In studying Christian Science, I’ve learned the importance of knowing the difference between thoughts that come from God, otherwise known as divine Mind, and thoughts that seem to come from a different source. Christian Scientists understand that Mind, God, is wholly good. In our textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes that “God is Mind: all that Mind, God, is, or hath made, is good, and He made all” (p. 311).
However, there does at times seem to be another source of intelligence, often referred to by Christian Scientists as mortal mind, or the carnal mind. Mortal mind is the belief that there is intelligence in matter, and that a physical brain is the source of both the mental activity and physical action of every individual that has ever lived. As explained in Science and Health, “Usage classes both evil and good together as mind; therefore, to be understood, the author calls sick and sinful humanity mortal mind,—meaning by this term the flesh opposed to Spirit, the human mind and evil in contradistinction to the divine Mind, or Truth and good” (p. 114).
Under the rule of this belief in mortal mind, men and women are defined as creatures of completely material instinct and concerns, evolving under an ever-shifting set of material conditions that shape and define who they are. According to this doctrine, various influences, either good or bad, converge on individuals, and a person is subject to these influences, which form the sum total of their lives. Speaking to this belief, Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being” (p. 227).