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Moments: Man—is that who we are?

Max Kappeler’s Teaching Moments

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Max Kappeler

“Question.—What is man?
Answer.—Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual
and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science.”
(S&H 475:5–13)
(The following is an edited excerpt: The One Man, Max Kappeler, pp. 1-6)
Christian Science gives us a completely new definition of the term ‘man’. The more we understand what God is, the more we can see what man, the image and likeness of God, is.
A mortal is not in any single respect the image and likeness of God. The first record of creation says that God created man in His own image (Gen 1:26). That which is created by human parents, that which is material, sinful, inharmonious, mortal, the unlikeness of the divine creator, cannot be the true man about whom the first record of creation speaks. This mortal man is wholly imperfect, and does not deserve to be called man.
What then is the true man? We shall never be able to answer this question while we reason from mortality, for truth can never be deduced from error. To find a correct answer we must first turn away from mortals and cease trying to make them resemble the true man. For between mortals and that which is really man, there are no similarities nor points of contact. Mortals were never perfect and can never therefore be made perfect. The first thing that we need to see clearly is the fact that so-called mortal man has never been perfect man. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy states: “Mortals are not fallen children of God. They never had a perfect state of being, which may subsequently be regained.” (S&H 476:13) Mortals from the beginning have never been anything but mortal and imperfect. This brings us to another important point: when we learn that a mortal has never been perfect, we should never try to make them perfect. Yet, this is the very wish that all of us entertain. As soon as we become aware of our inadequacy, the longing for perfection is aroused in us. Then we long for a state of perfect harmony, and think that we mortals once possessed this state, and that it is only up to us to regain this lost harmony. But, perfection can never be achieved from imperfection. Only perfection can bring forth perfection.
Getting rid of the false concept of man. What can we do to become one with the true, perfect man? What is the right method? Instead of improving material belief, we must let go of it. An error never turns into a truth. An error can only be resolved by letting it go and letting truth appear. Therefore we must never reason from the mortal (from false beliefs, unreality) if we wish to attain immortal manhood, we must turn our gaze towards divine being, the divine universe of spiritual ideas. Thus we make a paradigm shift in our reasoning away from the mortal towards the spiritual realm which shows us the real man, the man made in the image and likeness of God.
The true definition of ‘man’: Man is God’s idea. In divine being there is nothing going on but God and its idea. Man is idea, the image and likeness of God. “God is the Principle of man, and man is the idea of God.” (S&H 476:9) Only God’s idea deserves the name ‘man.’ But, what exactly does it mean, that man is the idea of God? To discover this we first have to know what God is, for: “We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God.” (S&H 258:16) The Old Testament already shows us God as the one and only God. In Christian Science, God is scientifically defined by means of seven synonymous terms as “incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love” (S&H 465:9). This definition helps us to get a completely new, purely spiritual concept of God as the Principle of being. But, it also yields a much higher and wider conception of what man is. Taking the description of man as God’s idea, if we replace the term ‘God’ with the seven synonymous terms for God, we see that man, God’s idea, is therefore: Mind’s idea, Spirit’s idea, Soul’s idea, Principle’s idea, Life’s idea, Truth’s idea, Love’s idea.
By replacing the words ‘God’ and ‘man’ with the better terms ‘Principle’ and ‘idea’, we can approach the reality of being and realize that fundamentally in the whole of being there is nothing going on but divine Principle, manifesting itself as its infinite idea. “God expresses in man the infinite idea” (S&H 258:13). We are not concerned then with a personal God on the one hand and a universe of persons on the other, but solely with an ideational universe of the divine Principle.

(Edited excerpt: The Science of the Oneness of Being in the Christian Science Textbook, p. 102 and p. 121)
Max Kappeler
Through oneness with God (Principle), man (God’s idea) understands as God understands. The elaboration of this law through the seven synonymous terms shows:
– Through oneness with Mind, we understand as Mind understands.
– Through oneness with Spirit, we understand as Spirit understands.
– Through oneness with Soul, we understand as Soul understands.
– Through oneness with Principle, we understand as Principle understands.
– Through oneness with Life, we understand as Life understands.
– Through oneness with Truth, we understand as Truth understands.
– Through oneness with Love, we understand as Love understands.
(p. 102)

Elaborating the law through the seven synonyms for God, we see:
– Mind manifests itself as our Mind, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Mind.
– Spirit manifests itself as our Spirit, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Spirit.
– Soul manifests itself as our Soul, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Soul.
– Principle manifests itself as our Principle, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Principle.
– Life manifests itself as our Life, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Life.
– Truth manifests itself as our Truth, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Truth.
– Love manifests itself as our Love, infinitely individualized, but still remaining the whole of Love.
(p. 121)

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