"Separator of fable from fact"

FANNING or winnowing, by which the chaff is separated from the wheat, is used metaphorically in the Scriptures to indicate the divine sifting or chastening. Jeremiah prophesies against Babylon in these words: "Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, ... and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land." John, referring to the coming of Jesus, declared, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." These words indicate the utter destruction of the chaff, which the fan separates from the wheat.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines "fan" as "separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 586). This definition is arresting in that it reveals the right method of separating error from truth. A material fan may blow away the chaff from the wheat, but the separation of fable from fact requires a rousing, cleansing stirring of thought.

Mrs. Eddy refers to material fables on page 466 of Science and Health. She writes, "Heathen mythology and Jewish theology have perpetuated the fallacy that intelligence, soul, and life can be in matter; and idolatry and ritualism are the outcome of all man-made beliefs." And she continues: "The Science of Christianity comes with fan in hand to separate the chaff from the wheat. Science will declare God aright, and Christianity will demonstrate this declaration and its divine Principle, making mankind better physically, morally, and spiritually."

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

"O learn to lose with God!"
August 26, 1939

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.