By Ronald L. 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. The word “element” is derived from the Latin, “elementum,” meaning “rudiment, first principle.”(2) 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 including our movement and our health. 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. 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.
As an illustration of the by-passing of a ramping-up process, I recall the experience of my sons when they were children. Both boys presented signs of measles and their mother and I called for the help of a Christian Science Practitioner. The signs of the illness immediately decreased and in about three days, the boys were fully recovered. I was grateful, but since the disease had not been diagnosed medically, I didn’t know whether it had been rubella, also known as “three-day measles,”(3) or rubeola, a much more serious form of measles (4), and I didn’t feel inclined to publicly characterize the healing as a Christian Science demonstration.
Then several years later, there was an outbreak of rubeola in the community we lived in and the local health authorities required that children either be quarantined for weeks, have a blood test to show prior exposure to the disease or be vaccinated. Since the boys had had some form of measles, I chose to have them tested for rubeola antibodies which would show prior exposure and, presumably, immunity to the disease. Upon receiving the results, the physician who was very familiar with the effectiveness of Christian Science said they were very interesting. He said both boys had had rubeola but it had been aborted early in its trajectory. However, he said, since it had been so short-lived with both boys, their rubeola antibody count was too low to consider the boys to have had the disease for immunity purposes.
This is a clear demonstration that the protection of Love is instantaneous, that it is superior to the limited human protections normally available, and needs no material process for healing. The disease was stopped in its tracks before the antibody process could even be effective because omnipotent, omnipresent Love was seen as the boys’ true protection.
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.