Christian Science versus Pantheism

Christian Science versus Pantheism





Christian Science versus Pantheism

1Pastor’s Message to The Mother Church, on the Occasion of the June Communion, 1898
SUBJECT: Not Pantheism, but Christian Science

Beloved brethren, since last you gathered at the feast of our Passover, the winter winds have come and gone; the rushing winds of March have shrieked and hummed their hymns; the frown and smile of April, the laugh of May, have fled; and the roseate blush of joyous June is here and ours.

    In unctuous unison with nature, mortals are hoping and working, putting off outgrown, wornout, or soiled garments — the pleasures and pains of sensation and the sackcloth of waiting — for the springtide of Soul. For what a man seeth he hopeth not for, but hopeth for what he hath not seen, and waiteth patiently the appearing thereof. The night is far spent, and day is not distant in the horizon of Truth — even the day when all people shall know and acknowledge one God and one Christianity.

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Christian Science Not Pantheism

    At this period of enlightenment, a declaration from the pulpit that Christian Science is pantheism is anomalous to those who know whereof they speak — who know that Christian Science is Science, and therefore is neither hypothetical nor dogmatical, but demonstrable, and looms above the mists of pantheism higher than Mt. Ararat above the deluge.

Analysis of “Pantheism”

    According to Webster the word “pantheism” is derived from two Greek words meaning “all” and “god.” Webster’s derivation of the English word “pantheism” is most suggestive. His uncapitalized word “god” gives the meaning of pantheism as a human opinion of “gods many,” or mind in matter. “The doctrine that the universe, conceived of as a whole, is God; that there is no God but the combined forces and laws which are manifested in the existing universe.”

    The Standard Dictionary has it that pantheism is the doctrine of the deification of natural causes, conceived as one personified nature, to which the religious sentiment is directed.

    Pan is a Greek prefix, but it might stand, in the term pantheism, for the mythological deity of that name; and theism for a belief concerning Deity in theology. However, Pan in imagery is preferable to pantheism in theology. 3The mythical deity may please the fancy, while pantheism suits not at all the Christian sense of religion. Pan, as a deity, is supposed to preside over sylvan solitude, and is a horned and hoofed animal, half goat and half man, that poorly presents the poetical phase of the genii of forests.1

    My sense of nature’s rich glooms is, that loneness lacks but one charm to make it half divine — a friend, with whom to whisper, “Solitude is sweet.” Certain moods of mind find an indefinable pleasure in stillness, soft, silent as the storm’s sudden hush; for nature’s stillness is voiced with a hum of harmony, the gentle murmur of early morn, the evening’s closing vespers, and lyre of bird and brooklet.


        “O sacred solitude! divine retreat!
          Choice of the prudent! envy of the great!
          By thy pure stream, or in thy evening shade,
          We court fair wisdom, that celestial maid.”

    Theism is the belief in the personality and infinite mind of one supreme, holy, self-existent God, who reveals Himself supernaturally to His creation, and whose laws are not reckoned as science. In religion, it is a belief in one God, or in many gods. It is opposed to atheism and 4monotheism, but agrees with certain forms of pantheism and polytheism. It is the doctrine that the universe owes its origin and continuity to the reason, intellect, and will of a self-existent divine Being, who possesses all wisdom, goodness, and power, and is the creator and preserver of man.

    A theistic theological belief may agree with physics and anatomy that reason and will are properly classified as mind, located in the brain; also, that the functions of these faculties depend on conditions of matter, or brain, for their proper exercise. But reason and will are human; God is divine. In academics and in religion it is patent that will is capable of use and of abuse, of right and wrong action, while God is incapable of evil; that brain is matter, and that there are many so-called minds; that He is the creator of man, but that man also is a creator, making two creators; but God is Mind and one.

God — not Human Devices — the Preserver of Man

    God, Spirit, is indeed the preserver of man. Then, in the words of the Hebrew singer, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. . . . Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” This being the case, what need have we of drugs, hygiene, and medical therapeutics, if these are not man’s preservers? By admitting self-evident affirmations and then contra5dicting them, monotheism is lost and pantheism is found in scholastic theology. Can a single quality of God, Spirit, be discovered in matter? The Scriptures plainly declare, “The Word was God;” and “all things were made by Him,” — the Word. What, then, can matter create, or how can it exist?

Jesus’ Definition of Evil

    Did God create evil? or is evil self-existent, and so possessed of the nature of God, good? Since evil is not self-made, who or what hath made evil? Our Master gave the proper answer for all time to this hoary query. He said of evil: “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth [God], because there is no truth [reality] in him [evil]. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it [a lie].”

    Jesus’ definition of devil (evil) explains evil. It shows that evil is both liar and lie, a delusion and illusion. Therefore we should neither believe the lie, nor believe that it hath embodiment or power; in other words, we should not believe that a lie, nothing, can be something, but deny it and prove its falsity. After this manner our Master cast out evil, healed the sick, and saved sinners. Knowing that evil is a lie, and, as the Scripture declares, brought sin, sickness, and death into the world, Jesus treated the lie summarily. He denied it, cast it out of mortal mind, and thus healed sickness and sin. His treatment of evil 6and disease, Science will restore and establish, — first, because it was more effectual than all other means; and, second, because evil and disease will never disappear in any other way.

    Finally, brethren, let us continue to denounce evil as the illusive claim that God is not supreme, and continue to fight it until it disappears, — but not as one that beateth the mist, but lifteth his head above it and putteth his foot upon a lie.

Evil, as Personified by the Serpent

    Mosaic theism introduces evil, first, in the form of a talking serpent, contradicting the word of God and thereby obtaining social prestige, a large following, and changing the order and harmony of God’s creation. But the higher criticism is not satisfied with this theism, and asks, If God is infinite good, what and where is evil? And if Spirit made all that was made, how can matter be an intelligent creator or coworker with God? Again: Did one Mind, or two minds, enter into the Scriptural allegory, in the colloquy between good and evil, God and a serpent? — and if two minds, what becomes of theism in Christianity? For if God, good, is Mind, and evil also is mind, the Christian religion has at least two Gods. If Spirit is sovereign, how can matter be force or law; and if God, good, is omnipotent, what power hath evil?

    It is plain that elevating evil to the altitude of mind gives it power, and that the belief in more than one spirit, if 7Spirit, God, is infinite, breaketh the First Commandment in the Decalogue.

    Science shows that a plurality of minds, or intelligent matter, signifies more than one God, and thus prevents the demonstration that the healing Christ, Truth, gave and gives in proof of the omnipotence of one divine, infinite Principle.

    Does not the theism or belief, that after God, Spirit, had created all things spiritually, a material creation took place, and God, the preserver of man, declared that man should die, lose the character and sovereignty of Jehovah, and hint the gods of paganism?

Theistic Religions

    We know of but three theistic religions, the Mosaic, the Christian, and the Mohammedan. Does not each of these religions mystify the absolute oneness and infinity of God, Spirit?

    A close study of the Old and New Testaments in connection with the original text indicates, in the third chapter of Genesis, a lapse in the Mosaic religion, wherein theism seems meaningless, or a vague apology for contradictions. It certainly gives to matter and evil reality and power, intelligence and law, which implies Mind, Spirit, God; and the logical sequence of this error is idolatry — other gods.

    Again: The hypothesis of mind in matter, or more than one Mind, lapses into evil dominating good, matter governing Mind, and makes sin, disease, and death inevitable, 8despite of Mind, or by the consent of Mind! Next, it follows that the disarrangement of matter causes a man to be mentally deranged; and the Babylonian sun god, moon god, and sin god find expression in sun worship, lunacy, sin, and mortality.

    Does not the belief that Jesus, the man of Galilee, is God, imply two Gods, one the divine, infinite Person, the other a human finite personality? Does not the belief that Mary was the mother of God deny the self-existence of God? And does not the doctrine that Mohammed is the only prophet of God infringe the sacredness of one Christ Jesus?

Scientific Christianity Means One God

    Christianity, as taught and demonstrated in the first century by our great Master, virtually annulled the so-called laws of matter, idolatry, pantheism, and polytheism. Christianity then had one God and one law, namely, divine Science. It said, “Call no man your father upon the earth, for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Speaking of himself, Jesus said, “My Father is greater than I.” Christianity, as he taught and demonstrated it, must ever rest on the basis of the First Commandment and love for man.

    The doctrines that embrace pantheism, polytheism, and paganism are admixtures of matter and Spirit, truth and error, sickness and sin, life and death. They make man the servant of matter, living by reason of it, suffering because of it, and dying in consequence of it. They con9stantly reiterate the belief of pantheism, that mind “sleeps in the mineral, dreams in the animal, and wakes in man.”

    “Infinite Spirit” means one God and His creation, and no reality in aught else. The term “spirits” means more than one Spirit; — in paganism they stand for gods; in spiritualism they imply men and women; and in Christianity they signify a good Spirit and an evil spirit.

    Is there a religion under the sun that hath demonstrated one God and the four first rules pertaining thereto, namely, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me;” “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;” “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John xi. 26.)

    What mortal to-day is wise enough to do himself no harm, to hinder not the attainment of scientific Christianity? Whoever demonstrates the highest humanity, — long-suffering, self-surrender, and spiritual endeavor to bless others, — ought to be aided, not hindered, in his holy mission. I would kiss the feet of such a messenger, for to help such a one is to help one’s self. The demonstration of Christianity blesses all mankind. It loves one’s neighbor as one’s self; it loves its enemies — and this love benefits its enemies (though they believe it not), and rewards its possessor; for, “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?”

Man the True Image of God

    From a material standpoint, the best of people sometimes object to the philosophy of Christian Science, on the 10ground that it takes away man’s personality and makes man less than man. But what saith the apostle? — even this: “If a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” The great Nazarene Prophet said, “By their fruits ye shall know them:” then, if the effects of Christian Science on the lives of men be thus judged, we are sure the honest verdict of humanity will attest its uplifting power, and prevail over the opposite notion that Christian Science lessens man’s individuality.

    The students at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, generally, were the average man and woman. But after graduation, the best students in the class averred that they were stronger and better than before it. With twelve lessons or less, the present and future of those students had wonderfully broadened and brightened before them, thus proving the utility of what they had been taught. Christian Scientists heal functional, organic, chronic, and acute diseases that M.D.’s have failed to heal; and, better still, they reform desperate cases of intemperance, tobacco using, and immorality, which, we regret to say, other religious teachers are unable to effect. All this is accomplished by the grace of God, — the effect of God understood. A higher manhood is manifest, and never lost, in that individual who finds the highest joy, — therefore no pleasure in loathsome habits or in sin, and no necessity for disease and death. Whatever promotes statuesque being, health, and holiness does not degrade man’s personality. Sin, sickness, appetites, and passions, constitute no part of man, but obscure man. Therefore it 11required the divinity of our Master to perceive the real man, and to cast out the unreal or counterfeit. It caused St. Paul to write, — “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.”

    Was our Master mistaken in judging a cause by its effects? Shall the opinions, systems, doctrines, and dogmas of men gauge the animus of man? or shall his stature in Christ, Truth, declare him? Governed by the divine Principle of his being, man is perfect. When will the schools allow mortals to turn from clay to Soul for the model? The Science of being, understood and obeyed, will demonstrate man to be superior to the best church-member or moralist on earth, who understands not this Science. If man is spiritually fallen, it matters not what he believes; he is not upright, and must regain his native spiritual stature in order to be in proper shape, as certainly as the man who falls physically needs to rise again.

    Mortals, content with something less than perfection — the original standard of man — may believe that evil develops good, and that whatever strips off evil’s disguise belittles man’s personality. But God enables us to know that evil is not the medium of good, and that good supreme destroys all sense of evil, obliterates the lost image that mortals are content to call man, and demands man’s unfallen spiritual perfectibility.

    The grand realism that man is the true image of God, not fallen or inverted, is demonstrated by Christian Science. And because Christ’s dear demand, “Be ye therefore 12perfect,” is valid, it will be found possible to fulfil it. Then also will it be learned that good is not educed from evil, but comes from the rejection of evil and its modus operandi. Our scholarly expositor of the Scriptures, Lyman Abbott, D.D., writes, “God, Spirit, is ever in universal nature.” Then, we naturally ask, how can Spirit be constantly passing out of mankind by death — for the universe includes man?

The Grandeur of Christianity

    This closing century, and its successors, will make strong claims on religion, and demand that the inspired Scriptural commands be fulfilled. The altitude of Christianity openeth, high above the so-called laws of matter, a door that no man can shut; it showeth to all peoples the way of escape from sin, disease, and death; it lifteth the burden of sharp experience from off the heart of humanity, and so lighteth the path that he who entereth it may run and not weary, and walk, not wait by the roadside, — yea, pass gently on without the alterative agonies whereby the way-seeker gains and points the path.

    The Science of Christianity is strictly monotheism, — it has ONE GOD. And this divine infinite Principle, noumenon and phenomena, is demonstrably the self-existent Life, Truth, Love, substance, Spirit, Mind, which includes all that the term implies, and is all that is real and eternal. Christian Science is irrevocable — unpierced by bold conjecture’s sharp point, by bald philosophy, or by man’s inventions. It is divinely true, and every hour 13in time and in eternity will witness more steadfastly to its practical truth. And Science is not pantheism, but Christian Science.

    Chief among the questions herein, and nearest my heart, is this: When shall Christianity be demonstrated according to Christ, in these words: “Neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”?

Exhortation

    Beloved brethren, the love of our loving Lord was never more manifest than in its stern condemnation of all error, wherever found. I counsel thee, rebuke and exhort one another. Love all Christian churches for the gospel’s sake; and be exceedingly glad that the churches are united in purpose, if not in method, to close the war between flesh and Spirit, and to fight the good fight till God’s will be witnessed and done on earth as in heaven.

    Sooner or later all shall know Him, recognize the great truth that Spirit is infinite, and find life in Him in whom we do “live, and move, and have our being” — life in Life, all in All. Then shall all nations, peoples, and tongues, in the words of St. Paul, have “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians iv. 6.)

    Have I wearied you with the mysticism of opposites? Truly there is no rest in them, and I have only traversed my subject that you may prove for yourselves the unsub14stantial nature of whatever is unlike good, weigh a sigh, and rise into the rest of righteousness with its triumphant train.

    Once more I write, Set your affections on things above; love one another; commune at the table of our Lord in one spirit; worship in spirit and in truth; and if daily adoring, imploring, and living the divine Life, Truth, Love, thou shalt partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven, drink of the cup of salvation, and be baptized in Spirit.

Prayer for Country and Church

    Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness.

    In your peaceful homes remember our brave soldiers, whether in camp or in battle.1 Oh, may their love of country, and their faithful service thereof, be unto them life-preservers! May the divine Love succor and protect them, as at Manila, where brave men, led by the dauntless Dewey, and shielded by the power that saved them, sailed victoriously through the jaws of death and blotted out the Spanish squadron.

    Great occasion have we to rejoice that our nation, which 15fed her starving foe, — already murdering her peaceful seamen and destroying millions of her money, — will be as formidable in war as she has been compassionate in peace.

    May our Father-Mother God, who in times past hath spread for us a table in the wilderness and “in the midst of our enemies,” establish us in the most holy faith, plant our feet firmly on Truth, the rock of Christ, the “substance of things hoped for” — and fill us with the life and understanding of God, and good will towards men.

MARY BAKER EDDY
     1  In Roman mythology (one of my girlhood studies), Pan stood for “universal nature proceeding from the divine Mind and providence, of which heaven, earth, sea, the eternal fire, are so many members.” Pan was the god of shepherds and hunters, leader of the nymphs, president of the mountains, patron of country life, and guardian of flocks and herds. His pipe of seven reeds denotes the celestial harmony of the seven planets; his shepherd’s crook, that care and providence by which he governs the universe; his spotted skin, the stars; his goat’s feet, the solidity of the earth; his man-face, the celestial world.
     1  This refers to the war between United States and Spain for the liberty of Cuba.