A blog post written by Christine Driessen for the Christian Science Committee on Publication for New York - April 4, 2011
Christ Jesus said that anyone who followed his teaching would be able to heal as he did and do even greater works than these, but not without absolute obedience to the law of God, Spirit–recognizing and obeying only one power, Spirit; and not worshipping, fearing or obeying matter gods. In his beloved Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7) Jesus said that we have to first “Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these other things would be added unto us.”
Today many of our dictionaries have replaced traditional definitions with more secular ones. For example, “righteousness” is often defined today as “doing what you think is right”–meaning each person can redefine “right” anyway they want. And then people wonder why prayer doesn’t seem to work! If we think “righteousness” is something we can redefine according to the beliefs of a particular period, then when we appeal to divine law in our prayers, we may think mistakenly that prayer doesn’t work. And yet a law is not “law” unless it is enforceable and reliable.
However, consider this definition from the dictionary of Mary Baker Eddy’s time, because it’s taken right from the original Greek meaning of this word. Definition of righteousness (Noah Webster, 2nd ed., 1852):
“Conformity of heart and life to the divine law, the active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Purity of heart, rectitude of life.” “Rectitude” is defined as “exact conformity to truth, or to the rules prescribed for moral conduct, either by divine or human laws.” “Exact” means “precise, strict, careful, not negligent.”
I also find this passage in Science and Health, 327:17, with the marginal note ‘Peremptory demands”, very interesting: ”To the physical senses, the strict demands of Christian Science seem peremptory; but mortals are hastening to learn that Life is God, good, and that evil has in reality neither place nor power in the human or the divine economy.”
The word “peremptory” is defined as “Express; positive; absolute; decisive; authoritative; in a manner to preclude debate or expostulation.”
Divine law is absolute, allowing no debate or challenge, but that is what makes it so reliable and scientifically certain.
The Bible says the “science of God” (Rom. 11:33) is perfect (Job 37:16) and is found in the secret of the Christ (Col. 2:2-3). Prov. 1:7 says that the “fear (obedience, love, trust) of God is the beginning of science.” Those who only read an English translation of the original Greek may never realize that the word “knowledge” is being used instead of science, since “science” means knowledge, but a science is so much more than human knowledge. Translations such as the French use the actual word “science” in these biblical passages and they give a much clearer sense of the meaning.
We don’t ever have to fear obeying God’s will because the Bible shows repeatedly that God is Love itself, merciful, forgiving, healing, redeeming all of us from suffering (Ps. 103:2-4, for example). Gen. 1 says that everything that God makes is very good and Deut. 32:4 says His work is perfect, and Ps. 18:32 says God makes our way perfect, so we do not need to fear God’s law or His will. It is always good. God causes us to succeed and prosper and to be in safety and in good health (Gen.1:28) because health and peace are natural to God’s creation. Understanding this Science, which teaches that Spirit is the only Mind, creator, power or reality of existence, opens our eyes to our inherent wholeness right now.
Mary Baker Eddy explains in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, that it is possible for anyone to learn to heal with “scientific certainty” through the Christ Love demonstrated by Jesus (496:15). But she was not referring to a human definition of love which changes with every new philosophy or fad. She was referring to the two great Commandments found in Christianity, Judaism and Islam: 1) Love (obey) God, Spirit, supremely and have only one God. 2) Love your neighbor as yourself (as Christ Jesus demonstrated). Absolute obedience to these two laws is what enables people to understand and demonstrate the Science of the Christ by healing sin, disease and death.
Sometimes people today say that “heal” means simply to give someone a sense of peace as they are dying or struggling with long-term illness. And yet there are over 50 uses of the word “healing” in the four Gospels alone. Not one of those times did the word “healing” mean accepting suffering and death peacefully. Every single time, Jesus cured the people of their diseases–the blind saw, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the sinners stopped sinning. Even long standing conditions were instantly healed: hemorrhaging for 12 years, deformity of the back for 18 years, paralysis for 38 years. And Jesus even raised people from death: Lazarus had been in the tomb 4 days already, but Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me shall not see death”; and Lazarus immediately returned to normal life.
When we are absolutely obedient to the law of mathematics, then we are able to work out mathematical problems with mathematical certainty! To the degree that we diverge from the laws of mathematics, to that degree our work fails to demonstrate the exactness of that science.
Eddy uses the phrase “in proportion to” or “in proportion as” almost 60 times in her writings, each time indicating that it is only to the degree that we are obedient to God’s law and faithful to His Science, that we are able to demonstrate the divine Principle of this healing Science. The Science of God and His Christ is an exact science, and we will begin to discover the exactness of this divine Science–and find that prayer is effective, reliable, scientifically certain– “in proportion to” our exact obedience and fidelity to God’s law.”