So, I was re-reading “Unity of Good”, again! An incredible book by Mary Baker Eddy! But this time, her message just leapt out at me.
Mrs. Eddy addresses in this book the question which religious people have debated for centuries—a question which has turned many people to atheism. If God is so good, why is there so much evil and injustice in the world? Who causes it? Does God, or does man? If it is God, some say, who would want to believe in a god who is so cruel as to create evil, or so helpless as to allow us to suffer evil. And if God is not the cause, therefore it must be man, and God is not all powerful or all good. Then mankind begins fighting over which people are to blame?
Ironically, all opposing viewpoints can present material evidence to support their theories of blame. And from these two explanations come all the divisions, wars, hatred and violence in the world! “In 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.” (Un. 21:1–3). The carnal mind is always accusing the other side for its sins, while excusing its own sins!
But “Unity of Good” presents an entirely unique approach to this question. Not unique to Christ Jesus or Paul or the early Christians, of course! But definitely unique to anyone who begins with the material picture of evil and injustice, and then tries to eliminate it. And yet human approaches have never eliminated evil nor protected the innocent from suffering.
Christ Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount, that although everyone says we must hate our enemies [if we are good, our enemies must be bad and the source of all injustice], instead we must “love our enemies, do good to them who hate us and pray for them who despitefully use us and persecute us, that we may be the children of God.” (Matt. 5:43-48). The material world responds: “That would just allow evil and injustice to spread unchecked.” Actually, no, it is just the opposite, as Jesus proved!
Christ Jesus taught that as he was one with his Father, God, and that we too are ALL one with him. He demonstrated through his life that God is divine Love itself, governing all creation with mercy, justice and peace. When people were ready to stone a woman taken in the very act of adultery (and it wasn’t even recorded on a cell phone!), he helped them to see that we all sin in this human experience and we all must be humble enough to forgive, or else we are condemning ourselves to suffer. “Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine.” (SH 542:19–21).
To respond to the self-righteous, self-justifying, and self-pitying human thought which inevitably suggests, “But you don’t know how much we have suffered at the hands of evil”, Jesus purposely allowed his enemies to lie about him, torture him, and nail him to a cross to kill him. Then on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Rather than being destroyed by evil, Christ Jesus was resurrected to life, demonstrating that divine Love alone triumphs over evil.
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, who faced and overcame injustice, hatred and violence, wrote, “God is love; and he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. ...If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: ...And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves God love his brother also.” (I John 4:16, 20-21).
“God is of purer eyes than to behold evil,” the Bible tells us (Hab. 1:13). So man, made in God’s image, could not possibly know evil. It is the false, material sense of man which seems to sin. So Jesus showed us we must be born again of the Spirit, not of the flesh. (John 3:3-7). Paul describes it as putting off the old man, and putting on the “new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:24). Overcoming evil in the world has to begin with our own thought and our own life.
When we say, “We are good and honest, but they are the evil ones,” we are actually breaking the First Commandment. When someone came up to Jesus and said, “Good Master…”, he immediately corrected them. “Why do you call me good? There is none good, but one, that is God [Spirit]….I can do nothing on my own….The Spirit alone gives eternal life; human effort accomplishes nothing.” (Matt. 19:17 KJV; John 5:30 and 6:63 NLT).
This is where we get off track. It is the 5 physical senses, the carnal mind and material world which mesmerize us into believing that evil exists because, it says, there are evil people and good people. Jesus taught us that God alone is good and he demonstrated that evil is not a person nor a power, but is simply an aggressive world belief tempting us to deny the allness and supremacy of Spirit, infinite Good. Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” (SH 71:2).
In Unity of Good, Mrs. Eddy writes, “As we come closer to the true understanding of God, we lose all sense of error….God is All-in-all. He is all the Life and Mind there is or can be.…If He is All, He can have no consciousness of anything unlike Himself, because if He is omnipresent, there can be nothing outside of Himself. …. To understand Him, without a single taint of our mortal, finite sense of sin, sickness or death, is to approach Him and become like Him….[A]s we get still nearer Him, we must forever lose our own consciousness of error….God forbids man’s acquaintance with evil. Why? Because evil is no part of the divine knowledge. …[B]ecause God is All, a realization of this fact dispels even the sense or consciousness of sin, and brings us nearer to God. . . .” (Un. 7:22).
If one watches the news or reads the papers, it is so easy to be pulled in one direction or another with a feeling of anger towards the pictures of injustice and hatred being displayed on all sides. But it is pure mesmerism—the serpent trying to entice us to believe that a “knowledge of good AND evil” will make us wiser and able to destroy evil, not realizing that it is luring us into believing that evil is real as person, place or thing; and then we too find ourselves suffering because we have denied God’s allness.
In a testimony entitled, “Healed of difficulty in breathing,” Kathy Harvey tells of suffering from a severe cough and inability to breath, with other distressing symptoms—a condition which continued quite a while in spite of prayer and later medical treatment. When she turned back to Christian Science and called a practitioner, the practitioner asked her why she was so angry! She replied that she was not! But after prayerful consideration, she realized just how angry she was at her family for pushing her into medical treatment; angry at herself for succumbing to the pressure; and angry towards the world because of all the turmoil she saw in the media.
She and the practitioner worked with two ideas from Mrs. Eddy. "Outside the material sense of things, all is harmony" (SH 489). She saw that God's law of harmony was always in operation and nothing could possibly disturb her calmness and equilibrium. “God's voice was the only voice I had to listen to. He would never tell me how sad or bad His children were, so I didn't have to react to what I was hearing on television or reading in the newspapers. I could rest peacefully in the knowledge that I was dearly loved, content, always living in my Father's approving atmosphere, like all of God's other precious children.” The second passage was from Mary Baker Eddy's hymn "Christ My Refuge": "And o'er earth's troubled, angry sea/I see Christ walk." Very soon she was completely free!
In my last blog, I quoted from Unity of Good, page 11, where Mrs. Eddy writes, “Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind…. He required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities.” When Christ walked over the tumultuous sea, it was immediately calm: “Peace Be still!” Are we walking with divine Love, seeing only infinite Good, and demonstrating peace and wholeness here and now?
If Mrs. Eddy had allowed herself to become embroiled in the human politics of taking sides and attaching evil to certain people, would she have been able to heal instantly a cancer which had eaten into the jugular vein? She explained, “[W]hen I have most clearly seen and most sensibly felt that the infinite recognizes no disease, this has not separated me from God, but has so bound me to Him as to enable me instantaneously to heal a cancer which had eaten its way to the jugular vein. In the same spiritual condition I have been able to replace dislocated joints and raise the dying to instantaneous health.” (Un. 7:8–15).
If infinite Good includes disease, sin or evil of any sort, it is no longer infinite Good! I have found this particular passage very helpful to contemplate daily: “There is not sufficient spiritual power in the human thought to heal the sick or the sinful. Through the divine energies alone one must . . . get out of himself and into God so far that his consciousness is the reflection of the divine . . .” (Mis. 352:21–25).
If we want to be able to heal disease instantly as Christ Jesus did and as Mary Baker Eddy was able to do, we must first understand that God’s man is not a sinner and there is no other real man but God’s man. “Jesus came announcing Truth, and saying not only “the kingdom of God is at hand,” but “the kingdom of God is within you.” Hence there is no sin, for God's kingdom is everywhere and supreme, and it follows that the human kingdom is nowhere, and must be unreal.” (No 35:24–28).
Obviously those words are empty if we are not first proving the powerlessness of sin in our own lives, by purifying our thoughts, motives and actions, by obeying God’s commandments, and by seeing only God’s pure, holy creation everywhere.
“Sooner of later the whole human race will learn that, in proportion as the spotless selfhood of God is understood, human nature will be renovated, and man will receive a higher selfhood, derived from God, and the redemption of mortals from sin, sickness and death be established on everlasting foundations.”
“The New Century”
Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower:
Love hath one race, one realm, one power.
Dear God! how great, how good Thou art
To heal humanity's sore heart;
To probe the wound, then pour the balm -
A life perfected, strong and calm.
The dark domain of pain and sin
Surrenders - Love doth enter in,
And peace is won, and lost is vice:
Right reigns, and blood was not its price.
(Poems, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 22:12 )