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Governed by genes or by God’s Word?

From the June 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Is it true that “you are your genes”? That physical vulnerabilities, intelligence, temperament, and other characteristics are largely determined by the genes we inherited from our parents? 

Many instances of hereditary problems being healed through prayer that relies on God’s supreme power have been recorded in the Bible, as well as in this publication. These healings furnish proof that genes do not have actual power over one’s being—and that an understanding of what truly controls our individuality can bring freedom from the apparent dictates of genetics. The Word of God reveals this understanding.

There is a distinct contrast between the spiritual view of individual identity delineated by the Word of God and the material view saying that predetermined characteristics are passed down from generation to generation via the molecular language of DNA.

The New Testament presents the spiritual view: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.… All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1, 3). 

The Word of God, Life, is what defines us, not the mortal “words” of DNA’s molecular language. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of the divine Science that Christ Jesus practiced, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Infinite Mind creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity” (p. 507). Every precious quality of God that makes up the substance of our spiritual being, our true body, is created and governed by divine Mind. So we express our Maker in goodness, purity, wholeness, and immortality. 

The allness of infinite Mind precludes material cells and their supposed preprogrammed limitations, including aging, disease, or vulnerability of any kind. In fact, our true identity was never material in the first place, so we aren’t destined to decline and die after a certain number of years. We don’t have a limited “shelf life.”

There is no intelligence apart from Mind, so there is nothing that can override Soul’s beautiful, immortal design for man; Soul, God, is infinite in its expression. How wonderful to be able to affirm daily that our true identity, or body, is not on mortal autopilot, subject to DNA operating independent of our knowledge or consent. Nothing can operate outside of the infinite divine Mind. And as Science and Health states, “The divine understanding reigns, is all, and there is no other consciousness” (p. 536). 

The spiritual understanding of God and His creation, changing the base of human consciousness from matter to Spirit, brings healing. The Bible is right when it declares, “The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word is immediate and decisive in cutting through mortal belief, distinguishing the false sense of man as a material body of joints and marrow from the true sense of man as Soul’s perfect, spiritual reflection, whose substance is sound and complete.

I found healing through understanding more clearly this Word of God and my relationship to it. Growing up in a sunny region, I used to spend my days playing in the sun as a child. In my teens, I spent long hours working in the garden and reading books outside in the sun. One day when I was in college, I was getting my hair cut, and the beautician commented that I shouldn’t spend so much time outside without a hat to cover my hair and head. 

Behind her words I sensed the fear that too much sun on my fair skin would lead to cancer. I did wear a sun hat from then on, but some years later, I discovered a small lump on my head right where the sun would naturally shine. The growth stayed contained for a number of years, then gradually increased in size. I was praying diligently, but the condition persisted. It was as if the growth was on an inevitable course that no prayer could overrule.

This is where the specific handling of the belief in DNA came into my prayers. Was I buying into the material view of creation, that every living thing has its origin in a cell that in turn has been preprogrammed according to material laws of cause and effect, including a line of various vulnerabilities passed down from generation to generation? The importance of affirming only spiritual creation is indicated in this statement from Science and Health: “The foundation of mortal discord is a false sense of man’s origin” (p. 262).

All discord stems from not perceiving one’s true origin or source. I asked myself, Am I tacitly going along with the theory that life is cellular and thus consenting to all the limitations and discords that includes?

One definition of the word cell is “unit,” derived from the Latin word for “one.” I reasoned that there can’t be a multitude of cells, of “ones,” if God is the only One. God’s infinite oneness rules out any possibility other than one cause, one creator, one intelligence, one substance. “The allness of Deity is His oneness,” states Science and Health (p. 267). But material theory would deny that oneness and suggest that each cell has an intelligence, substance, and creative power of its own, separate from God.

I could see how subtly this human theory lurks in thought, operating under the radar of our awareness. I felt that in my case, the out-of-control growth was stimulated by the belief that inheriting fair skin resulted in susceptibility to sun damage.

I found freedom by turning my thought away from this matter-based scenario to the true theory of the universe and the origin of all, including me. A statement in Science and Health was most insightful: “In the Gospel of John, it is declared that all things were made through the Word of God, ‘and without Him [the logos, or word] was not anything made that was made.’ Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make,—hence its unreality” (p. 525). 

The Word of God, Life, is what defines us, not the mortal “words” of DNA’s molecular language.

The growth was surely valueless and baneful, so it was clearly not created by God. All that could unfold as my being, my true identity or body, was what Soul determined. Peter speaks of “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23). Since our source is the Word of God, the divine Principle, it is incorruptible, unchanging, indestructible; and we, too, must be incorruptible, unchanging, indestructible. Nothing can be added to or taken from our true spiritual being. 

I found Paul’s definition of body very helpful: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:19). In Science and Health, the definition of Holy Ghost is “divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 588). Therefore, my true being was the individual development of the Holy Ghost, the law of Life, Truth, and Love. It was not a host or medium for discord. What a happy discovery, that all that could develop or be manifested as my true body was expressive of Life, not death, Truth, not error. Thus, the apparent growth had never been developing or increasing!

Additionally, instead of seeing the sun as just solar light, with supposedly harmful rays, I found in the Bible that light is associated with God: “Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us” (Psalms 4:6). And in the Glossary of Science and Health, there is this insightful definition: “Sun. The symbol of Soul governing man,—of Truth, Life, and Love” (p. 595). I cherished the idea that nothing but the light of God, Soul, had ever touched my being. After all, I was always in the kingdom of heaven, as Christ Jesus preached. In God’s kingdom, where harmony reigns, there is nothing to harm or be harmed.

It became clearer and clearer to me that the true nature of my substance, and the governor of that substance, was divine Principle and was harmonious. When the material beliefs about cells, DNA, and heredity dissolved in my consciousness, the growth disappeared. Science and Health explains, “Remove error from thought, and it will not appear in effect” (p. 40). It was the loving activity of Christ, Truth, that annulled the mortal view and revealed my spiritual individuality as divinely designed, which brought complete healing.

Sometime after this healing a friend pointed out to me how she had looked to the twenty-third Psalm as a truer definition of man’s identity than a human’s DNA. I have pondered the psalm’s verses and how they speak to me of a spiritual definition of our being. The following is how the Psalmist’s words inspired me. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

God, Love, is forever causing my being to be complete­—completely incorruptible, completely loving, completely infinite and immortal.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

The evergreen of Soul, the energy of Spirit, forever sustains the freshness and continuity of my being. The sequential unfoldment of my individuality is ordered, right, and balanced according to God’s law of Soul.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Death is not preprogrammed in me, for the rod and staff of Love are always with me, to guide me through eternity.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Even in the presence of apparent harm, God’s law of Love has a feast of angel thoughts safely awaiting me that inspire me to behold my inexhaustible expression of His ever-abundant life.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

With absolute certainty, I am nestled in Love’s infinitude, which is beneath, around, above, forever conscious of my oneness with Love and its precious, universal family!

Surely, then, we truly are not made up of genes or chromosomes. We can rejoice that our true being is foreordained by the Word of God as perfect and incorruptible, now and always!

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