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From the Letter to the Spirit Unfolding
The letter of Science plentifully reaches humanity to-day, but its spirit comes only in small degrees.
Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health - p. 113
The spirit is not in the letter.
However, the letter can pave the way beyond itself towards scientific reasoning to explore the Spirit of God.
Certain steps need to be taken on the path from the letter to the spirit. Enormous efforts have been made by America's historic pioneer of the science of spiritual development, or divine Science, to prepare the way on this path, but not to spare society the labour to take the required footsteps itself.
Her name is Mary Baker Eddy, the renowned discoverer and founder of Christian Science, the science that she once referred to as the ' final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing.' (Science and Health - p. 107) She applied her discovered science to the healing of disease of every type, and to establish security, wisdom, and harmony in the world, and as someone suggested recently, to open a window into the Mind of God..
Mary Baker Eddy also taught her science to others, which enabled them to heal likewise. Since her science was based on her exploration of the methods and teachings of Christ Jesus, the idea became imperative to organize a church for the promotion of this purpose that should be called, Church of Christ Scientists. So it was, that at a meeting of her follower in April, 1879, on her motion, it was voted, to organize such a church, that is 'designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.'
The utility of her science became so attractive that it became necessary for the growing movement to build its own edifice.
(see Manual, P. 17)
With the formal organization of her church that was fast expanding worldwide, the need for a standard for formal teaching emerged. Towards this end Mary Baker Eddy established two successive platforms for formal teaching and to define the basis for each.
The first platform is designed for the formal teaching of Christian Science in the field. It is called the Primary Class. And the platform for teaching the teachers for the Primary Class, is called the Normal Class. Mary Baker Eddy specified the basis for the teaching that would be offered in both of these classes, specified in the Church Manual, in the segment "Teaching Christian Science":
The requirement is that the teachers of the Normal class shall teach from the chapter "Recapitulation" in SCIENCE AND HEALTH WITH KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, and from the Christian Science Platform." She stipulated further that the teachers of the Primary class shall instruct their pupils from the chapter on "Recapitulation" only.
It is nor surprising that Mary Baker Eddy would choose these two elements of her work as the basis for formal teaching, because each of these is a summary platform that draws together a number of associated elements. She may have expected that a teacher selected for the high office would be knowledgeable about what is associated with the elements that are specified. This evident expectation remains yet to be fulfilled. While the Church Bylaws for teaching are technically being fulfilled by reading and teaching the letter of the specified elements, the spirit that could have, and should have been developed, remains lacking still, and is unattainable by even the most-conscientious type of limited teaching. As she said about her own time, the spirit of Christian Science is gained "only in small degrees."
So let's look at what a conscientious teacher with open eyes and a searching mind would recognize, and would understand, about the specified subject, or subjects, as the case may be.
With this objective in mind, let's look at what a teacher for the Normal Class, who teaches the teachers, should know and understand about the Christian Science Platform and what it is a part of, and what it draws together into the type of wide-reaching summary platform that it is. Are you surprised at the vast scope of the associated elements that the platform represents?
Note: the Platform is made up of 32 parts. While this is not significant in itself, it becomes significant when one recognizes that the great summary platform that we are dealing with here summarizes everything that Mary Baker Eddy has created as a foundation for Christian Science, - a kind of foundation for stepping beyond the letter to the spirit.
For the building of this foundation Mary Baker Eddy begins at the point where the Bible ends.
The Bible ends with a visual construct by John the Revelator, who spoke of a city foursquare descending from God out of heaven, which all the kings of the earth and the nations would bring their honour and glory into. Mary Baker Eddy evidently heeded this call. In the last pages of her textbook she described this city foursquare in significant detail. She described its sides and its cardinal points, and so on. And she did far more than that. She made every part of her lifework a scientifically ordered constituent of that city.
As you can see, a foursquare structure has 16 elements. This is significant, because every major work that she has created is made up of 16 parts or multiples thereof.
Her great work, the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, for example, is made up of 16 chapters - one for each of the 16 elements of the city foursquare. But this is not all. The most critical elements in Christian Science that Mary Baker Eddy has developed, follow this same pattern.
Her rendering of the Lord's Prayer, as another example, is produced as a structure of 16 parts. Likewise, her illustrated poem, Christ and Christmas, is made up of 16 verses. In the same manner, her Church Manual is divided into 16 segments. The Christian Science Platform incorporates the same pattern. It is made up of 32 parts, or 16 groups of two. And this too, is small, in comparison with the Glossary structure of the textbook, which is made up of 144 definitions of critical terms, or 16 groups of 9 terms each. And still, Mary Baker Eddy takes us further than this.
The textbook chapter Recapitulation is also based on the city foursquare as a foundation for the journey from the letter to the spirit. The chapter Recapitulation is made up of 24 questions and answers. These, in turn, support the Bible lesson topics. Mary Baker Eddy provided 26 lesson topics according to the number of weeks contained in half a year. In order for the 26 topics to be brought into the foursquare city, Mary Baker Eddy provided two dual questions in Recapitulation, which enables the chapter of Recapitulation to interface the lesson topics to the city.
And still, Mary Baker Eddy didn't stop there. She created a counter platform for each of the summary platforms that she specified for teaching Christian Science. For the Christian Science Platform she created the 16-part counter platform, named, Mortal Mind. And for Recapitulation and the Bible Lesson topics, she created for us the 26-part counter platform that defines the name, Adam.
With this in mind, let's explore in more detail these numerous aspects that are all aspects critical for teaching Christian Science. Let's begin with the city foursquare structure that is at the heart of it all and defines all aspects, which John saw descending from God to humanity..
Introducing the City Foursquare
A city has many areas within it that are unique, and also zones within these areas that are unique again. Thus, before one can bring all of one's achievements into the city, it becomes necessary to define the various areas and zones. But how does one do this?
As a city of ideas one can look at the foursquare structure in three different ways.
One can see the city as horizontally defined areas that represent specific types of focus, or 'levels' of thought, which becomes uniquely expressed in the four specific zones that make up the rows.
One can also see the city as four columns of zones in which a specific concept is developed to ever-higher levels of expression, as is illustrated on the right.
Of course, ultimately, each of the 16 zones has its own story to tell.
Mary Baker Eddy has defined the city in all of these respects.
To define the four horizontal zones, Mary Baker Eddy provided four unique defining concepts. She speaks of four cardinal points, or main points for consideration, in her description of the city foursquare in the last pages of the Christian Science textbook.
Mary Baker Eddy describes the four cardinal points with the text shown here, which gives us the sequence: the Word, Christ, Christianity, and Christian Science.
The Word, here, obviously does not refer to a written word, but the spirit of the concept as a promise, like a person gives his or her word as a promise for fulfillment. Of course, the divine Word is more than a promise of Life, Truth, and Love. God is now and ever expressed. If one was to ask God for the most profound defining aspect of himself, God would answer: I AM. The word of God, evidently, is greater than a promise. It is: I AM.
Mary Baker Eddy also provides two additional groups of concepts that are designed by their nature to be brought into the city as supporting auxiliaries. The leftmost group is the most profound. It applies Mary Baker Eddy's scientific translation of Immortal Mind, and of Mortal Mind in the textbook on page 115. She presents two 3-part structures. The first part is a platform, the platform of God. She calls it the scientific translation of immortal Mind. In a platform everything is simultaneous, like light being manifest in different areas. A platform, therefore, is listed with the highest concept preceding everything. The light is primary to its expression.
Mary Baker Eddy calls the second 3-part structure, the scientific translation of mortal mind. She recognizes three progressive types of mental manifestation, with the lowest being the physical focus that Mary Baker Eddy associates with depravity. Depravity results from a false, deprived sense of the physical dimension. To mortal sense the universe is matter. As seen by God, it is the fully expressed, compound idea of infinite Spirit, or divine Spirit being manifest..
It is reported in the book, Collectanea, page 48, that Mary Baker Eddy put her finger on Adam Dickey's hand, asking, "what is this?" Adam Dickey, her secretary, replied, "Matter." She said, "It is not; it is Spirit." At another time she said to him, "You are Spirit." He replied, "No Mother, I am spiritual." She said to him in a "very emphatic" manner, "You are Spirit."
This little episode is critical. It illustrates why the green development path from the physical, to the moral, and on to the spiritual, cannot extend past the third row from the bottom up. The reason is that in the highest row, man sees what God sees, so that no further development is possible. In the third row the nature of man is regarded as spiritual. Here, everything is spiritual in nature. However, in Being, man is more than just spiritual. He is the compound manifest of divine Spirit. He is, what God sees him to be, God's image, the Son of God. Nothing can alter that. All that is real is Spirit and its manifest. This realization is profound, because Spirit, God, cannot be injured, become diseased, decay, become impotent and imperfect, and therefore, neither can we. Science affirms that we cannot experience what God does not see. What God sees IS reality. We can deprive ourselves by dwelling in a world of illusions and experience the illusions. But this is depravity, and this, of course, is a subject all by itself.
It is essentially for this reason that the divine reflection cannot extend past the third row from the top, to where human error rules. If God could dwell there, in depravity, or even be conscious of it, the universe would collapse in the chaos of contradiction and confusion and would disappear. It would never have existed then.
Christian Science is a science that is uniquely equipped to remove the false sense of mortal mind where error rules, lifting humanity out of its default sense of mortality when Spirit is blocked from view. By the scientific process of lifting humanity out off its hell where the divine manifest is blocked by illusions, healing results. Disease is not a material condition, but a type of mental depravity concerning the reflection of God. The scientific translation of mortal mind, as a progression out of itself, is a progressive developmental process that continues upwards until mortal mind disappears and gives way to the divine Mind unfolding.
If one looks at the detail text that Mary Baker Eddy provides for the two types of translation, one sees many aspects defined that are mental traps resulting in depravity. These are all aspects that are mentally recursive against oneself, whereas the qualities listed under 'spiritual' are oriented away from the limited selfhood towards the reality of man's universal oneness with God, expressing God.
The stage in-between, Mary Baker Eddy defined as transitional. Christianity is not so much a social identifier in this context, but a stage of willingness to clear the recursive from the mental scene whereby the human begins to yield to the divine.
It is interesting that in earlier texts, until after 1901, Mary Baker Eddy, had used the term "definition" instead of "translation." With this change she raised the bar, giving it the sense of a dynamic process, both in the developmental human context, and in the simultaneous divine context.
The second set of auxiliary terms that apply to the four horizontal areas, are profound expressions of the dynamic nature of Spirit, uplifting the scene of humanity. The terms on the right are aspects of Mary Baker Eddy's definition for the term, Good, bringing to light the dynamics of 'God; Spirit' - the kind of dynamics that orient us away from the letter towards infinite Spirit.
Note, in this context the quality of omni-action is associated with Christian Science. This is why Christian Science has never failed, because the healing impetus is not in the science itself, but is in the divine Principle and Spirit that is forever powerfully active, today as in ages past, whenever scientific consciousness opens the door to it.
With the horizontal areas defined, let us look at the definitions that Mary Baker Eddy has provided that are characteristic for the columns in which development is going on, zone by zone, upwards.
In defining the city foursquare in the textbook, she speaks of four sides, saying, 'The four sides of our city are the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science.' Note, she no longer uses the term Christian Science, but speaks of divine Science instead. While she often uses the terms interchangeably, in this context she appears to be specific, as the fourth column represents a specific type of progressive development.
Also the four specific development streams appear to have a specific purpose. It may be that the four objectives that Mary Baker Eddy inscribed in a circle around her seal, may define the specific objective for each of the development columns.
What is being developed in thought, in the columns, is evidently our understanding of the four qualities of God as being 'incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite' which Mary Baker Eddy presents in Recapitulation in her answer to "What is God."
She also defines the city in terms of four geographic orientations. The geographic sequence is significant. It is the sequence of the sun progressing each day, from the dawn in the north, to the sunrise in the east, on to the noon-sun in the south, and then to the sunset in the west. She tells us with the natural solar sequence that the for columns are designed to be sequentially progressive, column by column.
The full text of the geographic orientation is itself spiritually progressive. It begins with revelation, then goes to the unfolding of Jesus' mission, to the trials and challenges that impel us onward, and then on to the full realization of grand achievements. The text shown here is from the chapter, The Apocalypse, referring to the biblical book, Revelation, that presents the end of all evil, culminating in the city foursquare coming down from heaven.
The next reference, which is somewhat an auxiliary reference, is that of Mary Baker Eddy's definition of the four rivers in Genesis 2. Pison, Gihon, Hiddekel, and Euphrates.
Her definition of the rivers bears little reference to the biblical narrative that they are a part of, but is profoundly significant for defining the 4 columns of the biblical city. She tells us with these rivers that the love of the good and beautiful and their immortality is a powerful starting point in the human development towards the divine. With the definition for the River Euphrates she tells us that the final challenge that stands before us in divine Science as we reach for what is scientifically inevitable, is to overcome the nagging human sense of finity and limitation.
With the numerous definitions that now profoundly and scientifically define the foursquare city, everything that is brought into this city is subsequently coloured by these definitions.
The city-foursquare's shape, its functioning, and its defining aspects, functionally shapes everything that is attached to it, and defines its characteristics. This includes even the Lord's Prayer, the Church Manual, and the textbook itself, as structures of 16 parts, and so on, and also the Glossary structure.
So, let us look at these attached structures in detail, which gain their color and outline from the city foursquare, and let us do this by type. For this we begin with the simple type, the four pink-coloured structures that are made up of 16 elements. They are all development oriented structures.
Development oriented structure.
According to the basic nature of the foursquare matrix, all development flows begin at the bottom of a column oriented upwards. The process is repeated thereafter, column by column, across the entire foursquare matrix.
For the Lord's prayer, this process unfolds step by step in the progression shown here. Each brown element, which is provided by Christ Jesus, is followed by a corresponding element provided by Mary Baker Eddy.
It is interesting to note in this context that Christ Jesus provided the Lord's Prayer in four groups of 2 parts, as if he had been working with the foursquare matrix structure already in his time. The structure that he used suggests this. It may well have been that he had worked with a higher-level version of the Lord's Prayer that covered the entire ground. Too much has been lost during the years of persecution to preclude this possibility.
When John the Revelator spoke about a city foursquare descending from God to humanity, he may have been referring to the level of thinking that Christ Jesus had pursued, whom he had been associated with for a long time. Mary Baker Eddy, who has been a keen Bible scholar may have recognized something along this line, and may have reasoned that in order to follow Jesus' example, she would have to follow his pioneering footsteps that are evident in the design of the Lord's Prayer and in what John had laid out in Revelation as the ultimate path for the end of all evil. This means that when Mary Baker Eddy extended the Lord's Prayer, she may have done what Christ Jesus would logically have done before her, which may have become lost over time.
Mary Baker Eddy's effort to put all of her works into the city foursquare, may have been rooted in this development. This means that it is wise for us to pay attention to it.
I have produced a video that further explores the connection of the Lord's Prayer with the city foursquare structure. The title is: Science of the Lord's Prayer.
The Christian Science textbook is another development oriented structure that Mary Baker Eddy brought fully into the city foursquare by its design.
It needs to be noted here that the sequencing of the chapters had been different in earlier versions, prior to 1902, though the titles were the same, as if she was saying to society that the spirit of the ordering would have to be determined by the individual searcher for the truth, rather than it being provided by her. It could also mean that she was still developing her own perception, and saw it not wise to move on this front until she was certain. The modern sequencing, evidently reflects the requirement of the city foursquare fully. The modern sequencing also reflects the metaphor found in Christ and Christmas that has been created years earlier. The point is that the end product that she passed on to us is the result of painstaking scientific work spanning more then 40 years. It wasn't drawn out of a hat, as some suggest. A work of this far-reaching scope and interrelationships has a tremendous amount of development work standing behind it.
The same can be said about the Church Manual created by Mary Baker Eddy. It too, is of a design that perfectly adheres to the characteristics of the city foursquare. While the Manual is specific in its by-laws to the self-government of the Mother Church of Christ Scientist, its topical aspects have such a wider universal significance that it may some day be seen as a blueprint for a universal manual of civilization. Its 16 aspects hang together both vertically, column by column, and also horizontally, with each being coloured by the defining characteristic of the city foursquare. The interrelationships are too complex to be explored further in this overview context, except to say that over the span of 15 years, 98 editions of the Church Manual have been produced by Mary Baker Eddy towards the grand achievement that it has become.
Another development-type structure that Mary Baker Eddy has created in 16 parts is her illustrated poem, Christ and Christma. The poem is made up of sixteen verses and 16 corresponding illustrative scenes. In some cases two verses share a single painting. In these cases the painting has two related scenes incorporated, or two different contexts. The title of the paintings is presented here, beginning with, Star of Bethlehem.
Christ and Christmas, by being placed into the city foursquare, stands as a visual and poetic metaphor for every structure that is likewise designed to stand in this context. For example, whenever a citation from a textbook chapter is focused on, the visual image corresponding to the chapter's position, and its verse for it, stands in the background as a supportive metaphor.
The final verse in Christ and Christmas is a compilation of texts from Revelation 2:26 and 28 attributed to Christ Jesus to whom she gives the final word and acknowledges his promise of the Morning Star, saying, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And I will give him the morning star."
The Morning Star is evidently the great seven-pointed star that Mary Baker Eddy placed on the cover of her book of the poem.
It may be assumed that the 7-ponted star is the star of creation by the eternal creative divine impetus or God that Mary Baker Eddy defined with the seven synonymous terms: Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love. These are the divine impetuous and power of creation that is reflected in the creation story in Genesis 1.
In the divine All, the infinite has no beginning. Creation has no beginning. It comes to light as the spontaneous unfolding of all good on all fronts, which to limited perception is deemed creation. Human development often follows this course of step by step progression. In the divine universe of reflection, the progressive unfoldment is universal and instantaneous, not sequential. The Morning Star promises a New World where God is All, reflected in all.
The images in Christ and Christmas also provide some critical metaphors for the 144-part Glossary structure, the largest and most complex structure that Mary Baker Eddy placed into the context of the city foursquare.
The 144-part Glossary structure
The Glossary of Mary Baker Eddy's textbook on Christian Science presents a complex challenge. Is is a large structure that by its inherent relationship with the city foursquare should accord with the biblical dimension for it, described in Revelation 21:17 as 144 cubits. If the metaphor holds true, the Glossary should contain 144 definitions, which provides 9 definitions for each of the 16 elements of its foursquare structure.
It took a long time of searching before it became apparent that precisely 144 definitions have been provided. With this a second challenge arose. How does one place nine terms for 9 definitions onto a single zone of the foursquare city?
The answer is provided in metaphor in Christ and Christmas. The angel that stands with a scroll in hand, knocking at the mansion of humanity, in the painting, Truth versus Error, stands in the middle of two concentric squares woven into the carpet. If the pattern of the concentric squares is adapted, the 8 sides of the two squares can accommodate 8 terms altogether that represent in the small the horizontal nature of the four levels of the city foursquare, and the vertical nature of the four columns, with the 9th term standing as a significant central term in the middle.
While other representations of the 9 Glossary terms for each of the elements are possible, the concentric representation is the only one presented in metaphor in Christ and Christmas.
The complexity of the Glossary Structure is further increased by its inclusion of five different types of dual definitions that are built into the Glossary by Mary Baker Eddy, which, when properly recognized yield 144 individual definitions in total. Dual definitions are used when a term is defined with two different meanings. There are 5 different types of duality incorporated into the Glossary.
The most common type is the contrasting dual definition shown here in greater detail where the same term signifies a divine quality, and its opposite as depravity when the divine signification is not discerned. It is useful to have this duality indicated to highlight the contrast between what should be divinely reflected in humanity, and what results if the reflection is blocked.
In such a case a term needs to be split and be represented twice, to properly reflect its higher and lower meaning. When the contrast is extreme, the duality is spread across an entire column. When the contrast is soft, the duality is split between two adjacent elements. Mary Baker Eddy included 8 of each type in the Glossary, potentially 2 for each column.
The 16 contrasting terms are listed here, with an example for each type. The duality is presented by Mary Baker Eddy in the form of two separate sentences, each defining the same term.
In the case when two distinct definitions are provided for a term that have a different meaning in a different column, a horizontal duality exists, which likewise needs to be considered twice according to the differing contexts. Mary Baker Eddy presents this type of duality in separate paragraphs. There are only 3 of these types used in the Glossary.
An example is shown here for her definition of the name Adam. The first paragraph contains a 26-part lie against the nature of man, of the Adamic concept. The second paragraph presents the Adamic lie against God, provided in 4 parts. Both types of lies deal with different issues of the Adamic denial in different contexts that need to be considered as different issues.
Another type of dual definition is the type where a duality has a common reference superimposed, that 'colors' the defined term with a special meaning. Only one example has been provided by Mary Baker Eddy. The definition is for the term, Son. The reference is "Son of a year." Is some usage a month is called the son of a year. By applying this concept to humanity, she asks us to consider our sonship with God, not as an appendage, but as a part of it, which also has a similar ramification in considering ourselves as the sons of the flesh.
The fourth type of duality that Mary Baker Eddy has included in her Glossary, is of a type where a duality is technically indicated by its presentation as two separate sentences, but which is of a type where each part attributes a special meaning to the other, which therefore cannot be separated, or else the entire concept is lost. The use of this unique duality has a special significance for spiritual concepts, and is used in only three cases in the Glossary.
The fifth type also has a special spiritual significance. In this case a contrasting duality is indicated within a single sentence, but which is of a type that depends on one's mental orientation. The concept takes us into two different directions depending on our mental orientation.
The directional duality appears to have a unique application in the context of the city foursquare where it enables the lower three rows to be split into two halves. With the lower three rows seen to correspond with Mary Baker Eddy scientific translation of the concept of mortal mind, for which the middle row is defined as moral and transitional, a fine line is indicated with a potential upwards orientation, or downwards orientation.
Mary Baker Eddy seems to indicate that the mental orientation is critical. She presented the great star on the cover of her book Christ and Christmas as being surrounded by 56 rays of light. If the three lower rows of the Glossary representation of the city foursquare is divided into an upper and lower half, with the central term in the middle shared between the two halves, each half contains 56 definitions.
While the number 56 has a natural representation in high-power plasma physics where electric currents in plasma become magnetically separated into a ring of 56 filaments, which may have been seen in ancient times in the sky, which we may see reflected in the Stone Henge monument as a ring of 56 pits that once may have contained wooden poles, it is highly unlikely however that Mary Baker Eddy's use the 56 rays of light surrounding the great star refers to these natural phenomena and their representations. It is far more likely that the 56 rays of light are indicative of the division of a set of three rows within the Glossary structure, into two halves. This division has a special significance for the Bible Lesson topics and the textbook chapter Recapitulation.