It seems reasonable to draw conclusions from what we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and taste, smell, and feel with the other senses. Our experience suggests that this is normal and natural. In many areas of life, the results of this approach are quite useful. In studying the natural sciences, we gather information that allows us to solve problems and develop technologies such as computers, phones, and cars, all of which are of great benefit to mankind.
We might be tempted to think of our bodies in the same way, relying on the five senses to tell us how we’re feeling and what our prognosis is for healing or health. This may have been how the man at the pool of Bethesda was feeling, who, according to the Bible, was fettered by an infirmity that prevented him from walking and had afflicted him for almost forty years (see John 5:2–9).
Along came Jesus to restore the man’s freedom. Jesus didn’t reason inductively, looking at apparent material effects to find a material cause. Quite the contrary, he reasoned deductively, starting from the one great cause, divine Principle, perfect God, Spirit, whom he called his Father. His reasoning didn’t begin with or depend on the evidence of the material senses. This cause, or Principle, God—all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, all-loving—knows only good and creates only good, as explained in the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible.
Reasoning spiritually, from perfect Father to perfect creation with the authority of Christ, enabled Jesus to heal the man at the pool of Bethesda, repudiating reports from the material senses. In speaking of how he was able to restore freedom in this way, Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).
This is how I understand his words: The healing power is not with me personally; it comes from the divine Principle of the universe, God, and anyone who understands God can attain freedom from material limitations in their own experience.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, explains it this way: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476–477).
Throughout her book, Mrs. Eddy invites thinkers to reason spiritually, as Jesus did, recognizing the impeccable logic that an infinitely good God can only create that which is good and forever free. And, since God is infinite, nothing unlike the Divine can have any fundamental reality.
On this basis, Jesus commanded his followers to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8, New International Version). Therefore, each one of us can reason spiritually, as did Jesus and his disciples, as did Mrs. Eddy, and behold in Science the perfect man, and so obtain the correct view of man. In this way, we find healing. As we do, we learn more of what it means to be animated by Christ, Truth.
Once, while hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire, I fell on my wrist, injuring it badly. By dinnertime, there was no improvement, and I was unable to use the wrist. I went to my hotel room to study my Bible along with the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health—to reason spiritually, starting with God, the Father, and His love for us as His spiritual offspring, which overrules the material senses.
Within an hour or so, I was so absorbed in my study that I had forgotten about my wrist, and then the thought came distinctly, “You never had an accident!” What a remarkable statement. To the material sense of existence, I had indeed had an accident. But, that’s not what God knew about me, God’s image and likeness. And in that moment, I had a glimpse of myself as God knew me, and this completely released me from the effects of the accident. My wrist was fully functional with no pain or limitation.
Such a result is not an occasional miracle or exception to law and causation, but the very outcome of God’s law, the logical conclusion of God as the one infinite, divine, invariable cause of each of us at every moment, everywhere.
This continuously operating divine law is much more than an emergency backup to be applied in moments of dire need. It provides a perpetual framework for thinking and living in which we can look moment by moment to God, divine Principle, as the source of all genuine thought, healing, and guidance.
Spiritual reasoning is not merely some alternative form of human thought, but that which transcends the human to reveal the divine, the Mind of Christ. Adhering to the truths we know through spiritual reasoning enables us to perceive and experience God’s perfect creation, right here and right now.
There is a great need for spiritual reasoning in the world today, as we grapple with the many challenges that come from believing that life is in and of matter, susceptible to all of its limitations and vulnerabilities. With each victory, small or large, we are progressively proving our own freedom and also demonstrating everyone else’s by “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).
Guest editorial writer
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith
Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled
again with the yoke of bondage.