When we feel despair, guilt, fear, or even disease, it is good to understand that these are not our true feelings. We have been tricked into them. This happens when we’re not sure about our identity as the loved child of God.
The Bible creation record states that God made man (that includes all of us) in His image and likeness—complete and very good (see Genesis, chap. 1). Christian Science explains that since God is Spirit, His image and likeness must be spiritual. This basic fact enables us to be confident in our completeness and worth as inherently spiritual, and it is also the standpoint from which we find bodily healing for ourselves.
More than anyone else, Christ Jesus knew his relation to God. Right after he was baptized by John, he heard the voice of God saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Knowing that God was his Father and that he was loved by God enabled Jesus to do the healing work that he did. Jesus also knew that we are all God’s children and are loved by God. These facts were illustrated over and over as Jesus traveled about, teaching and healing. Jesus’ many healings proved what he taught, showing God’s saving love. He knew man’s identity, as not what it seemed to be—blind, lame, diseased—but whole.
From Jesus’ example we learn valuable lessons. Each of us is the loved child of our Father, God, and when this is clearly seen and understood, bodily healing can follow for those in need.
God is our Father. We are God’s children, having an actual spiritual identity. Think of what that must mean for each of us. Knowing our relation to God as His beloved offspring has a transforming effect on our human lives and brings healing. Yet to really know what it means to be the image and likeness of God, it’s important to know that we are never separate from God. Instead, we are God’s spiritual idea, His very expression, the witness of God’s being.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy makes a remarkable statement affirming the unity of God and His expression: “God, without the image and likeness of Himself, would be a nonentity, or Mind unexpressed. He would be without a witness or proof of His own nature. Spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost nor separated from its divine Principle” (p. 303). Man, known spiritually, is the actual manifestation of God.
Man represents the very presence of God—forever.
Christian Science highlights several synonyms that help to define God. Referring to these, we can say man represents the activity of Life, the continuing expression of Love, the order and control of Principle. And so on. This again shows there is no separation. In reality, God is not sending out intelligence to His creation, but is actually the Mind of man. God is not sending out spiritual understanding to His creation, but expresses Himself in each of His ideas in the immediacy of His consciousness. God is not giving health to man, but is expressing His harmony and wholeness as man. God is, in fact, the ongoing cause of man, and so man, individually and collectively, is always the witness of God.
This statement from Science and Health about the nature of man helps to clarify our identity: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God’s image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal; that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker” (p. 475).
It’s important to know what we are, and to accept the fact that we are God’s beloved. The material senses wrongly define us as a physical body with a material personality, resulting from a mortal history, and often in some kind of trouble. They suggest that we are certainly not the child of God. But the opposite is true; we are not what the material senses report.
As Jesus was shown that he was God’s loved Son, God shows each of us that we’re His loved children. And God shows us the freedom that includes. Science and Health refers to Christ, the idea of God that Jesus so clearly evidenced, as “the great physician” (marginal heading, p. 442). The Christ comes to human thought and confirms our spiritual nature in a way that each of us can understand, thus acting as a thought correction. Christ removes doubt and fear, and we become confident that pain isn’t part of our spiritual nature. We recognize that a disease has never truly started, and that our life isn’t wearing out. Instead man represents the very presence of God—forever. Such thought correction brings healing, as it destroys the false reports of the five senses we had accepted as being us, so that we see our identity more accurately.
I vividly recall a realization I had years ago that was a milestone in my own spiritual progress. It was this: When God looks at me, He sees Himself reflected perfectly in His spiritual idea, man. That enabled me to see more clearly that man is the very expression of God. I knew then that I was not separate, not on my own, and not in some way unable to measure up to my spiritual identity. It wasn’t about me trying to be a wonderful me. Instead God was revealing His goodness and glory right where I was, such that I had to be forever whole and of great worth. Seeing this was a big step forward in the ultimate healing of a long-standing physical condition.
If we are in need of any sort of healing, understanding more of what it means to be a child of God, and then accepting this divine fact, leads to our healing.
If God is the Principle of man (and He is), man is the idea of God; and this idea cannot fail to express the exact nature of its Principle,—any more than goodness, to present the quality of good.
Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 78
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