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Love and the Intellect

I REMEMBER my first building project using the new framing hammer I'd been given as a gift. I believed success was all in that hammer. Pound! Pound! Pound! And the new stud wall would be perfect. But, of course, it wasn't. I realized then that the hammer was only a tool to be used in partnership with many other tools, along with good doses of patience and care. Pounding and pounding is not of itself enough!

Later I realized that what I'd learned about using the hammer correctly could help me understand how to think more intelligently. Sometimes we're tempted to bang away at problem-solving with just our own intellect. Of course, there is nothing wrong with bringing reason to bear on making our lives happier and more progressive. In fact, it is normal and good. But to reason accurately, we need to step away from depending on human intellect and let God, divine Mind, provide the comprehension, vision, and insight that we need. This spiritual intelligence that we reflect from our Maker has an added dimension--a partner--that balances and enriches it; and that partner is love.

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To me, the New Testament writer Paul captures this idea when he writes in his letter to the Philippians, ``Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus'' (2:5). The strength and logic of Mind are abundantly evident in Jesus' answers to his detractors. Yet they are always coupled with the deep spiritual love that gave Jesus' life its healing power.

Elsewhere in the Bible, we learn that God is the source of our real thinking. Thought unlike God is not from Him and does not belong to us. Evil opposes God and would pass off anger, selfishness, worthlessness, pride--all that is the opposite of good--as our own thought, when they have no intelligence at all.

Christ Jesus knew well what was real thinking and he rejected at once anything that was not from God. Since God is manis our-- creator, it is God, and God alone, who endows us with every ability and capacity. This surely includes intellectual abilities. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, says in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``God is the parent Mind, and man is God's spiritual offspring'' (p. 336). At another place in the book, she also points out: ``Mind alone possesses all faculties, perception, and comprehension'' (p. 488).

Those terms ``the parent Mind'' and ``God's spiritual offspring'' really spill over with the love that God is. And we ourselves come forth from God's love, since He is divine Love itself. So, that quality of heaven-born love is the fundamental spiritual building block in all that we, as God's offspring, do.

In Jesus' case, his reason at all times served his healing mission of love. He was a man of great intelligence and great heart. But that God-given intelligence did not leave him cold, aloof, or unresponsive. Instead, he showed unparalleled compassion for people and relieved them at once of pain and suffering.

His example should cause us to question our own intellectual functioning and development. Is it serving just our own personal goals, for example? Or is it fulfilling a greater purpose--one based on love? Are we using our intellect to make us richer? Or are we at work reflecting divine intelligence to enrich the lives of others in lasting, spiritual ways? Are our intellects busy helping us win little games of one-upmanship? Or are we wisely and compassionately helping others see more of their own God-given talents and abilities, their own value and worth? Nothing could bring more progress and joy to our lives than a strong and growing spiritually-grounded intelligence that is bubbling over with love.

The problems facing mankind are too much for intellect alone to understand, let alone solve. Environmental and social problems need a real genius at work for their solution. Only the intelligence that reflects the great love of God can bring progress. The peace that love-inspired thinking brings to our individual lives enables us to express more love to others. Love silences the pride that is so easily offended. It helps us outwit evil and reveals the infallible logic of the presence and activity of good.Only the intelligence that reflects the great love of God can bring progress.

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