St.John and Mary Baker Eddy
their Scientific Unity
One wonders what St.John may have had in mind when he chose the symbol of a foursquare matrix as metaphor for
humanity's platform for spiritual and scientific development. Perhaps
he realized that scientific and spiritual development would inevitably
bring about the end of evil.
St.John lived in an advanced scientific age, he was obviously aware of the functionality of such a matrix, namely that it represents the four most essential types of development
bearing reference to the four most fundamental aspects or main points that support civilization. Thus, the question must be asked
in earnest what he might have recognized to be the four essential types of development, and the four most fundamental points of
reference relating to human development.
If one considers his background as one of the disciples of Jesus, and possibly the most advanced
of them in terms of his understanding of the underlying principles of what he
had witnessed, his four main points of reference would have to be God, Christ, Christianity, and Christ healing. That's what he was deeply involved with. Mary Baker Eddy's definition of the four cardinal points of the city foursquare is focused on precisely these fundamental points.
She writes in the textbook about St.John's foursquare structure:
"...its four cardinal points are: first, the Word of Life, Truth, and Love; second, the Christ, the spiritual idea of God; third, Christianity, which is the outcome of the divine Principle of the Christ-idea in Christian history; fourth, Christian Science, which to-day and forever interprets this great example and the great Exemplar."
(577:12-19 emphasis added)
The problem of exploring
what St.John's vision must have been, in a scientific sense, becomes a little more complex when
one focuses on the question as to which the four types of development
might have been that St.John would have recognized as absolutely
essential for human development. He might have chosen similar parameters that reflect the main fundamental points. He was certainly aware that humanity's developing perception of the nature of God is an essential element in the process that manifests itself in the irradiation of evil. The same can be said about humanity's need for a developing understanding of the Christ, the nature of Christianity, and the
nature of the science itself that underlies the processes that involve healing.
Mary Baker Eddy speaks about these four domains of development in terms of four sides, the four sides of the city, the face
of the city that reflects what is going on inside in terms of
activities that supports the functioning of the city. In the
scientific sense, those four development domains reflect the four fundamental points, but in a different context, as is evident in
Mary Baker Eddy's choice for the last of the four terms.
Mary Baker Eddy writes: "The four sides of our city are the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science; 'and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night
there.' This city is wholly spiritual, as its four sides indicate."
(575:17 emphasis added) Note, the
term, Word, is the term St.John had used as the first statement of his
gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
In addition to this high level list, Mary Baker Eddy gives us four more scientifically focused definitions for
the four development domains, according to what their primary focus
should be. She defines the names of four rivers in the Glossary of her textbook on Christian Science, which are the
names of the four rivers mentioned in Genesis 2. Except Mary Baker
Eddy's definition of the four rivers bears no reference to the biblical
text. One finds the definitions of the rivers directly focused onto the four development
domains in order to enhance humanity's scientific and spiritual
perception of: the Word, Christ, Christianity, and divine Science.
Naturally, the first development domain, the one focused on the absolute
Word, becomes associated with the first river mentioned in Genesis 2.
The name of the first river is Pison, which Marry Baker Eddy defined as "The love of the good and beautiful and their immortality." This is Mary Baker Eddy's parameter for exploring the "word," or the absolute, the universal One and infinite.
For the development domain
that is focused on the "Christ," Mary Baker Eddy defined the second
river. Its name is, Gihon, which Mary Baker Eddy, said, stands
for "The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and
If one equates Mary Baker Eddy's reference to "woman"
in the above text, with St.John's description in the Apocalypse (12:1)
of a "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve
stars," one gains a better reference as to what Mary Baker Eddy's
is describing in the definition of Gihon.
Evidently, St.John described
with this metaphor the divine idea man, the generic man, the spiritual
idea of God, the highest reflection of the infinite, which he saw as a woman
clothed with the sun. This symbolism referring to the sun brings
to mind the operational model of the sun that is radiating light and
warmth in all directions, enabling life to exist and to develop in the
universe. Man is an infinite idea, indeed, the highest manifest of
life, enriching the earth and the universe in due time. This divinely
royal man has rights which must be acknowledged and not just with
gestures, or in empty speeches, but in all aspect, even civilly and
socially. This presents a challenge that is not even talked
Mary Baker Eddy puts the focus
for the second development domain related to the Christ onto exploring what
all this means in real, practical, day to day, terms. Isn't that what Jesus dealt with in everything he
did? He exemplified the Christ, the correct perception of man, in all his speeches and
actions, and demonstrated the truth about man by eradicating disease
that had defaced the true image that he beheld. He represented the Christ, the highest awareness of man as the express image or idea of God.
The third development domain is evidently focused on the development of humanity in the context of coming to terms with its scientific and infinite character, or in short, the development of Christianity. In conjunction with this focus, or as a logical reflection of it, Mary Baker Eddy defined the third river from Genesis 2, Hiddekel, as "Divine Science understood and acknowledged." Except, what is divine Science?
The final development domain that St.John had evidently recognized as essential for humanity, and as inevitable according to what he had witnessed about the infinite nature of man, is that of the development of Science. He had evidently understood that Jesus' miracles, where not really miracles, but were the manifestation of universal principles that can be understood and utilized for healing. St.John lived in an
age in which scientific breakthroughs were made with great rapidity. In the most fundamental sense, science is a procedural tool for exploring fundamental principles. He evidently understood this. As such, advanced understanding in science is the very opposite to mythological belief, or processes that are based on will power, ignorance, or perverted intentions. The development of science that unfolds with ever brighter discoveries to embrace the infinite may have appeared to him as the natural outcome of human development. At least, this type of perception corresponds with Mary Baker Eddy's definition of the 4th river from Genesis 2, the river Euphrates. With the definition of this river she focuses on the ultimate nature of science as humanity aims for the infinite by which the basis of all evil becomes eradicated. Her definition of the 4th river, Euphrates, is a complex and
deep reaching one:
EUPHRATES (river). Divine Science encompassing the universe and man; the true idea of God; a type of the glory which is to come; metaphysics taking the place of physics; the reign of righteousness. The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity. (585:16-22)
Indeed, scientific and
spiritual development is a development out of finity. The development
in divine science, truly has no boundary or limit.
Still, St.John's 'vision' did not end at this point. He did not merely present
a city structured foursquare. He said that he measured the walls of it a 144 cubits, and that the length and the breadth and the height are equal. In other words, he didn't just present a flat four by four matrix of 16 elements, but a structure that has a great
depth to it.
The factor of 144, that he presents us with, could be seen as the result of multiplying 12 with itself (12x12=144), in reference to the 12 tribes of Israel. Indeed, he speaks about 12 foundations and 12 gates in Revelation 21. It is more likely, however, that his reference to the dimension of 144 refers to a nine by sixteen structure (9x16=144) since the city that he defined has a sixteen element base. He might have chosen this dimension, because, if one were to give the sixteen element structure the kind of depth that gives each of the sixteen basic elements a substructure that reflects the functional design of the
matrix as a whole, nine sub-elements are required for each of the 16 basic elements. Four of these would have to represent the four development domains of the matrix, when the matrix is seen as four columns of interrelated elements. Another four of the sub-elements would have to represent the four cardinal points that pertain to the four levels of concerns that represented horizontally on the matrix as four rows of interrelated elements. The ninth sub-element, of course, is required to give the sub-structure a central focus.
It may be said by critics that such a design if far too complex to have been developed at such a distant
age, such as the age in which St.John lived. However, the the notion that this might have been St.John's
'vision,' indeed, becomes far more credible if one considers that St.John lived in an age in which tremendous scientific advances were made. He lived at the trailing end of an era that might well be regarded as the greatest scientific development period in human history. Two-hundred years before St.John was even born, it was determined scientifically that the earth is a sphere. Even its circumference
had been accurately calculated at this time. This tremendously
advanced knowledge gave rise to the first transoceanic expedition from Egypt
to circumnavigate the globe, which has left traces behind as far away
as Peru. All of this happened nearly 200 years before St.John was
even born. It is therefore not irrational to assume that St.John's scientific knowledge and expertise was far greater than is generally
We tend to reference all scientific development against the beginning of the latest scientific development period that begun with the unfolding Renaissance and my be traced back to the 14th century. We tend to ignore that a vast body of scientific knowledge and spiritual awareness existed in the era leading up to
the time of Christ Jesus, and that most of this knowledge and awareness was lost during the intervening dark ages that were initiated by the Roman Empire. We tend to forget that it took nearly 1700 years before humanity recognized anew that the earth is a sphere and launched the second transoceanic expedition on the strength of this knowledge. Indeed it took another century more than 1700 years before the scientific basis of Christ healing was discerned again, and
was once again made demonstrable as a viable healing method.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science in our modern age did not discredit St.John's
vision as it is discredited in this age. All her major works stand in reference to his scientific development structure. Many
of her major works are divided into sixteen parts, some into multiples of sixteen parts, and one of them, the Glossary of her textbook on Christian Science, comes to light as a body of 144 precisely defined concepts, according to the dimension laid out by St.John. She evidently subscribes to the idea that one needs to develop a central focus for each of the sixteen basic elements.
The idea for developing a central focus in the process of scientific and spiritual development is not found in the basic foursquare design of St.John's city foursquare. This idea unfolds more specifically in its higher dimension, however, the idea is indicated metaphorically by St.John in the last verses of Revelation 21. Mary Baker Eddy has taken
this idea one step further. She describes the central focus of the
whole structure by its effects, because a spiritual idea of truth, once perceived in science, acts like a sun, radiating its energy, light, and warmth, universally into all directions, enriching the universe. She describes the city in terms of gates that are open northward, southward, eastward, and westward. She writes in the textbook:
Northward, its gates open to the North Star, the Word, the polar magnet of Revelation; eastward, to the star seen by the Wisemen of the Orient, who followed it to the manger of Jesus; southward, to the genial tropics, with the Southern Cross in the skies, - the Cross of Calvary, which binds human society into solemn union; westward, to the grand realization of the Golden Shore of Love and the Peaceful Sea of Harmony.(p. 575)
Over the last century Mary Baker Eddy's work has lost much credibility. Scientific Christian healing is deemed to be out of date. It is not even considered
as a viable element of the myriad forms of alternate medicine. The question must be asked, what
has happened? Are the volumes of testimonies of healing from Mary Baker Eddy's time, that appear once again miraculous in scope,
a lie? Or could it not be that the loss of this healing element, that emerged twice in
human history at the crest of humanity's scientific and spiritual development, reflects once again a general degradation towards a new dark age? During the century in which Christian Science lost its credibility in the eyes of humanity, humanity has become embroiled in an endless quagmire of wars with a ferocity and inhumanity never before seen in human history. The noblest work of God is trampled under foot. Humanity lives by policies that foster poverty and starvation, that legalize theft, that ritualize murder for political purposes, that utilize its technological capacity not to enrich human existence but to create weapons that doom human existence as a whole.
Evidently, the key to humanity's survival on this planet rests in part on regaining the platform of scientific and spiritual development upon which Christ Jesus, St.John, and others have stood before this platform was destroyed, and to advance this development
even further than the pioneers have been able to take it. It is not sufficient,
in scientific sense, to recreate the knowledge and perceptions that the pioneers had once made their own. There is a need to supersede their achievement and to establish a still higher platform on the foundations the pioneers have laid. There is a need to search for, discover, unmask, and overcome all the errors that humanity subscribes to, to explore even the most rudiment elements
of these errors by gaining a clearer perception of what is Truth, in order
that we may challenge and correct all that is false and erroneous in
Mary Baker Eddy should certainly be recognized as the great scientific pioneer that she was, because she has put forward and established the pattern that gives us the potential to accomplish the work we all must do. It is not the task of politicians to elevate humanity. Humanity must elevate itself out of its own resources and let this furnish the stage for saner policies. If we fail ourselves
in this age as we face what may the most critical juncture in history, we will not survive.
Scientific and spiritual development is the backbone of civilization. St.John saw in it the potential to end all evil. Perhaps he failed to recognize how fragile it
also is. Most people still fail to recognize this. A single reversal that enabled the Roman Empire to come to power set humanity back 1700 years in its self-development. In a very real sense the Roman Empire nearly destroyed civilization itself. Luckily the Roman Empire didn't have the technological means to destroy the whole world as we have
the potential today by which our civilization is doomed unless we make a massive emergency style commitment to reverse the present degenerative trend.
So far, however, one sees little to no evidence that there is any movement in this direction. To the contrary. The intervals between the critical events that have brought humanity within a hair's width to a nuclear war are getting shorter, and the agitations and the commitments to use nuclear weapons in a general war
are getting stronger.
Christ healing may have a bad name in this modern age, and its most modern component in the form of Christian Science healing may well be dysfunctional in comparison to its potential, nevertheless, the fact remains that they represent the highest form of scientific and spiritual development that has been achieved throughout the ages. The ultimate
of Christ healing, should it occur, will have to be the healing of humanity of its apathy and disinterest in its own scientific and spiritual development. Herein we find the new face of Christian Science should its potential
ever be acknowledged, which remains still barely recognized, if it is
recognized at all.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her textbook that what the city foursquare represents has no limit nor boundary. In other words, it is infinite and universal in its relevancy and demonstrability.
As such it spans all belief and all ages, uniting the past and the future. Mary Baker Eddy confirms this notion in a statement on her own involvement in the limitless sphere of scientific and spiritual development. She presented this statement at the end of the last chapter of her textbook on Christian Science, almost as it were a summation. She writes: "The writer's present feeble sense of Christian Science closes with St. John's Revelation as recorded by the great apostle, for his vision is the acme of this Science as the Bible reveals it."
to research books - a 9 volume series exploring Mary Baker
Eddy's representation of St.John's city foursquare as an all-embracing
structure for scientific and spiritual development (the product of 15
years of research)
to the textbook - available on-line, fully indexed
to Bible lessons - a set of 26 Bible lessons completely on-line,
reproduced from the year 1898 at which these lessons were introduced.
Church Manual on-line
Christian Science Hymnal on-line