Is life without matter conceivable?

July 29, 2007 | 11 comments

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.

11 thoughts on “Is life without matter conceivable?”

  1. Had an interesting experience the other night that suggests that matter is nothing in the spirtual sense. I dreamed I came down with a severe cold. Sure enough I awoke in the middle of the night with a cold, sneezing, watery eyes and stuffed head!!!! I also started to laugh as these symptoms apparently came from a dream and how weird is that! I immediately knew in my divine consciousness that this is riduculous, that God knows nothing about the cold, dream, or for that matter (no pun intended!) the human “awake” mind. Since this cold was a dream, which Mrs. Eddy discerned is a manifestation of mortal mind (or to today’s thinkers, the human consciousness, whether awake or asleep) the cold immediatley disappeared!!!! I think we tend to think sometimes that this is too weird to have happened, that no one would believe it and yet I will bet many of your bloggers experience this stuff all the time. Thanks for the clear explanations you have been putting out there. Christian Science is revolutionary, yet is not new, and can be practised by anyone. I had to yield to “a priori” reasoning to get it- something for another blog, perhaps.

  2. Wow! Your last 2 bllog entries on matter and God’s provision for us being spiritual, not material are awesome and thought-provoking. I have to read them more than once to digest completely. Thank you for sharing your inspiration.

  3. What do you think God was seeing when “God saw everything he had made, and behold, it was very good”? Like, for example, “Let the dry land appear.”

  4. Ooops! Sorry, I didn’t mean the multiple comments. Actually I had a little more to say, so I’ll add it here. Okay?

    Do you suppose what God saw could have been exclusively mental images (not material) like the ones we might create (on a human level) in a day dream? If we’re living and moving and having our being in God then maybe real existence for us may actually be going on within God’s Mind, where all is intangible Spirit, not matter.

    I realize this does not seem agree with the evidence of our senses, but walking by faith, not by sight, is part of the spiritual equation.

  5. To anon above,

    In the universe of Mind, things are thoughts and ideas are substance. The “dry land” of God’s creating may appear as matter dust to material sense, but in divine Mind, it is a divine construct that lasts forever.

    I believe real existence for us is going on in divine Mind. Without Mind, there would be no existence, no consciousness no sense, no anything. All is truly Mind…

  6. Here is a verse that fits in here: “For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light do we see light”(Psalm 36:9).

    “In thy light do we see light.” I love this concept.

  7. Hi Evan,

    Something my teacher said is also very interesting, regarding the existence of matter. Basically, he asked what was left if we took away every single atom in the entire universe. His answer was “Everything!”. Everything is left of God’s entire being when we take away matter. He also had this wonderful tidbit: “The substance of an idea is the mind which thinks it.” So since man is the compound idea of God, our substance is made up entirely of God’s thought. So God is literally “thinking me” and all of us, right at this moment.

    Thanks for your awesome website. I have it as my home page when I open my browser.

    Hi from Seattle!

  8. Hi Scott,

    Hey, I like your “what’s left if every atom of the universe was taken away? Everything!” example. That’s right on!

    Thanks for sharing.

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