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Quit pondering, contemplating, observing evil…it's a lie!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for October 7, 2018

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

This lesson is introduced by an amazing question. "Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world's wisdom?" For me the answer is a resounding "YES"! What about for you? Have you found that the questions you are asking have been answered by the laws of God? These are laws that you've seen in Christ Jesus' demonstration of the laws of "divine metaphysics" (S27). If you are not sure, that's okay, because we have eternity to walk this path and prove for ourselves that the error of so-called material law is not actually a law at all, but nothing. Nothing can oppose the all-goodness of God, and spiritual reality.

In order to answer this Golden Text question with an affirmative, we have to demonstrate—that is see and experience for ourselves—the truth that God is all good, all presence and all-power (S8). This demonstration is more of a daily one, a daily walking in "…paths of righteousness, for his name's sake…" as the 23rd Psalm says. There is good reason to consider seriously the advantage of walking the path of spiritual reality. We don't do this out of fear of God, or fear of "bad things happening". But out of love for Good! This is a really helpful reminder as we practice using our spiritual sense to perceive harmony in the place of discord of any kind.

Responsive Reading: [See W’s PS#1 and #2]
We are not striving to demonstrate Christian Science for any other reason than love for God/Good. To do this, we will really want to understand God better because our struggle to practice won't last long if we don't understand what we love… it's not really love if there is no understanding behind it! Our Responsive Reading points out the confusion that ensues when we practice "bitter envying and strife" in our hearts, dishonesty, impurity, and so on. I am forcibly reminded of any angry or hurtful, resentful interchange that I've witnessed. It is always built on the confusion of dual points of view—a lack of understanding of the unity and oneness of God. Admittedly this is hard to see when we are constantly faced with differing views and opinions. But these views are mostly based in human consciousness and are not inherently spiritual, no matter how dearly we hold them!

Here is a way to check ourselves, whether we are dealing in spiritual reality or material sense. "Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom." This is the NRSV Bible translation of verse 13 of James 3 in the Responsive Reading. What is that "good life"? What are those works? Why must they be done with "gentleness born of wisdom"? Because when we are angry, harsh, unkind, we are confused, these qualities are not from God, Good. The works and the good life are evidenced in love expressed, integrity expressed, joy expressed…the list is long!

Most of all, this lesson leaves me with the firm conviction that when faced with discord of any kind, we must absolutely remain unmoved. We must retain our spiritual balance, joy, harmony. The carnal mind will call loudly and incessantly, but it is a liar. We can just stand our ground, at peace with God's allness, God's goodness and power.

Section 1: "Don't believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God:" evil is a deception. [See W’s PS#3 and #4]

The part of that statement within the quotations is a Living Bible translation of part of citation B3. We are faced throughout life with people claiming truth about what they think, what society thinks, what the educated, the experienced, the successful, think. It is incumbent on each of us to discern what is really Truth's word, with a capital "T", and what is just opinion. Opinion can be very persuasive. Have you ever been in an argument with someone who is skilled at persuasion, to the point where you couldn't think of how to convey your thoughts without them being shut down? Most of us have. And sometimes this is because our opinions are actually invalid. Often though, this is not the case and what we really need is the quiet calm of spiritual consciousness to help us discern what is really the word of God, and what is personal opinion—ours or another's.

What we need, to do this discerning, is to don the spiritual armor from citation B5. This is the armor of God that is rooted in the spiritual understanding of God's allness and evil's nothingness. If we really understand for a moment, the nothingness of evil, we cannot be harmed by it right? "Nothing", is incapable of harming! Ponder this idea next time you are faced with painful human conflict, see if you can find that spiritual gentleness that is conscious of God's allness. Remember that "…evil is the awful deception and unreality of existence." (S3) It does seem awful, but it is deceptive. We have all been fooled at one time or another by someone. It is not a good feeling!

Have you ever gotten one of those fake calls from people purporting to be with the IRS? My daughter got one of those years ago. She was told that if she didn't send some thousands of dollars at once to the "IRS", that sheriffs would show up at her door. The more questions she asked, the nastier they got. She called me in a panic. She even knew that she had paid her taxes. Yet somehow, the deceptive nature of this call was really making her afraid. Think about this as an analogy. The more we question the nature of evil, of the lie, the nastier it can seem. We get filled with doubt, fear, sadness, helplessness. And yet, the evil, as in the case of this call, was not powerful at all—unless the call recipient gives it "truth" by caving in and sending them money! The claim that she owed taxes had no truth to it. Yet, because she allowed the uncertainty of the lie to enter her thought, she started to feel confusion. A quick response to the call with the knowledge and understanding of the truth of the law, that the IRS never contacts people in this way, would cause the evil, the deception, to disappear immediately.

I've received these calls, and responded immediately with the truth. They hang up and don't even bother trying to convince me. They know that they don't have a receptive audience. What if we met all the lies of material sense with this same conviction? This is a powerful step in healing! Let's check out how the different deceptions of unreality are met in other sections of this week's lesson!

Section 2: Trust the "inward voice" of Truth (S7). [See W’s PS#5 (CC) & #6 (poem)]

Truth speaks to us all. But we are asked throughout this lesson to discern the voice of Truth from the voice of error. In this section Moses is faced with a voice that tells him he isn't up to the task (B8). Interestingly, God's voice answers that He, God, will surely be with him. God's voice doesn't come to him to say: "You are a good man and smart enough and worthy enough to do this task." He merely tells him that He will be there. Maybe that's a great way for us to see that it isn't about being a better mortal, having the right education, background, skills. But rather, that because we are God's idea, He/Mind, is always there expressing Himself fully and completely. It's not about human confidence in self, but about spiritual consciousness of God's ability reflected in man.

Truly it is the fact that we are always in the presence of God, reflecting His worth, that makes us capable of anything! The voice of self-doubt is mortal consciousness—deceitful. Then we have the account of God telling Moses to pick up his staff-turned-snake by the tail. This is certainly not human wisdom, as anyone who has picked up a snake before knows! And God also shows him to have leprosy without ever having gone through the "human process" by which one might contract such a disease. So maybe here we are learning that there is no source for such things. They can be dealt with decisively by understanding that God doesn't bestow them, so they have no power, are nothing. Likewise, the serpent's appearance was equally illogical (a staff turned serpent?)! Understanding the reality of God's all goodness causes the deceptive voice of error to fade and we recognize our worth as far greater than any based in human merit.

Section 3: Christ light always reveals the goodness of reality. [See W’s PS#7a and #7b]

While we may not be tempted to think that the fourth Commandment means that God wants to withhold freedom or healing on the Sabbath, the healing example in this section can easily be put into a modern context. Mary Baker Eddy does this when she tells us that "Human codes, scholastic theology, material medicine and hygiene, fetter faith and spiritual understanding." (S13) Simply put, whatever is respected and currently considered the way to health, success, achievement—if based in human knowledge—will actually lead us into bondage and away from understanding God and the freedom He bestows on man. Notice that Divine Science, the laws of God's goodness, "…rends asunder these fetters…" that is, the laws of God lead to freedom, health, joy, wisdom. They are laws that bless and do good, not laws that withhold goodness and health, or require some material regimen.

"For unto us a child is born…" (B10) Our childlike consciousness is always ready to be transformed from the worldly to spiritual renewal. This consciousness won't be fooled by suggestions of material law making goodness unattainable, out of reach. The will of God is always good. (B13)

Section 4: Accidents and death even, are a deception.

This is certainly counterintuitive to material sense. But we have to take this out of the sense of life in matter. Matter is the unreal. We aren't actually trying to prove that matter is indestructible; rather that man doesn't live or die in matter. That is the understanding that brought freedom to Eutychus after he fell from the third loft during Paul's preaching. That is what Mary Baker Eddy is explaining when she says in citation S19 that "When understanding changes the standpoints of life and intelligence from a material to a spiritual basis, we shall gain the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense…" (my italics). Not only are we going against human wisdom here concerning the laws of gravity, but also the laws of physics concerning impact and time.

Think of the fact that we are told in citation S17 that there can be no accidents. What if we simply accept the truth, now proven for more than eighty years, that our human sense of time is nothing more than a concept developed to make our human lives function in an orderly way (we can organize when things begin and end). It is not a truth in and of itself. Where is the history of an accident if there is no "time" in which it could actually occur? Where does a genetic disorder originate if the concept of health history has no antecedent? This may sound far-fetched and even detached from how we have to live day to day, but consider that this kind of understanding leads us to freedom from the effects of accident.

Many years ago I had such an experience of overcoming time limits when I was healed in three days from the rather impressive effects of a dog-sledding accident. This occurred as I held firmly to the facts as stated in citation S17; I refused to consent to the visual picture no matter how gruesome it appeared. There was just no explanation for the amazing results of this change other than the underlying law that accidents don't occur in reality and that we can bring that truth to light in our consciousness by refusing to ally ourselves with the deception of material law.

Mary Baker Eddy encourages us that we do have work to do in order to prepare our thought, our "finite belief" to give up its error (S19). That said, while we must diligently work in this direction, I had that healing before I'd had Christian Science class instruction—I was barely out of Sunday School. The laws that underlie these astounding facts about spiritual reality exist whether we are aware of them or not. Any thought that is willing to give up the lie can bear witness to the truth of the constant operation of those spiritual laws.

Section 5: Mortal mind/the "carnal mind" is easily deceived. [W’s PS#8 on B18, S21]

I love that everything that Mary Baker Eddy explains is derived from the Bible. In citation B19 we are told that "…the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." What if we use a math analogy to help us understand why mortal laws of health, accident, success, and so on are not "subject to the law of God". What if we go to the old favorite: 2+2=5. Would this sentence be subject to laws of mathematics? Would it support any laws of math? Can you prove anything with this sentence? Well, it might be written right here before your very eyes, you can write it yourself in permanent marker. You can memorize it even. But it still doesn't support the law of mathematics, nor does it hold any truth within its statement. This is because it is not a law, just a lie, a falsehood. The true equation (2+2=4) can be proven, we can build more complicated math problems based on its reality and truth. When we side with the lie in our consciousness, that matter is our being, that sickness, sadness, etc. are natural outcomes of a law, we may experience the misery of these lies, just as we will find ourselves frustrated and confused if we try to build our continuing demonstration of mathematics on the false premise of that first statement.

Maryu Baker Eddy uses the analogy of the sculptor in this section to help us to see how we can turn our thought towards God, towards the goodness of reality to shape our lives into beauty and joy and intelligence. These qualities are supported by the laws of God, while sickness, ugliness, despair, are only deceitful suggestions of the carnal mind.

Section 6: The reality of Good is established, natural, true.

We recap the Golden Text in citation B20, reaffirming that the wisdom of the human mind is foolish deceit. We have to look to God, look to the kingdom of heaven within, for the harmony of reality. This understanding has been bestowed on man by the Christ throughout the ages. I love that Mary Baker Eddy also tells us in citation S29, that the lie can never contaminate Truth.

Nothing, nothingness, cannot touch or change harmony; it has no substance or being! This is the lesson of unreality. It has no power next to the all-goodness, presence, and power of spiritual reality. Even the human experience is deeply touched by this understanding as we have seen in Moses' story, and in the lives of Eutychus and the woman that was bent over for 18 years before Jesus helped her glimpse spiritual reality. We can stand on the side of our spiritual sense and the evidence that it provides and refuse to acknowledge the deceitful testimony of material sense. The doctrine of Christian Science (S29) declares that we are free from all that is unreal, all that is unlike God. And Christian Science helps deepen our understanding of God so that we can see this fact.

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