To answer this, we need to make a few statements first:
1. Mary Baker Eddy’s scientific system can be reduced to the numbers 7 & 4. On the surface, there is nothing strange about this, it was a fashion of her day and common in any experiment to look at the mathematics of a thing. I have written before about this. Hence the textbook with 16 chapters 4×4. 7 hymns of Mrs Eddy etc. (more about this below).
2. Bible Lessons were always of a structure containing 6 parts bringing us into “the 7th day upon which he rested” after studying each week. The Mother Church changed the rules in the 1980s, thus placing the denomination outside of her principle.
3. the denomination of Christian Science has always taught that the synonyms are different usage names of the same thing. This isn’t true as Max Kappeler, John Doorly and Peggy Brook have written about – there is no need for me to repeat it here. Each synonym has a very different idea of the nature of God and should be brought to interact with each other to bring new ideas. This treatise aims to show that they were not simply 7 words jotted down by Mrs Eddy as alternatives, they underpin her whole system of Science.
Why number 7?
The Old Testament tells us God created the world in 7 days. She writes extensively on this, as did Richard Oakes, another Independent Christian Scientist outside the confines of the institution who became the Guardian of Gilbert Carpenter’s series of books, bringing them to England to promote them without hierarchical interference. Number 7 is the number of completion.
Why number 4?
This alludes to the Hebrew sacred name of God but also the 4 promises of Redemption In Exodus 6:6-7. Actually the Jewish Passover (Pesakh) (more about it below) celebrates the 4 statements and the 4 redemptions with 4 cups of wine. This takes us deeper into the Hebrew language and further connections between the numbers 7 and 4. so I won’t go into that now. However it is defined metaphysically as a change of consciousness from one to another. Number 4 is the number of creation. The world was made in 4 days and afterwards in the remaining 2, life was made, before God’s rest on the 7th.
Much has been written about the 7 days of creation however, within Judaism it is believed that there is a direct relation between a Hebrew word and any spiritual or physical phenomena in the usual world. Each letter representing an idea of God as it metaphorically the “speech of God” which made the world. This is still practiced today in the system of Kabbalah (the spiritual side of Judaism) and also uses Gematria, a system of numerical values ascribed to each Hebrew letter. As the Old Testament is shared between Judaism and Christianity, Mrs Eddy clearly felt a need to dig deeper. Why not? It is canon scripture accepted hy all facets and sects of Christianity. She found that the Jews use seven words written in Hebrew, each mentioned in the Genesis account of creation which are studied together to bring the person into a greater understanding and consciousness.
It was fashionable in her day to study “Christian Cabala” as it was called and I have absolutely no doubt she borrowed or was influenced by ideas from people such as Henry More an early writer who developed his own Christian Kabbalah system. His writings bear a striking resemblence to hers in many ways.
Without going too far into Hebrew Script, Kabbalah or Judaism, the “7 conscious emotions” are:
The idea is that these words in Hebrew directly correlate with Genesis and are contained within the account of Creation in the Hebrew version of the Bible. These are written with Hebrew letters bringing another dimension which resonates with our consciousness. Each letter having its own power and value.
The seven “emotive states” are studied together to create a further 7×7=49 emotive states. So for example chesut with malchut, (kingdom within loving kindness) chesut with chesut. (loving kindness with loving kindness). Chesut within gevurah (e.g. a loving father punishing a child out of love)
Over 49 days between Passover (the Exodus) and Shavuot (humanity receiving the Torah, also the day of Pentecost in Christianity) these structures are studied in Judaism. It is known as The Counting of the Omer.
As the Exodus to Egypt represents our low level thinking which must be raised up so taking each name and comparing and working with another name over 49 days helps.
It should not be seen as curious that Mrs Eddy turned to the Old Testament. Christian Science does not recognise Jesus as an atonement and as such, new testament liturgical and other celebrations with the exception of Thanksgiving (if indeed it can be called Christian) are ignored.
Another metaphor in this case is Leah, who had six sons and one daughter. The six boys representing inner experience and motivation, the daughter representing kingdom.
This is indeed the way we are supposed to study the synonyms by lining them up with each other finding more examples and truly examining their meaning to leave us in a higher place of thought.