As read in The Christian Science Journal, July 2014, volume 132, issue 07, with my remarks given in bold font:
Question. Should Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures be changed to keep up with the times?
Answer. It’s characteristic of human experience to keep on changing. But, interestingly, Mary Baker Eddy realized the textbook of Christian Science would never be swallowed up by change. She once wrote, “If the world were in ashes, the contents of ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures’ would remain immortal’ (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p 178.)
The “contents” of Science and Health are ideas, spiritual ideas. If the world were in ashes, the ideas would still remain because they are immortal.
I do not assume to know what Mary Baker Eddy “realized,” however I will not impose upon Mary Baker Eddy the notion that she believed human words or a physical book were immortal. This imposition would restrict Christian Science to a book and a lost language, until the advancement of divine Science reverts back to the oral tradition.
A better crafted question is: Should Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures be revised? And the answer is, yes, because truth stays ahead of mortal mind’s perversions. Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “A germ of infinite Truth, though least in the realm of heaven, is the higher hope on earth, but it will be rejected and hated until God prepares the soil for the seed. That which when sown produces immortal fruit, perfects humanity only when it is understood—consequently, the many readings given the Scriptures, and the requisite revisions of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.”
The presumption that God won’t be rejected is complacent to the very evil that is rejecting God. A sacrifice of beloved material words is requisite to express the higher hope on earth.
Was Mrs. Eddy unaware of the effect time would appear to have on all books and human opinions, or was she so profoundly aware of how this book had come into being that she had not the slightest doubt of its eternal nature? She observed, “No human pen nor tongue taught me the Science contained in this book, Science and Health; and neither tongue nor pen can overthrow it.” (Science and Health p. 110).
This paragraph is a guesstimate made by the Board of Directors as to what Mrs. Eddy believed one hundred years ago about time. Their guesstimate has nothing to do with Science.
She described herself as feeling like a little child when first stepping into the new universe of Spirit. What had been sought through centuries of Christian prayer she was discovering to be the existing actuality of infinite divine good. Is it any wonder Mrs. Eddy saw the Science behind Jesus’ healing as the fulfillment of his prophecy of the coming of the Comforter to humanity (see John 14:16)?
This unchanging Allness of God, Spirit, she learned, brings concrete changes for the better in human experience. Thousands of healings through Christian Science over more than a century and a half provide abundant evidence. The chapter “Fruitage” in Science and Health includes this example of healing among many others:
“For twenty years I was a constant sufferer, my spine having been injured when I was very young. As a little child I suffered so much that I would look up to the starts and beg God, who I thought might be up there somewhere, to take me away from the earth,—I was so tired. A great wall of pain seemed to separate me from the pleasures enjoyed by others…This was my condition when I commenced reading Science and Health. I was ready for its message, and in about ten days there came a wonderful insight into the truth which heals the sick and binds up the brokenhearted. All pain left me, I had a glimpse of the new heavens and the new earth, and was beginning to be fed by Love divine” (p. 690).
A single, deeply moving account of such a healing, and the glimpse of the wholly new and different reality behind it, should be enough to give anyone pause in trying to “improve” the textbook of Christian Science. Whatever differences in punctuation, language, biblical scholarship, or translations, or even social norms and attitudes, may have developed since the final edition of Science and Health, the book stands as Mrs. Eddy saw it to be, the final revelation of the Science of Christ.
Maybe, a testimony of spiritual healing should give pause. But arguing with a century-old testimony, out of millions of testimonies, is self-jeopardizing. Moreover, the testimonies of people who were harmed by reading Science and Health should also give pause.
As for the “final” edition of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, is only final because she died. Mrs. Eddy never ceased revising her book while she was alive.
Its uniqueness and completeness is God-given. The textbook of Christian Science can’t be made simpler, and doesn’t need to be made more “accessible,” as the author herself pointed out.
The above words are words put in Mary Baker Eddy’s mouth. Words she did not write, that is why there is no reference for the quoted word “accessible.”
Moreover, the Board of Directors statement is based on the thinking that leads to the distortion that Christian Science and Science and Health are synonymous.
There would be no more sense in opening the door to mortal minds’ unremitting desire to conform truth to its own state of thought than there would to permit an art or music student to make a Michelangelo sculpture “better’ or to “fix” Bach’s or Beethoven’s music.
Is the Board of Directors assuming that readers of Eddy’s Science and Health never try to conform truth to their own states of thought? This assumption is negligent.
Or, is the Board of Directors assuming that Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures would be changed while retaining Eddy as the author? That assumption is immoral and illegal. The Board’s statement makes no sense.
But, it makes complete sense for students to discover Christian Science, as did Eddy, and express or read about Science uniquely and individually, with inspiration. It makes sense to learn from Michelangelo, Bach, Beethoven, or Eddy and go on to create our own masterpieces.
There can be no changes to an original spiritual discovery anymore than to discovering the basic facts of a new galaxy’s existence. And none are needed to increase the significance and attraction of Science and Health. Deepening spiritualization and Christianization awaken its readers every day to the incredible, lasting newness of this little book the angel had in hand (see Science and Health, pp. 558-559).
This statement by the Board of Directors adds to the detrimental imposition placed on Mary Baker Eddy by her opponents. Nowhere, does Eddy say Science and Health is the little book held by the angel as spoken of in the book of Revelation.
Eddy uses Revelation 10: 1 as a metaphor. The “little book” is likened to divine Science, not Science and Health. Divine Science or Christian Science is NOT Science and Health.
Science and Health isn’t a book needing help in keeping up. It’s “out there,” already far ahead of time and human opinions. It is best made known now through Christian Science healing and the revolutionary message of hope and fulfilling it offers humanity.
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
I warn against this attempt to conform human mind to matter, whether in the form of a book or words or actions.
I will not impose upon Eddy the assumption that she was a semi-god, fanatic, theocrat, or autocrat. She simply wrote a good book, that in order not to be buried in human language, needs honestly to be revised.
My revision of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was accomplished, not because Eddy’s book needed help, but because the ideas found in Eddy’s book were helpful. A fifth edition of my book, 21st Century Science and Health is coming soon .
Tagged: mary baker eddy, nate talbot, phinney, science and health, trammel, what is christian science
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