January 2, 2018

bible study imageSubject: Religion

Golden text: Colossians 3:9-11*

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Colossians 3:12-19

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

21st Century Science and Health**

Human-made theories make the same mistake regarding Soul and body that René Descartes[1] made regarding the brain as a complex fixed machine. Adherents of Descartes theories culminates in localizationism, the belief in a hard-wired brain in which each mental function has a strict location. However, modern brain science is showing, “[Brain] plasticity is a normal phenomenon, and brain maps are constantly changing.”[2] Christian Science shows that mind is not subject to the brain or matter, and that soul is not in the body. The order of Science can’t be reversed, even by human theories that assign to matter the power and prerogative of Spirit—a bad assignment that causes people to become weak and pitiful creatures. Scientific blunders can’t affect the harmony of being.

The truth of Mind shows conclusively how it is that measurable units and forces seem to be, but are not. Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of physical sense with spiritual ideas.

For this revelation, I introduced the term CHRISTIAN SCIENCE to designate the scientific system of divine healing. The revelation consists of two parts:

  1. The discovery. The discovery of Mind-healing through a spiritual sense of Scriptures and through the teachings of the Counselor,[3] as promised by Jesus.
  2. The proof. The proof by present-day demonstrations, that the miracles of Jesus did not specially belong to a privileged few or at a time now ended. Miracles illustrate an ever-operative divine Principle which indicates the ongoing scientific order and continuity of being.

Divine Science differs from the hard and soft sciences, but is preeminently scientific because it’s based on Truth, the Principle of all science.

The hard and soft sciences are human knowledge; beliefs; human inventions; a shaved Samson[4] without strength. When human beliefs lack organizations for support, their foundations disappear. Not having moral might, spiritual basis, or a holy Principle of its own, a belief mistakes effect for cause and seeks to find life and intelligence in symptoms, thus limiting Life and adhering to disorder and death. Human beliefs are blind conclusions made from baseless reasoning. A mortal sense of things is forever silenced by immortal Spirit.

We can interpret and understand the universe and its inhabitants through Science by its divine Principle, God. But, when explained on the basis of physical sense and represented as exposed to change, accumulation and decay, the universe and its inhabitants are enigmas.

Gravitational, electromagnetic, and nuclear forces are properties of Mind. They belong to divine Principle and support the equilibrium of that same thought-force which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, “this far you may come and no farther.”[5]

Spirit is the life, substance, and continuity of all things. We move on forces. Human knowledge calls the forces electromagnetic or physical, but withdraw them and creation must collapse. Divine Science restores the forces by classifying them spiritually and declaring them inherently and wholly to belong to divine Mind.

The elements of the physical world and the functions of the physical body will change as human mind changes its beliefs. What is now considered the best condition for biological and functional health may no longer be found indispensable to health in the future. Moral conditions will always be found harmonious and health-giving. Biological inaction and over-action is not beyond God’s control. People will be found normal and natural as mortal thought grows out of the phases which human belief creates and sanctions.

As human thought changes from one stage to another, from conscious pain to painlessness, from sorrow to joy, from fear to hope, and from faith to understanding, the visible manifestation will at last be self-governed by Soul. Reflecting God’s control, you are no longer controlled by physical sense or mind. When subordinate to divine Spirit, we cannot be controlled by sin or death, and material theories about laws of health lose their hold.

Mark 7:14-23

 And [Jesus] called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

21st Century Science and Health

You confess to having a materialist heart and ask that all negativity be revealed, but don’t you already know more of this heart than you are willing to have your neighbor see?

It is important to examine our inclinations and intentions. Mental examination is the way we learn who we honestly are.  If a friend informs us of a fault, do we listen patiently to the criticism and reconsider our attitude?

Wordy prayers and long prayer sessions may give us a quiet sense of self-justification, but they only feed hypocrisy. We don’t need to despair of an honest heart, but there is little hope for the phony prayers of people who randomly face their faults only to try to hide those character flaws. The deceit holds secret fellowship with sin but can’t ultimately be hidden as Jesus noted, they are, “like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”[6]

Metaphysics is above physics. Materialist thinking does not enter metaphysical premises or conclusions. Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.

Psalms 96:1-9

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!

21st Century Science and Health

Human reason and religion come slowly to the recognition of spiritual facts.

Our motives and inclinations are paramount in religion. However, when rituals and ceremonies are the crux of religion, the motives and inclinations of a person are concealed by formal procedures and human routines. Jesus, as modest as he was mighty, rebuked this hypocrisy. Hypocrisy offers long petitions for blessings on physical rituals, but veils the crime, latent in thought, which is ready to spring into action and crucify God’s anointed. The martyrdom of Jesus was the culminating sin of Pharisaism. Jesus’ crucifixion rent the veil of the temple. It revealed the false foundations and structures of superficial religion, tore from bigotry and superstition their coverings, and opened the tomb with divine Science—immortality and Love.

A reversal of Scripture shows the distinction between theological and ritualistic religion.

For some cultures, worship began with muscularity, but the law of Sinai lifts thought into the song of David. Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter and illustrated the grand human capacities of being bestowed by immortal Mind.

Worshippers more interested in religious ceremonies than in the principles behind the religion, will believe that a ritual, person, place, or thing is necessary for the salvation of their soul. Doctors and pharmacists who believe drugs have power will think their prescription will save life. The belief that ceremonies will save the soul is a delusion. The belief that drugs will save life is a medical mistake.

I advise students to be charitable and kind, not only toward differing forms of religion and medicine, but to the very people who hold these differing opinions.

The commitment of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible. Exceptions only confirm this rule, proving that failure is occasioned by a strong faith in failure.

If athletes believed it impossible to accomplish record-breaking feats, they could never do it. Their belief that they can achieve something spectacular gives their thought forces, called muscles, the flexibility and power which the unscientific might attribute to adrenaline or genes. Fear must disappear before the power of putting resolve into action can appear.

The self-styled human soul or spirit is not the divine infinite Spirit. In other words, the physiological and genetic view of spirit is diametrically opposed to Spirit—the flesh warring against Love. These mortal limited views must yield to the infinite Spirit, named God.

A vital religion allows us to understand and share the glory of eternal 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] René Descartes, (1596–1650) French mathematician, scientist and philosopher.

[2] The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Norman Doidge, M.D. (Viking Penguin Books, New York, 2007)

[3] John 16:7

[4] Judges 16:19

[5] Job 38:11

[6] Matt. 23:27

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