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Your Questions & Answers

Following the example set by the question-and-answer columns 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. Readers are also encouraged to go to Chapter III of Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 by Mary Baker Eddy — “Questions and Answers.”

Why do we call certain things "bad" and other things "good"?

From the January 2012 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Q. Why do we call certain things “bad” and other things “good”? What are the criteria? For example, isn’t death good because we’re moving on to the “second grade”?
 — A participant at the youth summit in Portland, Oregon, US

A. Hamlet broods in Shakespeare’s play, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” There is a difference between human relativism, where truth changes with circumstances, and the divine ethics taught by Jesus Christ, which is practiced in Christian Science. 

Jesus defined good as God when he instructed a young man how to obtain eternal life. “There is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). God is good, the essence of good, the source of all that is good. This divine standard is reiterated in Science and Health: “In the Saxon and twenty other tongues good is the term for God” (p. 286). The criterion for good is the Divine, God who is divine Love, absolute Truth, immortal Life. The expression of good is our living the godly qualities such as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, which are known as “the fruit of the Spirit” (see Gal. 5:22, 23). 

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