"Who did sin?"

The Scriptural account of the healing of the one born blind, given in the ninth chapter of John, has given much thought to the Christian Scientist. Its meaning was not at first clear to one student; for there had persisted the troubled sense that God had either created or permitted evil, in order that the supreme power of good might be proved, as the words, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him," seem to imply. In Christian Science we learn that God does not create evil or permit it that good may come; for a perfect creator could not possibly create anything unlike good, since like produces like. Nevertheless, the words had troubled and confused.

In the question his disciples put to Jesus, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" the belief is expressed that one may suffer for the sins of his ancestors; although in Ezekiel it is stated explicitly that one is not punished for another's transgressions. For instance, we find there the statement, "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father." Again, the law of heredity is clearly set aside in the words, "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel." Christian Science defines God as divine Love, and shows justice and mercy to be attributes of God.

The Free Gift
October 6, 1923

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