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Defeating false witnesses
For the lesson titled "Unreality" from September 26–October 2, 2011
In this week’s Bible Lesson on “Unreality” the word false occurs ten times. We are continually enjoined to replace the false witness of the material senses with the reality of spiritual sense. As Mary Baker Eddy says, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things” (Science and Health, p. 129, citation 1).
The Mosaic law took false testimony seriously. It gave us the commandment not to “bear false witness” against our neighbor as one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:16; Deut. 5:20). The law also requires false witnesses to be punished at the level that they had hoped to see their accused punished—up to and including death (see Deut. 19:16–19). Science and Health is very clear about the consequences of listening to false evidence: “The evidence of the physical senses often reverses the real Science of being, and so creates a reign of discord,—assigning seeming power to sin, sickness, and death; but the great facts of Life, rightly understood, defeat this triad of errors, contradict their false witnesses, and reveal the kingdom of heaven,—the actual reign of harmony on earth” (p. 122, cit. 29).
Take the story of the Tower of Babel in Section II. The people were trying to raise themselves up, building on material evidence, without regard to God (see Gen., chap. 11, cit. 4). Their speech became confused and strange so that they could no longer understand each other. The story is set in Shinar, believed to have been in the Mesopotamian region, between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers. This region became known as Babylonia and is today in Iraq. Some believe that a ziggurat found in southern Mesopotamia, made of bitumen (translated “slime” in Genesis 11:3 in the King James Version and “tar” in the New International Version), was the original tower of Babel.
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About the author
Abigail Fuller has a master’s in physics, and is working on her master’s of divinity at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She lives in San Anselmo, California.
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