Man’s Immortal Body
Divine Science Monthly
Vol. XX, No. 4
”There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
Before science opened the eyes of our understanding to the hidden forces of the universe around us, matter in its visible forms seemed the only reality of which we could be absolutely certain. But now, with the Cosmic Rays, radio waves and other mysterious forms of energy so well certified by science, we are beginning to feel that the words of spiritual seers and masters may have meanings that we have overlooked, largely because we have so long worn the blinders of superstition and custom. For, although a written statement may contain the words of eternal life, and the key to vast powers, if we read it without understanding, or, what is perhaps worse, with a settled and accepted misunderstanding, we are in the same case with the savages who so long roamed over North America without seeing the vast wealth that lay beneath their feet.
The words of the text, when we strip away our pious and conventional thought-wrappings as to the meaning of the word “spiritual,” present to our minds a stark and vivid idea, namely, that man possesses two bodies, one natural, made out of matter; the other spiritual, made out of some other kind of substance that is not matter, but for which we have no definite name, because we have no instruments for measuring or analyzing and proving what it is.
St. Paul, in his effort to impress this idea on the minds of the Corinthians, went to considerable trouble to explain just what he was driving at. He said of the matter body, that it is corruptible; of the Spiritual body that it is incorruptible. That the one is mortal; the other immortal. That the one is of the earth, earthy, while the other “is the Lord from heaven.” And further, as if to leave no room for doubt as to the verity of his vision, that “as we bear the image of the earthy, so also do we bear the image of the heavenly (spiritual) body.”
In this lesson we shall make no attempt at theological interpretation of this scripture. If it meant anything then, it means as much or more now, for the same laws that governed then are operative now. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Science is simply the unfoldment of man’s powers of perception, the extension of his knowledge of what has always existed, awaiting his recognition.
We are beginning to see that what we call “experimental evidence,” is not confined to the measurable elements, masses, and energies we associate with matter. Thought cannot be measured, yet we have no doubt that there is such a force. We have no precision instruments nor laboratory tubes with which to test the mysterious force we call emotion, yet it is the stuff of our everyday experiences.
One very sound reason for accepting the hypothesis that man has a spiritual, as well as a physical body, is the fact of memory. Memory stretches all the way from old age to childhood. We never really “forget” anything we have experienced, felt, or known. Yet, the physical brain, which is commonly supposed to be the repository of these impressions, changes entirely at least once every year, and is never the same two days in succession. As St. Paul says in the chapter from which the text is drawn, “I die daily.” That is not a figure of speech, it is a physiological fact. With the matter content of the brain thus constantly changing, it is certain that some other, non-changing substance receives, registers, and permanently retains the impressions that go to make up our memories.
A strong emotion instantly changes the chemistry of the entire body, and this implies an inner medium, free from the comparatively sluggish motion of the material particles. The frictionless nature of the spiritual elements that compose the invisible body would make possible such an instantaneous effect over the whole of the matter body.
A still more convincing proof that man possesses a spiritual body is to be found in psychic phenomena. While the Bible contains a vast amount of such evidence, in both the old and the new Testaments, this has not, because of its antiquity, the same appeal to the reason as modern psychic experience. Our limited space does not permit description of such evidence, but each of us has had personal experiences of one kind or another or know people of unquestioned integrity who have had such experiences, so that this vast body of proof is overwhelmingly convincing to all who are open minded.
The existence of an invisible, imperishable body that is the motivating force back of all physical action and which is the vehicle of the permanent Self, is the necessary condition to much of the mental, emotional and physical phenomena of our every day life. Once this fact is accepted, or even if it is only accepted as an hypothesis, we have a rational basis for our hope of immortality for we know that the tabernacle of flesh is subject to change, decay and death. But this other Tabernacle is the eternal dwelling place of the Soul. To use once more the language of the great disciple of Jesus: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”–that is in the spiritual realm.
When we have seen the reasonableness of this conception of two bodies, the one physical and temporary, the other spiritual and immortal, we also see its correlative concept–the presence of two entities in each individual human–the I AM and that I AM. In short we see what Jesus meant when he said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
When this truth attains the rank of the absolute certainty and conviction in the mind, we can do the works of the Son of God. It is the firm foundation of spiritual power, and whoever has faith in the express image of this Master within himself, and knows without doubt that this glorious Body is the imperishable Vehicle, “the House not built with hands” of his immortal Self, is passed from death unto life. Immortality is no longer a dream to be realized in the future life; it is the substance and reality of this life now and here. For death can never touch that Inner Body of the divine Self which each of us essentially is. All we need do to overcome the “king of errors,” is to know this simple truth, that there is no death for the soul, no perishing of the spiritual body.
One of the mysterious aspects of this conception that the Master Within uses as his vehicle a spiritual body while the intellectual self or conscious mind determines the activity or vibration of the immaterial body. This accounts for the fact that discordant mental states produce discordant physical effects.
If a child should be taught this truth so clearly that he would never, as he grew to maturity and on into later life, permit himself to entertain destructive or discordant thoughts or emotions, he would retain his physical perfection. For the cells of the body are constantly renewed, and the new cells are thus always young, unless the image of old age and disease is impressed upon them by erroneous thinking. And these discordant images, while they affect the physical substance of the matter body, do not change the spiritual substance of the Invisible Body. The latter never grows old, for the Master within is an immortal youth. As Emerson so beautifully said: “It is only the finite that has wrought and suffered; the Infinite (immortal body) lies stretched in smiling repose.”
Immortality is not an experience to be attained after the death of the physical body; it is the eternally present reality of the spiritual vesture or Body of the Soul. Time and mortal experience affects the former; it does not touch the latter. For as memory persists from childhood to old age, notwithstanding the changing cells of the physical brain, so this enduring substance of the spiritual body provides a permanent residence for the Soul. The Soul passes from room to room, or body to body in an unlimited series of incarnations. Our feet are upon an ascending spiral the foundation of which is Omnipresence, Eternal Mind, and Its summit ascends into Infinity.