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THIS WEEK'S BIBLE LESSON TOPIC challenges me to ask, Does life really consist of "Everlasting Punishment," or is it made up of the endless kindness mentioned in the Golden Text, "With everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer" (Isa. 54:8)?
Questions about divine punishment have been debated through the centuries. Mary Baker Eddy agreed with Isaiah's view when she wrote that "being is holiness, harmony, immortality" (Science and Health, p. 492, citation 21). But she also wrote that wrongdoing must be faced, not ignored, and that "the divine must overcome the human at every point" (p. 43, cit. 20). She learned from studying the Bible that firmly entrenched theological ideas such as that of a punishing God can become part of one's thinking unless addressed head on.
The story of Jacob and Esau, prominently featured in Sections II through V of this Bible Lesson, introduces deception, a parent's preferential treatment, revenge, and threats. These are among the elements of behavior that most people have to deal with at some point, and would generally be regarded as sinful—in other words, actions that run contrary to God's law of good for His creation.
About the author
Beth Carey is a Christian Science practitioner who lives in Elsah, Illinois.
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