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Discover and Claim Your “Beginning-less-ness!” (1, 4, 6)
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Man”
September 2 – 8, 2019

Prepared by: Christie C. Hanzlik, CS • Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com720.331.9356 www.christiecs.com

GOLDEN TEXT and RESPONSIVE READING

Each of us will, of course, find our own inspiration from this week’s Bible Lesson on “Man.” For me, it is helpful to focus on the ways in which this lesson answers the questions, “What am I, and where did I come from?” The Golden Text provides a succinct response to these questions: “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” And the remainder of the lesson expands upon these ideas.

The Responsive Reading recounts the exchange between Nicodemus and Jesus in which Jesus explains, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
(Click to hear a Ken Cooper poem on Jesus telling Nicodemus that he must be born again.)
Mary Baker Eddy’s (MBE’s) article, “The New Birth” explains what it means to be “born again.” The new birth, according to MBE isn't a one-time event, nor is there a stopping point when it is finished…it is a continually unfolding process. Here’s how she explains it, "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love. … Time may commence, but it cannot complete, the new birth: eternity does this; for progress is the law of infinity. Only through the sore travail of mortal mind shall soul as sense be satisfied, and man awake in His likeness. What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the 'old man,' until man is found to be the image of the infinite good that we name God, and the fulness of the stature of man in Christ appears."
(Mis. 15:13–25) According to Mary Baker Eddy's idea of a continual spiritual rebirth, we can strive to be “born again” several times every day. We are made new continually.

SECTION 1: What is the origin of man?

The first section of the Lesson describes the origin of man—made in the image and likeness of God. The word “origin” is tricky, though, because its suggests a beginning point. But if man is made in the image and likeness of God, and God has no beginning point, and has existed eternally, then this must be true for man (for us) also. There’s no starting moment to eternal Love. And there’s no starting moment for man. There was no first breath. There was no first moment of life. There was no first moment of consciousness. We have beginning-less-ness. Any time we are pondering life that has no starting point, we are pondering eternal Life. And pondering eternal Life is a form of prayer.

There are many ways to study Science and Health as a textbook. In school, students learn to annotate their texts actively. This method can work well when studying Science and Health too. For example, MBE often uses the word “man” collectively and individually, and not specific to gender. So, one way to annotate, is to substitute our own name for “man” as we’re reading MBE’s writings. It may also be helpful for you to define other terms in Science and Health in your own words, and then apply these definitions as you read. Along these lines, here’s an example of one way that we could annotate the paragraph answering the question “What is man?” that’s in the lesson. (S1) Note that the [brackets] indicate annotations as an example of one way to study the text. Perhaps you’ll want to make your own annotations for this paragraph.

Un-annotated:
What is man? … The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal; that which has no separate mind from God; that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker.
(S1, 475:5)

Annotated (as an example of a way to take notes while reading):
"What is man? [What are we?] … The Scriptures inform us that [we are] made in the image and likeness of [unlimited Love]. [A limited body with a fixed start time is] not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. [We are unlimited and perfectly at one with Mind]; and because [we are unlimited and perfectly at one with Mind], [we] must [become aware of this Scientific fact eventually and inevitably]. [We are] idea, the image, of Love [so we are love-ing]; [we are not limited bodies fixed at one location or at one moment of time]. [We are] the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term [“man” means] all that reflects God's [male and female qualities]; the conscious identity of being [the being that is aware] as found in Science, in which [we are] the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore [we have no beginning and no end]; [we have no ability to think outside of Mind]; [we have no qualities that don't come from Love]; [we have no energy], intelligence, nor creative power of [our] own, [and we reflect without limit] all that belongs to [our Creator]."

Annotations like this are NOT re-writing Mary Baker Eddy’s ideas, but rather are a form of engaging actively with the text—asking questions, making comments, etc. In a sense, taking notes like this is a dialogue with the textbook and its author. I’m guessing that many of the CedarS Met readers are making lots of annotations as they read…and also that our annotations are all slightly different, showing that we each discover the individualized inspiration we need from the Bible and Science and Health again and again. The [brackets] in this Met are annotations. If they’re helpful, feel free to use them, although the original text is always the most accurate source, of course.

SECTION 2: Why does it seem like man is flawed?

After reading the true account of man’s eternality—our beginning-less-ness—in the first section of the lesson, the second section addresses the question, “If we’re made in God’s image and likeness, why does it seem like we’re not perfect?”

In Genesis, we find the origin story of Adam being made from dust, and Eve coming from Adam. If you search online for “creation of man from clay,” you’ll find a plethora of creation myths from a variety of traditions that compare to the one in Genesis 2:

• In Greek mythology, Prometheus molded men out of water and earth.
• In Sumerian mythology the gods Enki or Enlil create a servant of the gods, humankind, out of clay and blood (see Enki and the Making of Man).
• In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is created by the goddess Aruru out off clay to be a partner for Gilgamesh, "mighty in strength".
• According to Egyptian mythology the god Khnum creates human children from clay before placing them into their mother's womb.
• According to Chinese mythology, Nüwa molded figures from the yellow earth, giving them life and the ability to bear children.
• In the Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elish, the goddess Ninhursag created humans from clay.
• According to Hindu mythology the mother of Ganesh, Parvati, made Ganesh from clay and turned the clay into flesh and blood.
• According to some Laotian folk religion, there are stories of humans created from mud or clay.
• The Yoruba culture holds that the god Obatala likewise created the human race from clay.
• According to Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul".
• According to the Qur'an[23:12–15], God created man from clay.
• The Māori people believe that Tāne Mahuta, god of the forest, created the first woman out of clay and breathed life into her.
• According to Inca mythology the creator god Viracocha formed humans from clay on his second attempt at creating living creatures.
• According to some Native American beliefs, the Earth-maker formed the figure of many men and women, which he dried in the sun and into which he breathed life.
• In American culture, Wonder Woman was sculpted from clay by her mother Hippolyta and given life by the Greek gods.
• In Norse culture humans are made from sand in tree trunks.
• [In physical science… ] clay minerals have been proposed as possible genetic material. clay minerals act as very efficient catalysts in the polymerization of amino acids and

nucleotides, thus supporting the possible existence of an RNA world preceding a cellular world. RNA adsorbed to clay minerals can be encapsulated within vesicles. Once formed, such vesicles could grow by incorporating fatty acids and divide, thus mediating vesicle replication through cycles of growth and division. The data obtained so far suggest that clay minerals played an active role in the abiotic origin of life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_of_man_from_clay

Many more creation theories exist than are listed here. It’s fascinating to see Adam, the dust-man, listed as one among many myths. Many creation myths consist of at least one of three elements: an order or instruction from the creator to the creations, a sin and a consequence which must be faced, and then the consequence is often what causes pain, hunger, disease and all the other evils that plague the earth. Perhaps holding the Adam-and-Eve myth side by side with other myths takes away any last vestige of authority it might seem to have…it is a mere myth. Seeing the Adam-and-Eve myth as one of many such myths renders the sneaky serpent even less of an influence and helps us see that there is nothing personal in its suggestions.

The last example in the list above is interesting. It’s unclear if the author of this list intended to suggest that physical science was just another myth, or whether the author intended to use physical science to explain why so many myths used clay/dust as the original stuff from which man is created. I’m leaning toward the first option. After all, physical science does NOT have an explanation for the origin of life, either in humans or in the universe at large. But here, listed among the other creation myths about man being made from clay is a physical science theory about clay being able to support life. To some folks, this may seem like a scientific explanation for the myths. But, perhaps its more revealing that scientific theory about clay is just as much a theory…a myth of creation. It makes no sense that love and intelligence and inspiration and individuality could come from inert dust/clay. Eternal Love, Mind, Spirit, and Soul are coexistent with man, meaning that there never was a moment in which man did not exist. Love does not come from clay. Intelligence does not come from clay.

The second section of the lesson, after recounting the Adam myth, includes this verse from Corinthians: "Listen, and I will tell you a secret. We shall not all die, but suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, every one of us will be changed as the trumpet sounds! The trumpet will sound and the dead shall be raised beyond the reach of corruption, and we who are still alive shall suddenly be utterly changed. For this perishable nature of ours must be wrapped in imperishability, these bodies which are mortal must be wrapped in immortality.” (B8, Phillips)

What a promise!…”this perishable nature of ours must be wrapped in imperishability….” We must inevitably discover our true nature.

MBE’s writing correlates well here: "Another change [changed as the trumpet sounds] will come as to the nature and origin of man, and this revelation will destroy the dream of existence, reinstate reality, usher in Science and the glorious fact of creation, that both man and woman proceed from God and are His eternal children, belonging to no lesser parent.” (S5)

It is the trumpet sound that wakes us up from the dream of a birth from dust. We don’t start from an egg or from dust…and we must sooner or later “peck open our shells with Christian Science, and look outward and upward.” (S6) The trumpet sound wakes us up to start pecking. We can ask ourselves, "What is the “trumpet sound” or “bugle call” that wakes us up each day?”

This section makes clear that neither man nor the universe start from dust. Where would the first speck of dust have come from? There could not have been a first speck of dust…it had nothing from which to originate. There never was a moment in which there was a void—nothing—and then a speck of dust appeared. That moment never happened. There never was a starting point to a limited bit of stuff called dust. “All right ideas” always have been…they never had a starting point. Infinite Mind knows all, eternal Mind has always known all, and therefore “all right ideas” have always been known…no starting point. (S1) "Hence man and the [unlimited and eternal] universe coexist with God.” (S9)

SECTION 3: Born again…again

In section three, we see the theme of being born again…again. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (B10) Connecting the idea of being born again with the story of Jacob wrestling at Peniel is inspiring. Jacob was so transformed that his name—his whole character—was changed. [B11] Jacob was born again. Jacob wrestled with the angel until he saw, "with open face beholding as in a [mirror] the glory of the Lord, [and was] changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (B12)

Each of us may seem to wrestle as we are reborn in our "apprehension of immortal Truth.” As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "This is the new birth going on hourly, by which men may entertain angels, the true ideas of God, the [unlimited] sense of [what we are].” (S15)

Here is another description of “born again” moments: “As human thought changes from one stage to another of conscious pain and painlessness, sorrow and joy, — from fear to hope and from faith to understanding, — the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by [limited] sense.” (S16)

SECTION 4: Jesus demonstrates eternal life with the virgin birth

Christ Jesus’ origin story proves the idea that man has no beginning point…his virgin birth demonstrated that man’s true origin is Mind. Beginning-less-ness is true for all mankind, and Christ Jesus is the proof of it for each of us. "Impossibilities never occur." (SH 245:27 (only))

Jesus was the "light of the world,” meaning that he was the example for all mankind. He knew “from whence I came”—eternality. And he knew “whither I go”—deathless life. His “record is true”—its accurate. (B15) He understood his perfect oneness with God, the only Cause and Creator, eternal Life. As he states, “I and my Father are one.” (B17) He was always at one with eternal Mind, infinite Love. There was never a moment in which that wasn’t true and there never will be. And his light shined for us to see that those truths are true for us also.

As Mary Baker Eddy states, "Jesus' spiritual origin and understanding enabled him to demonstrate the facts of [what we are and where we come from], — to prove irrefutably how spiritual Truth destroys material error, heals sickness, and overcomes [the belief that there’s a stopping point]. The divine conception of Jesus pointed to this truth and presented an illustration of [the unfolding of what always has been true].” (S17)

Sometimes when we think about our eternality and oneness with infinite Love we might be tempted to think of our oneness as some kind of amorphous or ethereal blur. But Jesus claimed his oneness with God, and retained distinct individuality. In fact, one could argue that it was his certainty of his oneness with God that gave him increased individuality and distinctiveness over the past 2000 years…we still know who he is! In other words, we do not lose our individuality as we discover our oneness…quite the opposite. MBE explains this concept perfectly, "The individuality of man is no less tangible because it is spiritual and because his life is not at the mercy of [limited physicality]. The understanding of his spiritual [unlimited] individuality makes man more real, more formidable in truth, and enables him to conquer [the belief of separation], [the belief of inharmony], and [the belief that there is a stopping point].” (S20)

"Like our Master, we must depart from [limited] sense into the spiritual [unlimited] sense of [what we are and from whence we come].” (S21)

I love Mary Baker Eddy’s analogies for how to understand our oneness with God. We are at one with God, but not the same as God. As she explains, "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being.” The ray cannot exist without the sun, and the sun cannot exist without the ray. But the ray is not the sun. It is not surprising that many people conflate Jesus and God thinking they are exactly the same entity. This is like conflating the sun and its rays. The sun and rays can never be separated and function together. And yet the sun and the rays have distinct purposes. Likewise, Jesus and God are one and can never ever be separated, and yet each has a distinct role and relationship to man.

SECTION 5: Why does it seem as though man is separate from God?

The fifth section raises the question—if we’re all made perfect, then why do we have imperfections? —Why do we have disease and sickness? The Bible story about Jesus healing the man who born blind addresses this question. When Jesus and his disciples walk past the blind man, his disciples ask, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” In other words, who offended God or caused this man to be separate from infinite perfection? Jesus answers, “Neither…” His answer didn’t try to reason through the human explanations, but rather he said “neither…” This is a great answer to questions about the origins of inharmony…. “what caused this sickness…was it the food I ate or my stress at work?” Neither. Neither thing is the cause. We cannot be separate from divine harmony.

But what caused the disease? Was it "air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident?” (S26) Neither! None! When we reason through to our beginning-less perfect origins, we find that there is no origin for anything unlike good. Instead of asking ourselves where sickness comes from, we can instead start anew with a clear sense of our origin—no starting point—and wash clean the muddy thoughts. When Jesus tells the man to apply and then wash off the mud, it was as if he was symbolically having the man wash away his belief in the Adam-dust creation myth.

So, what do we do when we seem to be sick or diseased? Mary Baker Eddy explains, “…Perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears. Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them” … "Keep distinctly in thought that [you are] the offspring of [the divine Father-Mother], not of [human parents]; that [you are unlimited], not [limited]; that Soul is Spirit, outside of [limitation], never in it, never giving the body life and sensation. It breaks the dream of disease to understand that sickness is formed by the human mind, not by [inert stuff] nor [neither] by the divine Mind.” (S26 & S27)

Whenever we seem to be struggling, we can let go of what we think we know and be ready to be reborn in Spirit…to once again discover that we were never made from clay, and there never was a starting point to our love, our tenderness, our compassion, our affection. All of these qualities come from our Creator. We are the ray—the “light of the world”—but we are not the Source. Divine Love is the Source, the central sun of existence, and our beginning never was…we always have been. There never was a moment in which the sun existed but the rays did not. And there never was a moment in which the rays existed and the sun did not. The sun and the rays—as a metaphor for divine Soul, divine Love—are coexistent and eternal. But even the physical sun seems to have a beginning and end…so truly God is that which has no beginning and man, as the expression of God, also has no beginning.

SECTION 6: Discover our beginning-less-ness

The sixth section emphasizes light, which we also saw earlier in the lesson…

• the light of Truth and Love dawns upon thee (S11)

• Jesus— “I am the light of the world” (B15, John 8:12)

• man is "a ray of light one with the sun” (S22)

• Jesus— “I am the light of the world” (B18, John 9:5)

Now, in the final section we see “light” again: “For with thee is the fountain of life: in the light shall we see light.” (B22) And, in Science and Health, “Divine Science rolls back the clouds of error with the light of Truth, and lifts the curtain on man as never born and as never dying, but as coexistent with his creator.” (S29) The light of Truth, as was shined so clearly by Christ Jesus, reveals man’s true nature. Christ Jesus is the “light of the world” who has demonstrated what we actually are. He demonstrated man’s true being.

God did not start before man. And man did not start before God. God has no beginning. Man has no beginning. Pondering the beginning-less-ness of God and man is prayer, and pondering our eternality is prayer. Our beginning-less-ness is difficult to fathom when we are stuck in a limited mindset. A limited mindset is one in which we can only see things as having a start and a stop. But man is not a limited mortal. Man is unlimited and immortal. As Mary Baker Eddy states, "Immortal [and unlimited] man is not and never was [limited to time], but always [unlimited] and [beginning-less and end-less].” (S30) Through our prayer, and striving to discover the truth of being, we can see Christ Jesus’ demonstrations of beginning-less life, and catch a glimpse of the true nature of man, the true nature of us. As we do this, we can understand and demonstrate the perfect fact that, "Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” (S31)


Watch for Warren's CAPs—Citation Application Possibilities):
Application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others on select citations will be
available online and emailed as they are completed. (This week CedarS is humbly grateful and eager to host the biennial International Christian Science Nursing Network Conference!)


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