Popular theology argues that "freedom of the will" is a great blessing to mankind: that God has allowed man freedom to choose between good and evil, in order that he shall grow morally strong; that the plan and purpose of God for man is a succession of such choosings, coupled with certain conditions of creedal belief, until enough evil shall have been overcome to entitle man to a future heaven. Now, admitting that this continuing selection of good and rejection of evil is the present process of moral growth, it can yet be seen that mortals have this to do only because they believe they started wrong and are in a bog of evil out of which they must climb. To reckon with evil as an entity in God's universe is to forget that God and His good creation are the only facts of existence; it is to adopt a premise based upon the evil itself. A pure premise, setting forth God as good and God as All, throws an entirely different light upon the whole subject.

To this vexed question of good and evil Christian Science brings the classification of evil established by Christ Jesus in his words and in his ministry. Jesus said of evil, personified as "the devil," that "he is a liar, and the father of it." And just wherein a lie or a liar can be useful to God or to man it is difficult to say. All Scriptural teaching urges us to denounce and to renounce evil; nowhere are we told that God maintains evil that we may reject it. Thinking of ourselves as mortal, born into evil, surrounded by it and having to overcome it, we have blindly said that God made it or God permits it. Yet, if the Scriptures warn us against doing evil that good may come, why charge God with maintaining evil that good may come? The entire supposition theorizes a God who for certain purposes sustains evil, and this point of view prevails with us because we at present reckon with evil and have found through human reason no other way to account for it. Christian Science brings to us, however, a reason higher than the human; a spiritual logic which pierces the argument of evil. In its light we see that God never made evil for us to sharpen our morality upon, but rather made man spiritual and superior to evil. And discerning this, seeing the distinction between man in God's likeness and the materiality which falsely calls itself man, the belief in evil, the love for it, the fear of it, and the defense of it, can begin logically to disappear that spiritual manhood may appear.

November 9, 1912

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