It is recorded in the fourth chapter of the First Book of Kings that Solomon's wisdom and understanding "excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt," so that his fame was greater than all the kings that had been before or should come after him. Yet, after sounding the depths of human experience, he reached the conclusion that all was "vanity and vexation of spirit" and finally declared, "Lo, this only have I found [discovered, Ferrar Fenton Translation], that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Cruden refers to "inventions" as "new ways of making oneself more wise and happy than God has made him," and in every instance in which this term is employed in the Bible, its origin can be traced to the mortal rather than to the immortal instincts of man.
A familiar proverb regards necessity as the mother of invention, and if this is true, the maternal parent of many inventions has been a false belief. After Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, their sinful sense said that they were naked. Prompted by this false belief, they "sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." Thus disobedience was the father of necessity, and necessity in turn became the mother of invention. Later, when the children of men sought to defend themselves against their mistaken belief in a God of wrath, fearing lest they be "scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth," they planned to erect a tower that should reach unto heaven. The very false sense which they entertained of God, however, restrained them from the things which they imagined to do, and confounded their language and "scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth," so that "they left off to build the city." The invention of letters resulting from this confusion of tongues and the chances for misunderstanding involved thereby, is another evidence of the endless trouble caused by man's misguided efforts to live independently of God.
To enumerate the countless inventions which have sprung from the belief of life in matter, would fill volumes. Our present purpose, however, is simply to show that all inventions, no matter how necessary and useful under prevailing conditions, are either directly or indirectly based upon this erroneous belief. Every human industry owes its existence to the belief of life in matter. Business offices, factories, workshops, railroads, and steamship companies are all employed in feeding, clothing, and housing mortals and transporting them from place to place. The universal problem of food, clothing, and shelter is one which all human beings must face sooner or later, and in each consciousness the question is sure to arise as to what relation the human bears to the divine, and to what extent it is safe to count on God for help in times of need. It may justly be argued that if God is the father of mortals, He is their logical preserver; but if, on the contrary, His children are spiritual, and matter is but a counterfeit image of His perfect work, then there is no more relation between the mortal and the immortal than there was between Egyptian mythology and the gospel of Christ. Jesus plainly said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." According to the promises of Scripture, even the temporal needs of men will be supplied by our Father in heaven as soon as we are sufficiently pure in heart to receive the blessing. Jesus referred to the bread of heaven and the water of life as the only permanent remedy for human hunger and thirst. St. John, in describing the company of saints who had come out of great tribulation and washed their robes white "in the blood of the Lamb" (life of purity), says, "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters."
Want to read this article from the Journal?
Subscribe to JSH-Online to access The Christian Science Journal, along with the Christian Science Sentinel and The Herald of Christian Science. Get unlimited access to current issues, the searchable archive, podcasts, audio for issues, biographies about Mary Baker Eddy, and more. Already a subscriber? Log in