21In Romans (ii. 15) we read the apostle’s description of mental processes wherein human thoughts are “the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.” If we observe our mental processes, we shall find that we are perpetually arguing with ourselves; yet each mortal is not two personalities, but one.
Evil. God hath said, “Ye shall eat of every tree of the garden.” If you do not, your intellect will be circumscribed and the evidence of your personal senses be denied. This would antagonize individual consciousness and existence.
Good. The Lord is God. With Him is no consciousness of evil, because there is nothing beside Him or outside of Him. Individual consciousness in man is inseparable from good. There is no sensible matter, no sense in matter; but there is a spiritual sense, a sense of Spirit, and this is the only consciousness belonging to true individuality, or a divine sense of being.
Good. Because man is made after God’s eternal likeness, and this likeness consists in a sense of harmony and immortality, in which no evil can possibly dwell. You may eat of the fruit of Godlikeness, but as to the fruit of ungodliness, which is opposed to Truth, — ye shall not touch it, lest ye die.
Good. Thou shalt not admit that error is something to know or be known, to eat or be eaten, to see or be seen, to feel or be felt. To admit the existence of error would be to admit the truth of a lie.
Evil. But there is something besides good. God knows that a knowledge of this something is essential to happiness and life. A lie is as genuine as Truth, though not so legitimate a child of God. Whatever exists must come from God, and be important to our knowledge. Error, even, is His offspring.
In Shakespeare’s tragedy of King Lear, it was the
23traitorous and cruel treatment received by old Gloster
from his bastard son Edmund which makes true the lines:
The gods are just, and of our pleasant vices
Make instruments to scourge us.His lawful son, Edgar, was to his father ever loyal. Now God has no bastards to turn again and rend their Maker. The divine children are born of law and order, and Truth knows only such.
How well the Shakespearean tale agrees with the word of Scripture, in Hebrews xii. 7, 8: “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”
Good. How can they exist, unless God has created them? And how can He create anything so wholly unlike Himself and foreign to His nature? An evil material mind, so-called, can conceive of God only as like itself, and knowing both evil and good; but a purely good and spiritual consciousness has no sense whereby to cognize 24evil. Mortal mind is the opposite of immortal Mind, and sin the opposite of goodness. I am the infinite All. From me proceedeth all Mind, all consciousness, all individuality, all being. My Mind is divine good, and cannot drift into evil. To believe in minds many is to depart from the supreme sense of harmony. Your assumptions insist that there is more than the one Mind, more than the one God; but verily I say unto you, God is All-in-all; and you can never be outside of His oneness.
Good. All consciousness is Mind; and Mind is God, — an infinite, and not a finite consciousness. This consciousness is reflected in individual consciousness, or man, whose source is infinite Mind. There is no really finite mind, no finite consciousness. There is no material substance, for Spirit is all that endureth, and hence is the only substance. There is, can be, no evil mind, because Mind is God. God and His ideas — that is, God and the universe — constitute all that exists. Man, as God’s offspring, must be spiritual, perfect, eternal.
Evil. I am something separate from good or God. I am substance. My mind is more than matter. In my mortal mind, matter becomes conscious, and is able to see, taste, hear, feel, smell. Whatever matter thus affirms is 25mainly correct. If you, O good, deny this, then I deny your truthfulness. If you say that matter is unconscious, you stultify my intellect, insult my conscience, and dispute self-evident facts; for nothing can be clearer than the testimony of the five senses.
Good. Spirit is the only substance. Spirit is God, and God is good; hence good is the only substance, the only Mind. Mind is not, cannot be, in matter. It sees, hears, feels, tastes, smells as Mind, and not as matter. Matter cannot talk; and hence, whatever it appears to say of itself is a lie. This lie, that Mind can be in matter, — claiming to be something beside God, denying Truth and its demonstration in Christian Science, — this lie I declare an illusion. This denial enlarges the human intellect by removing its evidence from sense to Soul, and from finiteness into infinity. It honors conscious human individuality by showing God as its source.
Good. Evil is not a creator. God, good, is the only creator. Evil is not conscious or conscientious Mind; it is not individual, not actual. Evil is not spiritual, and therefore has no groundwork in Life, whose only source is Spirit. The elements which belong to the eternal All, — Life, Truth, Love, — evil can never take away.
26 Evil. I am intelligent matter; and matter is egoistic, having its own innate selfhood and the capacity to evolve mind. God is in matter, and matter reproduces God. From Him come my forms, near or remote. This is my honor, that God is my author, authority, governor, disposer. I am proud to be in His outstretched hands, and I shirk all responsibility for myself as evil, and for my varying manifestations.
Good. You mistake, O evil! God is not your authority
and law. Neither is He the author of the material changes,
the phantasma, a belief in which leads to such teaching
as we find in the hymn-verse so often sung in church: —
Chance and change are busy ever,
Man decays and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never, —
God is wisdom, God is love.
Now if it be true that God’s power never waneth, how can it be also true that chance and change are universal factors, — that man decays? Many ordinary Christians protest against this stanza of Bowring’s, and its sentiment is foreign to Christian Science. If God be changeless goodness, as sings another line of this hymn, what place has chance in the divine economy? Nay, there is in God naught fantastic. All is real, all is serious. The phantasmagoria is a product of human dreams.