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What it means to be a “child of light”

From the June 2022 issue of The Christian Science Journal


A deeper study of the Bible’s book of Ephesians has captured my time and thought this year. In six chapters, we read how to “put off the old man,” a way of thinking based in matter, and to “put on the new man,” thinking based in Spirit, God. This new man is the man or identity made in God’s image and likeness, as expressed in the first chapter of Genesis. He is what St. Paul refers to when he writes, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). This new man is also referred to, collectively, as “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8). Children of light are those who have put off the dark ways of thinking and acting, and have embodied the light of Christ, Truth.

But how? How do we do this in a world that seems to be tormented with fear? Paul gives us the answer in Philippians. He writes, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (2:5). Christ Jesus reflected, or received, his thoughts from God, divine Mind, directly, and so do we, as God’s children, when we turn from a material conception of existence to what is solely spiritual.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes of the need for this transition of thought in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says: “Acting from sinful motives destroys your power of healing from the right motive. On the other hand, if you had the inclination or power to practise wrongly and then should adopt Christian Science, the wrong power would be destroyed” (p. 452). Her use of the word adopt indicates that if our motive for healing is wrong, we can change our approach, adopt Christian Science, and “the wrong power” or sinful motives—motives based in self-glorification or self-will—will be destroyed. Why? Because we have embraced Spirit, God, as the only power, and we have adopted the pure motive of seeking our relation to God first.

To adopt the power of Christian Science is to embrace the law of God, as demonstrated by Christ Jesus. It is to welcome into our consciousness, our mental home, God’s power and presence, which we then see reflected in our lives. When we adopt the right idea, or law of God, we are effectively embracing God’s omnipotence. Simultaneously, then, the false belief of a law opposed to God dissolves, because we cannot have both matter and Spirit as law. 

Christ Jesus practiced healing from the basis of the power of Spirit, God, over the belief of life in matter. His character, thought, and actions proved he understood the “beauty of holiness” (Psalms 29:2), or in other words, the perfection of being. This perfection originates in divine Mind, God, and is expressed through Mind’s idea, man, “the ‘male and female’ of God’s creating” (Science and Health, p. 249). Wouldn’t we then, as children of light, as man, radiate divine light as well? Wouldn’t we possess an innate perfection and wholeness received from God, good? Wouldn’t we naturally disown any sense of another power or intelligence that opposes God, good? We would! And we do, as God’s image.

In praying about what it means to be a child of light, it becomes clearer that false beliefs can be wiped out of consciousness and body through the power of Life, Truth, and Love, which are synonyms for God. When anything false is seen as untrue, it no longer is manifested as seemingly real. This is what Peter speaks about when he writes that, as children of light, God “hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9).

What is this marvelous light? It is the light of Christ, Truth, showing man’s perfect being, and his perfect relation to God. In this light there is no darkness, no outside, no downside. This marvelous light emanates from divine Mind, God, and floods consciousness with Truth, revealing the actuality of man as God’s expression. And we can let the light of Christ, Truth, be present in our thought, because in reality it’s already there!

We can let the light of Christ, Truth, be present in our thought, because in reality it’s already there!

Light, we know, makes things visible. Its illumination spreads effortlessly to even the darkest corners. The divine light of luminous, radiant spiritual power clarifies our view, uplifts our perspective to Spirit, and proves that our true selfhood, man, is established in divine Mind, the source and illuminator of all good. Science and Health teaches, “The rays of infinite Truth, when gathered into the focus of ideas, bring light instantaneously, whereas a thousand years of human doctrines, hypotheses, and vague conjectures emit no such effulgence” (p. 504). The world is transformed, to some degree, each time our individual thought is transformed in this way.

Spiritual transformation takes place through mental or moral chemicalization. This chemicalization is not a stirring up in or of matter. Rather, it is the change of thought—the change of the very basis of thought—from belief in matter to the understanding of Spirit, God, as All. As thought is transformed, our experience is transformed. The transformation that takes place is healing.

When one of our daughters was young, she only rarely was animated or engaged in activity with others. It was more than just being shy or on the quieter side. She did not seem to express the liveliness and joy of a young child. 

Naturally, I wanted our daughter to be happy, so I began to treat her through Christian Science to see her perfect state of being as God’s happy and active child. I was drawn to this statement from Science and Health: “The real man is spiritual and immortal, but the mortal and imperfect so-called ‘children of men’ are counterfeits from the beginning, to be laid aside for the pure reality. This mortal is put off, and the new man or real man is put on, in proportion as mortals realize the Science of man and seek the true model” (p. 409).

Through prayer, I began to see more clearly our daughter’s spiritual character and nature. I understood her to be an idea in the divine Mind, reflecting energy, happiness, perfection, completeness, freedom, and animation. It became very clear to me that none of Mind’s ideas are ever dull or expressionless. In action, brightness, and vitality, each one reflects the beauty of holiness and the glories of Soul, God. This was the true model, the “child of light,” the perfection of being. 

The transformation began to take place quickly as I adopted these right ideas in my thought. Our daughter rapidly became full of life, buoyancy, pep, vigor, and individuality. I spiritually understood that her true identity could not be hid by any form of darkness. I saw the transformation from the “old man” to the “new man” as the healing was taking place. Her light, the Christ within, was revealed. Today, decades later, she is still active, happy, energetic, and vibrant!

No matter what we may be facing, the false beliefs confronting us are always amenable to correction. Through spiritually scientific thinking, thought is chemicalized and altered, and this results in healing. All that is not right with God rises to the top, so it may be wiped away. 

Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health: “Mortal error will vanish in a moral chemicalization. This mental fermentation has begun, and will continue until all errors of belief yield to understanding. Belief is changeable, but spiritual understanding is changeless. 

“As this consummation draws nearer, he who has shaped his course in accordance with divine Science will endure to the end” (p. 96). 

And she further explains: “What I term chemicalization is the upheaval produced when immortal Truth is destroying erroneous mortal belief. Mental chemicalization brings sin and sickness to the surface, forcing impurities to pass away, as is the case with a fermenting fluid” (p. 401).

A life transformed, a home and consciousness filled with light—aren’t these what we all are seeking? And truly, these are what the child of light already possesses from divine Love. This is “the beauty of holiness, the perfection of being” (Science and Health, p. 253), that we all possess and can express.

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