December 20, 2017

bible study imageSubject: Nativity

Golden text: Psalm 71:5-6*

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb.
My praise is continually of you.

Genesis 1:1, 31

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

From 21st Century Science and Health**

Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only—that is, the eternal truth and unity of God and spiritual being, including the universe. The creative Principle—Life, Truth, and Love—is God. The universe reflects God. There is but one creator and one creation. The one creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected. These ideas range from the infinitesimal to infinity and the highest ideas are the sons and daughters of God.

Genesis 1:31. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

The divine Principle, or Spirit, comprehends and expresses all, and all must therefore be as complete as the divine Principle is complete. Nothing is new to Spirit. Nothing can be novel to eternal Mind, the author of all things, who from all eternity knows His own ideas. Love is satisfied with Her work. How could that which is complete be unsatisfied? The spiritual creation is the result, the outflow of Father-Mother’s infinite self-containment and immortal wisdom.

Earth has little light or joy before Life is spiritually learned. Every agony of mortal error helps error to destroy itself and we perceive immortal Truth. This is the new birth going on hourly, by which human beings may entertain angels, the true ideas of God with an unlimited sense of being.

Dynamic 21st-century research, and altering social environments provide increasing data and evidence to contradict conventional scientific theories concerning our origin. Instead of debating the old theories, we can bless the human race by understanding why we are more than flesh and blood and why we can detach ourselves from limited concepts.

Isaiah 23:1-7, 17-18

The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!
From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them. Be still, O inhabitants of the coast; the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.
And on many waters your revenue was the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile;
you were the merchant of the nations.
Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying: “I have neither labored nor given birth, I have neither reared young men nor brought up young women.”
When the report comes to Egypt, they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.
Cross over to Tarshish; wail, O inhabitants of the coast!
Is this your exultant city whose origin is from days of old, whose feet carried her to settle far away?

17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the Lord. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Human birth, growth, maturity, and decay are as the grass springing from the soil with beautiful green blades, afterward to wither and return to its native nothingness. These human impressions are temporal; they never merge into spiritual being, but finally disappear and spiritual being, which is eternal is found to be the real.

What then is the human personality which suffers, sins, and dies? It is not God’s image and likeness but a counterfeit, an inversion, a misinterpretation, calling itself sin, sickness, birth and death. The incongruous natures of Spirit and spirits, Mind and flesh, uncover the contradiction that assumes human beings are the image of God, intelligence.

Error of thought is reflected in error of action. The obsessive study of material existence—of a beginning and end, with birth, decay, and dissolution as its component stages—hides the true and spiritual Life, and causes our standard to drag and lag. If Life has any starting point whatsoever, then the great I AM is a myth. If Life is God, as the Scriptures imply, then Life, Mind, isn’t embryonic, isn’t a primordial explosion of dense matter. A particle or physical force is an impossible enclosure for infinite Spirit.

As a physical, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misinterpretation of existence, the scientific and divine Principle of our spirituality dawns upon human thought. Consciousness is guided to “where the child was”[1]—even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus, the whole earth will be transformed by Truth as enlightened thought displaces the darkness of error.

In Science, person is not young or old; we have no birth or death; we are not a beast, a vegetable, or an evolving mind advancing from mortality to Mind. We don’t go from the materialist to the spiritual. We do not rise from evil to good, or even shift from good to evil. Confessing to a state of mortality throws us headlong into darkness and dogma. Too much is written on that which advocates pictures of mortal phases and helplessness. It is better to label people with the everlasting grandeur and immortality of improvement, spiritual power, and prestige.

Luke 1: 26-35

 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The illumination of Mary’s spiritual sense silenced biological law and its order of creation. Her child was conceived by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as Parent. The Holy Spirit protected her illuminated sense with the full recognition that being is Spirit and Mary’s idea, though tiny at first, developed into the fullness of the life of Jesus. The Christ lives forever an idea in the bosom of God.

As the offspring of God, as the idea of Spirit, individuals can be viewed as the immortal evidence that Spirit is harmonious and we are eternal. Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s personal conscious communion with God, allowing him to give us a higher idea of life and demonstrate the Science of Love—his Parent, or divine Principle.

Born of woman, Jesus appeared in the flesh. Although equipped with the divine Spirit, Jesus still felt a part of Mary’s earthly condition which accounts for his struggles in Gethsemane and on Calvary. If his origin hadn’t been a typical human birth, Jesus’ life wouldn’t have been meaningful to humans as “the way.”[2] But as it was, his circumstance enabled him to be the mediator or way-shower between God and us.

Holding in mind contrary and illusory intentions makes it impossible to recognize Christ’s relationship to God as God’s offspring. Inhumane minds are hostile toward spirituality. They can’t discern Christ’s spiritual existence. Their thoughts were filled with human error instead of with God’s spiritual idea as presented by Christ Jesus. Through wrong notions we lose sight of God, and the spiritual sense of Truth is eclipsed. We can however, realize God’s likeness when we overcome the unspiritual and prove our spiritual heritage, when we prove the liberty of the children of God.

The eternal Truth destroys what human beings have learned from error and our real selfhood comes to light. Truth lived is eternal life.

Error, urged to its final limits, is self-destroyed. Error will cease to hypothesize that soul is in body, that life and intelligence are in human minds, and that human mind is person. Divine Mind is the Principle of spiritual being, and person is the idea of God; therefore, spiritual being has no mortal pattern or relationship. Mortals will disappear, and immortals—the children of God—will appear as the only and eternal fact of existence. Human mortal beings are not fallen children of God; they never had a perfect state of being, which may subsequently be regained. Mortal beings were from the beginning of mortal history, “brought forth in [a state of] iniquity;”[3] and conceived in sin. Mortality is finally swallowed up in immortality. Destructiveness, incapability, and dying must disappear to give place to the facts which belong to spiritual being.

We can earnestly seek the immortal status of person, which is outside the illusion of mortal human men and women. “Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, but a storm snuffs them out just as quickly.”[4]

When speaking of God’s children, not the children of human beings, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;”[5] that is, Truth and Love prevail in the real man and woman, showing that spiritual being in God’s image is eternal and not fallen. Jesus perceived in Science the flawless person, who appeared to him where flawed mortals appeared to worldly thinkers. In the perfect individual, the Savior saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man and woman healed the sick. Moreover, Jesus taught that the realm of God is intact, universal, and that being is pure and holy. People are not material habitations for Soul. Soul is seen in nothing incomplete nor mindless.

Science reveals the glorious possibilities of our spirituality, forever unlimited by the mortal senses. The Christ-element in the Messiah made him the Way-shower, Truth and Life.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] Matt. 2:9

[2] John 14:6

[3] Ps. 51:5 (Amplified)

[4] Ps. 103:15–16 (The Message)

[5] Luke 17:21

 

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