Fallen Man

IT would be difficult to say how much of its theology the Anglo-Saxon race owes to Milton. "Paradise Lost" is not, probably, read as much as the greatest poem in the English language should be; indeed it is impossible to escape the conviction that had Milton devoted his genius, as he originally intended, to the Round Table instead of the Garden of Eden, he would be more popular to-day. Time was, however, when Milton set a tremendous impress upon English theology, and that impress is still exerting its influence. Consciously or unconsciously the Protestant world has never rid itself of the eschatology of Calvinism, and deep down in its consciousness is the belief of the human being as fallen from grace, working itself out in the extraordinary belief that material man, passing through death, exchanges a material for a spiritual body, and ascends in this body to a future state known as heaven.

Now heaven, it is generally admitted to-day, is purely a state of mind, a state of mind in which harmony and spirituality prevail. It is defined by Mrs. Eddy, on page 587 of Science and Health, as follows: "HEAVEN. Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul." This is the perfect and eternal state of the true image and likeness of God; but it is also a mental condition cognizable on this earth in proportion as the human mind gives place to the Mind of Christ. Christ Jesus made this perfectly clear when he declared, "For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you," obviously meaning that the kingdom of God is a mental condition attained little by little as a man's materiality is destroyed, but unattainable in full until the last vestige of humanity has disappeared and nothing but the true image and likeness of God remains. "In his resurrection and ascension," Mrs. Eddy writes on pages 292 and 293 of Science and Health, "Jesus showed that a mortal man is not the real essence of manhood, and that this unreal material mortality disappears in presence of the reality." The old theology did not look upon it in this way. The old theology taught that a man was born the image and likeness of God, that in death he passed the portals of earthly existence and was either consigned to a material hell or trans-ported, in a condition of spiritualized matter, to a material heaven. This is the inevitable result of the teaching of fallen man, a teaching so subtle that it carries the curse of sin, disease, and death everywhere in its train. If material man was born the image and likeness of God, and by a process of the elimination of evil became a spiritual man, then the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would indeed become a reality, the human mind would merge into the divine Mind, matter in some way become Spirit, and evil be gradually converted into good. This is, of course, the very antithesis of Jesus' own teaching. He made it abundantly clear that that which was born of the flesh was flesh, and that that which was born of the Spirit was spirit, just as the writer of the fourth gospel has shown that the sons of God "were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

The human mind, with its dense materiality and its terror of self-destruction, fights doggedly against the obvious meaning of Jesus' words, and in its effort to establish itself derives the human being from God, spiritualizes matter, and then damns or exalts God's creation. Yet Jesus made it as clear as it could be made that the human mind is simply a lie about the divine Mind. "Ye are of your father the devil," he declared, speaking of the human being, the image and likeness of the human mind, and this devil he defined as a lie, a mere negation or nothingness, and Paul drove this further home when he wrote to the Galatians, "For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." Writing of this Mrs. Eddy says, on page 345 of Science and Health, "This thought of human, material nothingness, which Science inculcates, enrages the carnal mind and is the main cause of the carnal mind's antagonism."

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Language That Heals
August 14, 1920

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