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Bible Lessons
MARY BAKER EDDY


         And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. — 1 COR. xv. 45.

         When reasoning on this subject of man with the Corinthian brethren, the apostle first spake from their standpoint of thought; namely, that creation is material: he was not at this point giving the history of the spiritual man who originates in God, Love, who created man in His own image and likeness. In the creation of Adam from dust, — in which Soul is supposed to enter the embryo-man after his birth, — we see the material self-constituted belief of the Jews as referred to by St. Paul. Their material belief has fallen far below man's original standard, the spiritual man made in the image and likeness of God; for this erring belief even separates its conception of man from God, and ultimates in the opposite of immortal man, namely, in a sick and sinning mortal.

         We learn in the Scriptures, as in divine Science, that God made all; that He is the universal Father and Mother of man; that God is divine Love: therefore divine Love is the divine Principle of the divine idea named man; in other words, the spiritual Principle of spiritual man. Now let us not lose this Science of man, but gain it clearly; then we shall see that man cannot be separated from his perfect Principle, God, inasmuch as an idea cannot be torn apart from its fundamental basis. This scientific knowledge affords self-evident proof of immortality; proof, also, that the Principle of man cannot produce a less perfect man than it produced in the beginning. A material sense of existence is not the scientific fact of being; whereas, the spiritual sense of God and His universe is the immortal and true sense of being.

         As the apostle proceeds in this line of thought, he undoubtedly refers to the last Adam represented by the Messias, whose demonstration of God restored to mortals the lost sense of man's perfection, even the sense of the real man in God's likeness, who restored this sense by the spiritual regeneration of both mind and body, — casting out evils, healing the sick, and raising the dead. The man Jesus demonstrated over sin, sickness, disease, and death. The great Metaphysician wrought, over and above every sense of matter, into the proper sense of the possibilities of Spirit. He established health and harmony, the perfection of mind and body, as the reality of man; while discord, as seen in disease and death, was to him the opposite of man, hence the unreality; even as in Science a chord is manifestly the reality of music, and discord the unreality. This rule of harmony must be accepted as true relative to man.

         The translators of the older Scriptures presuppose a material man to be the first man, solely because their transcribing thoughts were not lifted to the inspired sense of the spiritual man, as set forth in original Holy Writ. Had both writers and translators in that age fully comprehended the later teachings and demonstrations of our human and divine Master, the Old Testament might have been as spiritual as the New.

         The origin, substance, and life of man are one, and that one is God, — Life, Truth, Love. The self-existent, perfect, and eternal are God; and man is their reflection and glory. Did the substance of God, Spirit, become a clod, in order to create a sick, sinning, dying man? The primal facts of being are eternal; they are never extinguished in a night of discord.

         That man must be evil before he can be good; dying, before deathless; material, before spiritual; sick and a sinner in order to be healed and saved, is but the declaration of the material senses transcribed by pagan religionists, by wicked mortals such as crucified our Master, — whose teachings opposed the doctrines of Christ that demonstrated the opposite, Truth.

         Man is as perfect now, and henceforth, and forever, as when the stars first sang together, and creation joined in the grand chorus of harmonious being. It is the translator, not the original Word, who presents as being first that which appears second, material, and mortal; and as last, that which is primal, spiritual, and eternal. Because of human misstatement and misconception of God and man, of the divine Principle and idea of being, there seems to be a war between the flesh and Spirit, a contest between Truth and error; but the apostle says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."

         On our subject, St. Paul first reasons upon the basis of what is seen, the effects of Truth on the material senses; thence, up to the unseen, the testimony of spiritual sense; and right there he leaves the subject.

         Just there, in the intermediate line of thought, is where the present writer found it, when she discovered Christian Science. And she has not left it, but continues the explanation of the power of Spirit up to its infinite meaning, its allness. The recognition of this power came to her through a spiritual sense of the real, and of the unreal or mortal sense of things; not that there is, or can be, an actual change in the realities of being, but that we can discern more of them. At the moment of her discovery, she knew that the last Adam, namely, the true likeness of God, was the first, the only man. This knowledge did become to her "a quickening spirit;" for she beheld the meaning of those words of our Master, "The last shall be first, and the first last."

         When, as little children, we are receptive, become willing to accept the divine Principle and rule of being, as unfolded in divine Science, the interpretation therein will be found to be the Comforter that leadeth into all truth.

         The meek Nazarene's steadfast and true knowledge of preexistence, of the nature and the inseparability of God and man, — made him mighty. Spiritual insight of Truth and Love antidotes and destroys the errors of flesh, and brings to light the true reflection: man as God's image, or "the first man," for Christ plainly declared, through Jesus, "Before Abraham was, I am."

         The supposition that Soul, or Mind, is breathed into matter, is a pantheistic doctrine that presents a false sense of existence, and the quickening spirit takes it away: revealing, in place thereof, the power and perfection of a released sense of Life in God and Life as God. The Scriptures declare Life to be the infinite I AM, — not a dweller in matter. For man to know Life as it is, namely God, the eternal good, gives him not merely a sense of existence, but an accompanying consciousness of spiritual power that subordinates matter and destroys sin, disease, and death. This, Jesus demonstrated; insomuch that St. Matthew wrote, "The people were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." This spiritual power, healing sin and sickness, was not confined to the first century; it extends to all time, inhabits eternity, and demonstrates Life without beginning or end.

         Atomic action is Mind, not matter. It is neither the energy of matter, the result of organization, nor the outcome of life infused into matter: it is infinite Spirit, Truth, Life, defiant of error or matter. Divine Science demonstrates Mind as dispelling a false sense and giving the true sense of itself, God, and the universe; wherein the mortal evolves not the immortal, nor does the material ultimate in the spiritual; wherein man is coexistent with Mind, and is the recognized reflection of infinite Life and Love.

 

Excerpted from Miscellaneous Writings
by
Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 185-190

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