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The role of expectancy in Christian Science treatment

From the June 1982 issue of The Christian Science Journal


To be effective, Christian Science treatment must destroy error. To do this, it must be based on an understanding of God's absolute nature. To be absolute is to be perfect, pure, and complete. It's also to be infinite and eternal: to provide neither room nor time for anything to exist that would make God, Spirit, and His complete expression— man—imperfect, impure, or material. If one considered God to be anything less than absolute, this would take away (in one's own belief) His omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. He wouldn't be All; and without a proper comprehension of His allness, Christian Science treatment of an apparent error would be reduced to an argument without a sensible basis. That is, one could not expect to destroy an erroneous material condition with Truth if one believed that Truth is occasionally untrue, and that error is occasionally true. Healing, or the destruction of the apparent evil, is a scientific demonstration of God's absolute allness and of the unreality of anything claiming to be unlike Him.

In addition to understanding the absolute nature of God and man, however, anyone who would give effective Christian Science treatment must look to his expectations. Although able to obtain breathtaking glimpses of God's allness, the healer also finds himself faced day to day with human concepts that, in effect, deny the absolute allness of God. Like Paul, he can sometimes find himself not doing the good he would, and unable to stop doing the material things he wouldn't!See Rom. 7:19. With this humanly dualistic viewpoint, what can a Christian Science healer expect to have happen when he claims the absolute allness of God? How much of the materiality that he agrees is false, but has not yet outgrown, can he expect the Christ—the true idea of God— to destroy?

The substance of this question has been raised before. A turn-of-the-century Christian Science Sentinel asks: "'If all matter is unreal, why do we deny the existence of disease in the material body and not the body itself? '" In a reply, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: "We deny first the existence of disease, because we can meet this negation more readily than we can negative all that the material senses affirm. It is written in 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures': 'An improved belief is one step out of error, and aids in taking the next step and in understanding the situation in Christian Science' (p. 296).

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