Immortal Qualities

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE enables its student to distinguish clearly between that which really express Life and that which does not; in other words, between the true and the seeming. St. Paul tells us that God "only hath immortality," and yet in all his epistles we are urged to "lay hold on eternal life." Apart from the teachings of Christian Science it has generally been supposed that both good and evil are immortal, that the good enjoy endless bliss and the not-good endure eternal suffering; but human sense has challenged the justice of such doctrines, even while unable to offer mankind anything better.

Some, it is true, have had glimpses of the truth that evil cannot be immortal because it is self-destructive, and so they have assumed that only good people continue to exist after death; but this has failed to satisfy because no proof can be given that such an assumption is correct. Furthermore, such theories do not relate themselves to the problems of every-day experience. There are others, again, who are unable to grasp the idea of immortality, either for themselves or for those dear to them, and yet we have the unequivocal statement of Christ Jesus, "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." We are told that at the time he was giving out this truth, and telling his followers what it means to "live by the Father," there were some who became offended and left the ranks; but Peter could see beyond the mortal sense of things, and he said, "Thou hast the words of eternal life." The others murmured at the teaching because it pointed away from the material to the spiritual, but Paul, a later disciple, declared unhesitatingly that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," hence the necessity that our concepts of life and immortality be changed, and then shall death be "swallowed up in victory."

Here some one may ask how Christian Science deals with these questions. To this it may be answered that it makes a clear distinction between the material and the spiritual. The mere fact that a destructive insect or savage beast can move about is no evidence of life from the Christian Science standpoint. All that really lives must express the divine nature and qualities, and these are never less than immortal. Mere physical strength is no more a proof of the actual presence of life in a human being than in an animal, and it has no power to perpetuate itself; but as the sick and suffering are awakened to a consciousness of the divine nature and omnipresence, and man's inalienable right to reflect and express the divine qualities, a great change is wrought, sometimes but in other cases "in the twinkling of an eye."

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February 12, 1916

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