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Marriage is the common thread found in almost every major religion in the world.
The religions control it, and they control society with it to a large degree.
Most cultures call it holy. There are few, that do not.
Though, while it is deemed holy, some cultures have turned the marriage covenant into an unimaginable curse.
Some religions have even killed people in the name of marriage when the doctrines were violated.
In some cultures women are seriously sexually mutilated in preparation for marriage.
In the liberated world marriage has become increasingly a civil covenant that is easily made and easily broken.
Marriage is also the historically most-enduring covenant in civilization, and remains almost universally the backbone of the platform for human generation.
It has been given so many faces and customs and meanings that one wonders whether it may not be totally arbitrary, especially since nobody really knows where it came from, with it being rooted in the most distant beginning of civilization.
On the other hand, with it being one of the most universal institutions in the world, one also wonders whether the wide universality that spans the globe may not be an expression of the singularity of a profoundly spiritual principle standing behind it that is neither basically religious, civil, nor mystic.
The most renowned 'modern' scientist in the spiritual domain - the woman who had founded the Church of Christ Scientist in the late 1800s that became renowned for its efficient practice of scientific Christian healing - had made absolutely no provisions for marriages in her church.
However, while she made no provisions for marriage, in the textbook in which she documented her discovered spiritual science, the woman, Mary Baker Eddy, made the subject of marriage a high priority item. Close to the beginning of the book, the third chapter of 16 chapters, bares the title: Marriage.
That's a paradox, right. But more perplexing than that is, that she doesn't really define the deeply operating dynamics of the principle of marriage and its process. This wasn't her style. But, she did something that no one else had done. She set up a scientific foundation that enables society to discover the underlying principle for itself, and experience its operating dynamics. She speaks to us as the most accomplished Christian healer of modern time.
Mary Baker Eddy was a farmer's daughter, who left behind her a worldwide movement dedicated to Christian Spiritual healing.
She had worked from 1866 onward, on the project of discovering, documenting, and establishing the science that had healed her in a moment of great need. She worked every step along the way on a purely spiritual basis, but also on a scientific basis that can be passed on to others by teaching, through which her scientific practice became eventually applied in many parts of the world. Here we find her most-widely known credentials that she developed over a span of 44 years of scientific work.
Her spiritual and scientific perception on the subject of marriage was no doubt the cutting edge very early in this process, and no doubt remains so to the present. Still, she didn't flaunt it. This wasn't her style either. Her style was to lay down the critical principles in a far more impersonal manner than simply talking about them.
She went back in time eighteen centuries to the closing pages of the Christian holy book, the Bible, where an inspired writer spoke of the Apocalypse, the end of all evil.
In the closing pages appears a story of a great foursquare city descending from God to humanity that all the kings of the earth would bring their glory and honor into it, and likewise all nations.
Mary Baker Eddy latched on to the idea of a foursquare geometry of profound ideas, forming a 'city' of interrelated scientific concepts, which she herself brought all of her works into it, without exceptions.
She never spoke of its functioning, though. This wasn't needed. It doesn't take a genius to recognize the potential that this geometry can represent.
For example, a foursquare structure can be recognized as a structure of four rows of horizontally interconnected elements that represent levels of perception, and can also be recognized as for columns of vertically related elements that represent types of progression. Or it can be recognized in combination as a structure of 16 interrelated elements.
Mary Baker Eddy rendered a broadly outlined description of the city that reflects these concepts.
Thus, everything that she created, was created in 16 parts or multiples thereof. And whatever different forms pre-existed outside of the basic framework of her foursquare city, she developed some profound scientific methods for adopting them to it.
One of the pre-existing forms is the 7-part frame of 7 days that make up a week. The 7-part frame may have been forged in ancient days according to the rainbow colors, the 7-part spectrum of basic colors that blend together into white.
Mary Baker Eddy used this model to define God with a spectrum of 7 profound spiritual concepts, which she lists as, Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; and Love. With these we encounter another paradox.
The paradox is located in a very large structure that Mary Baker Eddy brought into the city, together with a number of other structures, some of which are of interest here. The very large structure is provided in the form of a glossary that brings into the city 144 definitions of terms. This adds up to nine specific definitions for each of the 16 elements of the foursquare city.
The paradox is that she didn't bring the entire spectrum that she defined for God, into her glossary, as one would expect. She omitted 3 parts of the spectrum of God. The question is why? Was it done for a purpose?
Ironically, the solution for this paradox provides the solution for the marriage paradox.
Are you confused yet? Let's take a simple approach to it.
If one would select from her 144 glossary definitions, one defined term for each of the 16 elements that presents the highest concept for each element, one would select for the top elements in the four columns the four terms of the spectrum of God that are included in the glossary.
However, if one would apply all the terms for the spectrum of God in the sequence in which she lists them in her definition for God (Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; and Love), and apply them in the manner a platform would be applied, from right to left, the result would be as shown. Doing this doesn't change the development flow represented by the columns, but it does give the entire structure some increased definition. The development flow is indicated here by other relevant terms from Mary Baker Eddy's glossary that are specific to the flow in the individual columns.
The significant part at this point is that by this method the entire spectrum of God can be applied, though not all of its as constituents of the city, but three elements of it to give it special significance.
The terms of the spectrum that are not included in the glossary structure, become thereby singled out as three critical concepts that define the entire structure as a whole.
The term Soul, when it is applied in the sequence as provided by Mary Baker Eddy, creates a dividing line across the entire structure that logically divides the structure down its centre into a right half and a left half.
The remaining two terms of the spectrum of God, which are Truth and Love, by them not being a specific a part of the glossary structure, can now stand as a collective definition of the characteristic of the upper two rows, respectively.
What significance this has for the marriage paradox comes to light when one explores what the division of the structure into a right half and a left half brings to bear on the whole.
Mary Baker Eddy presented two terms in her glossary that have a dual definition that pertains to the same level, combining two columns. The terms are Church and Ark.
When one compares the definitions for the two terms it becomes apparent that the concept of Church is designed to fulfill an outward oriented function with a universal focus, such as to uplift society and the world, while the function of Ark is inward focused, focused on safety, located in divine Truth, and in God and man coexisting and being eternal. The concept of "Temple" fulfills a similar, inward-focused purpose. So it may be applied secondarily.
It becomes interesting to note in this context where Mary Baker Eddy has placed her chapter on "Marriage."
Since her textbook is one of four development oriented structures, its chapters apply in a progressive fashion, column by column, beginning at the lowest level and ending at the highest level.
In this manner, the chapter Marriage, as the third chapter, coincides with the first element on the second row defined as Love.
In this position the chapter pertains to the Temple concept, the inward-looking concept, and is carried by Love.
In this context the marriage idea comes to light as an affirmation of the honorable bond that love has forged. It becomes a celebration in the temple.. The clergy has no place here, to either sanctify it or deny it.
Mary Baker Eddy made no provisions for any type of institution to reach into the Temple of Love and direct its unfolding. This simply isn't a function of a church.
What matters here is more closely defined by Mary Baker Eddy, with her glossary definition for the River Pison.
She used the names of the four rivers that are listed in the first pages of the Bible as a metaphor to define what is flowing in the four columns.
Mary Baker Eddy defined the river Pison as: The love of the good and beautiful, and their immortality.
The simple scientific fact is that the whole of humanity is natively more closely married to one another by this love - by their common humanity - than by anything that can be artificially instituted. So why bother? The very attempt to institute artificially what already exist in science as a universal reflection of divine Truth, amounts to a denial of God. So, why would one do it?
In this context, the marriage bond then, can only unfold as a discovery of a unity that already exists. This needs to be celebrated. It needs to be celebrated as an acknowledgement of this profound discovery no matter form that may take.
The only directive that Mary Baker Eddy has in store for what unfolds at this particular element of the foursquare city, exists in the form of the applicable topic in her church manual. The topic is Discipline. Discipline does demand great individual attention not to let anything that is of spiritual value fall onto the ground and become lost.
Apart from this, since the unity of humanity in divine Love is universal, but not limited or stereotyped, no limit or specific form of its discovery and its celebration can ever apply to anyone, for to do so would be a denial of the reality that the marriage idea aims to manifest and celebrate. It would amount to a "denial of the fullness of God's creation." This happens all too often and too easily in the shadow of a lack of attention to the operating principle.