Spirit

This is #8 in a series of posts looking at the 26 Christian Science Weekly Bible Lesson subjects, chosen by Mary Baker Eddy, and rotated twice per year. These lessons are the sermon at each Christian Science church worldwide, and are read by Christian Scientists daily. Today’s subject is “Spirit”. Look for other posts in the category “Lesson Sermon Subjects“. 

Spirit is another of the seven “synonyms” of God as listed by Mary Baker Eddy. When used in this context, and as the Lesson Sermon subject, it is capitalized in what I call “Christian Science grammar”. The concept of “Spirit” is similar in many ways to the concept of “Soul” in Christian Science–a topic I addressed in last week’s post. So, what is “Spirit” to the Christian Scientist?

“SPIRIT. Divine substance; Mind; divine Principle; all that is good; God; that only which is perfect, everlasting, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 594)

I’ll be honest, I read the above definition and still wonder what it really says. It says that Spirit is some sort of substance (but not “substance” in the conventional sense), divine substance; also that it is Mind, Principle, God, all of that nice stuff, but I still feel like I don’t know what Mary Baker Eddy is saying here. Even as one who spent 40 or so years in Christian Science, this and many other things written by Eddy (who wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures), are almost incomprehensible. As synonymous with God, in Christian Science Spirit is just another name for God. I would say that my  understanding of what Spirit is, in Christian Science, is that it is sort of like the animating force behind God and God’s “reflections” (us).

“SPIRITS. Mortal beliefs; corporeality; evil minds; supposed intelligences, or gods; the opposites of God; errors; hallucinations.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 594)

Most of us think of spirits and ghosts as the energetic force or consciousness of someone or something that has passed away. Eddy sees them as something somewhat different here. Perhaps they are hallucinations of overactive imaginations. For me, the jury is still out as to whether or not things like ghosts and spirits do or do not exist. I am not closed-minded, and I firmly believe there is much about this universe that we do not understand, and for anyone or any mode of thought or religious faith to say they have all of the answers is the height of hubris, and purveyors of that kind of thinking are always suspect to me, whether they be religious zealots or secular scientists.

Perhaps spirits and ghosts do exist, perhaps not. I am swayed by evidence. I am of the fairly strong belief that our consciousness does continue on in some form after death, but in what way, I do not know. This just seems logical and comforting to me. I may discover otherwise when my time comes, however. I don’t have all the answers–nobody does. I am always seeking them.

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