Does God Afflict Us?

Portsmouth (Va.) Ledger

Many people have a very strange idea of Deity—seem to think of Him as simply a magnified human being possessing all the qualities of the carnal mind. Their God is a God of both love and wrath—at once a preserver and a destroyer. They do not stop to think that two opposite qualities cannot exist in the same cause, and it appears to make no difference to them how paradoxical their belief may be. The logical process seems something entirely foreign to their method of reasoning—and that they do not think straight is a matter of indifference to them.

It is a great pity that in such an important matter as the very starting-point of existence—God—they should be so careless of accuracy, since no right conclusion can ever be reached if the premise, or starting-point, be wrong. The popular mind appears never to have discovered that that which stands for the preservation of a thing, cannot possibly stand also for its harm—for its disintegration or destruction. It is admitted that God is the preserver of all things, and then straightway many declare that He also kills and destroys. It is said that He "spares" one's life, as though His chief business were to kill people. It would be just as rational to speak of salt "sparing" the soundness of food-stuffs, as to speak of the author and sustainer of life "sparing" life. It would be just as easy for the sun to cause darkness, as it would for God—who is, in the very highest and most literal sense, the Life of the universe—to in any way contribute to the abnormality or disintegration of anything.

The popular thought has lost sight entirely of the fact that it is through the transgression of the law of God that untoward conditions come about. The Biblical explanation is that "sin" produced the long line of wretched conditions from which humanity suffers, but mankind seems to feel no hesitancy whatever in reversing the fact and charging the "wages of sin" up to Deity. And a very peculiar thing about it is that people well versed in the letter of the Scriptures, and even many ministers of the gospel, talk as though sin had stopped having its legitimate effect, and that the cause of all good had somehow changed places with sin and now causes sorrow, sickness, and death. They will tell you that God has sent this and that afflictive circumstance upon us for our good, and they seem not to know that such a thing is utterly impossible, by reason of the very office and nature of Deity, as the One "who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases."

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Christian Science Healing in Halifax
March 31, 1906

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