I’ve witnessed students of Christian Science wrestle with the unreality of matter, wondering how life could be possible without the atomic stuff. They try to envision existence without things, without cars, without physical bodies, without houses, and wonder, “What’s left?”
When one believes matter is the substance of the universe and reasons out from an atomic premise, the above type of logic does leave mind in a void of nothingness.
I can sympathize with the emptiness one must feel with that type of conclusion.
But there’s another way to reason the query out and come up with a more inspired answer.
I encourage inquirers to tackle the issue from the opposite point of view.
Instead of voiding human existence of what you call matter and then pondering about what’s left from a mortal point of view, void matter of all the qualities of Spirit, like love, joy, hope and intelligence, and ponder what remains.
Take away all the kindness, the compassion, tenderness, happiness, inspiration, purpose, ability to think, reason and act, which are all faculties of divine Mind and not faculties of matter, and what is left of matter?
Life without qualities of Spirit is as nothing.
And that’s exactly what matter is—nothing!
Christian Science explains that all the joy, goodness, health and harmony one experiences don’t originate in matter or in material sensation. They originate in Mind and are expressed through us spiritually.
For example, a joyful thought may be expressed as a happy smile, but the happiness is not in the lips that contour to a smile. The happiness is a spiritual inspiration coming from God, the divine Mind. The inspiration entertained formed a smile on the face, but the substance of the smile is in the thought, not in the flesh of the lips.
Some would argue that the brain is mind and the source of these inspirations, but that is a long subject for another blog. The brain has no more intelligence than a computer, a machine with artificial intelligence. What came first, Mind or brain? Mind came first and remains primal. Brain is a human temporal concept of mind, but never will be Mind.
But aside from that discussion, life without matter is very easy to envision when one accepts Spirit as Life.
The limited human perspective grasps this only in degrees, but, nonetheless, it is true. All the good in our life is not matter in action, but Spirit in action. We are an image of Mind.
Happiness, intelligence, and joy expressed are Mind in action through us. Mortal mind calls it matter-action, but in Truth, it’s Mind-action.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, made this illuminating observation about how Jesus Christ viewed matter. After being asked the question “If God does not recognize matter, how did Jesus, who was “the way, the truth, and the life,” cognize it?”
She replied in part,
Christ Jesus’ sense of matter was the opposite of that which mortals entertain…His earthly mission was to translate substance into its original meaning, Mind. He walked upon the waves; he turned the water into wine; he healed the sick and the sinner; he raised the dead, and rolled away the stone from the door of his own tomb. His demonstration of Spirit virtually vanquished matter and its supposed laws. Walking the wave, he proved the fallacy of the theory that matter is substance; healing through Mind, he removed any supposition that matter is intelligent, or can recognize or express pain and pleasure. His triumph over the grave was an everlasting victory for Life; it demonstrated the lifelessness of matter, and the power and permanence of Spirit. He met and conquered the resistance of the world.
If you will admit, with me, that matter is neither substance, intelligence, nor Life, you may have all that is left of it; and you will have touched the hem of the garment of Jesus’ idea of matter…. Miscellaneous Writings, p. 74.
Amen! Strip away substance, intelligence and life from matter, and what’s left? Nothing! And that’s what matter is—nothing!
To understand life we have to understand Spirit. Spirit is what moves us, inspires us, strengthens us, and empowers us aright. Spirit is the power at work in life, and from a spiritual point of view, it’s hard to envision existence any other way.