Error ofttimes makes itself impressive to human sense, not only by its pains and terrors, but by its asserted greatness, continuity, and conformity to law, and its arguments are of such significance to some that, though they cannot believe evil is good, or that God actually has need of it, they nevertheless feel compelled to say that it is too big and too significant to the life that now is to be counted out as nothingness. They find it impossible to think that "the material universe, with its lights and its shadows, its splendor and its gloom, has sprung from something outside of or contrary to the wish and will of God." Consequently they have difficulty in accepting the teaching of Christian Science that evil—all materiality—is unreal, a falsity in its nature and phenomena, and are disposed to think that in some sense evil has to do with the making of good; that there is some reason for it in the divine economy. "The unripe apple," say they, "is unattractive to the palate, but it is the prophecy of delicious fruit," and has a necessary relation to it.

This position is manifestly a resultant of the belief in the reality of evil, and inseparable from it; and if such reality be admitted, the impressiveness of its bulk, continuity, etc.. certainly cannot be questioned. If, however, we were to begin to think of the phenomena of material sense as having no more real substance or being than a dream of the night, then its bigness would in no sense increase our difficulty in recognizing its nothingness. Indeed, to one who accepts the divine idealism of Christian Science, the bigger the seeming error the more removed from actuality and the more powerless it becomes, in view of its correspondingly greater removal from the ideal.

The objectors referred to above are certainly right in their intimation that a choice must be made between the denial of the reality of the material universe in which evil inheres, and its acceptance as "good in the making," a part and parcel of the divine ordering. There is no other alternative, and, therefore, whatever problems the first position may precipitate, the question of its acceptance cannot be intelligently settled until we see what the acceptance of the only alternative would involve.

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June 29, 1907

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