The inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures is their revelation of the allness of God, in contradistinction to the beliefs of mortals in another being of unlike nature and influence. In the allegory of Eden, which has its counterpart in each human consciousness, the serpent represented the suggestion that there was a condition of things besides good, and that it was proper for Adam and Eve to be acquainted with it. And because of its tragic place in the human drama, as portrayed by Old Testament writers, evil came to be regarded as a God-acknowledged reality, and as a terrible power to be reckoned with by the generations of mankind.
Christ Jesus, the Founder of Christianity, reversed this attitude. He said of himself that he came into the world to bear "witness unto the truth," and that this truth, as men came to understand it, would make them free. The obvious meaning of his statement is, that the conditions from which men seek freedom are contrary to the truth, and hence are not true. This is borne out by another of his statements, namely, that the devil, the personified human sense of all that is not good, has "no truth in him." The Scripture implies that it was believing this mythical devil or serpent, denounced by Jesus as the father of lies, and not something existing of itself, which admitted sin and woe into the consciousness of mortals. It was the same serpent which he encountered and silenced in the wilderness; not as a person, but as the suggested supposition of the opposite of Truth from which all lies come, whatever may be their nature.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 346) Mrs. Eddy writes, "The nothingness of nothing is plain; but we need to understand that error is nothing, and that its nothingness is not saved, but must be demonstrated in order to prove the somethingness —yea, the allness— of Truth."
All and nothing, or allness and nothingness, are words whose significance is vitally important to understand, for their significance is not relative but absolute, and it is thus these terms are used in stating and applying Christian Science. The definition of God as All-in-all is necessarily without modification or limitation, and means that there is literally nothing else—no other origin, intelligence, power, or presence. And when the mortal belief in another cause and effect, which it calls evil and material, is defined as unreal, it means just that. This is manifestly what Christianity stands for, and any less unqualified position could not lead mankind to the consciousness of immortal and harmonious being.
The supposition, formerly believed, that the earth is flat did not make it so; and one day the discovery that it is a globe exposed the deception of ages; but nothing was destroyed, only a false belief corrected. In like manner the ages' acceptance of the supposition that there is in reality an opposite to good has not made it true; and when through Christian Science mortals universally recognize the allness of God, and cease admitting the suggestion of something else, the mesmerism of evil will be broken. Human consciousness will then have no evidence of God's unlikeness, and the divine understanding of being will reign unchallenged.
In such a consummation, which must remain a practical possibility until realized, nothing would have been destroyed but the delusions springing from ignorance of God. And ignorance is not something which one can lay hold of or analyze, and must remain the utter emptiness of vacuity. Like a shadow of the night, it is without substance or intelligence, an illusion which the coming of day leaves without a witness. It is only in this ignorance of Truth that false beliefs have their apparent origin and activity; and that condition of thought which argues for their reality is itself a phase of false belief, in other words self-deception.
This is readily admitted in the case of mistakes in mathematics, or of discords in music, but such conditions of human experience as physical life and sensation, fear, sin, suffering, death, and so on, are often regarded as integral parts of God's creation, and therefore as things to be believed. But from Jesus' attitude toward these conditions it is evident that he looked upon them as being without divine sanction, as errors of belief which had no right to be there, and which in the true sense were not there; and he dismissed them on that ground. In his understanding, all that God made was real and perfect, while all that originated in evil was unreal and false. Then, to be his consistent followers can we admit as true what he denied, or deny what he affirmed as man's natural and only estate?
However much one may talk back and forth concerning the origin or existence of what mortals call evil, it is as truly impossible to think of it as being admitted into the presence of good as it would be to think of darkness entering the presence of light. What shall we say then, since the omnipresence of God excludes evil from any place in the divine consciousness, and there is no possible outside to infinity? What can be more logically consistent with the Master's attitude, or more scientifically applicable to the solution of human problems, than Mrs. Eddy's discerning conclusion (Science and Health,p. 339), "Since God is All, there is no room for His unlikeness"?
It is true that such a statement may seem outside the range of practical experience, vague and hypothetical, until it is translated into the facts of daily living; for one is not convinced of the unreality of evil by wordy arguments, but by the power of good made evident in his own life. It is a matter of common knowledge that one's sense of evil in himself diminishes as his sense of good increases; therefore it only means carrying that process to the possible point where good alone comprises one's consciousness for the sense of evil wholly to disappear. And when that consciousness is attained, as it sometime must be in the working out of human salvation, it will be seen that evil was not a person, nor a real power, but a false mode of thought, an error of material belief, outgrown through spiritual enlightenment and progress.
It is evident that a knowledge of Truth corrects error but does not participate in it. In the last analysis, paradoxical as it may seem, it will be found that it is error itself, not man, which believes in error, which argues for it, loves it, fears it, suffers from it, and carries out its illusive conditions. That is to say, it is always a false sense of things which sponsors its apparent presence and activity, and is known only to itself. In its nature and effect it is nothing more than a state of self-mesmerism, without actual identity, and as unreal as a dream of the night. An intelligent recognition of this scientific conclusion leads one to see that a consciousness opposite to good is no conceivable part of God's image and likeness, and is therefore no part of his real self.
After all, it is not a question of theories and arguments, of adherence to religious doctrines, or professions of belief, but of what one is consenting to be, the things with which he willingly identifies himself, and which he is permitting to make up his individual life-picture. When we acknowledge to ourselves the practical unreality of our errors, and see the positive nothingness of whatever is unlike God, we shall be ready to emerge, it may be slowly but nevertheless definitely, from the delusions of false sense, and to find the kingdom of heaven in our own consciousness of good.