THE VALUE OF SUFFERING

Some one has said that many persons are like the Pool of Siloam,—they require to be troubled before they can display their virtues. This is another way of stating a very widespread doctrine, that suffering is necessary to man's improvement. Many believe that evil comes by divine procurement, because God sees that we have need of correction and He devises various methods of torment in order to aid His children properly to develop themselves. This doctrine is especially repugnant to Christian Science, because it involves Deity in a despicable and altogether unnecessary plot against His own offspring, besides including the admission that the effect of a perfect Cause has somehow become imperfect, and that pain and evil are divinely employed agents to restore perfection. This philosophy also assumes the inconsistent theory that God knows evil, that He takes cognizance of that which is the very opposite of His own nature and selfhood, and not only fraternizes with evil, but makes use of it, that good may eventuate. No more illogical or morally impossible philosophy was ever devised or offered for acceptance to mortal man.

Christian Science teaches that sin brings suffering and that we shall cease to suffer when we cease to sin. If mortals could indulge unspiritual thoughts and gratify unspiritual desires without consequent suffering, they would lack the universal impulse to seek man's spiritual estate outside of matter. From this it should not be understood that Christian Science teaches suffering to be a divine instrument. God does not employ pain to induce His creation to love Him. All suffering is mortal, or materially mental, and temporal. It will pass away when we awake "in his likeness," when we discover that man is the image and likeness of God. In this sense suffering is unnecessary, and has no place in the economy of God's universe. It is unnecessary as an experience to the real or spiritual man, because at best it is a corrective, and man in God's likeness needs no correction.

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