Outshining Error

Recently while pondering the teachings of Christian Science as to the unreality of evil, various seemingly contradictory passages from the Bible on this subject came into memory, and the effect to realize their unity of meaning was so helpful that I should like to pass on to others what I gleaned from them. Jesus' word in Matthew 5:39, "Resist not evil," is confronted by James 4:7, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," and another to keep it company in Romans 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." In I Peter 5:8 the apostle characterizes the "devil" as the "adversary" or (Greek) "the opponent, or opposing argument." These seeming disagreements in the text are harmonized when we understand the meaning of the terms.

The word used by Jesus which is translated "evil" concerns physical beliefs and means effects, or results of sin; externalized imaginations presenting themselves under various guises for recognition by human consciousness as realities. Paul's word "evil" deals with the moral plane and means sin; in this plea for a practical self-surrender to the transforming power of divine Love, after detailing the method by which the many acts of human association can become open gateways for God, he sums it up with the counsel quoted above, which in the light of its context would seem to mean: Let the supremacy of Love assert itself as your consciousness, and victory without struggle will be yours, for you will find your way through peace to light; whereas the other two passages, James 4:7 and I Peter 5:8, handle the mental arguments which are exactly that to which Mrs. Eddy refers in her definition of "Adversary" in the Glossary of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 580): "An adversary is one who opposes, denies, disputes, not one who constructs and sustains reality and Truth. Jesus said of the devil, 'He was a murderer from the beginning, ... he is a liar and the father of it.' This view of Satan is confirmed by the name often conferred upon him in Scriptures, the 'adversary."

The people of China are not so realistic in their theatrical productions as are Westerners. They depend largely as a matter of course upon the exercise of the imagination for all their effects. But to us it seems ridiculous to see a paper dagger pointed at a person two feet away become the cause of that one's immediate decease. Not more absurd is it, however, than for the human mind to submit to every spectral belief floating its way on the wings of some one's fancy, and promptly translate it into action. The rejection of it by intelligence is joyous.

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"Conscious identity"
July 24, 1920

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