Chapter 9 — Creation
From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy
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Thy throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting. — PSALMS.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. — PAUL.
Inadequate theories of creation
ETERNAL Truth is changing the universe. As mortals drop off their mental swaddling-clothes, thought expands into expression. “Let there be light,” is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres. The mythical human theories of creation, anciently classified as the higher criticism, sprang from cultured scholars in Rome and in Greece, but they afforded no foundation for accurate views of creation by the divine Mind.
Finite views of Deity
Mortal man has made a covenant with his eyes to belittle Deity with human conceptions. In league with material sense, mortals take limited views of all things. That God is corporeal or material, no man should affirm.
The human form, or physical finiteness, cannot be made the basis of any true idea of the infinite Godhead. Eye hath not seen Spirit, nor hath ear heard His voice.
No material creation
Progress takes off human shackles. The finite must yield to the infinite. Advancing to a higher plane of action, thought rises from the material sense to the spiritual, from the scholastic to the inspirational, and from the mortal to the immortal. All things are created spiritually. Mind, not matter, is the creator. Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man.
The theory of three persons in one God (that is, a personal Trinity or Tri-unity) suggests polytheism, rather than the one ever-present I am. “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”
No divine corporeality
The everlasting I am is not bounded nor compressed within the narrow limits of physical humanity, nor can He be understood aright through mortal concepts. The precise form of God must be of small importance in comparison with the sublime question, What is infinite Mind or divine Love?
Who is it that demands our obedience? He who, in the language of Scripture, “doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?”
No form nor physical combination is adequate to represent infinite Love. A finite and material sense of God leads to formalism and narrowness; it chills the spirit of Christianity.
A limitless Mind cannot proceed from physical limitations. Finiteness cannot present the idea or the vastness of infinity. A mind originating from a finite or material source must be limited and finite. Infinite Mind is the creator, and creation is the
infinite image or idea emanating from this Mind. If Mind is within and without all things, then all is Mind; and this definition is scientific.
Matter is not substance
If matter, so-called, is substance, then Spirit, matter’s unlikeness, must be shadow; and shadow cannot produce substance. The theory that Spirit is not the only substance and creator is pantheistic heterodoxy, which ultimates in sickness, sin, and death; it is the belief in a bodily soul and a material mind, a soul governed by the body and a mind in matter. This belief is shallow pantheism.
Mind creates His own likeness in ideas, and the substance of an idea is very far from being the supposed substance of non-intelligent matter. Hence the Father Mind is not the father of matter. The material senses and human conceptions would translate spiritual ideas into material beliefs, and would say that an anthropomorphic God, instead of infinite Principle, — in other words, divine Love, — is the father of the rain, “who hath begotten the drops of dew,” who bringeth “forth Mazzaroth in his season,” and guideth “Arcturus with his sons.”
Inexhaustible divine Love
Finite mind manifests all sorts of errors, and thus proves the material theory of mind in matter to be the antipode of Mind. Who hath found finite life or love sufficient to meet the demands of human want and woe, — to still the desires, to satisfy the aspirations? Infinite Mind cannot be limited to a finite form, or Mind would lose its infinite character as inexhaustible Love, eternal Life, omnipotent Truth.
Infinite physique impossible
It would require an infinite form to contain infinite Mind. Indeed, the phrase infinite form involves a contradiction of terms. Finite man cannot be the image and
likeness of the infinite God. A mortal, corporeal, or finite conception of God cannot embrace the glories of limitless, incorporeal Life and Love. Hence the unsatisfied human craving for something better, higher, holier, than is afforded by a material belief in a physical God and man. The insufficiency of this belief to supply the true idea proves the falsity of material belief.
Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments in order to be immortal. Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God.
God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis. Mind manifests all that exists in the infinitude of Truth. We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God.
The infinite Principle is reflected by the infinite idea and spiritual individuality, but the material so-called senses have no cognizance of either Principle or its idea. The human capacities are enlarged and perfected in proportion as humanity gains the true conception of man and God.
Mortals have a very imperfect sense of the spiritual man and of the infinite range of his thought. To him belongs eternal Life. Never born and never dying, it were impossible for man, under the government of God in eternal Science, to fall from his high estate.
God’s man discerned
Through spiritual sense you can discern the heart of divinity, and thus begin to comprehend in Science the
generic term man. Man is not absorbed in Deity, and man cannot lose his individuality, for he reflects eternal Life; nor is he an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance.
In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, — thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying. The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, — perfect God and perfect man, — as the basis of thought and demonstration.
The divine image not lost
If man was once perfect but has now lost his perfection, then mortals have never beheld in man the reflex image of God. The lost image is no image. The true likeness cannot be lost in divine reflection. Understanding this, Jesus said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
Mortal thought transmits its own images, and forms its offspring after human illusions. God, Spirit, works spiritually, not materially. Brain or matter never formed a human concept. Vibration is not intelligence; hence it is not a creator. Immortal ideas, pure, perfect, and enduring, are transmitted by the divine Mind through divine Science, which corrects error with truth and demands spiritual thoughts, divine concepts, to the end that they may produce harmonious results.
Deducing one’s conclusions as to man from imperfec-
tion instead of perfection, one can no more arrive at the true conception or understanding of man, and make himself like it, than the sculptor can perfect his outlines from an imperfect model, or the painter can depict the form and face of Jesus, while holding in thought the character of Judas.
The conceptions of mortal, erring thought must give way to the ideal of all that is perfect and eternal. Through many generations human beliefs will be attaining diviner conceptions, and the immortal and perfect model of God’s creation will finally be seen as the only true conception of being.
Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done; but distrust of one’s ability to gain the goodness desired and to bring out better and higher results, often hampers the trial of one’s wings and ensures failure at the outset.
Requisite change of our ideals
Mortals must change their ideals in order to improve their models. A sick body is evolved from sick thoughts. Sickness, disease, and death proceed from fear. Sensualism evolves bad physical and moral conditions.
Selfishness and sensualism are educated in mortal mind by the thoughts ever recurring to one’s self, by conversation about the body, and by the expectation of perpetual pleasure or pain from it; and this education is at the expense of spiritual growth. If we array thought in mortal vestures, it must lose its immortal nature.
Thoughts are things
If we look to the body for pleasure, we find pain; for Life, we find death; for Truth, we find error; for Spirit,
we find its opposite, matter. Now reverse this action. Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.
Unreality of pain
The effect of mortal mind on health and happiness is seen in this: If one turns away from the body with such absorbed interest as to forget it, the body experiences no pain. Under the strong impulse of a desire to perform his part, a noted actor was accustomed night after night to go upon the stage and sustain his appointed task, walking about as actively as the youngest member of the company. This old man was so lame that he hobbled every day to the theatre, and sat aching in his chair till his cue was spoken, — a signal which made him as oblivious of physical infirmity as if he had inhaled chloroform, though he was in the full possession of his so-called senses.
Immutable identity of man
Detach sense from the body, or matter, which is only a form of human belief, and you may learn the meaning of God, or good, and the nature of the immutable and immortal. Breaking away from the mutations of time and sense, you will neither lose the solid objects and ends of life nor your own identity. Fixing your gaze on the realities supernal, you will rise to the spiritual consciousness of being, even as the bird which has burst from the egg and preens its wings for a skyward flight.
Forgetfulness of self
We should forget our bodies in remembering good and the human race. Good demands of man every hour, in
which to work out the problem of being. Consecration to good does not lessen man’s dependence on God, but heightens it. Neither does consecration diminish man’s obligations to God, but shows the paramount necessity of meeting them. Christian Science takes naught from the perfection of God, but it ascribes to Him the entire glory. By putting “off the old man with his deeds,” mortals “put on immortality.”
We cannot fathom the nature and quality of God’s creation by diving into the shallows of mortal belief. We must reverse our feeble flutterings — our efforts to find life and truth in matter — and rise above the testimony of the material senses, above the mortal to the immortal idea of God. These clearer, higher views inspire the Godlike man to reach the absolute centre and circumference of his being.
The true sense
Job said: “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee.” Mortals will echo Job’s thought, when the supposed pain and pleasure of matter cease to predominate. They will then drop the false estimate of life and happiness, of joy and sorrow, and attain the bliss of loving unselfishly, working patiently, and conquering all that is unlike God. Starting from a higher standpoint, one rises spontaneously, even as light emits light without effort; for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Mind the only cause
The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin. To begin rightly is to end rightly. Every concept which seems to begin with the brain begins falsely. Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms.
Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create. The creations of mortal mind are material. Immortal spiritual man alone represents the truth of creation.
Mortal man a mis-creator
When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works, he will no longer grope in the dark and cling to earth because he has not tasted heaven. Carnal beliefs defraud us. They make man an involuntary hypocrite, — producing evil when he would create good, forming deformity when he would outline grace and beauty, injuring those whom he would bless. He becomes a general mis-creator, who believes he is a semi-god. His “touch turns hope to dust, the dust we all have trod.” He might say in Bible language: “The good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.“
No new creation
There can be but one creator, who has created all. Whatever seems to be a new creation, is but the discovery of some distant idea of Truth; else it is a new multiplication or self-division of mortal thought, as when some finite sense peers from its cloister with amazement and attempts to pattern the infinite.
The multiplication of a human and mortal sense of persons and things is not creation. A sensual thought, like an atom of dust thrown into the face of spiritual immensity, is dense blindness instead of a scientific eternal consciousness of creation.
Mind’s true camera
The fading forms of matter, the mortal body and ma-
terial earth, are the fleeting concepts of the human mind. They have their day before the permanent facts and their perfection in Spirit appear. The crude creations of mortal thought must finally give place to the glorious forms which we sometimes behold in the camera of divine Mind, when the mental picture is spiritual and eternal. Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things. Where shall the gaze rest but in the unsearchable realm of Mind? We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.
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.
Spiritual proofs of existence
Spirit and its formations are the only realities of being. Matter disappears under the microscope of Spirit. Sin is unsustained by Truth, and sickness and death were overcome by Jesus, who proved them to be forms of error. Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love.
When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, — all the glories of earth and heaven and man.
The universe of Spirit is peopled with spiritual beings,
and its government is divine Science. Man is the offspring, not of the lowest, but of the highest qualities of Mind. Man understands spiritual existence in proportion as his treasures of Truth and Love are enlarged. Mortals must gravitate Godward, their affections and aims grow spiritual, — they must near the broader interpretations of being, and gain some proper sense of the infinite, — in order that sin and mortality may be put off.
This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man’s absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace.
Mortal birth and death
The senses represent birth as untimely and death as irresistible, as if man were a weed growing apace or a flower withered by the sun and nipped by untimely frosts; but this is true only of a mortal, not of a man in God’s image and likeness. The truth of being is perennial, and the error is unreal and obsolete.
Blessings from pain
Who that has felt the loss of human peace has not gained stronger desires for spiritual joy? The aspiration after heavenly good comes even before we discover what belongs to wisdom and Love. The loss of earthly hopes and pleasures brightens the ascending path of many a heart. The pains of sense quickly inform us that the pleasures of sense are mortal and that joy is spiritual.
Decapitation of error
The pains of sense are salutary, if they wrench away false pleasurable beliefs and transplant the affections
from sense to Soul, where the creations of God are good, “rejoicing the heart.” Such is the sword of Science, with which Truth decapitates error, materiality giving place to man’s higher individuality and destiny.
Uses of adversity
Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth. Friends will betray and enemies will slander, until the lesson is sufficient to exalt you; for “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” The author has experienced the foregoing prophecy and its blessings. Thus He teaches mortals to lay down their fleshliness and gain spirituality. This is done through self-abnegation. Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science.
The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint his own heaven by doing right. The opposite persecutions of material sense, aiding evil with evil, would deceive the very elect.
Mortals must follow Jesus’ sayings and his demonstrations, which dominate the flesh. Perfect and infinite Mind enthroned is heaven. The evil beliefs which originate in mortals are hell. Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light. Man is deathless, spiritual. He is above sin or frailty. He does not cross the barriers of time into the vast forever of Life, but he coexists with God and the universe.
The infinitude of God
Every object in material thought will be destroyed, but the spiritual idea, whose substance is in Mind, is eternal. The offspring of God start not from matter or ephemeral dust. They are in and of Spirit, divine Mind, and so forever continue. God is one. The allness of Deity is His oneness. Generically man is one, and specifically man means all men.
It is generally conceded that God is Father, eternal, selfcreated, infinite. If this is so, the forever Father must have had children prior to Adam. The great I am made all “that was made.” Hence man and the spiritual universe coexist with God.
Christian Scientists understand that, in a religious sense, they have the same authority for the appellative mother, as for that of brother and sister. Jesus said: “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”
Waymarks to eternal Truth
When examined in the light of divine Science, mortals present more than is detected upon the surface, since inverted thoughts and erroneous beliefs must be counterfeits of Truth. Thought is borrowed from a higher source than matter, and by reversal, errors serve as waymarks to the one Mind, in which all error disappears in celestial Truth. The robes of Spirit are “white and glistering,” like the raiment of Christ. Even in this world, therefore, “let thy garments be always white.” “Blessed is the man that endureth [overcometh] temptation: for when he is tried, [proved faithful], he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James i. 12.)