. We must strive to teach our children how to avoid the temptation of adultery, if we want them to be happy and successful in life.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes:

“Too much cannot be done towards guarding and guiding well the germinating and inclining thought of childhood. To mould aright the first impressions of innocence, aids in perpetuating purity and in unfolding the immortal model, man in His image and likeness.” (First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany 261)

Although many parents and Sunday School teachers see the need for teaching the Seventh Commandment to young children, some may feel uncomfortable talking about this subject, and are looking for a way to approach this Commandment without bringing up the subject of sex. They may simply choose to skip this one!

However, Mary Baker Eddy does not exclude this Commandment in her requirement for young Sunday School pupils to be taught the “first lessons,” and that is wise. There is no need to avoid the subject of adultery, since there is a way to discuss its meaning with young ones without having to first explain “the birds and the bees.”

If you will first read my  previous essay on the Seventh Commandment, you will see that there is a broad meaning that covers physical, moral, and spiritual stages of thought, seen through the teachings of Christian Science. It is not just about sex! In that essay, you will find background material and ideas that would be appropriate for sharing with older children and teens.  You might also wish to see the Questions and Answers on the Seventh Commandments found in my book “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments, found elsewhere on this site.  Go to the About page to begin and then to the Ten Commandments page for a listing of Q&A’s.

It is never too early to begin the quest of inoculating our children against the virus of lust and adultery. Mrs. Eddy tells us:

“Dear reader, right thinking, right feeling, and right acting — honesty, purity, unselfishness — in youth tend to success, intellectuality, and happiness in manhood. To begin rightly enables one to end rightly, and thus it is that one achieves the Science of Life, demonstrates health, holiness, and immortality.” (Miscellany 174)

For Young Children:

When children are old enough to understand what it means to “keep a promise” – that when we agree with someone to do something, we must do it – they can be taught that this is part of what the Seventh Commandment means. That would be a good start. They can practice this Commandment by being loyal and obedient to their parents and family members, as well as being taught how to be loyal and obedient to God. Little children can also be taught how to keep out the impure thoughts that would make them rebel against their parents. They can be told that it is natural for them to love to do good and be good. You can play a game with them by pretending to be a “devil” or “angel,” and asking which thoughts to let in. Students can also learn to “stand porter at the door of thought.” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, 392:24)

To help get you started with introducing the Seventh Commandment, you might read or explain to children it in the following way, or something similar:

“‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ means that we should not bring impure thoughts and behavior to our marriage. When a man and woman marry, they make a promise to love and honor each other. If one of them breaks that promise, by going to someone else for the kind of love and affection they should be getting only from their marriage partner, then it might be said that they are ‘committing adultery.’ In the same way, we also do not let impure thoughts muddy the understanding of ourselves as the ‘image and likeness’ of God.”

“The Seventh Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’ helps us to keep our families together and to draw us closer to God. Adultery poisons the marriage relationship. Everyone suffers in some way. But think how happy a family would be if everyone was trusted to be loyal to the family. In the same way, we must be true and loyal to ourselves and to God. We must not look for happiness outside of our relationship with God, good. Learning to turn away from wrong behavior while young, helps us gain the self-discipline which will protect us from committing adultery. This will keep our lives pure and in obedience to God.” (Cole, Vicki Jones: “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”)

To help both young and older children grasp some of the concepts involved, you can try to illustrate the problems that occur when things that need to remain pure are made impure. For instance, show how adding something such as dirt to a pure glass of water will cause the liquid to look or taste different. The impurity can spoil the drink. The drink of water becomes useless to humans who need pure water for nourishment or cleansing. Some children may understand a discussion on environmental pollution, and how that affects the quality of life on earth.

When the children see this cause and effect of mixing pollutants with pure water, discuss how God’s children, who were created pure and innocent, need to keep their thoughts and their hearts pure, as well, so that they can fulfill their purpose in life. Ask what kinds of thoughts or activities could poison their purity. Relate this to the Seventh Commandment, which tells us not to adulterate our relationships, or to break our promises. Ask your children or students why it is
important to keep our relationship with God pure. What would try to interfere with our unity with God? Can we hear or see God if our thoughts are clouded with wicked or impure suggestions?

For Older Children:

In addition to the above, you can discuss the importance of loyalty in our relationships with our friends. Older kids are learning what it means to be a true and loyal friend. They certainly know when others have betrayed them, even if they do not yet see how they could be guilty themselves! Ask for examples of loyalty or disloyalty in action. Perhaps they have felt let down or abandoned by others, or they have been the victim of gossip, teasing, or being ousted by a
new clique. Ask how they feel when this happens. Do they feel sorry when they have broken their own promises to a friend? How can they make it up? How often should they forgive another for a seemingly disloyal act? Discuss the Golden Rule and its relation to the Seventh Commandment.

Show how our friendships give us opportunities to practice the qualities that will prevent us from breaking the Seventh Commandment when we are older. We should be true and loyal friends — unselfish, humble, gracious, and self-controlled — so that we can be the same with any future marriage partner, and with God. Learning to obey all of the Ten Commandments, not just the Seventh, will be a shield and armor in life.

Older children can also benefit from the following areas of discussions, some of which are included in the lessons in my book, and most of which are explored in-depth in my previous essay on the Seventh Commandment:

1. Choosing friends. We need to make wise choices in friends, so that we are not tempted to spend our time in activities which would harm our purity, our morals, our intelligence, and integrity. Point out Mrs. Eddy’s quote: “Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it.” (S&H 452)

2. Marriage. The Christian Science textbook has an entire chapter on the subject of “Marriage,” and older children and teens can begin to study Mrs. Eddy’s practical advice and spiritual interpretations on this special relationship. They will find in there this statement, which can be a springboard for further discussion:

“Marriage should improve the human species, becoming a barrier against vice, a protection to woman, strength to man, and a centre for the affections. This, however, in a majority of cases, is not its present tendency, and why? Because the education of the higher nature is neglected, and other considerations, — passion, frivolous amusements, personal adornment, display, and pride, — occupy thought.” (S&H 60)

3. Atonement. In addition to the chapter on “Marriage,” the chapter “Atonement and Eucharist” in Science and Health, introduces the subject of our “at-one-ment” or unity with God. This unity is the real covenant or bond that is never to be adulterated. Older kids ready to explore this truth of “Principle and idea” being One (See S&H, pg 465), can begin to understand the “Law of Love” that necessitates the Seventh Commandment.

4. Male/female qualities make up our completeness. This is discussed in the chapter “Marriage,” and throughout the textbook. See my previous essay for how this relates to the Seventh Commandment and for suggested citations to read.

5. Divorce and sexual affairs. Some children and teens are forced to deal with this up close and personal in their own families. Each situation needs to be handled according to the need, and with God’s guidance. Mercy and forgiveness is usually called for. Point out how Jesus handled the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8). Teach kids how to turn to their Father-Mother God for stability and comfort.

6. Influence of the media. While premarital sex and adultery certainly existed before the advent of books, movies, television, and the Internet, the onslaught of sexual images in today’s media cannot help but overwhelm young minds with ideas they are not prepared to handle. Since parents cannot always be around to monitor what their children watch, it is wise to at least try to teach children and teens the reasons why they should want to avoid explicit images of sex and violence on their own. Teach them to value innocence and purity, and to protect
these qualities as aggressively as they would protect their lives or their treasured possessions. If they can experience Christian Science healing, or the joys of a Christian outlook, they may want to keep their minds free from the sins that might muddy their vision of God, good, in their lives. As they learn more about Christian Science, they will begin to see the claims of power that unGodlike images have on our physical and mental health, and they may willingly avoid media that is obviously harmful to their peace of mind.

7. Happiness. Explain that those who search for sex or love outside of marriage, are not usually bad people, but are often simply victims of ignorance. They are “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Our happiness is not found in sex, or from the adulation of other people, but in Soul, God. Mary Baker Eddy writes:

“Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of personal sense. The senses confer no real enjoyment.” (S&H 60-61)

“Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, — these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence.” (S&H 58)

“Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness; conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing  else can.” (Message for 1902 17)

CONCLUSION:

There appears to be so much immorality and sensuality abroad in the world, that getting through to our children sometimes may seem like trying to fill a leaky bucket with water.  However, if we can recognize the innate innocence and purity of God’s child that is the true identity of each and every one of us, and claim this forcefully in our daily prayers for our children, we can take heart that the Truth is doing its work to counteract the suggestions of evil. God’s angels are also on guard to protect the innocent ones, and will always come to the rescue of a receptive thought.

Children can be taught to love good and reject the temptations of evil, because they are naturally attracted to spiritual ideas.  God works with us; we just have to be willing to put in the effort and expect successful results!

To any earnest heart, young or old, the message is clear:

“Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!”  (Miscellaneous Writings  110)

Copyright 2006, 2017  Vicki Jones Cole

The Seventh Commandment – A Christian Science Perspective, Part Four

DEALING WITH THE TEMPTATION OF ADULTERY

Hormones on a rampage are pretty difficult to deal with, it seems. Sometimes, even the best-intentioned Christians get knocked off-balance when they find themselves uncontrollably attracted to another. It is even more troubling when that object of desire is someone either married to another, or is not your own spouse. Perhaps you have already found yourself in this situation. Whether or not you succumbed to temptation, God’s mercy is always available to those who are willing to repent, and “sin no more.” We need to take a mental stand against adultery and lust before the next test comes. If your conviction is solid that purity and obedience to God is the only wise and loving course of action, you can protect yourself and
others from the inevitable suffering and sorrow that adultery brings.

In your struggle to withstand the onslaught of aggressive mental suggestions that would mesmerize you into justifying a sexual affair, it helps to listen to God’s angel messages that come to uplift, inspire, and protect. That’s what divine Love is there for! You can also stick with one simple basic Christian rule: the Golden Rule.

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

You can apply the Golden Rule in some of the following ways:  Think how this act of adultery or fornication that you are contemplating will affect your innocent spiritual selfhood, and the pure innocence of the person whose body you plan to use to satisfy your sexual desire. Think of those you may hurt by this act. Think of how you would feel if you were a husband or wife being cheated against. Think how disappointed your parents might be. How would you feel if one of your children were being seduced into an adulterous affair? Consider what you would do if you came face to face with Jesus during your tryst. How would you feel if the affair were videotaped and broadcast over the internet.

Developing empathy and compassion for how others feel — or how you would feel, if caught —can help us put the brakes to behavior that might hurt others. You may try to justify a situation by saying that you and your sex partner are single adults, and no one is getting hurt. This is short-sighted. Few women can avoid emotional entanglements with those they have sex with; men can eventually begin to lose a sense of integrity when they wake up to the fact that they may have selfishly abused a friendship by taking something that does not morally or legally belong to them.

Along a similar line, many people may find themselves caught up in affairs, not for the sex, but simply because they have a need for romance, intimacy, or personal validation, and have developed the mistaken notion that they can only find such affection or attention by agreeing to a sexual relationship with someone before the couple has had a chance to form a mutual bond of love.  Women, especially, can be easily seduced by the right words whispered at the right moments, without using their logic to realize that there is no foundation to safely stand upon. Men may feel they have to prove their manhood in a sexual way to win the love of a woman they desire, or to gain bragging rights to impress their guy friends. People want to be loved so much,  they can justify actions for themselves, or others, they might not otherwise choose in the cold light of day.   But using sex in this way is just plain dangerous – physically, emotionally, spiritually.

We’re not talking here of only the obvious things that can go wrong and bring hurt to all:  unwanted pregnancy, sexually-transmitted disease, lowered self-esteem; guilt.  We’re talking of how sex outside marriage affects yourself and others in ways you may not be thinking about at the time of your affair.  A loss of trust and trustworthiness is a sad thing.

If you and your friend are single, consider that you may be committing adultery against a future partner, even if you do not yet see how you are committing adultery against God and yourself. Future husbands and wives can feel the same type of jealousy over previous sex partners their spouses may have had, that they might feel about recent ones. If they are being honest, few people want to compete with the memories of previous lovers!

Virginity is a special gift to bring to a marriage, even in this day and age, and is one that should be more highly valued by both partners, and by society at large. At the very least, sexual discipline, as opposed to promiscuity, needs to be an active goal for both men and women. It is never too late to begin. It will save a lot of emotional torment and regrets for everyone involved. Through the teachings of Christian Science, we learn that innocence and purity are mental states found in our reflection of Soul, and are not just physical conditions that can be lost in a
one-time event. We always have the opportunity to be re-born, regenerated, washed clean from the impurities of past sins, when we are ready to let go of the false sense of ourselves (remember the Prodigal son!), and return home to our true heritage as the pure sons and daughters of God.

When those who are married and have children commit adultery, they are not just being disloyal to their spouse (and God!); they are being disloyal to their whole family! The children are being robbed of a stable, secure home environment. They are being affected, no mistake about it. They can feel the tension when their parents’ relationship is floundering. They may blame themselves for any marriage break-up. No amount of physical pleasure found outside the home is worth the loss of a child’s respect and trust.

In his book on The Ten Commandments, William Barclay, the Scottish New Testament scholar, steps outside of his Bible commentary for a moment, to answer in his own way the question of why adultery or sex before marriage is wrong. He suggested that if it is accepted as normal, the whole institution of the family is radically altered; that to demand premarital sex is to demand privilege without responsibility; and that it is wrong to demand sexual rights without
commitment. Unfortunately, even today, many do not see how true Barclay’s opinions are, and that we must regain a higher standard.

Learning to put the Golden Rule to use, and to love others more than ourselves, is what is needed. By studying the teachings of Jesus or Christian Science, we learn the rules to obey; plus we learn why adultery is wrong on both a moral and spiritual level. We learn that while our purity and innocence are never really adulterated — because of the fact that God, Spirit, is infinite — mortals will suffer the punishment of adultery as long as they hold onto it and believe it is pleasurable and a part of man’s real nature. As Christian Scientists, we must resist the temptation to believe we are material creatures, with appetites and passions that are uncontrollable. We must affirm our spiritual identity that is created and preserved by God. We must see that we are naturally attracted to Spirit, not to the world’s sensual pleasures. We must understand that our sense of completeness, worth, and satisfaction are in good, God.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science,  writes:

“Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing  else can.” (Eddy, Mary Baker:  “Message for 1902,” pg. 17)

It can seem like a mighty battle, or a long struggle, to fend off the temptations of sexual relations outside of marriage, or even lust within marriage. But God, our divine Father-Mother, would not have created us incapable of obeying any of His laws or commandments; and Jesus, our brother, would never have taught us to think and live with an attitude that is unnatural to our innate being. We are spiritual, not material. We are the “image and likeness” of the Father-Mother God, and therefore have the male and female qualities that make us complete and satisfied with a life of purity and goodness. We are embraced by divine Love that loves us
unconditionally; we do not need to seek love through physical bonds, although these bonds can benefit from the pure, sweet affections of love that can be brought to marriage.

We can trust God to control all of our relationships throughout time and eternity; we do not have to force or manipulate or use others to make us feel loved or attractive. There is no pleasure in sin. We can turn from sin, and look to the light of Truth for all our needs. God will supply the opportunities we need in order to share our love with mankind, and therefore feel that oneness and unity that we are truly searching for. These ideals have often been proven in the lives of Christians and Christian Scientists.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

What about the constant pressure of the human sexual drive? Should we blame ourselves or others if we cannot overcome sexual urges that are “natural” to man, whether those urges are heterosexual or homosexual?

First off, we are taught by Jesus not to judge others; that is not a responsibility God has given us. Instead, we should always show mercy to those struggling with the temptations of the flesh, in whatever form that seems to be. We all have the problem of being to work out in “earth’s preparatory school.” If we are merciful with others, we can humbly expect mercy to be shown us whenever we manage to mess things up.

Is it possible, in our human experience, to gain complete dominion over the sexual drive, or to prove its “unreality” as a God-given function? That task may be too great for many at this point in time, but we can make a worthy start by disciplining the cravings for the so-called pleasures of the senses. Just as we must often deny our brains and stomachs the pleasures of certain foods, alcohol, or drugs, when offered to us socially, we should be able to resist temptations to indulge in sex presented to us as easy opportunities. It is okay to just say no!

We can also re-think just what it is that motivates us, and others, to do what we do. Self-knowledge or self-awareness is always useful. With that in mind, an interesting spiritual interpretation of the human sex drive is seen in the following recorded statement of Mary Baker Eddy’s:

“What is the scientific realization of which sexual intercourse is the counterfeit? It is the recognition and realization through communion with God of man as a perfect, complete idea, masculine and feminine. That which is true of yourself as a complete reflection of Father-Mother God, is true of every individual in the universe and reveals God and His creation, perfect and eternal. Mortals are struggling for completeness and hope to find it through sexual intercourse; when in fact this desire
is simply the divine idea, struggling to express itself in completeness. A recognition of this brings compassion, tenderness, and love for the poor struggling heart and conviction that there is no sin.” (DCGC 224)

This insight can help us show mercy towards those caught up in the belief of lust or adultery. The underlying drive, though unrecognized, is a divine one. The natural desire for completeness has been inverted by material sense (a.k.a. the “devil,” “Satan,” “the serpent”) into a search for physical satisfaction. The sin is a belief in separation from our true identity, and from God. When Jesus told the adulterous woman to “Go, and sin no more,” he saw that there was no evil heart that needed to be stoned; she was merely mesmerized by her belief in lack of completeness, whether that was lack of money, companionship, or her spiritual unity with God. But her false belief was no excuse for her to keep sinning; she needed to go back and ponder her healing, and see that the Christ had just lifted her into a higher sense of her true identity, which would not need to, or want to, commit adultery.

“Overcome selfishness and you bring out unity. Overcome sensuality and you bring out purity. Overcome sexuality and you bring out the God idea.” (DCGC 211)

CONCLUSION:

One day there will be no temptation of adultery, because man will have risen to see that the only true marriage covenant is between God and man: His child, His reflection, His image. There is nothing that can separate, or come between, “Principle and its idea.” All is One. There is nothing to spoil or adulterate this divine relationship. We can begin to prove this in our lives now, by being loyal to those we have committed our hearts to, and those to whom we have promised our love. Is a “piece of paper” the only proof that a bond, or covenant, exists?
No. Adultery, as we now see it from a more spiritual altitude, can happen anytime we have broken a mutual promise, or covenant, that we have made with another – whether that is a promise to follow Christ, or to honor a personal commitment built upon trust. Our motives, our heart, can make a covenant; they can break one, as well.

Mary Baker Eddy once wrote:

“This time-world flutters in my thought as an unreal shadow, and I can
only solace the sore ills of mankind by a lively battle with ‘the world, the
flesh and the devil,’ in which Love is the liberator and gives man the
victory over himself. Truth, canonized by life and love, lays the axe at
the root of all evil, lifts the curtain on the Science of being, the Science
of wedlock, of living and of loving, and harmoniously ascends the scale
of life. Look high enough, and you see the heart of humanity warming
and winning. Look long enough, and you see male and female one —
sex or gender eliminated; you see the designation man meaning
woman as well, and you see the whole universe included in one infinite
Mind and reflected in the intelligent compound idea, image or likeness,
called man, showing forth the infinite divine Principle, Love, called God,
— man wedded to the Lamb, pledged to innocence, purity, perfection.
Then shall humanity have learned that ‘they which shall be accounted
worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither
marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they
are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God.’ (Luke 20 : 35, 36.)
This, therefore, is Christ’s plan of salvation from divorce.

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the Soul.
— POPE
(First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, 268)

Copyright 2006, 2017  Vicki Jones Cole