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Spirit, Not Matter, Is Substance

From the April 1969 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In considering what is and what is not substance, it would be helpful to determine what we mean by substance. Substance is usually considered to be the essential part, or essence, of a thing. If by things we mean physical objects—anything perceived, or known to be occupying space—perhaps matter is as good a word for the substance of them as any other. But it is still merely a word.

If we are considering a universe consisting of physical objects, and relate these objects to what we call matter, then it would be very difficult indeed to deny that matter is substance.

However, if we are considering a universe that is infinite, one that has nothing to do with space and time, one that does not include a single destructive element, then we must be considering a universe the substance of which would properly be termed Spirit. The objects included in such a universe would be spiritual and so would be called ideas. As such, they would occupy no space and would in no wise be associated with time. They would not be thought of in terms of "then" or "there," but in terms of "now" and "here"—as conscious spiritual identities. Are there, then, two universes, one consisting of physical objects or things, and the other of spiritual ideas? Let us see.