AS IT APPEARS IN THE BIBLE, the word fan is used as a metaphor, but most people in the 21st century probably wouldn't know what it refers to unless they're familiar with agricultural methods in ancient times. Webster's Dictionary gives one definition of fan as "any of various devices for winnowing grain." And winnowing means "to blow off the chaff from the wheat." So we might conclude that the spiritual definition of fan in Science and Health means that the "separator" is the "wind" of Spirit—blowing away the chaff of ignorance.
In the Bible, Isaiah uses fan as a verb when he writes, "Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them" (Isa. 41:15, 16). Another interpretation of that verse clarifies the meaning of the last sentence: "You shall toss them [the hills] in the air; the wind shall blow them all away" (verse 16, The Living Bible: Paraphrased by Kenneth Taylor).
The concept that the chaff in our human thought can be whirled away is a marvelous image in any century. The comparison is vivid, understandable, and meaningful. As Mrs. Eddy's words promise in her definition of fan, thought is radically changed when a separation is made between truth and error.
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