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[Be an “…ever beautiful and complete" reflection! (S31, 527:4)]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Man”
for March 8, 2020

Prepared by Christie C. Hanzlik, CS, Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.comchristiecs.com

INTRODUCTION

Each one of us will get new and fresh inspiration from this week’s Bible Lesson on “Man.” For me, this week’s lesson helps us let go of an “old” and limited sense of being (man) and accept a “new” and unlimited understanding of our being (man). As we put off the “old” understanding of man, we find freedom, limitless good, and a full awareness of our being, a full awareness of what we are. (Man = what we are = being) As we gain an awareness of our being (man), we experience a clearer sense of our purpose and worth. We are needed.

God/Mind/Love is the source of all being, the source of all existence. But God/Mind/Love would be unknown and unexpressed without man. Man is, by definition, the expression and entity of God….man is how God is known. There is not a separation between God and man because the concepts are—by definition—in relation to one another and dependent upon each other for existence and expression. God and man are coexistent. Never can one of them exist without the other.

Man is not equal to God. Man is tributary to God. Water is not equal to an ocean, but they are inseparable. We know it’s an ocean because of the water. The water is tributary to the ocean, but the ocean would have no entity without the water. Similarly, rays are not equal to the sun, but without rays we would not see the sun. Rays are the light—the expression—of the sun. By definition, an ocean never existed without water, the sun never existed without rays, and Mind never existed without ideas. There’s a limit to these analogies, of course, because God/Mind/Love is infinite and eternal and ever-present, and an ocean and the sun are limited, fixed in form, and located in one place (even if a very large place). Human language and analogies will always fall short of explaining the infinite. The relation of water-to-ocean and rays-to-sun isn't quite like man-to-God because the water and rays are not aware of their source. Christ is the link that makes man aware of God, that speaks to the human consciousness and makes God known. Water and rays are inanimate because they lack the Christ sense. Man is not inanimate. Christ animates man…Christ makes man aware of God, and so gives man the special purpose of being—man is the entity of God. [See & hear water-to-ocean and rays-to-sun analogies sung by CedarS mom and award-winning Country Music artist, Cherie Brennan at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZMNlpZavkA ]

"If there ever was a moment when man did not express the divine perfection, then there was a moment when man did not express God, and consequently a time when Deity was unexpressed — that is, without entity.” (SH 470:24–28)

The word “man” is problematic for many people because it seems to suggest a masculine form of humankind. Mary Baker Eddy introduced many new concepts and terms in her writing. Using the word man in a generic sense to mean the expression and entity of God was novel, and I hope we can get past the limits of language, and see that she intended it as a gender-neutral term. Man, as Mary Baker Eddy used it, is as gender neutral as a ray of the sun, or a drop of water in the ocean. In this week’s Met, I’ll experiment with substituting different words for “man” such as [being] or [expression] and perhaps these substitutions will resonate with us and click some fresh and new ideas into place.

Speaking of fresh and “new,” this week’s Lesson, as I read it, emphasizes the “new” man, the “new" understanding of the being and expression of God/Mind/Love. The “old” concept of man was as a person separate from God, with a start and stop and limits. The “old” man comes from “old” theology and limited-blurry thinking. The “old”-man myth lacks the Christ-understanding of man's at-one-ment with God/Love. And the “new” understanding of man, demonstrated and taught by Christ Jesus and revealed to us through the Science of the Christ, transforms and invigorates us with a sense of our eternality and limitless being.

Golden Text (GT) and Responsive Reading (RR)

In the Golden Text from Isaiah, we get the message from God that God has “redeemed” us. What a comfort that it is not up to us to save ourselves…God redeems us, God treasures us! In the relationship between the sun and a sunbeam, the sun does all the work. Likewise, in the relationship between God and man…God does the work. Our job (vocation) is to acknowledge and be aware of God….to tune in to the Christ-awareness of our Source.

The Responsive Reading expands on this, and explains man's vocation, a.k.a. (also known as) our job. Our job—as metaphorical sunbeams—is to shine most resplendently by being most aware of and trusting of our Source…the Sun. Our job is to shine, shine, shine and, although we do this naturally because it is in our nature to do so, we do it most joyously as we are most aware of our source of light. Here are some of the ways [as the RR notes whereby] we can become more aware of God as our source:

We can

1) Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

2) walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

3) walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind

While we strive to do this, we are also “given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ [being aware of Love’s presence].” Grace means that we are loved even before we ask, that we are loved even without accomplishing anything. God gives us grace because God loves us for being, not for what we have accomplished.

The RR also explains that it is through Christ—our awareness of God—that the “new” man is revealed. The “old” view has God and man as separate, like the myth of Adam in the garden. The “new” view reveals that God and man are coexistent, like Christ Jesus demonstrated. Nothing can undermine this “new” view. Not fear, not limitation, and not contagion. The facts of being are intact and man cannot be separated from God…ever. The “new” view is true. Our job is not to make it true. It already is true. Our job is to witness this truth, to acknowledge and accept it.

As we let go of the “old” view and accept the truth of the “new man,” we find peace and health. [Psalm 37:37 ends the RR & inspired Ken Cooper's "Perfect Peace" that's downloadable in the upper right of this Met webpage.]

SECTION 1: ACKNOWLEDGING THE SOURCE OF ALL BEING

The first section establishes the facts of being, the facts of what we are, the facts of man. God created man. But there never was a moment in which God existed and man did not exist because there could never be a moment in which God—the all-knowing—did not already know of each one of us. Since God has no beginning (is eternal) we too have no beginning. Contemplating our beginninglessness is prayer. Here is one way in which God’s beginninglessness is described in the Bible: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.“ (Ps. 90:1, 2, B3)

Mary Baker Eddy defines man as ”the conscious identity of being [what we are] 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.“ (S3)

From this last statement, we realize that God informs our very intelligence…all of our ability to know and think is of God. We may begin to wonder what differentiates us from one another… In other words, if God is all of our intelligence, then how can we each think differently? Mary Baker Eddy reveals, “ Soul is the [understanding], Life, and intelligence of [our being], which is individualized, but not in [a limited way].” (S4) “ Spirit and its formations are the only realities of [what we are].” (S5)

God is like the sun, and we are like the rays—each different, each resplendent. “Mind, supreme over all its formations and governing them all, is the central sun of its own systems of ideas, the life and light of all its own vast creation; and man is tributary to divine Mind.”. (S6)

Use ideas from this section to overturn contagion: Each of the rays is tributary to—coming from—the sun and is unique and necessary to shine the full light of the sun. Likewise, we are each unique and necessary to express the whole of God’s goodness. Each ray is connected to the sun, and they are only connected to one another through the sun. Likewise, we are each connected to God, and are only connected to one another through God. As we feel our connection to God more deeply, we feel a deeper and more satisfying connection to one another. This is, in truth, the only way we interact with each other…through God, through our source. Isn’t this a nice way of countering the suggestion of contagion? If we only relate to each other through God, then nothing unlike God can be transferred between us. Many things in the world seem to suggest that we are separate from God and that we are like pinballs of personality bouncing off of one another. We can reject this pinball theory of rays separated from the sun and bouncing off of each other. We are not pinballs. As we look deep into the metaphysics of our beginningless coexistence with infinite good, we overturn the limits of mortality and contagion and find everlasting peace.

We can also correct the belief of contagion with the drops of water analogy. As metaphorical drops of water at one with the all-good ocean, we cannot intermingle in a way that is destructive. The drops of water do not bounce off of each other and create disturbances and inharmony and sickness. The goodness of the ocean defines and governs the drops of water, which are in harmony. God’s Law of Harmony governs each drop, carrying it on joyful waves of good and maintaining a perfect balance of peace, calm, and powerful movement.

SECTION 2: THE “OLD”-MAN MYTH [webpage Download "Genesis 1 or 2" poem/healing]

The second section begins with the beginning—Genesis 1—which is actually not a beginning at all. Genesis 1 is a statement about our beginningless coexistence with God who has always known us. (B4) And next we find the Genesis 2 origins of the “old”-man myth—the myth that we are separate from God and created from the dust of the universe (where did the dust of the universe start?). Genesis 2 gives man a beginning, which, of course, implies an end of man.

We cannot be “old" if we do not have a beginning. To counteract the idea of “old” man and "put off the old man," we overturn the belief of a beginning. According to Genesis 2, man started as God "formed man of the dust of the ground.” (B5) But this theory is ripe for “reproof" and “correction". (B8)

The lie of Genesis 2—or the atomic theory or any other theory of a starting point in the universe—has a lot of holes in it. It is not only a limited view of man; it is also a limited view of God. In Genesis 2, God is not all-knowing, and exists alone without man for some time before creating man. According to this false theory, God exists for a gap of time without any creation or any expression. There is a gap of time in which God exists but man does not exist. In other words, according to Genesis 2, there is a time in which God was unexpressed and thus incomplete.

Genesis 2 is not a factual account of creation, but rather a myth of what happens when we follow the logic of a starting point in the universe. Neither Adam and Eve nor the Big Bang theory can explain how time and space and intelligence and life and being began. No physical theory will every be able to explain a beginning. There was no beginning to life, love, truth, mind, or goodness itself.

As Mary Baker Eddy says, “popular theology” suggests a limited “old” man view in which “dust is dignified as the natural status of men and things," whereas “revealed religion” (the Science of Christ) follows the beginningless metaphysics of Genesis 1. (S7, 557:22; S8, 118:20)

As we acknowledge our beginninglessness, we are putting off the “old” man, and accepting the “new” and unlimited man as the truth of our being.

SECTION 3: THERE IS NO SEQUENTIAL ORDER TO MAN

As we understand the beginninglessness of man, we can overturn the limits of the “old” man view. For example, since you are beginningless and your parents are also beginningless, and your grandparents are also beginningless, it stands to reason that your parents and grandparents did not arrive before you. There never was a moment in which God did not know you. And, there never was a moment in which God did not know your parents. Therefore, you and your parents are coexistent and eternal with God. As we remove the “old” man view of sequentiality, we are also overturning the belief of genetics and heredity. Families may seem to resemble one another—perhaps because of a shared understanding of being—and yet, if God is the central sun of our being, we are only truly related through God. Blood does not unite us. God binds us. Understanding that the “new” man is only united through God—not through person-to-person contact—helps us to resolve heredity, interpersonal conflict, and it also frees us from the belief of contagion and false influence.

Divine Mind is all-knowing and knows all man…not just some men and women, and not just some men and women who exist at a particular moment. Divine Mind knows man…universally and eternally. “…The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. The Lord looketh from [the all-knowing and omniscient vantage]; he beholdeth all the sons of men.” (B9, Ps. 33:11, 13)

Mary Baker Eddy explains that "God forms and peoples the universe” and that man is multiplied by Mind—"The universe of Spirit reflects the creative power of the divine Principle, or Life, which reproduces the multitudinous forms of Mind and governs the multiplication of the compound idea man.” (S11, 509:16; S12, 507:15) There are infinite expressions of Mind because Mind is infinite. It may seem difficult for us to conceive of man (God’s expression) as infinite because we tend to thing in concrete, discrete, and countable ways, this would be a limited and “old” man way to view people. "Hence the eternal wonder, — that infinite space is peopled with God's ideas, reflecting Him in countless spiritual forms.” (S14, 503:15) Countless!

Man is countless. And there is not limited space nor limited resources for the “new” man. This puts a whole new spin on the idea of population. Infinite population…without any negative consequences. We can only grasp this as we understand infinite Mind and infinite good. As we ponder infinite good, and overturn limits placed on man and substance, we are praying.

SECTION 4: UNDERSTANDING MAN’S BEGINNINGLESSNESS HEALS

To build on a secure foundation, we need to begin with beginninglessness. Man has no beginning. This Scientific fact is a rock that we can build on. —"ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock [beginningless good], his work is perfect: Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.” (B14, Deut. 32:3, 4, 18)

Christ Jesus was sinless—he never fell into a trap of seeing himself or others as separate from eternal good—and so was able to heal with absolute certainty and effectiveness. In the fourth section is the account of Jesus healing the man with dropsy [W: abnormal fluid retention and swelling in the legs, ankles,feet …]. (B17, ) This account is sparse on words, but it is interesting to note that Jesus did not try to figure out where the swelling came from or what had led up to this issue. He didn’t ask the man what he ate or drank or where he’d been. Instead, he healed him. Seeing this man as unseparated from Love, having a perfect connection to Love, is the most loving and healing treatment. In truth, there never was a moment in which this man was separate from Love. Jesus did not cause the man to be connected to Love. He already was perfectly connected. The body wasn’t changed…the truth of being was consciously acknowledged. As Jesus consciously acknowledged that God is the “fount of all being,” the “mirage of error” was overturned. (S16, 243:32)

The same power is present for us today. "Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in [a beginning point for life] has been conquered. Correct [the belief that there is a beginning to life] by [pondering eternality], and Spirit will [reveal your true nature as the “new” man, without beginning or end].” (S21, 425:23) “[We] must look beyond [the limited “old-man” myth] if [we] would gain the true sense of [the “new” and true man]. (S23, 264:7)

SECTION 5: CHRIST JESUS DEMONSTRATED THE FACTS OF THE “NEW” MAN

Section 5 includes the resurrection and Christ Jesus’ continuing to be present after the crucifixion. The resurrection demonstrated that Christ cannot be killed. Christ is our awareness of Life/God, and Christ Jesus has the special title of “Christ” because more than anyone else has a perfect awareness of Life/God. Christ Jesus knew he could not be separated from Life/God, and demonstrated this in the resurrection. His teaching and demonstration was a gift to us, to show us that Christ—the awareness of our at-one-ment with Life/Spirit/God—also dwells in us. As we read in Romans, "if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (B22, Romans 8:11)

Christ Jesus proved the beginninglessness and endlessness of man. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, "In his resurrection and ascension, Jesus showed that a mortal man is not the real essence of manhood, and that this unreal material mortality disappears in presence of the reality.” (S24, 292:31)

Christ Jesus’ teaching and demonstration cut through the “mist” of Genesis 2—the lie of the “old” man—and revealed to us the truth of the “new” man. It is the nature of Christ to reveal the “new” man. Christ opens thought, overturns limited perception, and awakens our conscious awareness of eternal Life. Without Christ we could not conceive of concepts like infinity and eternity and ever presence. And Christ Jesus’ role was to make Christ-truth tangible for us. Mary Baker Eddy explains, "He was appointed to speak God's word and to appear to mortals in such a form of humanity as they could understand as well as perceive. He expressed the highest type of divinity, which a fleshly form could express in that age. Into the real and ideal man the fleshly element cannot enter. Thus it is that Christ illustrates the coincidence, or spiritual agreement, between God and man in His image.” (S26, 332:23)

Beginninglessness and endlessness seem to be difficult for us to grasp, but Christ Jesus helped us to understand. He helped us by serving as a mediator—a go-between—to show us the way to become more aware of our already-connection to God. Christ Jesus did not connect us to God…he demonstrated to us that we are already connected. As the “mediator,” he did not form the connection, he revealed the connection. He showed us the link. He showed us our purpose and worth as the expression of God. It's as if he said to us, “Hey rays of the sun, do you see that amazing ball of light? that’s your source. Its your very substance, your central sun, and you cannot ever drift away from it, and it makes you new and bright every moment!” Or, perhaps (as we learned in last week’s lesson) “Hey, precious sheep, I’ll show you the way to discover that you have a wonderful Shepherd who is all-knowing and knows every bit of you and loves every bit of you.” Or, in Mary Baker Eddy’s words, "Explaining and demonstrating the way of divine Science, [Christ Jesus] became the way of salvation to all who accepted his word. “ (S27, 315:32)

"Like our Master, we must depart from [a limited “old”] sense into the [unlimited “new”] sense of being.” (S28, 41:6)

SECTION 6: MAN IS BEAUTIFUL

A couple weeks ago, our Wednesday night service focused on “progress.” It came to me during that service, that while we can all strive to progress, we make the most progress as we realize that we are already whole, already perfectly connected to God. We may be striving, but we’re not striving to become something we’re not. We’re striving to see that we are already perfect, perfectly connected and perfectly loved by Love. As we’re putting off the “old” man, and putting on the “new” man, there is no in-between moment of progress in which we are a kind of semi-old or semi-new man. In fact and in Science, we are ONLY the “new” man. The “old” man is a myth. Not true. The “old” man is but a misty sense of truth. We progress as we see through the mist and Christ—our awareness of Love—blows it away, revealing that there is no source for mist.

Christ-truth blows the mist away and we discover we have been the “new” man all along. The “old” man never was. There is no halfway point as we’re "working through it." No. We’re not "working through it" like drudgery—that would be the so-called dust man getting muddy. Instead, we’re awakening to the truth of being. The truth is true. We don’t have to make it true. The “new” man is the only truth. We don’t have to work to make truth true. "Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly.” (S30, 247:19) Being is already true. And true being—the “new” man—is already true. As we awaken to the facts of our being, the beauty of Love’s creation is revealed to us. "Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color.” (S30, 247:21)

“[Love] hath made every thing beautiful in his time:
I know that, whatsoever [Love] doeth, it shall be for ever:” (B22, Eccl. 3:14)

Man is already beautiful. Man is already “new.” As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Man is God's reflection, needing no cultivation, but ever beautiful and complete.” (S31, 527:4)


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