Error Has No Past

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 539), we read, "God could never impart an element of evil." Since all admit that God is the first and only cause and creator, this is tantamount to a statement that evil has no origin or starting point, nothing from which it could spring; hence, it can have had no development, no history, and therefore no past. Although all Christian Scientists have accepted, intellectually, this statement of Christian Science that because evil is not to be found in the infinity of good it has no real existence, yet some fail to make this great truth apparent with regard to a specific error which confronts them, because they still entertain the belief that this error has a past, a history, a connection with something gone before. Thus old beliefs, past experiences that we thought forgotten or wiped out, seem at times to come back with strange vividness and force, tempting us to believe that they were and are something. This claim of error to have a historical past, a background from which it emerges, must be abolished by the recognition that the only error we have to deal with is the error which presents itself to us now; that however many ramifications it may appear to have, or however far back it may seem to have existed, it is the present sense of evil, and the present sense only, that we have to deal with. We live in the present: there is no past, because in reality there is no time. All we can do, all we need to do, is to think and act rightly now; and by so doing we can redeem the past.

Paul urged the Ephesians to redeem the past, "because the days are evil." Let us redeem the past by understanding that the belief in time is an evil belief, is error; and that now is the golden opportunity when we can blot out past mistakes, past injuries, failures, disappointments, knowing that they never did exist in Truth, because there never was an element of evil from which they could spring. Many wrong habits—so-called faults of character, personal idiosyncracies—will lose their hold when they are detached from their moorings in an irrevocable past in which we are supposed to have felt, or thought, or acted in a certain way; and when, resolutely turning our back on these errors and refusing to recognize that they have any claim upon us, we see them as isolated, unrelated temptations appearing in the present, but claiming to have a history somewhere or in something not of God. When the belief in an evil past is got rid of, the peg on which so-called mortal mind hangs its supposed law that old beliefs can return is gone. Identifying ourselves with Spirit, not with matter, we can declare with conviction that God's idea never thought or felt or acted except in accordance with the law of God,—the irresistible and irrevocable law of reflection, of harmony,—having no consciousness except that which reflects the divine. Thus we may discern the new heaven and earth wherein, as the prophet tells us in the book of Isaiah, "the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."

Know the Truth
September 16, 1922

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