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Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Image and Likeness (Man)”
for February 27 to March 5, 2023

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S.
Boulder, Colorado • •


This week’s Bible Lesson on “Man” contains over 35 references to the words “image and likeness.” This is a solid indication that we need to be crisp and clear on our definitions of these terms as they relate to the subject, “Man.” Consider writing your own explanations of these terms. My current understanding is that “image” relates to the way of seeing something, and, in the context of God and man, would mean that man is the image—the way of seeing—God. The word, “likeness,” while similar to the word “image,” suggests the way of experiencing something, to take it in. So, in this context, it would mean that man is the likeness—the way of experiencing—God, Good. Following this logic, stating that man is the image and likeness of God, would mean that man is the means of seeing and experiencing God, Good.

In her writings, Mary Baker Eddy often describes man as being like a ray of light at one with the sun. The sun and its rays are coexistent: the sun cannot exist without the rays, and rays cannot exist without the sun. In fact, when we see the sun, we are actually seeing rays—the outpouring and expression of the sun—the radiant light pouring from the sun. In a sense, rays are the image and likeness of the sun. They enable us to see the sun, so they are the image, but the rays also give off warmth and radiancy, so are the likeness as well because they enable us to experience the sun. It wouldn’t be sufficient to see the image of the sun but not to experience its warmth and radiancy, so thus both the image and the likeness are necessary. The sun is the substance, and the rays enable us to see and experience that substance. Similarly, the substance of God, Good, is seen and experienced in man, the image and likeness of God, Good. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation…” (citation S11, 515: 25-12)

The Golden Text, or main ideam of this week’s Bible Lesson is from Genesis: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (GT, Genesis 1: 2 (to:), 27) I’ll leave it to you to ponder prayerfully the pronouns in Genesis 1—us, him, he, they, male and female. I strive to avoid pronouns and gendered language when talking about God, Good. Even the word “man” can be problematic. But language is limited, and it is difficult to find an adequate word to summarizes “man”—a word used in the Christian Science textbook to mean the image and likeness of God, Good. Perhaps you already have a word you like to use in place of the word “man.” But, for this Met, I’m using the word “man,” and expect that we can be clear that “man” is not intended a gendered term.

“Man,” as used in Genesis 1, does not mean physical bodies comprised of bits and parts of stuff with a start and stop. Instead, man is the image and likeness—the outpouring, the expression, the emanation, the seeing and experiencing—God, Good. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy defines man: “The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind.” (cit S3, 591: 5, my underlining)

The Responsive Reading digs deeper into the relationship between God—the Source of all being—and man—the outcome, the emanation, the way to see and experience God, Good. The Responsive Reading reminds us that those who understand the law of inseparability from God, Good, will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bears fruit and whose leaves are full and vibrant. (RR, Psalms 1: 1-3, 6) Metaphorically, the tree shows how we can both see God in the leaves and experience God through the fruit, just like we can see and experience God, Good through man, us.

The Responsive Reading reminds us to turn away from “any graven image, or any likeness” that is not of God, Good. (RR, Deuteronomy 4: 23; 5 7-9, 33) In other words, the Golden Text affirms that we are made in the image and likeness of God, Good. And the Responsive Reading reminds us to tune in to this relationship while being alert and turning from any “graven”—limited and mistaken—image and likeness.


The first section of the Lesson reminds us that the “whole duty” of man is to acknowledge the unbreakable bond—the Law and covenant—between God and God’s expression, man. (cit B3, Ecclesiastes 12: 13) Using the analogy of the ray and the sun, the “whole duty of the ray” is to acknowledge its unbreakable bond with the sun. In truth, the ray cannot help but to be connected to the sun, but to the degree that the ray (us) is aware of the connection is it (are we) empowered by that connection.

In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy offers inspiration into the concept of the whole duty of man described in Ecclesiastes. She explains that the original text did not include this word “duty” and instead spoke of the “whole of man.” Without this “added” word, she explains, the scripture would read: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness.” (cit. S1, 340: 4)

This section reminds us to, as Mary Baker Eddy states, “Keep in mind the verity of being, — that man is the image and likeness of God, in whom all being is painless and permanent.” (cit. S4, 414: 26-28). In other words, keep in mind the truth of what we are—the outpouring and emanation, the seeing and experiencing—of God, Good, in whom all existence is painless and unchangeably harmonious.

Man is of God, of Spirit. Therefore, man is spirit-ual, the outpouring of Spirit. Following this logic, Mary Baker Eddy makes a clear and Scientific statement of our being—a clear and Scientific statement of man’s existence—when she writes, “Man is not material, he is spiritual.” (cit S3, 468)


The second section explains the mistaken—or “graven”—sense of man’s origins in matter. The limited, distorted, mistaken, blurry, false, and graven view of man’s relationship to God is summarized metaphorically in Genesis 2 with the phrase “but there went up a mist.” Genesis 1 says God is the source of all existence, and all existence is “very good.” Genesis 2 says, “but there went up a mist” that made us think that we are made from dust that can be both good and evil. (cit B4 Genesis 1: 31; cit B5 Genesis 2: 1-23) The “mist” is a blurred and mistaken view of our one-ness and inseparability from God, Good. The mist is the haze of matter—distortion and limitation.

I love that the words “mist” and “myth” are easily confused when we hear them next to each other: mist-myth, myth-mist, misty-myth, mythy-mist. These words together easily lead to semantic satiation. Say them out loud ten times and you’ll get my point! And it is also interesting that word mist is built into the word mist-ake. I don’t think that “mist” and “mistake” share etymological roots, but now that I’ve thought of it, I don’t think I’ll ever read “but there went up a mist” in Genesis 2 without thinking of it as, “but there went up a mist(ake)…” Later in Genesis 2 we find the mist-snake.

Mary Baker Eddy puts the mythological mist-ake about man originating from dust into clear logical terms. Here’s a paraphrase of what she writes: Does Life begin with divine Mind or does it come from dust (inert matter)? Certainly, it cannot come from both. (cit S5, 531: 25-3)

“Matter” is a limited view of man that distorts the truth of existence. Beginning with “matter,” the limited and distorted view, results in mist-aken views of man. As Mary Baker Eddy states succinctly, “Finite man cannot be the image and likeness of the infinite God.” (cit S7, 257: 32-3)


“Through prayer we become aware of things that were previously unrecognized,” said Russ Gerber, CSB, in a recent Daily Lift podcast. I love this simple description of prayer. In other words, prayer enables us to become aware of what we previously could not see or experience.

This concept of prayer is relevant to the third section of the Lesson, which describes how we—man—become aware of our relationship with God, Good. In 1st Corinthians, Paul tells us that we only know part of what we truly are and what will happen to us, but when we catch a glimpse of our perfect and inseparable relationship with God, we let go of that limited view. When we have a mistaken view of our existence, we have a limited existence. But when we come to understand our full being, we put away limited views. For now, it is as if we see ourselves through a broken and darkened mirror, but as we learn to see ourselves as God sees us, our eyes are opened. Now, we seem to only see and know in part.  But as we come to see ourselves as God sees us, we come to understand the full view of our existence. (cit. B7, I Corinthians 13: 9-12, paraphrased)

While Paul doesn’t use the word “reflection” directly, in 2nd Corinthians, he explains that “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass” –a mirror— “are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” In other words that, as we pray, we come to see and know ourselves as the reflection—the expression—of infinite Spirit, and thus experience the unbounded glory of Spirit. (cit. B8, II Corinthians 3: 18)

As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses,”—the broken-mirro view—”to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.” (cit S11, 515: 25-12)

In Corinthians, Paul describes the broken-darkened mirror that seems to distort our view of our identity as the reflection. Mary Baker Eddy describes “delusion, sin, disease, and death” as distorting our view of our identity as the reflection. She writes, “Delusion, sin, disease, and death arise from the false testimony of material sense, which, from a supposed standpoint outside the focal distance of infinite Spirit, presents an inverted image of Mind and substance with everything turned upside down.” (cit. B12, 301: 17)

Mary Baker Eddy reasons that “If man flickers out in death or springs from matter into being, there must be an instant when God is without His entire manifestation, — when there is no full reflection of the infinite Mind.” (cit S13, 244: 19) This is impossible.

Let’s consider the concept of man as the “full reflection of the infinite Mind” using the sun-and-ray metaphor: If a ray flickers out of existence or pops into the sky without a source, then there must be an instant in which part of the sun is not shining. It would be as if the sun exists but is not fully shining. A circle with a single gap is no longer a circle. A sun with a single ray missing is no longer a full sun. And God without the full expression of man would be incomplete, imperfect. This is an impossibility.

Mary Baker Eddy states, “Neither God nor the perfect man can be discerned by the material senses.” (cit S14, 330: 14-15) in other words, neither God nor the perfect man can be discerned by a broken glass, a broken mirror. But, like Russ Gerber said, “Through prayer we become aware of things that were previously unrecognized.”

We are all discovering, step by step, the full truth of our being. As Mary Baker Eddy reveals, “The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike.” (cit S15, 200: 16) The Science of being is the absolute knowledge of our being, our existence.  The Science of being is the truth of our existence.


The mist-aken view of man as made from dust, and as limited and temporal, was corrected by the word and works of Christ Jesus. (cit B9, I Corinthians 15: 45, 47-49; cit B10, 2nd Corinthians 4:6) Christ Jesus showed us the way to see our true being as the image and likeness of God, Good.

Using the sun-and-ray metaphor, Christ Jesus was the ray—the light—that that showed and demonstrated for all the other rays, that we have an unbreakable relationship to the sun. The metaphorical rays and sun are inseparable, and it is the Christ that makes the rays aware of this fact. Without Christ, the rays would be inert, unaware, of their perfect relationship with the sun. Christ makes the rays aware of their existence and perfection. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness. The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual, — yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death.”  (cit B16, 332: 9-15)  Christ destroys the broken mirror, mist-aken view.

Christ Jesus is the man, who more than any other, was perfectly aware of Christ, and therefore gets the special title, “Christ,” always before his name.  Metaphorically, Christ Jesus is the ray who understood our relationship to the sun most clearly and demonstrated this fact of being. We could say—in a humorous way—that Christ Jesus is both the Wayshower and the ray-shower.

To all other rays, Christ Jesus, “the anointed one,” shined the brightness from God’s glory.” (cit B13, Hebrews 1: 1-3, 9; cit S18, 312: 31-22) Mary Baker Eddy states the role of Christ Jesus, “Explaining and demonstrating the way of divine Science, he became the way of salvation to all who accepted his word.” (cit S19, 315: 29-2)

Most of us see Christ Jesus’ demonstration of Truth most clearly in his healing. Christ Jesus demonstrated our true being through healing, as healing is awakening to the truth of being. The fourth section includes the example of Christ Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law. (cit B11, Matthew 8: 14-16)


Section five instructs us to let go of the “graven,” limited, and material view of man so that we can accept the true, unlimited, and spiritual view. In Scriptures, Paul calls this putting off the old man, and putting on the new man, which God created in “righteousness and true holiness.” (cit B14, Ephesians 4: 17-24)

Referring to Paul’s insights, Mary Baker Eddy explained, “Mortals can never know the infinite, until they throw off the old man and reach the spiritual image and likeness.” (cit S20, 519: 11-16) Elsewhere, she writes, “If man was first a material being, he must have passed through all the forms of matter in order to become man. If the material body is man, he is a portion of matter, or dust. On the contrary, man is the image and likeness of Spirit; and the belief that there is Soul in sense or Life in matter obtains in mortals, alias mortal mind, to which the apostle refers when he says that we must ‘put off the old man.’”  (cit S21, 172:15)

As we succeed in letting go of a limited and mist-aken view of man, we are able to see and experience the unlimited and infinite understanding of man. We tend to make our thought of man small, and limited. And we must we willing—with humility—to “put off” this mist-aken view. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “The human mind is opposed to God and must be put off, as St. Paul declares. All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal. The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth.” (cit S22, 151: 33)

Christ—the awareness of our connection to God—is what enables us to see the “new man.” Mary Baker Eddy explains, “In Colossians (iii. 4) Paul writes: ‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear [be manifested], then shall ye also appear [be manifested] with him in glory.’ When spiritual being is understood in all its perfection, continuity, and might, then shall man be found in God’s image.” (cit S23, 325: 10-15)

The activity of the Christ—the influence of Truth—causes us to accept and admit our true infinite existence. We cannot grasp infinity from a limited standpoint. But through the activity of Christ—the influence of Truth—we can accept and admit the infinite idea into consciousness. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea.”  (cit S24: 90: 24-25)


To understand the truth of our existence means that we need to understand our relationship with God, Good. Understanding and experiencing this relationship to infinite Good is the whole purpose of our existence. The sixth section of the Lesson explains succinctly the truth of this relationship from God’s view. God says with everlasting love, “I am yours; you are mine.” God sees us as “altogether lovely.” (cit B15, Song of Solomon 2: 16, 5: 16); B17 Jeremiah 31:3) And it is up to us to hear these words and experience God’s love. It is Christ that causes us to hear and feel this message. “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” (cit B16, 332: 9-15)

As we hear and take in this loving message from God—“I am yours, you are mine”—we can give to God the glory for all good.  (cit B18, I Chronicles 16:29) As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows.” (cit B25, 275:17)

We cannot help but to reflect the goodness of God. Reflection can mean three things. It can mean to reflect like a mirror reflects an object. And it can mean to reflect upon an idea, as in “I like to reflect upon an experience I had last  year.” And, it can mean the expression of an idea, as in “The talent of an artist is reflected in their meaningful artwork.” For me, this third way of thinking about “reflect” is most helpful in the context of man being the reflection of God. The goodness of God is reflected in man; man is the reflection of God’s goodness.

Mary Baker Eddy uses this concept of reflection often. She writes, “The Divine Being must be reflected by man, — else man is not the image and likeness of the patient, tender, and true, the One “altogether lovely;” but to understand God is the work of eternity, and demands absolute consecration of thought, energy, and desire.” (cit S26, 3: 12) And elsewhere she states, “Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love. The nature of man, thus understood, includes all that is implied by the terms ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ as used in Scripture. (cit S27, 94: 3-6) And, as another example, she writes, “From Love and from the light and harmony which are the abode of Spirit, only reflections of good can come.” (cit S28, 280: 4-6)


In the final section, we find a Psalm that, to me, reads as a simple prayer that we can say to God, who already knows all, to affirm our joy and commitment to be at one with infinite Good.  We can say to God, “I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech. As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness. (cit. B19, Psalms 17: 6, 15 NKJV)

Through the Science of the Christ—the Knowledge of the influence of Truth—we come to understand God, Good, and our relationship to God, Good. As we understand God better, we understand ourselves better too, since we are the image and likeness—the seeing and experiencing—of God. In other words, we look to God first to find out what we are. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Christian Science separates error from truth, and breathes through the sacred pages the spiritual sense of life, substance, and intelligence. In this Science, we discover man in the image and likeness of God. We see that man has never lost his spiritual estate and his eternal harmony.” (cit S30, 548:2)


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from COBBEY CRISLER & others) will now be POSTED throughout the week and EMAILED later in the week as a summary string.  You can always check  for current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free offering.

Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.

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