“Adam, Where Art Thou?”
From The Christian Science Journal, August 1903 by Herbert W. Eustace
The question confronting the thinking world to-day is, What and where is consciousness? Advanced thought no longer asks, What is matter? Matter is rapidly finding its correct solution, as simply a false sense of that which in reality is mental, and so the question ceases now to be in relation to matter as such, but assumes a more intelligent position and asks: What is mind or consciousness?
It is not alone from the Christian Science standpoint that this statement is made, though were it made only from that standpoint it would still be none the less true, but doubtless less acceptable to the general public than when coming from what is termed the material scientist’s viewpoint.
From time to time in the past few years most excellent articles have been published in The Christian Science Journal, bearing specifically on the subject of matter’s unreality, as promulgated by leading scientific men. It is not necessary for me here to recapitulate what has already been written so ably and often on this subject, suffice it to say that a number of the advanced scientific lights, some years ago even, departed from the old time-worn atomic theory to the greatly advanced position, as formulated by Professor Oswald of Leipsic, “That matter is a thing of thought, which we have constructed for ourselves rather imperfectly to represent what is permanent in the change of phenomena.”
This statement of Professor Oswald virtually summarizes the present acceptance of what matter is in the scientific world. While perhaps true that this definition is not fully agreeable to all scientific men, yet it is true that it is the advance guard of material scientific thought, and is leading that thought into higher realms.
Look and study where you will along any and every line of development, and the candid observer is forced to admit, that each advance drops a little more matter in the lees and a little more mind takes its place. At the present moment no more widely known illustration of this truth can be cited than wireless telegraphy and wireless telephony. Note the amount of matter here abandoned,— almost all wire,—and note, too, that many things which in the past have been considered impenetrable substances, have been found to offer no resistance to the transmission of messages by this new method. Is not this a step away from matter and towards the “Allness of Mind”? This is but one of numberless instances that might be mentioned, showing how steadily and rapidly mortal thought is traveling away from matter, to matter’s essence, mortal mind. (Science and Health, p. 97.) To a great extent at present, this journey is being traveled unconsciously, hence material theories are propounded explaining the various phenomena, but, to the watchful student reading between the lines, such theories are mere shadows, and the substance of all things, Mind, becomes a nearer friend, and with joy the onward march of truth is hailed, as foretelling the final destruction of all materiality.
Thus the question of the twentieth century which faces mortal man is, What and where is consciousness?
This question, seemingly so new, is in reality as old as mortal history. Scriptural record bears witness to the fact that the first interrogation of Truth to mortal man was, “Adam, . . . where art thou?” This demand was made not to matter, but to Adam, or consciousness, and this demand has continued to be made from that time to the present, and to-day we find it being thundered in tones of loving entreaty by that evangel of Truth, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker G. Eddy, as not since Jesus’ time. The voice of this messenger is being heard and felt wherever the human heart is found hungering and thirsting for righteousness. In valley and on mountain, in the crowded city and the sparsely settled waste, in the humble cottage of the poor and in the home of the wealthy, this bright star is lighting the dark places of earth, and is always heralded as of old, with the warning demand, “Adam, where art thou? Consciousness, where art thou? Art thou dwelling in the belief that mind is in matter, and that evil is mind? or art thou in the living faith that there can be no other mind but God, and keeping His commandment?” (Science and Health, p. 307).
Glancing back over the Scriptures the answer to this same question, “Consciousness, where art thou?” “Adam, where art thou?” is vividly portrayed in living colors, and in detail in the Biblical characters. It is the one and only question that determined the peace, prosperity, and happiness of the children of Israel; on its answer, right or wrong, was written their history.
When Abram first heard this demand he was with the god of his fathers, materiality, and it awoke him from the dream sufficiently, at least, to see that consciousness must forsake materiality and go to a land that God, Mind, would show. He obeyed and prospered.
Moses listening to the demand, “Consciousness, where art thou?” found it in Pharaoh (materiality), and began at once to work for freedom, and was led forth through the Red Sea and Wilderness, into a land of plenty.
Joshua, facing this same question before the walls of Jericho, spurned materiality, and knew consciousness could not be in matter, and thus destroyed the falsity and it crumbled before him.
Gideon, trusting not in materiality, but in the knowledge that “Consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God” (Science and Health, p. 276), overcame the armies of the Midianites and Amalekites with an handful.
Continuing through the Old Testament we find this question, “Consciousness, where art thou?” ever rising higher and higher in human thought, down through the prophets to the advent of him who, for all time, gave the final proof that consciousness was and is forever one with the Father, Spirit. “I and my Father are one;” “The prince of this world [materiality] cometh, and hath nothing in me [consciousness];” Whosoever worshipeth the Father, “must worship him in spirit and in truth;” and he closed the proof with the eternal verity, “It is finished,” material consciousness, the first Adam, is a myth, a dream, “All consciousness is Mind; and Mind is God,—an infinite, and not a finite consciousness” (Unity of Good, p. 30). Thus the last Adam was a quickening spirit, a consciousness of Mind and nothing else.
When Christian Science is first presented to human thought it seems to come in a cloud. Mortal man has been so educated to look at all things from the standpoint of materiality that he cannot in a moment lay hold of the idea that the universe, instead of being a material universe, is in reality a mental universe, or a universe of consciousness. Like a man accustomed to wearing red glasses, to whom everything appears red, and who must discard the glasses in order to see things in their natural color, so mortal man on being introduced to Christian Science must lay aside as rapidly as possible his material view of all things, and accept consciousness as the basis of every thought and action, then he begins to see clearly.
In the process of laying off the old and putting on the new, a watchful work must be performed, and this work is wholly in consciousness. As Christian Scientists we no longer deal with matter as matter, but we strive to get at the root of evil, and uncover the mental cause or consciousness that is expressing itself. We no longer look for cause in effect, neither do we attempt to find any material cause, even as in correcting twice two are five in a mathematical problem, we would not attempt to find the product of twice two, by looking at and studying the five; rather would we turn to the law which governs numbers, and learn there the truth about twice two, and put it down, having unbounded confidence in the result. So Christian Scientists, laying aside all thought of material cause, turn their undivided attention to consciousness, and the neverceasing question is “Adam, where art thou? Consciousness, where art thou?”
Where is consciousness? Ask this question of the ordinary individual, and he will reply at once and without hesitancy, “I am conscious of all sorts of things, — I am conscious of life and death, of good and evil, of love and hatred, of beauty and deformity, of youth and old age, of spirituality and materiality,” and so on. Now examine these statements and note the absurd contradictions that they contain, and yet they virtually represent what would be called the sensible reply of the every-day person to the above question, and this shows where consciousness is.
Now suppose the question were asked, “Is it possible to be conscious of twice two as four, and at the same time be conscious that twice two is five?” the answer from one and all would be an emphatic “No; ” and why, because the consciousness that knows the truth could not know the opposite of the truth, for it is an impossibility for consciousness to be conscious of two opposite things. The Apostle Paul asked, “What concord hath Christ with Belial?” In other words, what concord hath a truth with its opposite? We can profitably ask this question of mortal consciousness every hour of the day, and the rightful answering of it will surely demonstrate where consciousness is.
Either consciousness is conscious of truth or is conscious of error right down the line; but never is it or can it be conscious of opposites. Such a possibility is absurd, and such a standpoint is not for a moment tenable.
Thus we are again brought back to the original question, What and where is consciousness?
The Christian Science text-book states on page 336, “Man’s consciousness and individuality are reflections of God. They are the emanations of Him who is Life, Truth, and Love,” and in the Acts of the Apostles we are told that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
Here then is the direct answer to this question. Consciousness is the emanation of Life, Truth, and Love. Consciousness then lives, and moves, and has its being in Life, Truth, and Love. Consciousness therefore is living, truthful, and loving; then it is not dying, lying, and hating, and because there is no concord between opposites, consciousness knows only life, truth, and love, and this is what consciousness is, and this is where consciousness is, this is all the consciousness there is, and this is man’s consciousness.
“Adam, where art thou?” is answered no longer in materiality; in flesh and blood; in sin, sickness, poverty, and death; in hatred, envy, lust, and jealousy; in terror and fear, but in the eternal knowledge that the first Adam was a mesmeric dream, nothingness, and the last Adam is a living consciousness of good.
As this understanding of consciousness dawns on human thought, the past, as being of yesterday is swept away, and the present, now, becomes the only reality. The six thousand odd years of Biblical narrative are for human learning and guidance to-day, a thousand years has become as a day; consciousness holds all things as now. The sins and errors of false consciousness and their inevitable punishment and destruction are now. Persons, places, and things, however seemingly remote, become a present consciousness. Time ceases. The Scriptures are this moment a living lesson, no longer dead, but palpitating with everpresent Life and Truth, “A friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” a consciousness of now, “Mark ye well her bulwarks.”
Just this one lesson alone of the Scriptures, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” understood and demonstrated as taught in Science and Health, is bringing to mortals a sense of peace, rest, and harmony that the world cannot take away, neither can it understand. Now, is almost an unknown factor in the daily life of the world; yesterday, and especially to-morrow, occupy thought so constantly that the blessings, privileges, and joys of now are unseen, and to-morrow is the avalanche. How seldom does mortal man pause to consider that to-morrow, starting from to-day, and being one day beyond it (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 339), makes to-day the all-important moment. To-day, now, is ours; tomorrow never comes; for to-morrow is always to-day when at hand, a present consciousness.
The worker in Christian Science sees this evil of tomorrow clearly. He sees and knows that to-morrow is one of evil’s most subtle and insidious suggestions; it robs its victims of peace, rest, and health; it causes much of the intemperance of to-day, and finally it leads to inevitable death.
The following experience clearly illustrates this error of a future or to-morrow consciousness, and shows the great necessity, as well as blessing, of knowing that now is the only true consciousness.
A man well on in years, honest and industrious, had an opportunity offered him, whereby through several months of hard work he could earn enough money to make the final payment on his mortgaged home, which object he had been striving to attain for many years. This man had enjoyed excellent health all his life, and felt he could accept the work without any fear of consequences. He worked long hours and vigorously, and all went well, until a “little fox” began its destructive gnawing in the form of a fear of to-morrow; a fear, that when the work was finished a reaction would come. The Bible teaches, it is “The little foxes, that spoil the vines.” Not only was a “little fox” at work with the man himself, but unfortunately it was working with his wife also to such an extent that, in spite of being bright and happy to-day, full of health and gladness at the prospect of the early lifting of the mortgage, she was so filled with the fear of to-morrow, that she went to work making provision for the hour of sickness that she felt was sure to follow such arduous labor. No sooner was the work completed, the mortgage paid, and the just reward of labor well done, rest, at hand, than the effect of a to-morrow consciousness broke in, and his bed became the prison of a pain-racked body, the poor sufferer’s tormentor, and all because of the fearful belief that consciousness is something apart from now.
After a weary search for help through the by-ways of materia medica, and an absolute failure to gain anything except despair, he turned to Christian Science, to Christian knowledge, to the Christ of now, of to-day, not of tomorrow or yesterday, but a present reality, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” to find that this loving Christ taught a consciousness of now, “The same yesterday, and to-day, and forever,” a consciousness of health and harmony that never can and never does change to a sense of sickness and discord. He found that no law of God had been broken in the effort to pay his debts through honest labor; rather had God’s law, to “owe no man anything,” been obeyed, and in obeying that law blessing always results, hence the consciousness of health that began his labor could never end in or change to sickness, for consciousness is now, a forever now. This simple truth changed the man at once, and to-day both he and his wife are becoming earnest followers of the scientific fact that consciousness is right now, and right now “Is cognizant only of the things of God” (Science and Health, p. 276), and the resultant health is a practical witness of this verity.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. In the beginning, God, good, was the only consciousness, that beginning is to-day, this moment, therefore consciousness is now conscious only of the things of good, and this is man’s consciousness; therefore evil, under whatsoever guise, whether good or bad, cannot come as man’s consciousness and proclaim itself as such, for God, good, is his only consciousness.
“The work to be performed is ours,” to know that consciousness is good, and good only, and that it dwells forever in Spirit, never in matter; in Life, never in death; in Truth, never in falsity; in Love, never in hatred; in abundance, never in scarcity; in omnipotence, strength, never in weakness; in omniscience, knowledge, never in ignorance; and in omnipresence, now, never in yesterday or to-morrow. This is the kingdom of heaven within, this is man’s birthright, this is being kings and priests unto God, this is the heritage of the sons of God, this is “Not my will, but thine, be done.” This consciousness is the consciousness “We solemnly promise to strive, watch, and pray .. . to be in us” (Science and Health, p. 497), and it is this consciousness that destroys all sense of sickness, sin, poverty, hatred, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, death; in fact, all the works of darkness, and that enables mortal man to put on the “armor of light,” for this consciousness is the “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” that is now and forevermore “One with the Father,” “Hidden with Christ in God,” never absent from God, for it is “God with us.”
“Adam, where art thou?” must be the scrutinizing question of every hour. While realizing what consciousness truly is, we must discern and see clearly what the mortal or Adam consciousness claims to be and annihilate it. We must remember Jesus’ denunciation of it as a whited sepulchre full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness, a pharisee and a hypocrite, a liar from the beginning and the father of every lie, that knows not the truth because there is no truth in it. We must face the question (to quote from Retrospection and Introspection, p. 107), “Art thou still unacquainted with thyself? Then be introduced to this self. ‘Know thyself!’ as said the classic Grecian motto. Note well the falsity of this mortal self! Behold its vileness, and remember this poverty-stricken ‘stranger, that is within thy gates.’ Cleanse every stain from this wanderer’s soiled garments, wipe the dust from his feet and the tears from his eyes, that you may behold the real man, the fellowsaint of a holy household.” Then will follow to one and all the benediction from on high “I have fought a good fight, .. . I have kept the faith,” and with Paul, consciousness will declare “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”