Questions and Answers
by Mary Baker Eddy in Prose Works
What are the advantages of your system of healing, over the ordinary methods of healing disease?
Healing by Christian Science has the following advantages: —
First: It does away with all material medicines, and recognizes the fact that, as mortal mind is the cause of all "the ills that flesh is heir to," the antidote for sickness, as well as for sin, may and must be found in mortal mind's opposite, — the divine Mind.
Second: It is more effectual than drugs; curing where these fail, and leaving none of the harmful "after effects" of these in the system; thus proving that metaphysics is above physics.
Third: One who has been healed by Christian Science is not only healed of the disease, but is improved morally. The body is governed by mind; and mortal mind must be improved, before the body is renewed and harmonious, — since the physique is simply thought made manifest.
What is the distinction between mortal mind and immortal Mind?
Mortal mind includes all evil, disease, and death; also, all beliefs relative to the so-called material laws, and all material objects, and the law of sin and death.
The Scripture says, "The carnal mind [in other words, mortal mind] is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Mortal mind is an illusion; as much in our waking moments as in the dreams of sleep. The belief that intelligence, Truth, and Love, are in matter and separate from God, is an error; for there is no intelligent evil, and no power besides God, good. God would not be omnipotent if there were in reality another mind creating or governing man or the universe.
Immortal Mind is God; and this Mind is made manifest in all thoughts and desires that draw mankind toward purity, health, holiness, and the spiritual facts of being.
Jesus recognized this relation so clearly that he said, "I and my Father are one." In proportion as we oppose the belief in material sense, in sickness, sin, and death, and recognize ourselves under the control of God, spiritual and immortal Mind, shall we go on to leave the animal for the spiritual, and learn the meaning of those words of Jesus, "Go ye into all the world … heal the sick."
In what way is a Christian Scientist an instrument by which God reaches others to heal them, and what most obstructs the way?
A Christian, or a Christian Scientist, assumes no more when claiming to work with God in healing the sick, than in converting the sinner. Divine help is as necessary in the one case as in the other. The scientific Principle of healing demands such cooperation; but this unison and its power would be arrested if one were to mix material methods with the spiritual, — were to mingle hygienic rules, drugs, and prayers in the same process,—and thus serve "other gods." Truth is as effectual in destroying sickness as in the destruction of sin.
It is often asked, "If Christian Science is the same method of healing that Jesus and the apostles used, why do not its students perform as instantaneous cures as did those in the first century of the Christian era?"
In some instances the students of Christian Science equal the ancient prophets as healers. All true healing is governed by, and demonstrated on, the same Principle as theirs; namely, the action of the divine Spirit, through the power of Truth to destroy error, discord of whatever sort. The reason that the same results follow not in every case, is that the student does not in every case possess sufficiently the Christ-spirit and its power to cast out the disease. The Founder of Christian Science teaches her students that they must possess the spirit of Truth and Love, must gain the power over sin in themselves, or they cannot be instantaneous healers.
In this Christian warfare the student or practitioner has to master those elements of evil too common to other minds. If it is hate that is holding the purpose to kill his patient by mental means, it requires more divine understanding to conquer this sin than to nullify either the disease itself or the ignorance by which one unintentionally harms himself or another. An element of brute-force that only the cruel and evil can send forth, is given vent in the diabolical practice of one who, having learned the power of liberated thought to do good, perverts it, and uses it to accomplish an evil purpose. This mental malpractice would disgrace Mind-healing, were it not that God overrules it, and causes "the wrath of man" to praise Him. It deprives those who practise it of the power to heal, and destroys their own possibility of progressing.
The honest student of Christian Science is purged through Christ, Truth, and thus is ready for victory in the ennobling strife. The good fight must be fought by those who keep the faith and finish their course. Mental purgation must go on: it promotes spiritual growth, scales the mountain of human endeavor, and gains the summit in Science that otherwise could not be reached, — where the struggle with sin is forever done.
If Christian Science is the same as Jesus taught, why is it not more simple, so that all can readily understand it?
The teachings of Jesus were simple; and yet he found it difficult to make the rulers understand, because of their great lack of spirituality. Christian Science is simple, and readily understood by the children; only the thought educated away from it finds it abstract or difficult to perceive. Its seeming abstraction is the mystery of godliness; and godliness is simple to the godly; but to the unspiritual, the ungodly, it is dark and difficult. The carnal mind cannot discern spiritual things.
Is Christian Science based on the facts of both Spirit and matter?
Christian Science is based on the facts of Spirit and its forms and representations, but these facts are the direct antipodes of the so-called facts of matter; and the eternal verities of Spirit assert themselves over their opposite, or matter, in the final destruction of all that is unlike Spirit.
Man knows that he can have one God only, when he regards God as the only Mind, Life, and substance. If God is Spirit, as the Scriptures declare, and All-inall, matter is mythology, and its laws are mortal beliefs.
If Mind is in matter and beneath a skull bone, it is in something unlike Him; hence it is either a godless and material Mind, or it is God in matter, — which are theories of agnosticism and pantheism, the very antipodes of Christian Science
What is organic life?
Life is inorganic, infinite Spirit; if Life, or Spirit, were organic, disorganization would destroy Spirit and annihilate man.
If Mind is not substance, form, and tangibility, God is substanceless; for the substance of Spirit is divine Mind. Life is God, the only creator, and Life is immortal Mind, not matter.
Every indication of matter's constituting life is mortal, the direct opposite of immortal Life, and infringes the rights of Spirit. Then, to conclude that Spirit constitutes or ever has constituted laws to that effect, is a mortal error, a human conception opposed to the divine government. Mind and matter mingling in perpetual warfare is a kingdom divided against itself, that shall be brought to desolation. The final destruction of this false belief in matter will appear at the full revelation of Spirit, — one God, and the brotherhood of man. Organic life is an error of statement that Truth destroys. The Science of Life needs only to be understood; its demonstration proves the correctness of my statements, and brings blessings infinite.
How can you believe there is no sin, and that God does not recognize any, when He sent His Son to save from sin, and the Bible is addressed to sinners? How can you believe there is no sickness, when Jesus came healing the sick?
To regard sin, disease, and death with less deference, and only as the woeful unrealities of being, is the only way to destroy them; Christian Science is proving this by healing cases of disease and sin after all other means have failed. The Nazarene Prophet could make the unreality of both apparent in a moment.
According to the Word, man is the image and likeness of God. Does God's essential likeness sin, or dangle at the end of a rope? If not, what does? A culprit, a sinner, — anything but a man! Then, what is a sinner? A mortal; but man is immortal.
Again: mortals are the embodiments (or bodies, if you please) of error, not of Truth; of sickness, sin, and death. Naming these His embodiment, can neither make them so nor overthrow the logic that man is God's likeness. Mortals seem very material; man in the likeness of Spirit is spiritual. Holding the right idea of man in my mind, I can improve my own, and other people's individuality, health, and morals; whereas, the opposite image of man, a sinner, kept constantly in mind, can no more improve health or morals, than holding in thought the form of a boa-constrictor can aid an artist in painting a landscape.
Man is seen only in the true likeness of his Maker. Believing a lie veils the truth from our vision; even as in mathematics, in summing up positive and negative quantities, the negative quantity offsets an equal positive quantity, making the aggregate positive, or true quantity, by that much, less available.
If there is no sin, why did Jesus come to save sinners?
If there is no reality in sickness, why does a Christian Scientist go to the bedside and address himself to the healing of disease, on the basis of its unreality? Jesus came to seek and to save such as believe in the reality of the unreal; to save them from this false belief; that they might lay hold of eternal Life, the great reality that concerns man, and understand the final fact, — that God is omnipotent and omnipresent; yea, "that the Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him," as the Scriptures declare.
If Christ was God, why did Jesus cry out, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?"
Even as the struggling heart, reaching toward a higher goal, appeals to its hope and faith, Why failest thou me? Jesus as the son of man was human: Christ as the Son of God was divine. This divinity was reaching humanity through the crucifixion of the human, — that momentous demonstration of God, in which Spirit proved its supremacy over matter. Jesus assumed for mortals the weakness of flesh, that Spirit might be found "All-in-all." Hence, the human cry which voiced that struggle; thence, the way he made for mortals' escape. Our Master bore the cross to show his power over death; then relinquished his earth-task of teaching and demonstrating the nothingness of sickness, sin, and death, and rose to his native estate, man's indestructible eternal life in God.
The Rev. —— said in a sermon: A true Christian would protest against metaphysical healing being called Christian Science. He also maintained that pain and disease are not illusions but realities; and that it is not Christian to believe they are illusions. Is this so?
It is unchristian to believe that pain and sickness are anything but illusions. My proof of this is, that the penalty for believing in their reality is the very pain and disease. Jesus cast out a devil, and the dumb spake; hence it is right to know that the works of Satan are the illusion and error which Truth casts out.
Does the gentleman above mentioned know the meaning of divine metaphysics, or of metaphysical theology?
According to Webster, metaphysics is defined thus: "The science of the conceptions and relations which are necessary to thought and knowledge; science of the mind." Worcester defines it as "the philosophy of mind, as distinguished from that of matter; a science of which the object is to explain the principles and causes of all things existing," Brande calls metaphysics "the science which regards the ultimate grounds of being, as distinguished from its phenomenal modifications." "A speculative science, which soars beyond the bounds of experience," is a further definition.
Divine metaphysics is that which treats of the existence of God, His essence, relations, and attributes. A sneer at metaphysics is a scoff at Deity; at His goodness, mercy, and might.
Christian Science is the unfolding of true metaphysics; that is, of Mind, or God, and His attributes. Science rests on Principle and demonstration. The Principle of Christian Science is divine. Its rule is, that man shall utilize the divine power.
In Genesis i. 26, we read: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air."
I was once called to visit a sick man to whom the regular physicians had given three doses of Croton oil, and then had left him to die. Upon my arrival I found him barely alive, and in terrible agony. In one hour he was well, and the next day he attended to his business. I removed the stoppage, healed him of enteritis, and neutralized the bad effects of the poisonous oil. His physicians had failed even to move his bowels, — though the wonder was, with the means used in their effort to accomplish this result, that they had not quite killed him. According to their diagnosis, the exciting cause of the inflammation and stoppage was — eating smoked herring. The man is living yet; and I will send his address to any one who may wish to apply to him for information about his case.
Now comes the question: Had that sick man dominion over the fish in his stomach?
His want of control over "the fish of the sea" must have been an illusion, or else the Scriptures misstate man's power. That the Bible is true I believe, not only, but I demonstrated its truth when I exercised my power over the fish, cast out the sick man's illusion, and healed him. Thus it was shown that the healing action of Mind upon the body has its only explanation in divine metaphysics. As a man "thinketh in his heart, so is he." When the mortal thought, or belief, was removed, the man was well.
Why do you insist that there is but one Soul, and that Soul is not in the body?
First: I urge this fundamental fact and grand verity of Christian Science, because it includes a rule that must be understood, or it is impossible to demonstrate the Science. Soul is a synonym of Spirit, and God is Spirit. There is but one God, and the infinite is not within the finite; hence Soul is one, and is God; and God is not in matter or the mortal body.
Second: Because Soul is a term for Deity, and this term should seldom be employed except where the word God can be used and make complete sense. The word Soul may sometimes be used metaphorically; but if this term is warped to signify human quality, a substitution of sense for soul clears the meaning, and assists one to understand Christian Science. Mary's exclamation, "My soul doth magnify the Lord," is rendered in Science, "My spiritual sense doth magnify the Lord;" for the name of Deity used in that place does not bring out the meaning of the passage. It was evidently an illuminated sense through which she discovered the spiritual origin of man. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," means, that mortal man (alias material sense) that sinneth, shall die; and the commonly accepted view is that soul is deathless. Soul is the divine Mind, — for Soul cannot be formed or brought forth by human thought, — and must proceed from God; hence it must be sinless, and destitute of self-created or derived capacity to sin.
Third: Jesus said, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." This statement of our Master is true, and remains to be demonstrated; for it is the ultimatum of Christian Science; but this immortal saying can never be tested or proven true upon a false premise, such as the mortal belief that soul is in body, and life and intelligence are in matter. That doctrine is not theism, but pantheism. According to human belief the bodies of mortals are mortal, but they contain immortal souls! hence these bodies must die for these souls to escape and be immortal. The theory that death must occur, to set a human soul free from its environments, is rendered void by Jesus' divine declaration, who spake as never man spake, — and no man can rationally reject his authority on this subject and accept it on other topics less important.
Now, exchange the term soul for sense whenever this word means the so-called soul in the body, and you will find the right meaning indicated. The misnamed human soul is material sense, which sinneth and shall die; for it is an error or false sense of mentality in matter, and matter has no sense. You will admit that Soul is the Life of man. Now if Soul sinned, it would die; for "the wages of sin is death." The Scripture saith, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." The Science of Soul, Spirit, involves this appearing, and is essential to the fulfilment of this glorious prophecy of the master Metaphysician, who overcame the last enemy, death.