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Your Questions & Answers

Following the example set by the question-and-answer column in the early Journals, when Mary Baker Eddy was Editor, this column will respond to general queries from Journalreaders with responses from Journal readers. You'll find information at the end of the column about how to submit questions. 

Can you explain the distinction between pantheism and theosophy?

From the September 2011 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Mary Baker Eddy classifies theosophy with spiritualism, hypnotism, pantheism, etc. I think I can recognize spiritualism and hypnotism for what they are, but not so much pantheism and theosophy. Can you explain the distinction between pantheism and theosophy?
 —A reader in North Carolina

A: Pantheism, the belief that a higher power is in everything, puts a strong emphasis on the natural world. It includes man in this material world, with varying degrees of focus on “the form” this power takes. Theosophy casts an eye on the occult, including astrology and reincarnation. Some say that theosophy itself contains pantheistic elements. 

Both of these belief systems were around when Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was published in 1875. Her book espoused the unreality of matter, so from that time on all mental systems based on materiality came under a new scrutiny. She challenged every thinker to view life from a “Spirit only” standpoint. She taught that man’s identity does not originate through laws of nature—although we appreciate the beauty of nature. Man and the universe reflect God, Spirit, but God is not “in” His creation, as pantheism avers. Nor does man need to investigate the infinite through the finite, forward or backwards in time, to understand God, as theosophy suggests. 

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