The lecture given by a clergyman and reported in your...

Islington Gazette

The lecture given by a clergyman and reported in your paper has a reference to the teaching of Christian Science with respect to evil, which I think would be interesting to examine. He declared that according to Christian Science evil was a fanciful creation, whereas he declared for himself that it was on the contrary very real. Man, he explained, was possessed of free will and rationality, and when he abused this, evil originated in him and not outside him. The serpent, he further declared, stood for sensuous man, and woman for the emotional nature. He wound up by saying that this sensuous nature was very good in its own place, but was no guide to great moral and spiritual issues.

I think it will be admitted by most people who read the report of this address, that, having started out to explain the origin of evil, he left it exactly where it was, while during the process he made several statements which he would find it extremely difficult to reconcile with the teaching of the Bible. First of all, Christian Science does not say that evil is a fanciful creation. What it does say is, that evil is an unreality; that is to say, it is no part of the creation of God. To the human senses, however, it is as real as any other lie, till that lie is exposed. "To assume," Mrs. Eddy writes on page 447 of Science and Health, "that there are no claims of evil and yet to indulge them, is a moral offense." The only way to prove the unreality of evil, is by reaching that understanding of divine Principle which enabled Jesus to say, "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." The Christian Science teaching with respect to evil is, as a matter of fact, exactly that of the Founder of Christianity when he said: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Speaking in the metaphorical language of the day, he personified evil as the devil, but he went on carefully to show that just as a lie has no reality, so there is no reality in the lie of evil.

Now a lie is not a reality; it is the suppostitious denial of a reality. The deliberate acceptance of evil could never rationally occur, and yet this critic says that God gave man free will and rationality, and that his abuse of this was the origin of evil. The evil, he insists, originated in man, not outside of him; but man, the Bible says, is the image and likeness of God; therefore, according to the critic, evil originated in the image and likeness of God. Christian Science says that the image and likeness of God is absolutely sinless, that it reflects perfectly the divine Mind which created it, and that the sinful human being is not the image and likeness of God, but the supposititious counterfeit of this image and likeness.

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