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God’s promises and our spiritual advancement

From the November 2023 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Throughout the Bible God promises that we will know Him, and I find that the practice of Christian Science fulfills this promise. The teachings of Christian Science—the divine laws of God that Christ Jesus demonstrated in his healing mission—awaken us to God’s promises of present perfection and the possibility of seeing these promises made manifest in our daily experience.  

Yet popular thought and theology often teach that while God is infinite, He is a mystery. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, contradicts this in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as ‘the great unknowable;’ but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as the All-in-all, forever near” (p. 596). 

God becomes better known not through the human intellect, but through spiritual sense or spiritual perception, inherent in all of us as God’s image and likeness. This makes the Bible promises come alive. Mrs. Eddy saw clearly that the promises found throughout the Bible are good, eternal, universal, and demonstrable here and now for every man, woman, and child, everywhere. A study of Christian Science shows that God is always communicating His all-good nature through Christ, His spiritual ideal, which appears to us in ways we are best able to understand and demonstrate right where we are in our spiritual growth and understanding.

God’s promises are unfailing divine laws, and His divine ideas uplift human consciousness and turn it away from whatever isn’t Godlike. 

One of the first Bible promises was illustrated by the rainbow in the cloud that Noah saw after the flood (see Genesis 9:12–17). It represented God’s covenant with mankind to preserve life. This promise came alive to me a number of years ago when my daughter and I were on a flight to spend Christmas with my parents in another state. My marriage of 24 years had ended that year, and my adult children and I were now in different places. One son had joined the military, the other had moved to another state to work; and my daughter, although still living at home with me, was a busy, full-time student at a local university. I was feeling desolate, alone, and unneeded, fearful of what the future had in store for me.

As I looked out the window, I saw the shadow of our plane encircled by what appeared to be a full rainbow—a complete circle. The sight of it held a deep meaning for me that day. When I looked at it, it was a reminder of God’s love encircling me and every member of my family with the promise that His presence and power would always be with us, no matter what the human circumstances appeared to be.

Rainbows can also represent new beginnings—a fresh start that is joyous and full of opportunities for love and growth. In the coming weeks, months, and years, that’s exactly what I experienced. New satisfying work helping others and new loving relationships appeared, as I prayerfully realized that I was already and always complete in God, always at one with Him. I saw this was true for my grown children as well, while their lives moved forward and each one’s purpose and place unfolded.

God knows nothing of discordant human conditions. He knows His children as His immortal expression or reflection—perfect, complete, harmonious in every way, always at peace—not limited mortals, struggling to survive.

As we put into practice what we understand of Christian Science, we are promised spiritual advancement. This comes through spiritualization of thought. Understanding life as spiritual, communing with God, growing Spiritward, and learning more about God is what Christian Science practice is all about. Yielding to divine Mind—God—brings healing solutions. Wrestling with and seeing through temptations, suggestions, and deceptions of materialism until we realize their nothingness, leads us forward into broader views of God and our relation to Him. We need to be willing to change our thought, to let go of our most cherished material beliefs and practices. 

As we do this, we find we are overcoming and forsaking those elements of matter-based thought Mrs. Eddy lists in the first degree of the “Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind” in Science and Health, those that represent depravity: “Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death” (p. 115). God’s promises are unfailing divine laws, and His divine ideas uplift human consciousness and turn it away from whatever isn’t Godlike. 

As we’re diligent in our prayer, Christ, God’s idea, shows us the way forward. 

Mortal mind, the material sense of life or what the Apostle Paul calls “the carnal mind,” suggests that the opposite of good is true: that instead of advancement, there is decline; that the promise of healing is not going on. We can reverse these false suggestions in our thought, and instead hold to the spiritual truths of our being. Through this we humbly yield to spiritual reformation. This is correspondingly expressed in our lives. Then we experience the second degree of mortal mind, where evil beliefs disappear and transitional, moral qualities appear: “Humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance” (Science and Health, p. 115). Spiritualization of thought enables us to more readily avail ourselves of God’s promises and thus contribute to the advancement of mankind. 

The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, are my constant companions as I reach out to God for guidance regarding each next step. These books turn us away from the testimony of the physical senses, “towards the imperishable things of Spirit” (Science and Health, p. 21)—to that which is of God and eternal. Then we find the healing answers we need in God’s Word opening the way for us to begin to experience the third degree, where mortal mind, or the testimony of the physical senses, disappears entirely, and we are found in God’s likeness, expressed in imperishable spiritual qualities that heal: “Wisdom, purity, spiritual understanding, spiritual power, love, health, holiness” (Science and Health, p. 116). 

Spiritual advancement may often feel hampered by the challenges of earthbound perspectives, but as we’re diligent in our prayer, Christ, the true idea of God, shows us the way forward, restoring health and meeting our human needs. We’re led in ways in which we can productively contribute, including in church and in our community. 

Christ Jesus never promised that we would live our lives without challenges. He said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He overcame every suggestion of worldly thought that might try to mold him, and hold him and others to limited earthly views and fears. He wasn’t held down by these suggestions but continued to move onward and upward in his expression of immortal being. Prayer enables us to overcome the seeming forces of matter-based thinking that would tend to limit our experiencing the fullness of God’s promises and their infinite possibilities. 

When we put our love for God first, we discover our inseparable relation to Him and our perfect place within His infinite universe of good. We enjoy satisfying relationships with others, consistently obey His holy laws, and joyously yield to His purpose and plan for us. We find home and heaven here and now.

More in this issue / November 2023


Explore Concord—see where it takes you.

Search the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures