From the December 26, 1901 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
Macon (Ga.) News
To the Editor of the Macon Evening News.
In your Monday’s paper you published in part a sermon by the Rev. S. R. Maxwell, the pastor of the Christian Church, on “Does the Devil Exist?” In your report of this sermon there are a number of references to Christian Science and its teachings as to the existence and character of the devil. As Mr. Maxwell and all other lovers of truth would be glad to know how Christian Scientists interpret their own position, I desire space in your paper to state what I understand to be the teachings of Christian Science in so far as they relate to your published account of his sermon.
Christian Science teaches that as the devil is the adversary, the enemy, or the opposite of God and His Christ, that we can only know what the devil claims to be as know what God is.
As God is Light and this Light is the Light of the World, His opposite is darkness, and “the prince of darkness.” As God is Good, or the absolutely good One, His opposite is evil, or the evil one. As God is Truth or the absolutely truthful One; His opposite is a “liar and the father of lies.” As God is Love and the father of all manifestations of Love, His enemy is the father of all hatred, malice, jealousy, resentment, revenge, and everything that opposes the activity and manifestations of Love. As God is Life and the Author of all the harmonious activities of Being, His enemy is the author of everything that opposes life and the harmony of life. As God is infinite and beneficent Spirit which worketh in the spiritually-minded, His enemy is the evil spirit which worketh in the carnally-minded. As God is Immortal Mind which is made manifest through the type of mind and life which was in Christ Jesus, His opposite is mortal mind and all the manifestations of evil mentality.
According to Christian Science, God is the Mind, the Creator, the Father of everything that is, like Himself, good, spiritual, perfect, harmonious, and eternal; and the devil is the mind, source, or father of everything that is, like himself, sinful, sickly, deadly, material, and mortal; and the mission of Christ is to destroy the works of the devil that God and His perfect spiritual creation may be to us what they are to Him, “All-in-all.”
The devil, therefore, in the light of Christian Science, is nothing more and nothing less than a liar and the father of lies, a deceiver, and the father of all deception; the adversary and the father of everything that is adverse or opposed to God; or mortal mind and all its material, carnal, sensuous, sinful, sickly, and deadly beliefs. In fact, Christian Scientists understand that the Bible teaches that the devil is much more than a fancy of the human imagination, and much less than the Infinite Person or Principle.
The Bible says that Jesus cast out devils, and that he cast out seven devils from one person. As persons could not be cast out of a person, the devils in this sense must be the evils that Jesus cast out. In the passage, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” Jesus seems to indicate that any person full of the mind and spirit of evil is a devil. In the keen rebuke to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” Jesus speaks of Satan as a particular manifestation of evil through a human personality. But as Mrs. Eddy says: “He to whom our Lord gave the keys of the Kingdom could not have been wholly evil, and therefore was not a devil after the accepted definition” (No and Yes, p. 32). According to St. Paul, evil is especially identified with the works of the flesh and with the lusts and temptations of the carnal mind which war against the mind of the Spirit.
Christian Science, while it uncovers the mystery of iniquity to be mortal or carnal mind and its beliefs,—matter, sin, disease, and death,—insists that it is much more important to overcome the devil than it is to define him; and that this is done only as we have the Mind, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love, which was in Christ Jesus.
The teachings of the New Thought School and of Christian Science, which Mr. Maxwell grouped together in his sermon, are in no sense the same. Their teachings as to the nature and character of evil are fundamentally different. If I understand the teachings of the New Thought, evil in all its forms is undeveloped or unrecognized good; and what we ordinarily characterize as evil is not evil at all, but simply good in the making. Christian Science, on the other hand, makes a clear distinction between God and the devil, good and evil, right and wrong, perfection and imperfection, and the things that are spiritual and Christly and the things that are carnal and un-Christly. Christian Science denies evil only in the sense that Christ Jesus denied it, by casting it out, refusing to accept its claims or yield to its temptations. In fact, according to Christian Science, evil instead of being undeveloped good is an awful and tragic deception, lie, or illusion, which is only understood, overcome and destroyed through the Mind of Christ, which demands that mortals repent and forsake all evil and overcome in the Christ-way everything that is unlike God and His perfect, spiritual creation. In other words, the great liar and all his lies can only be cast out through the knowledge and demonstration of that Truth which makes free from all illusion or from the deceptions of all falsehood; and the prince of darkness disappears and becomes unreal in and “through the brightness of Christ’s coming.”
Christian Science in no sense discredits the plain teachings of the Bible, and it clearly recognizes that the Christ-way of dealing with the devil and all his works—sin, disease, and death—is the only way. It only discredits the theories and opinions of men which have departed from the whole salvation which it promises and which is realized through a right understanding and a right relationship to Christ, who is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.” The Bible to the Christian Scientists is not only the good Book, but also the health Book and the life Book; and Christ is not only the Saviour of men, but also their ever-present physician, helper, and friend.
Christian Scientists, while acknowledging the deepest debt of gratitude and love to the Rev. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science and the Leader of the Christian Science movement, to the degree that they are loyal and faithful to her teachings and her example, are just what their name indicates, Christians who understand that their Christianity is practical, definite, knowable, and demonstrable Truth or Science. It is therefore as inappropriate to call Christian Scientists “Eddyites,” and Christian Science “Eddyism,” as it to call the members of the Christian church “Campbellites” or their religion “Campbellism.” Christian Science being universal and demonstrable Truth is in no sense a “cult” or an “ism.” In fact, Christian Science is not even a sect in the ordinary sense of the term, but a spiritual movement, or a church based upon the Christ understanding which heals the sick and reforms the sinner, thus bringing to light the one universal, triumphant Church, or the Kingdom of God.—
J. R. Moseley.