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The promise of the seed

From the January 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Last spring an apricot tree in my backyard surprised me. After five years of producing no fruit, there was a profusion of delicate pink flowers. A few months later there was an abundance of delicious apricots. This got me thinking about the biblical description of the “seed … in itself” (see Genesis 1:11, 12).

The seed that produced the apricot tree had within itself all the elements needed for the complete expression of “apricot.” Among other things, the shape of the leaves, the fragrance of the flowers, even the color and taste of the fruit, are all part of the unique identity of the tree found in the seed. When planting a seed, we trust that when it flowers, we don’t have to paint the petals the appropriate color; we don’t spray them with fragrance; it is all there, waiting to spring forth.

Is it possible that the basic fact of an inherently complete individual identity hinted at in nature is what the Bible refers to as the “seed … in itself”? Could this point to the intrinsic truth that all aspects of identity are present within each one of us? Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures provides a spiritual explanation of God’s creation. Its description of man includes the statement that man “is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas” (p. 475). The book’s author, Mary Baker Eddy, is referring here not to mortal man, whose existence could be described as starting from a material “seed,” but to the true, spiritual man. Our spiritual identity as a compound idea is found in the total completeness of man as the spiritual idea of God. The implications of this fundamental spiritual fact are enormous.

To me that means, whatever our individual circumstances might be, we can understand that we truly already have what we need. That’s because our identity is already complete within itself as God’s reflection, including all “right ideas.” One way Mrs. Eddy describes the “seed within itself” in Science and Health is, “The seed within itself is the pure thought emanating from divine Mind” (p. 508). What flows from divine Mind is strength, love, intelligence, health, and so much more. What a comfort this is. Wherever we are, whatever the challenge du jour, we are already equipped to deal with it successfully, by virtue of the completeness of our spiritual identity.

 Whatever our individual circumstances might be, we can understand that we truly already have what we need.

Several years ago I had an opportunity to embrace and prove this spiritual fact. When my husband suddenly passed away, I was concerned about how I’d manage financially. We were a two-income family and depended on both incomes to pay our bills. I prayed about how I could make ends meet. One thing became clear, and that was—as a child of God, I already included the “right idea” of supply. And I could see that supply in my daily life was simply the outward expression of my understanding of God’s love for me. 

As the year went by, I consistently trusted this spiritual fact. At the end of the year, I was delighted to find that my earnings were almost identical to our joint income from the previous year. There had been no outward changes in my work, but more income had flowed in. I experienced God’s love being abundantly manifest.

In the area of health we can also see that our identity already includes everything we need. Mrs. Eddy writes, “The recuperative action of the system, when mentally sustained by Truth, goes on naturally.” She also explains: “… in Science one must understand the resuscitating law of Life. This is the seed within itself bearing fruit after its kind, spoken of in Genesis” (Science and Health, pp. 447, 180). God’s man includes the “right idea” of complete health. 

If facing a health challenge, we can realize that when seen spiritually, we don’t have to go anywhere or get anything in order to find health. In prayer, we only need to recognize that we already include health as a “right idea.” Whatever is needed to completely express health is already present and manifest in man, and as we acknowledge this, it will be manifested in our present experience. 

In other words, health isn’t actually something that can be lost and that has to be regained through some outward action. It was never lost, though it may appear to our material senses to be hidden by symptoms. Health is an always-present fact of our spiritual existence that we already include. It just needs to be recognized, although this may take a lot of persistence sometimes. 

This fact of God’s creation being complete within itself can also be seen in other areas. Let’s take church, for example. The spiritual idea of Church, being an idea of God, also includes all that it needs. 

Sometimes one can be tempted to think that we don’t have the resources to make a full demonstration of church. Regarding a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, maybe we think we don’t have enough people to staff a Reading Room or the funds needed to host a lecture. 

By understanding that the idea of Church comes with everything needed for its full expression, we can see these “right ideas”—the real substance of church—come into view. 

Taking this concept to a broader level, there are implications of its relevance to the whole planet. Consider part of Mrs. Eddy’s metaphysical definition of earth: “… a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end. 

“To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea” (Science and Health, p. 585). 

This spiritual sense of earth gives a strong indication of what’s possible in regard to sustaining the planet. As we recognize the power of the spiritual fact that God’s infinite resources constantly replenish all His spiritual ideas, including earth, with all the “right ideas” they need, we’ll find solutions unfolding for the myriad problems facing us. 

As we individually entertain in prayer the spiritual fact of earth’s completeness, we’ll increasingly see solutions emerge for our planet, which might include changes or ideas that may not be apparent to us now. We’ll witness “the recuperative action of the system [going] on naturally.”

When the spiritual reality of the “seed within itself” is recognized, we will see it expressed in every aspect of our lives—in our everyday affairs, our health, our churches, and in our earth. Mrs. Eddy proclaims, “… God is omnipotent, supreme” (Science and Health, p. 17). The flowing-from-God ingredients of full perfection, glory, health, fruition, are all there, within. We have the joyous opportunity to cherish that seed of complete spiritual glory, and witness its unfolding.

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