Last spring an apricot tree in my backyard surprised me. After five years of producing no fruit, there was a profusion of delicate pink flowers. A few months later there was an abundance of delicious apricots. This got me thinking about the biblical description of the “seed … in itself” (see Genesis 1:11, 12).
The seed that produced the apricot tree had within itself all the elements needed for the complete expression of “apricot.” Among other things, the shape of the leaves, the fragrance of the flowers, even the color and taste of the fruit, are all part of the unique identity of the tree found in the seed. When planting a seed, we trust that when it flowers, we don’t have to paint the petals the appropriate color; we don’t spray them with fragrance; it is all there, waiting to spring forth.
Is it possible that the basic fact of an inherently complete individual identity hinted at in nature is what the Bible refers to as the “seed … in itself”? Could this point to the intrinsic truth that all aspects of identity are present within each one of us? Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures provides a spiritual explanation of God’s creation. Its description of man includes the statement that man “is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas” (p. 475). The book’s author, Mary Baker Eddy, is referring here not to mortal man, whose existence could be described as starting from a material “seed,” but to the true, spiritual man. Our spiritual identity as a compound idea is found in the total completeness of man as the spiritual idea of God. The implications of this fundamental spiritual fact are enormous.