59If there is no reality in evil, why did the Messiah come to the world, and from what evils was it his purpose to save humankind? How, indeed, is he a Saviour, if the evils from which he saves are nonentities?
Jesus came to earth; but the Christ (that is, the divine idea of the divine Principle which made heaven and earth) was never absent from the earth and heaven; hence the phraseology of Jesus, who spoke of the Christ as one who came down from heaven, yet as “the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John iii. 13.) By this we understand Christ to be the divine idea brought to the flesh in the son of Mary.
Salvation is as eternal as God. To mortal thought Jesus appeared as a child, and grew to manhood, to suffer before Pilate and on Calvary, because he could reach and teach mankind only through this conformity to mortal conditions; but Soul never saw the Saviour come and go, because the divine idea is always present.
Jesus came to rescue men from these very illusions to which he seemed to conform: from the illusion which calls sin real, and man a sinner, needing a Saviour; the illusion which calls sickness real, and man an invalid, needing a physician; the illusion that death is as real as 60Life. From such thoughts — mortal inventions, one and all — Christ Jesus came to save men, through ever-present and eternal good.
Mortal man is a kingdom divided against itself. With the same breath he articulates truth and error. We say that God is All, and there is none beside Him, and then talk of sin and sinners as real. We call God omnipotent and omnipresent, and then conjure up, from the dark abyss of nothingness, a powerful presence named evil. We say that harmony is real, and inharmony is its opposite, and therefore unreal; yet we descant upon sickness, sin, and death as realities.
With the tongue “bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, who are made after the similitude [human concept] of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James iii. 9, 10.) Mortals are free moral agents, to choose whom they would serve. If God, then let them serve Him, and He will be unto them All-in-all.
If God is ever present, He is neither absent from Himself nor from the universe. Without Him, the universe would disappear, and space, substance, and immortality be lost. St. Paul says, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” (1 Corinthians xv. 17.) Christ cannot come to mortal and material sense, which sees not God. This false sense of substance must yield to His eternal presence, and so dissolve. Rising 61above the false, to the true evidence of Life, is the resurrection that takes hold of eternal Truth. Coming and going belong to mortal consciousness. God is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.”
To material sense, Jesus first appeared as a helpless human babe; but to immortal and spiritual vision he was one with the Father, even the eternal idea of God, that was — and is — neither young nor old, neither dead nor risen. The mutations of mortal sense are the evening and the morning of human thought, — the twilight and dawn of earthly vision, which precedeth the nightless radiance of divine Life. Human perception, advancing toward the apprehension of its nothingness, halts, retreats, and again goes forward; but the divine Principle and Spirit and spiritual man are unchangeable, — neither advancing, retreating, nor halting.
Our highest sense of infinite good in this mortal sphere is but the sign and symbol, not the substance of good. Only faith and a feeble understanding make the earthly acme of human sense. “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” (Galatians ii. 20.)
Christian Science is both demonstration and fruition, but how attenuated are our demonstration and realization of this Science! Truth, in divine Science, is the stepping-stone to the understanding of God; but the broken and contrite heart soonest discerns this truth, even as the helpless sick are soonest healed by it. Invalids say, “I have 62recovered from sickness;” when the fact really remains, in divine Science, that they never were sick.
The Christian saith, “Christ (God) died for me, and came to save me;” yet God dies not, and is the ever-presence that neither comes nor goes, and man is forever His image and likeness. “The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians iv. 18.) This is the mystery of godliness — that God, good, is never absent, and there is none beside good. Mortals can understand this only as they reach the Life of good, and learn that there is no Life in evil. Then shall it appear that the true ideal of omnipotent and ever-present good is an ideal wherein and wherefor there is no evil. Sin exists only as a sense, and not as Soul. Destroy this sense of sin, and sin disappears. Sickness, sin, or death is a false sense of Life and good. Destroy this trinity of error, and you find Truth.
In Science, Christ never died. In material sense Jesus died, and lived. The fleshly Jesus seemed to die, though he did not. The Truth or Life in divine Science — undisturbed by human error, sin, and death — saith forever, “I am the living God, and man is My idea, never in matter, nor resurrected from it.” “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.” (Luke xxiv. 5, 6.) Mortal sense, confining itself to matter, is all that can be buried or resurrected.
Mary had risen to discern faintly God’s ever-presence, and that of His idea, man; but her mortal sense, revers63ing Science and spiritual understanding, interpreted this appearing as a risen Christ. The I AM was neither buried nor resurrected. The Way, the Truth, and the Life were never absent for a moment. This trinity of Love lives and reigns forever. Its kingdom, not apparent to material sense, never disappeared to spiritual sense, but remained forever in the Science of being. The so-called appearing, disappearing, and reappearing of ever-presence, in whom is no variableness or shadow of turning, is the false human sense of that light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.