High above Paul, as he stood in the middle of Mars' Hill over nineteen centuries ago, rose the Parthenon, crowning the Acropolis, central hill of ancient Athens. This magnificent structure, with its great white marble columns and its frieze painted in red and blue, was considered then, as indeed by many today, the most perfect monument of Greek art. For almost five hundred years it had dominated not only the landscape, but the thinking of the people; for the Parthenon was a pagan temple, housing a colossal statue, made of ivory and gold, of Athena, the patron goddess of Athens.
Though the temple was beautiful, the statue of the goddess imposing, and the system of her worship time-honored, Paul was not favorably impressed by them or by the many other temples and altars in the city. He was not awed by the intellectuality of his hearers as he spoke to the scholars and philosophers of Athens who had gathered in the shadow of the Parthenon to hear him.
In his famous speech, recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Acts, Paul boldly stated the spiritual truths which repudiated the materialism of Athens. God, the creator of all that really exists, "dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands." Thus did Paul refute pantheism—the belief that God, who is Spirit, is in or of matter—and also paganism—the belief that God can be worshiped or served through matter.
Paul proclaimed God, not matter, to be the source of life, breath, and all things. His scientific declaration that all being, all life and activity, is found in God denounced the belief that matter includes or sustains existence. Man he affirmed to be the very offspring of God, contradicting the belief that man is mortal and material. "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God," he said, "we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
Only a few of those who heard him caught a glimpse of the divine philosophy Paul set forth that day in Athens. Yet it is significant that today the great temple lies in ruins atop the Acropolis, its idol long since carried off for the material value of the gold and ivory; but where Paul stood on the smaller, adjoining Mars' Hill are inscribed on a bronze plate embedded in rock the words of Paul's speech, still proclaiming to the world the vital, indestructible truth of being.
Although Athena is today classified as a mythical person and the worship of her has been abandoned, yet the essential idolatry, against which Paul struck, remains: the belief that life, substance, intelligence, causation, and power exist in matter. Even as Paul came to refute idolatry in ancient Athens, so has Christian Science come to repudiate modern mythology.
The temple in which present-day idolatry is practiced is human consciousness, hung with all the trappings of material sense. The idol is the belief in matter. The idolater which serves this false god is mortal mind. Christian Science is purging this temple with spiritual understanding, exposing the mythical nature of matter, setting the human mind free from its age-old servitude.
Mrs. Eddy, who brought this Science to this age, writes in Science and Health (p. 535): "Divine Science deals its chief blow at the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence. It dooms idolatry. A belief in other gods, other creators, and other creations must go down before Christian Science."
Christian Science is pouring into individual human consciousness the truth of being, reiterating the teachings of Christ Jesus and Paul. It is revealing one God, who is Spirit, one substance, which is Truth, one intelligence, which is Mind, one power, which is Love. It is revealing one universe, which is the spiritual manifestation of God, one kind of man, who is the image and likeness of God, one Christ, which is the true idea of God and which heals mankind. And it is showing that neither God nor His offspring, Mind nor its idea, Life nor its expression, exists in matter or is sustained by matter or corresponds with matter.
To the degree that the individual accepts these scientific facts, his consciousness no longer resembles a pagan temple, but becomes Truth's superstructure, divine Love's shrine, the true sense of temple as taught in Christian Science.
One of the false gods which has no place in this temple is the belief that health is a condition of matter, and therefore in the event of sickness, health must be restored by material means. The sole support of this belief is the supposition that life and intelligence exist in matter. This supposition is pure mythology, eternally repudiated by the great verity underlying Paul's scientific declaration (Acts 17:28), "For in him we live, and move, and have our being."
Today Christian Science, declaring and repeating, affirming and reaffirming this scientific fact, is revealing health to be a quality of the divine Mind, God, wholly independent of matter. As this truth penetrates the thought of the individual, he gladly forsakes material superstitions and seeks healing through increasing his understanding of God. The restoration which follows is a convincing proof that health, as well as all being, is spiritual and has no material foundations.
Belief in man-made doctrines is a false god which is going down before Christian Science. Such doctrines, though they be called philosophy, theology, or psychology, are founded on matter insofar as they assume matter to be substance and the source of power, the controller of life and the agency of mind. But Christian Science is showing that it is impossible for matter to be the foundation of any truth, for matter is merely a. subjective state of mortal mind and so is devoid of essence, force, continuity, or sensibility.
This Science is revealing God to be All-in-all: therefore divine Truth is the only possible foundation of that which is real, scientific, and demonstrable. Mrs. Eddy declares in "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 364): "Christian Science refutes everything that is not a postulate of the divine Principle, God. It is the soul of divine philosophy, and there is no other philosophy." Divine philosophy brings to the individual the theology of the one God, who is unlimited good, and the psychology of the one infinite and perfect Mind, which controls all real consciousness and action in perfect harmony.
Another false god is the belief that the universe is a vast assemblage of matter, possessing untold power and glory. This claim of matter, with its accompanying demand upon the individual for recognition and servitude, is not new. It is recorded in the fourth chapter of Matthew that the devil tempted Jesus with an exhibition of "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them," saying, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." The Master, wholly undeceived and unimpressed by the claims of matter, rebuked the idolatry underlying this suggestion thus: "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Today natural science, testing and exploring matter, is breaking down certain limited beliefs of the human mind. Ultimately this honest endeavor must lead to the conclusion that the universe is not material; it is mental. Mrs. Eddy's discovery nearly one hundred years ago that all is one perfect Mind and its boundless and harmonious manifestation reveals the realm of truly scientific exploration to be metaphysical, not physical.
To the really advanced thinker, Christian Science is already revealing the infinitude, magnitude, majesty, and glory of the actual universe, God's spiritual, perfect creation. This revelation exposes the mythology of matter and so breaks down every type and form of finiteness and limitation. This true understanding of the universe comes to the individual who, like Jesus, rejects the claims of matter and worships and serves the one God.
Christian Science is divine revelation. It is spiritual, complete, undeniable, irresistible. It is even now leavening human consciousness, dooming every idolatrous material belief, pulling down every false god, and bringing to light Life harmonious. No system founded on matter, be it sanitary or scientific, religious or cultural, can be substituted for Christian Science. Nor can any system, straddling the issue and claiming to rest upon both Spirit and matter, adulterate it or obscure it. "Christian Science rends this veil of the temple of gods, and reproduces the divine philosophy of Jesus and Paul," our Leader says (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 364), and then she makes an emphatic statement, "This philosophy alone will bear the strain of time and bring out the glories of eternity; for 'other foundation can no man lay than that is laid,' which is Christ, Truth."