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A new take on Christ coming to “the flesh”

From the October 2021 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Before I learned of Christian Science, I lived in fear of material laws that dictated how my body functioned (or didn’t), how I felt physically, and what I could accomplish on a particular day. I had no doubt my body was at the mercy of contagion, heredity, accident, or whatever was being commercially advertised as the latest disease to be concerned about.

But as I read and studied Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the textbook of Christian Science, I began to see what the discovery of Christian Science meant for me—and for all mankind. The more I read, the more I realized I was learning about how Christ Jesus applied the laws of God, proving for all ages that it was the divine right of man (everyone) to be free from sin, disease, and death.

This freedom is based on the spiritual fact that man is created by God, divine Spirit, in His image and likeness. This means man is not material, he is spiritual, and is governed by God’s law of perpetual harmony, safe in divine Spirit.

In the book of Psalms we read, “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (56:4). And the Glossary of the spiritual meaning of Bible terms in Science and Health defines Christ as “the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (p. 583). But if man is spiritual, not material—if in truth there is no flesh, or matter—then what does the Christ, the manifestation of God, come to? Where is it that error is destroyed? This becomes clear when we read in the same Glossary the spiritual definition of flesh: “An error of physical belief; a supposition that life, substance, and intelligence are in matter; an illusion; a belief that matter has sensation” (p. 586).

It is not a fleshly, material body susceptible to random discords or material laws that the Christ comes to, but false beliefs or suppositions that claim to have become embedded in thought. Christ destroys these incarnate errors by voicing good, divine Truth, in human consciousness (see Science and Health, p. 332). In so doing, this divine influence eliminates fear and the illusions of the material senses and fills consciousness with the ever-present Truth and healing power of divine Love.

I saw an example of this in my early days of studying Christian Science, though it was some time before I understood what had actually taken place.

I was having a very one-sided discussion with a Christian Science practitioner. I had gone to see him armed with a long list of questions as to how this Science works. I had previously worked in the field of medical research, a profession I had pursued because I wanted to be of some help in alleviating suffering. Reading Science and Health had freed me from several long-standing physical problems, but left me overwhelmed with questions. Was it really possible for me, through prayer alone, to apply the laws of God to realize healing in my life and the life of my son? And was it possible that I could help others as I had been helped?

When I humbly began listening, I felt a great calm wash over my consciousness.

In the middle of my eager outpouring, the practitioner began to read to me the ninety-first Psalm from his Bible. I had never heard or read it before. When I humbly stopped asking and began listening, I felt a great calm wash over my consciousness.

When it was time to leave, he walked me to the local Christian Science Reading Room, where the librarian was occupying my six-year-old son, Jay. I was embarrassed for the practitioner to see Jay because of an unsightly sore on his lower lip. He simply patted Jay on the head as he said hello, but the moment was filled with a powerful, sweet sense of love toward my son. As we were driving home, I turned to say something to Jay and realized the lip was completely clear. There wasn’t the slightest hint of the wound that had gripped me with fear for two days.

When we arrived home, I called the practitioner to tell him this, but said I really wasn’t sure what had happened. He simply explained that when we turn to the Word of God—in this case, the ninety-first Psalm—we feel the presence of divine Love, the infinite, perfect Love that casts out fear. I gleaned from his explanation that when our consciousness becomes filled with the Christ, the reflection of divine Love, God, revealing the presence and power of God, this healing Love governs the situation. This is what had occurred for both my son and me.

More recently, as I was pondering the quote about Christ coming to the flesh to destroy incarnate error, I thought about this healing. I could see that, of course, when a realization of God fills our consciousness with good—with the truth that man is spiritual, not material—the false beliefs, suppositions, and illusions that constitute the “flesh” are naturally destroyed.

I also recalled the moment when I felt the room was filled with love. I later realized it was divine Love, God, reflected by the practitioner. As Science and Health explains, “If the Scientist reaches his patient through divine Love, the healing work will be accomplished at one visit, and the disease will vanish into its native nothingness like dew before the morning sunshine” (p. 365). This is exactly what took place with my son.

As I continue to embrace Christian Science, the Science of the Christ, I begin to see that the greatest outcome of this healing was the understanding I gained that it is completely natural for anyone to experience spiritual healing for themselves, their families, and others when reaching out to Christian Scientists for healing prayer, or when reaching out to God on their own. This is just what Christ Jesus promised would happen, and it has been brought to light by the Comforter, divine Science, which leads into all truth (see John 14:12 and Science and Health, p. 55).

Led by the Comforter to follow Christ’s example, we are able to demonstrate, as Christ Jesus did, that there is no reality in nor effect from false beliefs, suppositions, and illusions, masquerading as flesh. We understand, as he did, that it is never about destroying a material appearance or condition, though that naturally results. Rather, it is about the Christ awakening human consciousness to the spiritual fact that we are created and governed by God alone; that we are wholly spiritual; and that God is “supreme in the physical realm, so-called, as well as in the spiritual” (Science and Health, p. 427).

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