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REVERSE THE CURSE! Notes on "Adam and Fallen Man"

Julie Ward, C.S.B.
Posted Monday, November 1st, 2004

REVERSE THE CURSE!
Application Ideas on "Adam and Fallen Man," Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson for November 1-7, 2005
by Julie Ward, CS (Westwood, Massachusetts)

Since 1918, Boston Red Sox fans have labored under the belief that their team was cursed by Babe Ruth, and that they could never win the World Series. This week the city is filled with joy that "the curse is broken at last!" But did the curse ever have power to limit us? No, because God is the only power. Only the belief that the team was cursed could even claim to have power. If we can stop believing that a baseball team is cursed and therefore limited, we can do the same for all mankind. Let's start today.

GOLDEN TEXT - a promise for us to claim daily and hourly.

RESPONSIVE READING - The first record of creation, in which God is known as Elohim. In this version, creation begins with light, Truth, enlightenment. There is no ignorance here, no fear. Man is made in the likeness of God, so he naturally has dominion over every element of creation. It's good for us to claim our dominion - especially over the "creeping things" of fear, doubt, discouragement, even age. There is no hint of a curse here - only blessing. Everything that God makes is good - just like Him.

SECTION I - Our concept of God makes all the difference.
In this section, God (Elohim) finished His work with a blessing. Then the second account (created by Jehovah, a personal or tribal sense of God) begins with that tricky little word "but." How many times do we fall over that word? ("I know that God didn't make this, but...I know I shouldn't say this, but... I know that I shouldn't be afraid, but...") What is "but" but qualification, the belief that things are not quite final, not quite complete? This week, be aware of the times that you use that little word. God knows no "buts." "He spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast." In this account, "but" is followed by the mist - limited vision. In that mist appears the mistaken concept that man is made from matter (the dust of the ground) and then infused with Spirit. This matter container with a spirit dwelling inside is doomed to conflict from the beginning. Thus the command, "Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils." Let go of the belief that Spirit can be breathed into matter. In (SH3), Mrs. Eddy writes, "In that name of Jehovah the true idea of God seems almost lost." The finite, personal sense of God leads inevitably to a finite, personal sense of man. So the first step in lifting the belief of curse is lifting the belief of a limited God, and realizing that God is infinite, indivisible good.

Be sure to take the definition of Adam throughout the lesson. He wasn't just some guy wandering around a garden in a fig leaf. Adam is a false concept, "error; a falsity." Be especially aware that one definition is "a curse."

SECTION II - The temptation to believe that both good and evil are real.
What was the deep sleep that fell on Adam? We might call it hypnotism or mesmerism. He was "asleep at the wheel," unaware of the goodness at hand, unconscious of his relationship to God, infinite good. In this allegory, woman is seen as an afterthought, a sort of receptacle for spare parts. No wonder she's seen as a second-class citizen! And suddenly out of nowhere comes a talking serpent. Was he part of Adam's dream? The serpent promised that by knowing good and evil, Adam and Eve would "be as gods." Is there power or freedom in knowing both good and evil? No, there's only limitation. Isn't it interesting that the serpent speaks to us today in the same subtle way, promising that if we can just get enough knowledge about evil, we can stay one step ahead of it? This kind of thinking keeps us glued to the nightly news or to our computer screen, trying to deal with evil on is own terms rather than learning more every day about the omnipotence of Good. Be aware of the ways in which the serpent, error, claims, "I can do what God has not done for you." This is at the root of every addiction. Matter claims to heal, to satisfy, to fulfill, but its promises are empty.

Remember, "the history of error is a dream-narrative." (SH6) It never really happened, so it didn't make you who you are today. You have no obligation to return to the dream, to analyze it or re-live it. You are not a mortal dreamer stuck in a mortal dream. The dream disappears along with the mind that believes in it. Remind yourself often, "I am not a mortal dreamer living a mortal dream!"

SECTION III - The triple threat - and how we reverse it.
As the dream-narrative continues, the Lord God (Jehovah) realizes that the man and woman have "bitten" - they've taken the serpent's bait and believed that they could profit by knowing good and evil. The result is that man, woman, and serpent are cursed. The serpent is cursed to become the lowest of the low, crawling on his belly and feeding on dust - the same "dust of the ground" that man is supposedly made of. The woman has a double curse. Often she seeks her identity through her husband or children. "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." This isn't just about pain in childbirth. It can be the sorrow of disappointment or frustration with our children, a sense of being over-burdened with their care, or even fear and worry about their welfare. The second part of her curse says, "Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." Sometimes that desire is that our husbands should be more considerate, affectionate, spiritually supportive. Sometimes that desire is just that they pick up their socks. The curse that "he shall rule over thee" emotionally, financially, legally, or in any other way plays right into the "ye shall be as gods" lie - vying for power rather than seeing that the only power is God. Adam is evicted from the Garden of Eden and cursed to till the ground in sorrow - he's saddled with a sense of perpetual separation from good, working away trying to find abundance in limitation. No matter how hard he works, it's never quite enough. He tills the ground from which he was taken in a perpetual cycle of "ashes to ashes and dust to dust." If we start with a worthless sense of ourselves, we always return to worthlessness.

But here's the good news. Even though these curses may sound all too familiar to us, they DO NOT APPLY to the man and woman of God's creating, the pure and holy ideas that we really are. "The real man cannot depart from holiness..." (SH10) Right where that curse appears to be, we can find the blessing. Where is the blessing in motherhood , in marriage, in career? Don't we find it when we know that Love alone creates, teaches, guides, provides, protects? And Love never gives a mixed blessing. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." That's a promise.

SECTION IV - Brotherhood is blessed, not cursed.
The story of Cain and Abel is a type of the classic strife between siblings, fueled by jealousy and envy. It's based again on the false assumption that good is finite. Just like his father, Cain is found tilling the ground without ever finding a real harvest - "cursed from the earth." He is "a fugitive and a vagabond," without stability and without a sense of belonging, plagued by guilt. Is this the model of man that we accept? No! We are not cursed to continuous competition. "Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?" (B13) If the answer is "Yes" (and it is),  then that "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations...." And, among many other things, that one infinite God, good, "annuls the curse on man." The curse is reversed, because infinite good can't hold evil within itself. This week, let's be especially alert to bring the promise of this section to our prayers for the world.

SECTION V - Lifting the curse of heredity - mental or physical. 
What was the basic problem with Adam's progeny? Wasn't it the misconception that he could beget a son "in his own likeness, after his image"? Let's seize every opportunity this week to overthrow that old curse, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge." That isn't what God said. He says, "Behold, all souls are mine." Every individuality belongs to God alone. He alone forms it, keeps it, treasures it. Jesus knew this, and it enabled him to see right through hereditary problems. He didn't fall for the wrong question, "Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" He didn't give blindness a cause. He didn't make it someone's fault. Let's watch out for the tendency to assign blame (even to ourselves) when we have a problem, and know that it's no one's fault - it's just a faulty belief. "Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."(B19) Replace the curse of human heredity with this blessing: "In Science [I] am the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and true constitute [my] ancestry....Spirit is [my] primitive and ultimate source of being; God is [my] Father, and Life is the law of [my] being." (SH22)

SECTION VI - God's blessing cannot be reversed, and God blesses ALL. 
How could we possibly curse what God has blessed? And God has blessed every one of His children, everywhere. No one could possibly be left out. Because God has "no variableness, neither shadow of turning," His blessings cannot vary. Nothing can be added to them, nor anything taken from them. Wherever Adam (a curse) appears to the mist-bound thinking, Christ (infinite, impartial blessing) is already there, pouring out goodness. The curse is self-destroyed, and the blessing is revealed.

(Camp Director's Note: As the latest in a long series of CedarS weekly lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians, this document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons. Sent originally JUST to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue in their homes and Sunday Schools the same inspiration felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily lesson study in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit of dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone providing unique insights and applications.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor .)

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