By Ronald Musselman, CS
One of the most familiar and powerful statements by Mary Baker Eddy is found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.”(1) I’ve routinely used this statement to heal an oncoming illness and to remove an inaccessible splinter, for example. I’ve thought of “element” as an object such as a virus or other foreign object that doesn’t belong in the body.
Upon giving it more thought, I think I’ve been a bit limited in my view of what an element is. As a chemist, of course, my normal use of the word is for specific types of atoms making up materials, or elements such as copper or oxygen. The word element is derived from the Latin, “elementum,” meaning “rudiment, first principle.” Rudiment or first principle can be restated as “basis.” Thus, in addition to a spiritual idea’s not having a particle of error, it has no basis of error. No erroneous basis: the underlying principle of a spiritual idea is error-free.
So this applies to all aspects of our life: to our movement, to our health, to our enthusiasm. The underlying principle of movement is Mind. Think of that for a moment. Our human, limited, expression of our spiritual make-up includes the brain's directing various movements in our body. This can’t happen if the underlying principle, Mind, didn’t establish the concept of motion, free and easy motion. Our healthy human body thus gives a faint glimpse of our spiritual body directed and controlled solely by Mind. The more clear we are about the origin of the concept of motion, that it’s purely a spiritual concept enabled by Mind, the more clearly our expression of that fact becomes apparent in our body, and we see that our movement has not a single basis of error.
Our general health, our daily functioning, is directed by Love. Love protects and nurtures us. Again our body gives a faint hint of that protection with the development of antibodies which disable invading entities that would render us ill.
The basis of this protection is Love, giving us absolute, perfect protection with not a single element or hint of error. While the human, limited, version of this protection as evidenced by antibodies is good, think how much better the absolute protection of Love is, without having to go through a ramping-up process of warding off invaders. The protection of Love has always been and always will be instantaneous and perfect.
Our enthusiasm is also divinely sourced. We don’t need to depend upon circumstances to give us enthusiasm. Enthusiasm comes from Spirit, and comes complete, with not a hint of boredom or lethargy. Even during our current isolation because of the coronavirus pandemic, we, as spiritual ideas, have not a speck of sadness, loneliness nor irritation. By realizing that our basis doesn't include a lack of enthusiasm because our basis is infinite and absolutely complete, we can rejoice in the peace and confidence of the immediacy of perfect enthusiasm.
Eddy’s statement is absolute: “…not a single element of error…” No wiggle room for a little problem here and there, because we can’t wiggle out of God. As a spiritual idea, we can’t entertain or experience anything unlike perfection. Period.
1. SH 463:12–13