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What is 'Christ consciousness?'

From the November 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines Christ as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error." Science and Health, p. 583. This is a statement directly in line with historical Jewish apocalyptic concepts of the Christ. Apocalyptic thinking included the belief that Satan seemed to be in control of the world, and that this control manifested itself, not only in suffering caused by sin, disease, and death, but in the control of Israel by a series of foreign nations.

The apocalyptic outlook on the world is said by scholars to have arisen among the Jews about 150 to 200 years before the time of Jesus, and it was a response to the suffering of the Jewish people. Jewish apocalypticists held that God wouldn't put up with this indefinitely, but would soon send a Messiah (in Greek, a Christ) who would be the one to deal with this situation. There were various ideas among the Jews as to the exact role and nature of the Messiah. But apocalypticists held that he, as God's representative, would overthrow Satan (as well as the oppressing foreign nations), and usher in the kingdom or reign of God, in which there would be no more sin, sickness, or death. For further information about Jewish apocalypticism, see Paula Fredriksen, Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity, and Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.

Christians understand Jesus of Nazareth to be that anticipated Messiah, and Christian Science teaches that Jesus was the incarnation or embodiment of the eternal Christ, "the divine manifestation of God." He thus became known as Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ. While his ministry didn't involve the overthrow of the occupying Romans by military force, his healing works (including the healing of sin and raising the dead) were dynamic and powerful, as were the manifestations of the Christ by the Holy Spirit after Jesus' ascension.

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