Looking beyond materiality
A Christian Science perspective: What can a pursuit of the spiritual do for humanity?
A look at the news on any given day tells us the obvious: Appropriate, lasting solutions are needed on a wide range of issues that deeply affect people’s lives. There’s so much needless suffering. There’s also much good – many wonderful examples of love and caring, of people working tirelessly to help humanity, of individuals expressing great integrity. All of this effort on the right side of things points to what some feel is the deepest overall need: a recognition that spirituality, in its truest sense – in harmony with the Bible’s teachings – provides the most substantial foundation for mankind’s progress from every standpoint.
Nothing could be more important than to grow in our love for God, divine Spirit, and to value the timeless and spiritual, placing less and less trust in the finite and material. It is, after all, materiality that underlies mankind’s suffering. Characteristics associated with the fleshly, “carnal mind,” to use St. Paul’s words from the Bible – traits such as hatred, envy, sensuality, and so on – need to give way to the spiritual-mindedness that he describes as “life and peace” (see Romans 8:6, 7). This is what’s valued by so many people, despite the glittery but empty promises of a sensuous view of life and the cruelty so often seen in the world.
The naturalness of spirituality and the inevitable triumph of Spirit over all that’s opposed to the divine nature were vividly illustrated in Christ Jesus’ life and healing works. He showed that treasuring the spiritual – and living in line with it more and more – leads to lasting happiness. The Bible says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, zeros in on the indispensability of Bible teachings in a world that often tends to be impressed by what’s fashionable and to pay more respect to the physical and fleeting than to the spiritual and eternal. This Science brings out what Jesus proved: that the true nature of man is wholly good, the very likeness of Spirit, of the one God who is Love. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Man is more than physical personality, or what we cognize through the material senses.” She goes on to say a bit further along: “Man outlives finite mortal definitions of himself, according to a law of ‘the survival of the fittest.’ ” And she writes at the end of that paragraph, “Man is the image and likeness of God, coexistent and coeternal with Him” (“No and Yes,” p. 25).
To focus less on physical personality day by day, and more on man’s timeless, God-derived individuality, can play a modest but significant role in helping to lift off humanity the impositions of materialism that undermine people’s well-being. The deeply felt desire to look beyond the material and to nurture within ourselves our God-given spirituality is a key to increasing freedom and happiness.