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Discover your unlimited nature as the temple of God — the reflection of Soul!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Soul and Body”
for November 19-25, 2018

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer

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This week’s lesson makes the relationship of Soul and body very clear. Soul is Spirit, and the source of identity. Soul is never in a material body! Matter, which can be thought of as a false, limited sense of being, is a counterfeit and has no life, truth, intelligence nor substance to it. Rather than our identity being an individual soul living in a material body, each individual is a unique reflection of the one Soul, God — unlimited and unconfined! We truly live in Soul … not in body! God can’t be confined within a material temple. Rather, we are the temple of God, “whose builder and maker is God.” (S32)

The Golden Text: [See citation B4 & Warren’s PS#1 (below) and Ken's poem at PS#2]
These verses are part of Paul’s familiar sermon to the Athenians introducing them to the God that they have ignorantly acknowledged with an altar marked “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Paul begins by explaining that this God is the creator of the world and everything in it. He uses the Greek word, theos to describe this God. Theos represented the supreme Divinity — the only and true God — not just another in a series of gods. This God didn’t need anything from man. Rather he gives everything to man — including life and breath. Such a God couldn’t possibly be confined to a man-made (or corporeal) temple.

We’re told that Paul’s audience: “spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” (v. 21) But, despite this open thought, not all could comprehend such a new concept. Although we wouldn’t think of worshiping what we think of as a traditional idol, most of us are certainly guilty of worshipping the material body from time to time. We need to rethink beliefs commonly accepted today about body (temple) and Soul (Spirit). This lesson helps us do that.

The Responsive Reading reminds us that we can’t serve two masters. If we try, our experience will be like the man who built his house on the sand. Building on a shifting foundation, our house (or our consciousness — and thus our experience) will collapse when faced with a storm. Jesus states specifically that we can’t serve both God and mammon (or riches/money). We can expand the concept of mammon to include anything unlike God — unlike Spirit. [W's PS#3]

In light of the subject of this week’s Lesson, we can consider how we’re being tempted to serve both Soul and body — and why that just doesn’t work!

Section 1: Soul (or Spirit) is not in man, but man lives in Spirit and reflects Soul [W's PS#1]

When speaking to the Athenians, Paul reminds them of things their Greek poets had written hundreds of years before. Back in 600 BC Epimenidas is credited with saying, “In him we live, and move, and exist.” (B4 & W’s PS#1 below) And later (315-240 BC) another poet, Aratus, said, “We are also his offspring.” Truth remains constant throughout the ages — even if not fully understood. Way back in the book of Chronicles it was written that there is one supreme God that cannot be contained. (B1) And David’s biggest desire was to dwell in God’s temple. (B2) Desiring to dwell in God’s temple is very different than praying for God to live in us.

Through her study of the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy was able to glean and explain the relationship that we have with God. Although many believe that we have eternal souls that are temporarily housed in a material body, Christian Science explains that “Soul is the substance, Life, and intelligence of man, which is individualized, but not in matter.” (S1) So, our individuality is the actual expression of God. It is eternal and nothing can stop it from being fully expressed.

I love the question that Mary Baker Eddy raises as to whether anyone has ever seen a soul in a body or coming or going from a body. (S2) Of course not, because infinite Soul (think vital or animating principle; active power — Webster 1828 Dictionary) can’t be confined to a finite, material body.

If Soul isn’t in body, what is our relationship to Soul? We reflect the fullness of Soul. Every aspect of Soul — the individualized expression of such things as radiant beauty, gracious warmth, harmony, poise, purposefulness, endless joy, purity and sinlessness, indestructibility and intuitive creativity, etc — are free to be fully expressed by everyone everywhere, and incapable of being confined or limited by a material body. Understanding this to be true, we experience the freedom that is an inherent aspect of being a reflection. [W: As I often remind myself and our staff: “When you start to feel stressed out, remember there’s nothing more stress-free than a reflection! As God’s reflection you are NOT responsible to originate anything!”] When we stand in front of a mirror, our image isn’t in the mirror. It’s not part of the mirror, but fully reflected by it.

Section 2: Abundant Life is the reflection of Soul. There is no Life in matter. [W's PS#4 for citation B7 and PS#1 for citation S10]

Although many didn’t understand his message, Jesus taught those who would listen to him the true sense of Life — a life that had no partnership with death. (B9) He declared that his purpose was to give people a sense of abundant life. (B10) The Greek word translated “abundantly” is perissos and indicates superiority in quality, extraordinary. It’s not God’s design that we just get by … but that we soar! In writing to the Corinthians, Paul had to contend with mistaken views regarding idols, and questions about how to relate to idols and those who worshipped them. In this case the question was being raised as to whether or not it was okay to eat meat that was associated with sacrifices being made to idols. Paul seems to respond that it doesn’t really matter because there is, in fact one God! And he adds that we are in that God. (B8) Life is not in a material body — but the reflection of Life.

The question of reflection is addressed in Isaiah where God speaks of the people he made to “shew forth my praise.” The Hebrew for “shew forth” (caphar) can be interpreted as “to declare.” Man shows off, through reflection, all that God is! And that can’t be done through a mortal body. (S8) Life and mortality (that which is subject to death) are direct opposites and can have nothing to do with one another.

To me, the clearest logic for sticking to the fact that life can never be contained in matter — but must be the reflection of Soul — is seen in this statement … “If life were in mortal man or material things, it would be subject to their limitations and would end in death.” (S7) Also, “If He [God] dwelt within what He creates, God would not be reflected but absorbed.” (S8) We have to start with the correct premise — that we reflect Life, and this Life has never been in a material (limited) body. Rather, man expresses the fullness of unlimited Life! As we accept that, we are able to put down every false evidence that confronts us — and truly live!

Section 3: Truth destroys the impurities of the flesh and reveals man as the temple of God! There is no Truth in matter. [W's PS#5 for citations B12, B13; PS#6 for citation B14; PS#7 for citation S14]

This section of the Lesson really gives us the opportunity to explore the concept of being the temple of God. The English word “temple” comes from the Latin word templum which denotes a set-apart or holy place. The Hebrew words for temple indicate “house of God” or “the Lord’s place.” The great Jewish temple was built in Jerusalem as a holy place in which God’s glory lived, as it had in the tabernacle tent in the wilderness.

By Jesus’ day however, the purity and holiness of that temple was being adulterated as materialistic practices and hypocrisy snuck in. Those who came for Passover were required to have approved sacrifices for worship. Out of this grew a huge business for selling animals and exchanging money. The outer court became a corrupt place of commerce and economic gain. At one point, when Jesus saw all of the merchandizing going on, he lost it! He chased out those who were selling animals and exchanging money. His actions brought to the disciples’ mind this verse from Ps. 69:9, “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” (NLT)

Jewish leaders were not happy with Jesus rebuke and so confronted him, demanding that he give them a sign showing that God had given him authority to act in this way. Jesus’ response …. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That made no sense to them at all! He, of course, was referring to his crucifixion and resurrection. But, it wasn’t until after the fact that even his disciples could begin to comprehend what he saw so clearly … that man’s being (as the reflection of Soul) is truly the full expression of God’s glory — of Christ, Truth — and this temple cannot be destroyed. (B13)

Later, Paul spoke of man as being the temple of God. He wrote to the Corinthians, “God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (B12, NLT) So, what does this have to do with us? The Greek word for temple, haggis — means sacred, pure. That which is sacred is removed or separated from that which is common, vulgar, or polluted. What needs to be whipped out of our temples — out of our embodiment of thought? Wouldn’t it be anything that is unlike God, good … from disease to fear, limitation, anger, belief of division, dishonesty or any kind of unproductive thought or action? (S15) These are all errors of thought and they are neutralized with Christian Science, “the law of Truth”. (see SH 482: 27) . To neutralize is to “render (something) ineffective or harmless by applying an opposite force or effect:” (New Oxford American Dictionary). So, if the “fetters of man’s finite capacity are forged by the illusion that he lives in body instead of in Soul, in matter instead of in Spirit”, freedom comes from understanding that we don’t live in a body, but we are the very temple of God — expressing the fullness of God’s glory! (S17) There is no Truth in matter (corruptible and limited) and matter has no place in Truth!

Section 4: Clarity of thought is the reflection of Soul. Intelligence is not in matter. [W's PS#8 for citation B15; PS#9 for citation B16]

Jesus was totally unimpressed by the brazen talk of the “spirit of an unclean devil.” Perhaps the demon thought he could intimídate Jesus by letting Jesus know that he recognized him as Christ even before others did. But, Truth does not cower before error. Jesus spoke with the authority of divine Mind! Here, Jesus cleansed this innocent man of the impurities of the flesh (unclean simply means impure) as he had cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. (B16) Mary Baker Eddy identifies evil spirits as false beliefs (S19). The basic false belief here is that matter can be intelligent; or that a material brain can think and control man — for good or bad. (S21)

We need to pay attention when a sentence starts with a phrase like, “Keep distinctly in thought”! (S22) Just as Jesus was unimpressed with the material evidence presenting itself to him, we can remain unimpressed with whatever the body tries to tell us. We can speak with the same authority with which Jesus spoke, because we reflect the same Mind, Principle, or Soul as Jesus did.

Disease is the creation of the human mind which has no authority behind it. Disease could never be formed by matter because there is no intelligence in matter. And it is certainly not formed by Mind because Mind creates only that which is good! Soul is Spirit — having nothing to do with matter (the belief of limitation and finiteness) — and Soul is the governing principle of man. Recognizing that we are governed by Soul, we discover the eternally harmonious nature of man — indestructible, pure, and undefiled.

Section 5: The substance of man is the reflection of Soul. Substance is not in matter. [W's PS#11 for citation B17]

Recently, I had the opportunity to fly over vast wilderness areas in a small plane. At times there were clouds and fog below that looked all the world as if they were substantial pieces of ground or bodies of water. Because I knew differently, I wasn’t fooled. Jesus was able to heal the multitudes that came to him because he wasn’t fooled by appearances. He understood so clearly that the substance of man is not constituted of matter — not subject to disease or discord or limitations of any kind.

In the story related in this section, Jesus was ministering to a Gentile audience. To me, it is significant that it says that as the people witnessed the healing, “they glorified the God of Israel.” (B20) This was a God they had not previously known, but they willingly acknowledged Spirit, Soul (rather than the human Jesus) as the power that destroyed material disease and suffering and restored health. We need to always give God the glory!

The book of Lamentations expresses deep sorrow over the ruin of Jerusalem. Yet, we see hope for redemption expressed through statements such as “the Lord is my portion” (B18). Think of portion as inheritance. The pure and perfect substance of Soul belongs to each one — is our inheritance — and is indestructible. Trusting God rather than outward appearances, we find hope. (B18)

Psalm 90 speaks of God as “our dwelling place” (B19). The Hebrew, maown, can also be translated as the abode of God (the Tabernacle or the Temple). GOD is our inherited temple where we live, move, and have our being. [B4, W’s PS#1] Nothing can displace us from this holy place. And it has no material element to it! There is no substance in the mortal concept called matter. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “What is termed matter is unknown to Spirit, which includes in itself all substance and is Life eternal.” (S28)

The answer to the question, “What is substance” is so very liberating (S26). I find it extremely helpful to think of the universe, including man, as a compound idea. We’ve talked about matter always including a sense of limitation — both in scope and duration. On the other hand, a compound must consist of two or more ingredients and can expand indefinitely. So, whether we’re talking about substance in terms of health, supply, companionship, or solution to any kind of problem, there are no limits to the unfoldment.

And, nothing can really destroy an idea. Ideas can shift and develop, but as long as they are held in thought (as man is held as an idea in Mind) they are safe and indestructible. Think about something (like a boat or a car or a flower). Decide what shape, size, color, etc. the thing you are thinking about is. No one can enter your thought and change that idea that you are holding on to. So, the substance of that idea is entirely “incapable of discord and decay” and is eternal — lasts as long as you entertain it in thought.

We are each held eternally safe as ideas in Mind. And this is also how we “take possession of [our] body and govern its feeling and action.” (S30) We identify with the ideal that God has made us to be and we hold that ideal in thought, and shape it to correspond with God’s creation. Best of all … it is not our human ability that allows us to do this. We reflect the “strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.” (S30) Recognize every mortal belief as having no more substance than the clouds I saw. We are free to bear witness to and experience the perfect and complete substance of harmonious Soul.

Section 6: There is no temple or body in the new heaven and new earth — the spiritual universe.

To most of us it may seem a stretch to share St. John’s view of living in a completely spiritual realm here and now — with “no temple therein.” (B23, S31) And yet, we are no different than John except that, with practice, he was able to fully exercise his spiritual senses to see what the carnal mind would hide.

I have heard people describe (and I have experienced) glimpsing this reality of absolutely harmonious, indestructible spiritual substance — the realm of ideas. The more we practice viewing things as ideas, rather than things, the clearer the view will become. Dummelow’s One Volume Bible Commentary explains the lack of temple in New Jerusalem this way: “Her spiritual perfection is such that no special sanctuary is needed: There is no one in the city who is not at one with God. All her people are united in His service. Thus there is no temple because the city is all temple. Earthly light and knowledge, which are imperfect and partial, have vanished in the full light and knowledge of God.”

In this spiritual realm described by John in Revelation, there is no room for evil or impurity — nothing unlike Spirit can enter a realm filled with Spirit. In the Glossary of Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) defines temple as “body” and as “a material superstructure, where mortals congregate for worship”, but she also gives us a spiritual sense of temple when she defines it as: “the idea of Life, substance, and intelligence; the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love;” (595: 7-9). MBE also points to John’s vision of New Jerusalem as evidence of our incorporeality. (S31) Incorporeal is defined as “not consisting of matter; not having a material body.” (Webster 1828) This, of course, doesn’t mean that our individual natures don’t exist in this spiritual realm depicted as New Jerusalem.

Having “no body” simply means that we are not confined to the limitations of matter — not subject to lack, fear, measurement, disease, death, danger, inequality, despair, etc. The last line of this week’s Lesson describes how to find the freedom experienced as we realize that Soul is not in body … but that man is the full reflection of Soul. We are told, “To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear, — this is the great attainment by means off which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true. Thus we may establish in truth the temple, or body, ‘whose builder and maker is God.’” (S32)

This body — or individualized expression of God embodies every quality of Soul — beauty, grace, freedom, purposefulness, indestructibility, and much more. What freedom! So, let’s keep emptying thought of the limits of material evidence and hold to the spiritual facts, no matter what we are faced with. We can then expect to see spiritual reality here and now, as John did — exempt from matter, with its limitations and false promises!

Warren’s (W’s) PS#1—Mary Baker Eddy on Paul’s words in Athens (Golden Text, B4, Acts 17:24-28):
**“St. Paul said to the Athenians, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” This statement is in substance identical with my own: “There is no life, truth, substance, nor intelligence in matter.” It is quite clear that this great verity has not yet been fully demonstrated, but it is nevertheless true. If Christian Science reiterates Paul’s teaching, we, as Christian Scientists, should give to the world convincing proof of the validity of this scientific statement of being. Having perceived, in advance of others, this scientific fact, we owe to ourselves and to the world a struggle for its demonstration.” Retrospection and Introspection, 93: 17]

Also, Cobbey Crisler shared these insights on the context of Paul’s words to the Athenians in Acts 17 (B4): “Well, now Paul is heading for the cultural capital of civilization, Athens. And you can’t even go to modern day Athens without appreciating somewhat of what Paul saw, looking around at the remnants of that great city and “the columned buildings that were dedicated to so many gods. It must have moved Paul.” …

“And so he opens his mouth and begins right away to talk in Athens. Now this is a tough area in which to introduce Christianity, except at least they were willing to listen because everybody talked about anything. I mean there were a lot of weirdo sects and ideas that they welcomed without question in Athens because everybody liked to dispute these ideas anyway.

“He’s in the market, the agora, as well as in the synagogue. He runs into Epicureans; he runs into Stoics.” Now Tarsus where Paul came from happens to be a Stoic stronghold. So he must have been certainly aware of that philosophy…

“They bring him to Areopagus, the hill of Mars or Aries, and they asked him to explain what he has to say.” …

Acts 17:22  Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

Paul, standing there, shows how a lecture can be tailor-made to any environment. And, it’s better than uniformity if you want to get the ear of the locals. And in this way, you will find at no point does Paul mention the Old Testament. Why? (Pause) What would that mean to the Athenians? (See below, Acts 17:23, paraphrased)

Instead, he kind of says, “On my way to the forum…you know. In other words, here I was, and I saw something you had back here. And, it says TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.” (See Acts 17:23 …

“Would everybody be listening? It relates. He’s picked up something locally. And, would you also be listening if he said “That monument you put ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD’, I want to tell you a little something about him. He’s unknown to you, but here’s some information that might be helpful… “And then, in Acts 17, verse 24, he describes “that God who made all, and therefore, couldn’t dwell in temples made with hands.” …

We’re reminded of whom? Yes, but since Jesus, we heard that from Stephen, remember? As Saul, himself, he had heard that.

“He dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (repeated paraphrased)

What do you think that comment does when you’re looking at the Parthenon and buildings like it? “God doesn’t dwell in all of this. He made everything. How can you contain Him?” … Very interesting point.

Have we even arrived at that point today in our thinking? … I doubt the Athenians had either.

“The search where God is…” will end up with the conclusion in the last line of Acts 17, verse 27, “that He’s not very far from every one of us.” And then Paul very cleverly introduces lines from local poets: “In him we live, and move, and have our being” and “for we are also his offspring” – parts of poems we have identified, and they even know the authors. (See below, partial)

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being**; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
“After the Master, What? The Book of Acts,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

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