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[Find Everlasting Mercy!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”

May 1, 2016

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

[Click for PDF & larger-type options in CedarS online Met with these features on top.]

I think nearly every time this lesson comes around there are several references that turn this theological claim on its head by quoting places in the Bible that refer to "everlasting love"(B4) or mercy (in this lesson we have the Golden Text referring to mercy that "endureth for ever" and "mercy is everlasting" in citation B2). Things from God, enduring and lasting, must also be good. While old school theology preaches on these subjects of Atonement, probation and punishment with a sense of fear, Christian Science looks on them in a new/old light that shines straight from the Bible, without ignoring the suggestion of, in this case, punishment for our sins. It is really a question of where the punishment comes from. "Error excludes itself from harmony." says Mrs. Eddy in citation S8. And "God is Love." More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go." (S1). Our task then is to reform, to repent or rethink our actions and views of God and man. In so doing we gain fresh understanding of the nature of a God who is, as the Bible tells us, Love itself. [I John 4:8] This Love is so deep that its creation cannot deviate from being loving, pure, wholly good, and never worthy of punishment, certainly not "divine" punishment. "In common justice, we must admit that God will not punish man for doing what He created man capable of doing, and knew from the outset that man would do." (S2) Using that statement as a foundation, let's have a joyous time searching this lesson for all the ways that God's abundant, active mercy and love is shown to man, throughout the ages and still today.

Our Responsive Reading includes the passage from Psalms about the man that follows God's law and is like a tree planted beside a river. This image is so powerful, especially in an age of climate change. It suggests a sense of enduring supply. When all around that tree is dry and barren, the river continues to nourish that tree's roots with moisture. In the same way, man, when sinking his roots into the laws of God, depending on God's guidance, leaning on laws such as the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, will find himself demonstrating harmony more consistently, more dependable joy, stability, insight, peace, health and so on. Because we are allowing the Truth to water our thought, to supply us with an understanding of reality, we find we are not easily subject to matter's constant cry of lack. Instead of everlasting punishment we are springing up by a stream of living water, supplied with fresh inspiration, enduring purity, fearless streams of Love.

Section 1: Like produces like.

Most would agree that God is all good. He includes no evil. Some theology juxtaposes God with the devil in order to explain why there appears to be evil in the world. The second chapter of Genesis is an example of the human attempt to explain what seems to have been left out of Genesis 1—the appearance of evil in creation. It might remain clearer in thought if we accept that God made man spiritual—in His image and likeness. The second chapter, and every other reference to man as a sinner, in the Bible, in our experience, in the news, is merely the suggestion that man is a mixture of matter and Spirit (or wholly material). Citation B1 tells us: "Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: Hath he not made thee, and established thee?" We have Biblical authority for the idea that man is made by God and made "perfect". Perfection is not a characteristic of matter! While the theology of everlasting punishment has its source in Biblical passages, (there are about ten of them in different places in the Bible), there are nearly countless passages such as the one above, and, "For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." (B2) Or, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (B4) I will not argue the finer points of religious doctrine here, but suffice it to say that sin is eternally punished, because it has no part in God, in God's law, God's creation, in Good. By relinquishing the concept of ourselves as sinning, material beings, and actually taking steps to reform and change our actions so that they are in harmony with God's laws, we then are freed from that "punishment" that sin brings upon itself. We are then seeing ourselves as like God, lovely, pure, spiritually perfect and whole.

Section 2: From murderer to scribe of God.

Truth destroys sin, or the lie about God's man. Citation S11 says: "The divine method of paying sin's wages involves unwinding one's snarls, and learning from experience how to divide between sense and Soul." Sense, here, is sin, the lie, and Soul, of course, is God. As we deepen our understanding of what is true, stemming from Truth, we are able to differentiate between what the senses tell us about the pleasures, pains, desires of matter, and the powerfully satisfying truth of Soul. Moses decided to take matters into his own hands, stepping in and punishing someone for their evil behavior. This sin, the sin of murder, was overcome, washed away as Moses discovered a clearer concept of God in the desert of Midian. Through years of humbly shepherding sheep, he was given ample opportunity to gain a higher conception of Truth, of God. His concept of God, of justice, and freedom became clearer to him as he passed his time in Midian, until he actually saw God "face to face" because of the purity he had gained through this time (notice the "…pure in heart…see God" quoted in citation S29). It also enabled him to be a scribe for the Ten Commandments and to lift his people into a more spiritual (purer) worship of God.

Section 3: No compromise with sin, only reformation.

I love that the Bible points out in citation B8 that Moses was "content" to stay in Midian with his new family, tending sheep. This contentment is an indication of his humble mentality, willingness to change and to bless in a new circumstance. He took up the work that was offered and needed. This represents to us today the need to "…find the footsteps of Truth…" (S18) Sin is overcome by walking in the right path, not only by feeling badly about how we have come up short, ("sorrow for wrong-doing" S14), but by reforming, or working in the right direction. This could seem to take years in the "desert" where we feel deeply the lack of reward that matter has to offer, or it could happen more quickly! But it is always a purifying experience. We are left with a clearer concept of God and man.

Section 4: Taking theology to the next level, to the Christly level.

Both Moses and Jesus are known for elevating theology. Whether that theology remained elevated after each jump forward has to do with man's lack of understanding of God and God's word. "Repent" Jesus tells us (B11**) — or rethink, or change your concept, as Cobbey Crisler tells us in the following Download (at upper right)— Jesus announced that we are not waiting for the Kingdom of heaven, rather it is at hand and accessible through demonstrating man's sinless, spiritual nature. I love what Cobbey asks in this download about whether it is the "problems" that are "at hand", or "heaven" that is "at hand"! (B11**) Good question for all of us! Dwelling mentally in a material sense of man as subject to sin and the temptations of matter, we are not so aware of that Kingdom around us but are pretty well enveloped in "the problem". By remaining obedient to the laws that Moses and Jesus revealed to us, and obeying their deeper spiritual intent, we are living in the harmonious Kingdom where we feel Christ's presence. We cannot make much spiritual progress if we see these divine laws as limitations on our freedom or joy. We have to experience the revelation of the divine import of these laws as Jesus shared, and Moses surely felt, when he came down from the Mount with his face literally "shining" with spiritual understanding. This is the experience of true reformation.

Section 5: Man is not a victim.

Old theology can make man a victim of sin. It is "too tempting". Or a view of man as strictly material will say that sin is just a natural result of physiological, psychological or biological laws or urges. Jesus rose above both claims to heal the man with palsy in this section. As Cobbey points out in the link to these verses, Jesus perceived the need to address the theological objections of the Pharisees before he healed the palsied man. (B15, Matthew 9:2-8**) It seems that often the traditional theological or material view of man is the view that is most comfortable. If we accept that man is a sinner, then we don't feel quite so condemned by another's goodness. If we think of God as a "…corporeal Saviour but not as the saving Principle, or divine Love, we shall continue to seek salvation through pardon and not through reform, and resort to matter instead of Spirit for the cure of the sick." (S23) If we deconstruct this passage we find some interesting things. What does the idea of God as a corporeal savior mean? Maybe the traditional sense of Jesus as God, rather than God's son gives us this "corporeal" savior that causes us to think that there is no call to follow in Jesus' footsteps and heal (if he was God, then how could we possibly live up to his works?). Healing as he did requires of us reformation, repentance, not mere pardon. Christian Science is an active theology. Also, if we see God as a corporeal savior and creator then we must look to matter to heal because such a God appears to be quixotic in His intervention in human affairs. He heals sometimes, when appealed to, and not other times. God being undependable, we must "take things into our own hands", look to matter for cause and cure. Thus we are a much more helpless man than the real man of God's creating. A true understanding of God and man heals both sickness and sin. As a side note, it is beautiful to see that Mrs. Eddy states clearly that it is "error" that is "rebuked" and not a person, when healing sickness. (S24)

Section 6: Salvation now! Eternal punishment never!

Once again we are presented with a living theology—a present salvation rooted in constant reformation, taking steps toward goodness, toward God (S26). Jesus preached the destruction of sin, this is our call today and this is where we find salvation. Matter and pharisaical theology will tell us that it is impossible to destroy all sin. Yet Mrs. Eddy says in her daily prayer: "…and rule out of me all sin." (Italics added.) Was this hyperbole? Not if Jesus' Beatitude (quoted in citation S29) is true: "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." We have the opportunity to see God now in His present Kingdom. This is a place of clear, alert, consciousness—not wishful thinking or abstract idealism. We find this when we have a healing. I can think of many instances where I felt this kind of clear presence of God's Kingdom. Just this week one of my sons was struggling with an upset stomach among other symptoms. Rather than focus on the physical symptoms and pray specifically about them in some way, we were led to address some things about school that were distressing him, causing resentment and frustration. We made a list together of all the wonderful qualities that each of his teachers embodied, it was a beautiful list—and true. He did have a quiet day but by late afternoon all aggressive symptoms were gone and the next morning he was full of his usual vim and vigor with none of the "normal" after effects of "stomach flu" or whatever it is labeled. There was a clear change in attitude quite a while before the physical symptoms abated as well. While at first he had been lying around and looking very distressed. But after a short time in the morning, he got up off the couch and cheerfully said that even though he felt awful, he was going to behave as if he was well. He did spend much of the day in bed, but he maintained good cheer and humor throughout! Isn't that good cheer a manifestation of the presence of that kingdom of God, right here? Even more, the quick healing that involved those steps toward reforming thought was a manifestation of the presence of salvation for God's man.

Truly it is God's mercy and love for man that is everlasting. Punishment never comes from God, it is only the pain of the sin itself that is urging us to reach higher toward Spirit for a true sense of God's man.

[**Warren's PS1: See Online version of this Met (upper right) for inspiring Cobbey Crisler commentary Downloads on Bible citations B11, B12 and B15 in this Lesson.]

[W's PS2, Experience "as in heaven, so on earth": A few cabins are still available at CedarS Memorial Weekend Family Camp (along with bunks in each of our other sessions). Click here to apply online for camp, camperships, work and volunteering opportunities! A couple of programs are full with waiting lists, so do go online or call 636-394-6162 today to reserve an expansive experience of heaven on earth for yourself and/or for loved ones from your Sunday School. Come share in the boundless bliss of expressing God's being of "infinity, freedom, harmony…" in all you do. (SH 470:23 & 481:3.) Here's a sample glimpse of how you can put these ideas into action in a new watersports activity at CedarS. So that all the new physical fun of our 6-tower watersports cableway system is anchored in a metaphyical purpose (like everything else at CedarS), eight elevated signs will mark "Way-of Wholeness" as goals to express and experience on each leg of our new cable-"way of holiness". These 8 signs will be in bold, capital letters (INFINITY, FREEDOM, HARMONY, (one on each of the first three towers) and BOUNDLESS BLISS (on the 200-meter straight-away) … repeated/expressed ("as in heaven, so on earth" and so on water to ride it with a sense of) INFINITY, FREEDOM, HARMONY, (one on each of the second 3 towers) and with BOUNDLESS BLISS on the 200-meter straight-away! You and this cableway can keep going and going like an Energizer Bunny (Infinity); you can express the freedom of skimming across the water and of freedom from a false fear of a new activity; you can be part of a divine harmony where "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28); and you can share the boundless bliss of witnessing "a new heaven and earth" where everyone and everything is "under the control of supreme wisdom" (SH 91:1)]


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[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at ]

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