November 3, 2021

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Subject: God and human punishment

Golden text: II Corinthians 2:14-16*

 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

Jeremiah 23:7-8, 11-12, 16-17

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”

11 “Both prophet and priest are ungodly;
    even in my house I have found their evil,
declares the Lord.
12 Therefore their way shall be to them
    like slippery paths in the darkness,
    into which they shall be driven and fall,
for I will bring disaster upon them
    in the year of their punishment,
declares the Lord.

16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”

21st Century Science and Health**

The imperfect and impure feel reprimanded by the ever present perfect and pure.

Without punishment, sin would multiply.

Fear of punishment never made a person truly honest. Moral courage is requisite to meet the wrong behavior and proclaim the right. But how is the person, who has more animal courage than moral courage, reformed? How do we help a person who doesn’t have the true idea of good? Through human consciousness, convince the person it is a mistake to look for power and happiness through material means. Reason is the most active human faculty. Let rational thought guide the person’s feelings and awaken their dormant sense of moral obligation. By degrees, they will learn the nothingness of the pleasures of human sense and the greatness and happiness of spiritual sense. This silences the corporeal and the person will not only be saved, but is saved.

A human judge sometimes remits the penalty the comes with a broken law, but this may not be a moral benefit to the criminal. At best, it only saves the criminal from one form of punishment. The moral law, which has the right to acquit or condemn, always demands restitution before human beings can “move up to a better place.”[1] Penalties compel progress.

Prophets looked for something higher than the systems of their times; hence their foresight of the new dispensation of Truth, but they lacked a systematic teaching of God in Truth’s more infinite meanings. The demonstration that overcomes sin, sickness, and failure establishes the definition of omnipotence and maintains the Science of Spirit.

In Isaiah, we read: “I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things,”[2] but the prophet referred to divine law dawning on human consciousness, causing evil and wrong thinking to surface before being reduced to its common denominator, nothingness. The infected system needs to be scanned entirely in order to clean the hard-drive. During moral purification, when the symptoms of evil and illusion are aggravated, we might ignorantly think that the Lord brought about the evil. Thinking it through metaphysically, we ascertain that the discovery of God’s law uncovers so-called sin and its effects only that Truth may annihilate all sense of evil and all power to sin.

Science tells the human sense of destructiveness, disease, and fatality, that God never made you. God never made a perception that lacks knowledge of the unlimited God.

The arrogance of being a church official is a ruler of this world. Arrogance has nothing in Christ.

The beast and the false prophets are lust and hypocrisy. These wolves in sheep’s clothing are detected and killed by innocence, the Lamb of Love.

Luke 15:1-7

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

21st Century Science and Health

It would be contrary to our highest ideas of God to suppose He made unwise decisions and rules intended to bring about evil results. Would God punish helpless victims for doing what they could not avoid doing?

Sin multiplies when we believe life is in human concepts.

As with all human concepts, pictures are mentally formed before the artist conveys them to canvas and mind-readers perceive these pictures of thought, even seeing those that have been lost to the memory of the mind in which they were discovered. Human mind sees what it believes as certainly as it believes what it sees. It feels, hears, and sees its own thoughts.

Human mind and body are one. Neither exists without the other, and both must be replaced by spiritual Mind. A material body is an embodied concept of human mind. This mortal mind builds its own superstructure of which the fleshly body is the denser portion. From first to last, the body is a sensuous mythical human concept.

Matter is an incomplete human concept or invention.

Even though you insist that the physical senses are indispensable to your existence or entity, you must change the human concept of life and extensively know yourself spiritually and scientifically.

Human perceptions transmit their own images and form offspring after human illusions; whereas God, Spirit, works spiritually, not materially. The brain is an electrical device unable to originate a human concept because electricity has no intelligence, no creative ability. Immortal ideas―pure, perfect, and enduring―are transmitted by the divine Mind through Science.

The design of Love is to reform the sinner. So long as a person’s thought continues in a confused sinful state, they will perceive suffering. Punishment can’t be avoided, since justice is the instrument of mercy. If suffering is insufficient to remove the sin, then heaven is hell to the sinner.  People who do not experience purity and love will not find happiness and peace through death. In divine Science you must spare no effort to purify thought before and after death.

Proverbs 16:20

Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

21st Century Science and Health

The term Lord, as used in the Old Testament, is often synonymous with Yahweh, and expresses a rudimental human concept not yet elevated to deific understanding through spiritual transfiguration. Yet the word Lord gradually approaches a higher significance, as the human mind’s concept of God yields to diviner meaning. The human mind’s sense of personality admits a more expansive thought of God and us as the infinite Principle and infinite idea—as one Father-Mother with a universal family held in the gospel of Love. To think that God forgives or punishes, whether we pray or not, is to misunderstand Love. Prayer is not a loophole for wrongdoing.

We are coexistent and eternal with God and forever reflect in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.

Genesis 1:27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Again: the word man has a generic meaning, signifying the one perfect nature of person or spiritual being. The term is unpolluted by the human concepts of biological gender. Research into the word man is finds it connected with the root *men—“to think” (cognate to mind).[3] Unfortunately, today’s common use of man, defined as human males, narrows and weakens the original meaning. Biblical literalism attempts to reduce Deity to anthropomorphism or humanization. The word anthropomorphic is derived from two Greek words, signifying human and shape, but God has no physical anatomy with fleshly organs and human passions. Fortunately, spiritual interpretation allows us to recapture a broader perspective. The life-giving quality of Spirit is Mind, not human mind. The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence and Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and Love.

Human minds misinterpret Spirit and generate that which is unlike complete Spirit. Matter, material energy, time, and space are incomplete concepts. Being incomplete, they lead to incomplete statements. Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is reliable, for matter is modifiable. Matter is a human phenomenon, a human invention, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous.

Translators of the scientific record of creation often entertain a misinterpretation of being. They believe in the existence of matter, its propagation and power and from that erroneous standpoint, they have a difficult time understanding the nature and operation of Spirit. Sure enough, Scripture then seems contradictory, when really, it’s glorious in its spiritual signification. Truth has but one reply to all error—to sin, sickness, and death: “Dust [nothingness] you are and to dust [nothingness] you will return.”[4]

We don’t gain the omnipotent ear sooner by words than by thoughts. God knows our need before we do. If we cherish our hope honestly, silently, and humbly, we lessen the risk of overwhelming our real desires with a deluge of words. If our petitions are sincere and we work for what we ask, we are rewarded.


[1] Luke 14:10

[2] Isa. 45:7

[3] Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=man(accessed April 19, 2017)

[4] Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 3:20 (Brackets added by Mary Baker Eddy)

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

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