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Stop self-punishment now to make it never-lasting,
so that “sorrow and sighing … flee away”
(Isa. 35 and 51)
Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for Sunday, October 30, 2021

By Tom and Amy Evans, former staff members and big fans of CedarS

Tom’s high school freshmen Sunday School class asked some questions this week as well.

P.S.S.T. for The Golden Text and The Responsive Reading

Do Christian Scientists believe in everlasting punishment? (no) Why not? Why did Mary Baker Eddy decide to focus on everlasting punishment by making it a Bible Lesson topic twice a year? Why does this Golden Text appear to be in direct contrast with the subject of the lesson? “The Lord upholdeth [a good man] wth his hand.”

P.S.S.T. for Section 1 – God’s mercy

S&H Citation 1: Owen asks “What is a fraud on humanity?”

How is Citation B1 demonstrated by the Bible stories in this week’s Bible lesson?

  • Noah and the ark in Section 2 (Genesis 6-9)
  • Jeremiah in the king of Judah’s prison in Section 3 (Jeremiah 32, 38)
  • Peter’s mother-in-law healed by Jesus in Section 4 (Matthew 8)
  • Tabitha resurrected by Peter in Section 5 (Acts 9)

None of these individuals were subject to everlasting punishment. Why not? Think through the reasons why everlasting punishment does not makes sense. The conversation could look something like:

  • Everlasting Punishment or eternal damnation does not make sense. It is not a part of the Science of Being.
  • There is no death. There is no hell. In Science and Health p 266:26 Mary Baker Eddy says the evil beliefs which originate in mortals are hell.
  • God doesn’t punish. God is not wrathful
  • Life is eternal. Eternal punishment is assumed to be something assigned in death – which doesn’t exist

P.S.S.T for Section 2 – God’s promise

What is significant about the story of Noah and the Ark (citations B3 – B6)? On, this video provides a brief synopsis of the story. It is a good resource for younger classes.  Discuss the spiritual significance of the rainbow in Genesis 9:13 (citation B6). What is God’s covenant with humanity? How is God’s mercy everlasting (see citation B8)? What is significant about the definition of ark in citation S5 (581:8-14)? Give an example of the “calm, strong currents of true spirituality” (citation S8) and how they are supporting your growth and understanding.

P.S.S.T. for Section 3 – God uplifts and protects

Look at God’s promise to Jeremiah of protection in Citation B10 and then his freedom from an unjust prison sentence in Citation B12. How might you have used the ideas Mary Baker Eddy provides in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in this section if you were in a seemingly hopeless situation like Jeremiah starving in a dungeon?

  • Citation S9: “That man does not pay the severest penalty who does the most good…” (Why do we grow stronger by doing good?)
  • Citation S10: “The enslavement of man is not legitimate…” (Why not? What is your proof?)
  • Citation S11: Let Truth uncover and destroy error…” (how can you trust in Truth confidently?)
  • Citation S12: How does “spiritual sense lift human consciousness?”
  • Citation S13: Share more about this “immortal law of justice…and mercy”
  • Citation S14: How would you use the passage “man reflects God’s government” to think about the person who did you wrong?
  • Citation S15: Why do practice and understanding of God’s law “call down infinite blessings”?

 P.S.S.T. for Section 4 – Strengthen your faith

Citation S16: Paige asks “In what ways did Jesus annul the laws of matter which were opposed to spirit?” Think of the healing of Peter’s Mother-in-law and Jesus walking on the water. What is Citation S17 reminding us is possible by following Jesus? What does Mary Baker Eddy mean by “spiritual power” being expressed?

Look at Jesus’s statement to Peter at the end of Citation B16 about his need for stronger faith, then strengthen your faith by diving into the passages from Science and Health in Section 4.

  • Citation S16 “Christ Jesus overruled the error…”
  • Citation S17 “Spiritual power”
  • Citation S18 Don’t admit “that any bodily condition is beyond the control of Mind…”
  • Citation S19 “Mind is the master…”
  • Citation S20 “Waking to Christ’s demands…”

 P.S.S.T. for Section 5 – God heals

What happened when Peter healed Tabitha (citation B17)? Why was it important for Peter to separate himself from everyone mourning Tabitha’s death?
What kind of celebration do you think happened after he presented her alive?
How is this outlined in citation B18/Isa. 51:11: “they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away”.
Discuss how citation S23/473:10 applies to how Peter was able to heal Tabitha. Did he claim the praise, or did he turn everything back to God?
How can we consistently do the same?
A practitioner used to say when called for support, “we’ll take care of it.” Who was the “we” she spoke of? Isaiah asks: “If God never punishes aught but sin, how do you pray if it feels like God is punishing you in a challenging time?” (see citation S21/412:1)

 P.S.S.T. for Section 6 – God’s message

Is there a connection between the rainbow covenant from God to Noah in Genesis and the angelic vision of John in Citation B19/Rev. 10?
What is this “little book” John refers to?
Citation S24/558:9: David asks: “What are the most important steps in removing obscurity in divine Science?” How does John’s angelic message prefigure Christian Science? Share more about this “light above the sun” referred to in Citation S24. Does it only refer to visible light?

P.S.S.T. for Section 7 – Praise God

Give an example of how God’s “tender mercies are over all his works” (citation B20/Ps. 145:9).
Looking at citation S26/568:24, Reid asks “What does ‘Every step towards goodness is a departure from materiality’ mean?”
Describe what stepping towards goodness looks like. Give an example from your life. Teachers, have an example ready which is an obvious “tendency towards God, Spirit.” Expand on the statement “The accuser is not there.”

  • Who / what might the accuser be?
  • Why doesn’t the accuser have a presence or power?
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