The current theological conception that death sets free a man's soul from his body, and that this soul then awaits the judgment day to determine whether it is to partake of the joys of heaven or be banished to the tortures of hell, often haunts those who are beginning to study Christian Science, for we cannot at once rid ourselves of our old, hampering beliefs. Even when we have apprehended that heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not definite localities, we still have some uncertainty as to just what does happen at death. We may say, glibly enough, that death is an illusion, that it neither gives us anything, nor robs us of anything; we are very ready to admit this, yet we have a lurking suspicion that it does at least strip us of our bodies of flesh and blood and that our souls are thus set free of earthy trammels and are in a clearer spiritual atmosphere which is better adapted to our aim, namely, the purification of the soul.

But then, in our reading, we come across this statement: "Soul is sinless, not to be found in the body" (Science and Health, p. 288), and we begin to feel hopelessly at sea. What is the body without a soul? Then we read on until it dawns on us that man has not a soul imprisoned in matter, neither has he a material body in which it can be confined for a term of years, and from which it is liberated by death. If this were the case, death would be a friend, not an enemy to be destroyed. No! man reflects the infinite Soul, God. Man is the idea of Mind, and it is this, and not a material sense of personality, which confers upon him true individuality. Man has not a material body. If he had, and it was to be separated from him by death, what would be gained by the demonstration that Truth can heal the body? Why trouble to perfect that which is not eternal? We might just as well patch it up with drugs and ointments to keep it together until we are ready to discard it.

Man's being is spiritual and of God's creating. What it is like we do not know, for, since "no man hath seen God at any time," it follows that no one has seen the divine image and likeness, man. But we do know that that which is laid in the grave and returns to dust is only the false human concept termed matter, and not something which at some remote period "is raised a spiritual body." As well might one expect to sow tares and raise wheat! That wonderful fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians loses its force if materially interpreted. It is quoted at funeral services to bring comfort to the mourners—to show in what a blessed state are the dead, for the resurrection awaiteth them. But is this what Paul meant to convey? Let us see. To the question, "How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" his reply, commencing with the epithet, "Thou fool," betokens scorn. He goes on to say, "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die;" that is, until sin dies, the consciousness remains material, and death, being "the wages of sin," cannot give place to the resurrection. It is only when sin is overcome that the perfect man appears, and as one is not advanced spiritually by yielding to sin, so is the consciousness not quickened (made alive) by submitting to death. Mrs. Eddy says, "Death is not the result of Truth but of error, and one error will not correct another" (Science and Health, p. 486).

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May 11, 1912

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