Freedom from the Letter

The teaching of Christian Science respecting the unreality of evil has startled a great body of complacent thought into an activity which brings to many professed Christians a distinctly new experience. They have been in the habit of reading Scripture statements with little if any inquiry into their logical content and implications, and when awakened by Science to the self-evident proposition that all the manifestations of the Supreme Being must be consistent with His unchanging nature, such Scripture passages as "I [the Lord] ... create evil," "I kill, and I make alive," etc., are likely to beget an assertive skepticism. People are thus brought face to face with the fundamental question of being, What is the nature of God, the infinite Spirit, and of His law and government? If their conviction respecting His justice and goodness remains undisturbed, then an explanation or interpretation of these passages which seem to make Him responsible for evil, or a party to its tragedies, is demanded, and in the instance of every honest truth-seeker a more satisfying apprehension is sure to be gained.

No one can read the Bible understandingly who is not mindful of the imperfections of the human-sense channels of revelation. We can correctly express only that which we perfectly understand, hence the factor of finite sense is and always has been a disability to the divine manifestation. Christ Jesus' exalted spiritual sense did not impede or distort the rays of Truth, and he therefore could speak "as one having authority." As none other he knew and expressed that Life, Truth, Love which is God. The seventeenth chapter of John speaks for his conscious at-one-ment with the Father, his apprehension of and conformity to the divine law which, as he said, he came to fulfil. In his words and works, therefore, we may find a corrective for the imperfect concepts of those Scripture writers who, though illumined and inspired, had not gained his clear, consistent vision. To him, beyond all question, God was infinitely good and perfect. Reflecting this deific nature, he proved not only that God does not create evil, but that He destroys it, and that the only cause and explanation of death, and the sickness which precedes it, is sin, false belief.

Here, then, in the Science of Christ, or Christian Science as Mrs. Eddy named it, we may find the "Key to the Scriptures," and this has been her great contention. Apart from the Master's disclosure and demonstration of Truth, the vision of the divine integrity is and ever has been incomplete. "In him [alone] was life; and the life was the light of men." Attaining to his point of view, we gain the spiritual significance of the "letter" of human statement, which otherwise "killeth." The surface significance of the words we have quoted from Isaiah authorizes the conclusion that God is the source of evil as well as of good, but in Christian Science we come to see that the prophet "referred to divine law as stirring up the belief in evil;" that this law "uncovers so-called sin and its effects, only that Truth may annihilate all sense of evil and all power to sin" (Science and Health, p. 540).

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The Fourth Commandment
April 4, 1914

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