Science and Health
with Key to The Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy
Chapter XIV
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon
line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little. – ISAIAH.
THIS chapter is from the first edition of the author's
class-book, copyrighted in 1870. After much labor
and increased spiritual understanding, she revised that
treatise for this volume in 1875. Absolute Christian
Science pervades its statements, to elucidate scientific
Question. – What is God?
Answer. – God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite
Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love.
Question. – Are these terms synonymous?
Answer. – They are. They refer to one absolute God.
They are also intended to express the nature, essence, and
wholeness of Deity. The attributes of God are justice,
mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on.
Question. – Is there more than one God or Principle?
Answer. – There is not. Principle and its idea is one,
and this one is God, omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-
present Being, and His reflection is man and the universe.
Omni is adopted from the Latin adjective signifying all.
Hence God combines all-power or potency, all-science
or true knowledge, all-presence. The varied manifesta-
tions of Christian Science indicate Mind, never matter,
and have one Principle.
Real versus unreal
Question. – What are spirits and souls?
Answer. – To human belief, they are personalities
constituted of mind and matter, life and death, truth and
error, good and evil; but these contrasting
pairs of terms represent contraries, as Chris-
tian Science reveals, which neither dwell together nor
assimilate. Truth is immortal; error is mortal. Truth
is limitless; error is limited. Truth is intelligent; error
is non-intelligent. Moreover, Truth is real, and error is
unreal. This last statement contains the point you will
most reluctantly admit, although first and last it is the
most important to understand.
Mankind redeemed
The term souls or spirits is as improper as the term
gods. Soul or Spirit signifies Deity and nothing else.
There is no finite soul nor spirit. Soul or
Spirit means only one Mind, and cannot be
rendered in the plural. Heathen mythology and Jewish
theology have perpetuated the fallacy that intelligence,
soul, and life can be in matter; and idolatry and ritualism
are the outcome of all man-made beliefs. The Science
of Christianity comes with fan in hand to separate the
chaff from the wheat. Science will declare God aright,
and Christianity will demonstrate this declaration and
its divine Principle, making mankind better physically,
morally, and spiritually.
Two chief commands
Question. – What are the demands of the Science of
Answer. – The first demand of this Science is, "Thou
shalt have no other gods before me." This me is Spirit.
Therefore the command means this: Thou shalt
have no intelligence, no life, no substance, no
truth, no love, but that which is spiritual. The second
is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one
Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love.
Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact
becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brother-
hood of man will be established. Having no other gods,
turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide
him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, hav-
ing that Mind which was also in Christ.
Soul not confined in body
Science reveals Spirit, Soul, as not in the body, and
God as not in man but as reflected by man. The greater
cannot be in the lesser. The belief that the
greater can be in the lesser is an error that
works ill. This is a leading point in the Science of Soul,
that Principle is not in its idea. Spirit, Soul, is not
confined in man, and is never in matter. We reason im-
perfectly from effect to cause, when we conclude that
matter is the effect of Spirit; but a priori reasoning
shows material existence to be enigmatical. Spirit gives
the true mental idea. We cannot interpret Spirit, Mind,
through matter. Matter neither sees, hears, nor feels.
Sinlessness of Mind, Soul
Reasoning from cause to effect in the Science of Mind,
we begin with Mind, which must be under-
stood through the idea which expresses it and
cannot be learned from its opposite, matter. Thus we
arrive at Truth, or intelligence, which evolves its own
unerring idea and never can be coordinate with human
illusions. If Soul sinned, it would be mortal, for sin is
mortality's self, because it kills itself. If Truth is im-
mortal, error must be mortal, because error is unlike
Truth. Because Soul is immortal, Soul cannot sin, for
sin is not the eternal verity of being.
Question. – What is the scientific statement of being?
Answer. – There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor sub-
stance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite
manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal
Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and
eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is
God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore
man is not material; he is spiritual.
Spiritual synonyms
Question. – What is substance?
Answer. – Substance is that which is eternal and inca-
pable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are
substance, as the Scriptures use this word in
Hebrews: "The substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen." Spirit, the synonym
of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance. The
spiritual universe, including individual man, is a com-
pound idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.
Eternity of Life
Question. – What is Life?
Answer. – Life is divine Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit.
Life is without beginning and without end.
Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of
Life, and time is no part of eternity. One ceases in
proportion as the other is recognized. Time is finite;
eternity is forever infinite. Life is neither in nor of mat-
ter. What is termed matter is unknown to Spirit, which
includes in itself all substance and is Life eternal. Mat-
ter is a human concept. Life is divine Mind. Life is not
limited. Death and finiteness are unknown to Life. If
Life ever had a beginning, it would also have an ending.
Question. – What is intelligence?
Answer. – Intelligence is omniscience, omnipresence,
and omnipotence. It is the primal and eternal quality
of infinite Mind, of the triune Principle, – Life, Truth,
and Love, – named God.
True sense of infinitude
Question. – What is Mind?
Answer. – Mind is God. The exterminator of error
is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and
that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind
– called devil or evil – is not Mind, is not
Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality. There
can be but one Mind, because there is but one God; and
if mortals claimed no other Mind and accepted no other,
sin would be unknown. We can have but one Mind, if
that one is infinite. We bury the sense of infinitude,
when we admit that, although God is infinite, evil has a
place in this infinity, for evil can have no place, where all
space is filled with God.
The sole governor
We lose the high signification of omnipotence, when
after admitting that God, or good, is omnipresent and
has all-power, we still believe there is another
power, named evil. This belief that there
is more than one mind is as pernicious to divine theology
as are ancient mythology and pagan idolatry. With
one Father, even God, the whole family of man would
be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good,
the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth,
and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which
constitute divine Science. The supposed existence of
more than one mind was the basic error of idolatry. This
error assumed the loss of spiritual power, the loss of the
spiritual presence of Life as infinite Truth without an
unlikeness, and the loss of Love as ever present and
The divine standard of perfection
Divine Science explains the abstract statement that
there is one Mind by the following self-evident propo-
sition: If God, or good, is real, then evil, the
unlikeness of God, is unreal. And evil can
only seem to be real by giving reality to the
unreal. The children of God have but one Mind. How
can good lapse into evil, when God, the Mind of man,
never sins? The standard of perfection was originally
God and man. Has God taken down His own standard,
and has man fallen?
Indestructible relationship
God is the creator of man, and, the divine Principle
of man remaining perfect, the divine idea or reflection,
man, remains perfect. Man is the expression
of God's being. If there ever was a moment
when man did not express the divine perfec-
tion, then there was a moment when man did not express
God, and consequently a time when Deity was unex-
pressed – that is, without entity. If man has lost per-
fection, then he has lost his perfect Principle, the divine
Mind. If man ever existed without this perfect Principle
or Mind, then man's existence was a myth.
The relations of God and man, divine Principle and
idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows
no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine
order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He cre-
ates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged
in its eternal history.
Celestial evidence
The unlikeness of Truth, – named error, – the op-
posite of Science, and the evidence before the five cor-
poreal senses, afford no indication of the grand
facts of being; even as these so-called senses
receive no intimation of the earth's motions or of the
science of astronomy, but yield assent to astronomical
propositions on the authority of natural science.
The facts of divine Science should be admitted, –
although the evidence as to these facts is not supported
by evil, by matter, or by material sense, – because the
evidence that God and man coexist is fully sustained by
spiritual sense. Man is, and forever has been, God's re-
flection. God is infinite, therefore ever present, and
there is no other power nor presence. Hence the spirit-
uality of the universe is the only fact of creation. "Let
God be true, but every [material] man a liar."
The test of experience
Question. – Are doctrines and creeds a benefit to man?
Answer. – The author subscribed to an orthodox
creed in early youth, and tried to adhere to it until she
caught the first gleam of that which inter-
prets God as above mortal sense. This
view rebuked human beliefs, and gave the spiritual im-
port, expressed through Science, of all that proceeds
from the divine Mind. Since then her highest creed has
been divine Science, which, reduced to human apprehen-
sion, she has named Christian Science. This Science
teaches man that God is the only Life, and that this Life
is Truth and Love; that God is to be understood, adored,
and demonstrated; that divine Truth casts out supposi-
tional error and heals the sick.
God's law destroys evil
The way which leads to Christian Science is straight
and narrow. God has set His signet upon Science, mak-
ing it coordinate with all that is real and only
with that which is harmonious and eternal.
Sickness, sin, and death, being inharmonious, do not
originate in God nor belong to His government. His
law, rightly understood, destroys them. Jesus furnished
proofs of these statements.
Evanescent materiality
Question. – What is error?
Answer. – Error is a supposition that pleasure and
pain, that intelligence, substance, life, are existent in mat-
ter. Error is neither Mind nor one of Mind's
faculties. Error is the contradiction of Truth.
Error is a belief without understanding. Error is unreal
because untrue. It is that which seemeth to be and is not.
If error were true, its truth would be error, and we should
have a self-evident absurdity – namely, erroneous truth.
Thus we should continue to lose the standard of Truth.
Unrealities that seem real
Question. – Is there no sin?
Answer. – All reality is in God and His creation, har-
monious and eternal. That which He creates is good,
and He makes all that is made. Therefore
the only reality of sin, sickness, or death is
the awful fact that unrealities seem real to human, erring
belief, until God strips off their disguise. They are not
true, because they are not of God. We learn in Christian
Science that all inharmony of mortal mind or body is illu-
sion, possessing neither reality nor identity though seeming
to be real and identical.
Christ the ideal Truth
The Science of Mind disposes of all evil. Truth, God,
is not the father of error. Sin, sickness, and death are
to be classified as effects of error. Christ
came to destroy the belief of sin. The God‑
principle is omnipresent and omnipotent. God is every-
where, and nothing apart from Him is present or has
power. Christ is the ideal Truth, that comes to heal
sickness and sin through Christian Science, and attributes
all power to God. Jesus is the name of the man who,
more than all other men, has presented Christ, the true
idea of God, healing the sick and the sinning and destroy-
ing the power of death. Jesus is the human man, and
Christ is the divine idea; hence the duality of Jesus the
Jesus not God
In an age of ecclesiastical despotism, Jesus introduced
the teaching and practice of Christianity, affording the
proof of Christianity's truth and love; but to
reach his example and to test its unerring Sci-
ence according to his rule, healing sickness, sin, and
death, a better understanding of God as divine Prin-
ciple, Love, rather than personality or the man Jesus, is
Jesus not understood
Jesus established what he said by demonstration,
thus making his acts of higher importance than his
words. He proved what he taught. This
is the Science of Christianity. Jesus proved
the Principle, which heals the sick and casts out error,
to be divine. Few, however, except his students un-
derstood in the least his teachings and their glorious
proofs, – namely, that Life, Truth, and Love (the Prin-
ciple of this unacknowledged Science) destroy all error,
evil, disease, and death.
Miracles rejected
The reception accorded to Truth in the early Chris-
tian era is repeated to-day. Whoever introduces the
Science of Christianity will be scoffed at and
scourged with worse cords than those which
cut the flesh. To the ignorant age in which it first
appears, Science seems to be a mistake, – hence the
misinterpretation and consequent maltreatment which
it receives. Christian marvels (and marvel is the sim-
ple meaning of the Greek word rendered miracle in the
New Testament) will be misunderstood and misused
by many, until the glorious Principle of these marvels is
Divine fulfilment
If sin, sickness, and death are as real as Life, Truth,
and Love, then they must all be from the same source;
God must be their author. Now Jesus came
to destroy sin, sickness, and death yet the
Scriptures aver, "I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil."
Is it possible, then, to believe that the evils which Jesus
lived to destroy are real or the offspring of the divine
Truth destroys falsity
Despite the hallowing influence of Truth in the de-
struction of error, must error still be immortal? Truth
spares all that is true. If evil is real, Truth
must make it so; but error, not Truth, is
the author of the unreal, and the unreal vanishes,
while all that is real is eternal. The apostle says that
the mission of Christ is to "destroy the works of the
devil." Truth destroys falsity and error, for light and
darkness cannot dwell together. Light extinguishes the
darkness, and the Scripture declares that there is "no
night there." To Truth there is no error, – all is Truth.
To infinite Spirit there is no matter, – all is Spirit, divine
Principle and its idea.
Fleshly factors unreal
Question. – What is man?
Answer. – Man is not matter; he is not made up of
brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The
Scriptures inform us that man is made in
the image and likeness of God. Matter is
not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so
unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and be-
cause he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so under-
stood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image, of
Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of
God, including all right ideas; the generic term for
all that reflects God's image and likeness; the conscious
identity of being as found in Science, in which man is
the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal;
that which has no separate mind from God; that which
has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which
possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his
own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker.
And God said: "Let us make man in our image, after
our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that
creepeth upon the earth."
Man unfallen
Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death. The
real man cannot depart from holiness, nor
can God, by whom man is evolved, engender
the capacity or freedom to sin. A mortal sinner is not
God's man. Mortals are the counterfeits of immortals.
They are the children of the wicked one, or the one evil,
which declares that man begins in dust or as a material
embryo. In divine Science, God and the real man are
inseparable as divine Principle and idea.
Mortals are not immortals
Error, urged to its final limits, is self-destroyed.
Error will cease to claim that soul is in body, that life
and intelligence are in matter, and that
this matter is man. God is the Principle of
man, and man is the idea of God. Hence man is not
mortal nor material. Mortals will disappear, and im-
mortals, or the children of God, will appear as the only
and eternal verities of man. Mortals are not fallen chil-
dren of God. They never had a perfect state of being,
which may subsequently be regained. They were, from
the beginning of mortal history, "conceived in sin and
brought forth in iniquity." Mortality is finally swallowed
up in immortality. Sin, sickness, and death must dis-
appear to give place to the facts which belong to immortal
Imperishable identity
Learn this, O mortal, and earnestly seek the spiritual
status of man, which is outside of all material selfhood.
Remember that the Scriptures say of mortal
man: "As for man, his days are as grass: as
a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall
know it no more."
The kingdom within
When speaking of God's children, not the children of
men, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you;"
that is, Truth and Love reign in the real
man, showing that man in God's image is
unfallen and eternal. Jesus beheld in Science the per-
fect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal
man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour
saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man
healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom
of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.
Man is not a material habitation for Soul; he is himself
spiritual. Soul, being Spirit, is seen in nothing imperfect
nor material.
Material body never God's idea
Whatever is material is mortal. To the five corporeal
senses, man appears to be matter and mind united; but
Christian Science reveals man as the idea of
God, and declares the corporeal senses to be
mortal and erring illusions. Divine Science
shows it to be impossible that a material body, though
interwoven with matter's highest stratum, misnamed
mind, should be man, – the genuine and perfect man,
the immortal idea of being, indestructible and eternal.
Were it otherwise, man would be annihilated.
Reflection of Spirit
Question. – What are body and Soul?
Answer. – Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the re-
flection in multifarious forms of the living Principle,
Love. Soul is the substance, Life, and intelli-
gence of man, which is individualized, but not
in matter. Soul can never reflect anything inferior to
Man inseparable from Spirit
Man is the expression of Soul. The Indians caught
some glimpses of the underlying reality, when
they called a certain beautiful lake "the smile
of the Great Spirit." Separated from man,
who expresses Soul, Spirit would be a nonentity; man,
divorced from Spirit, would lose his entity. But there is,
there can be, no such division, for man is coexistent with
A vacant domicile
What evidence of Soul or of immortality have you
within mortality? Even according to the teachings of
natural science, man has never beheld Spirit
or Soul leaving a body or entering it. What
basis is there for the theory of indwelling spirit, except
the claim of mortal belief? What would be thought of
the declaration that a house was inhabited, and by a cer-
tain class of persons, when no such persons were ever seen
to go into the house or to come out of it, nor were they
even visible through the windows? Who can see a soul
in the body?
Harmonious functions
Question. – Does brain think, and do nerves feel, and
is there intelligence in matter?
Answer. – No, not if God is true and mortal man a
liar. The assertion that there can be pain or pleasure
in matter is erroneous. That body is most
harmonious in which the discharge of the nat-
ural functions is least noticeable. How can intelligence
dwell in matter when matter is non-intelligent and
brain-lobes cannot think? Matter cannot perform the
functions of Mind. Error says, "I am man;" but this
belief is mortal and far from actual. From beginning
to end, whatever is mortal is composed of material hu-
man beliefs and of nothing else. That only is real which
reflects God. St. Paul said, "But when it pleased God,
who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me
by His grace, . . . I conferred not with flesh and blood."
Immortal birthright
Mortal man is really a self-contradictory phrase, for
man is not mortal, "neither indeed can be;" man is im-
mortal. If a child is the offspring of physical sense and
not of Soul, the child must have a material, not a spirit-
ual origin. With what truth, then, could the
Scriptural rejoicing be uttered by any mother,
"I have gotten a man from the Lord"? On the con-
trary, if aught comes from God, it cannot be mortal and
material; it must be immortal and spiritual.
Matter's supposed selfhood
Matter is neither self-existent nor a product of Spirit.
An image of mortal thought, reflected on the retina, is
all that the eye beholds. Matter cannot see,
feel, hear, taste, nor smell. It is not self‑
cognizant, – cannot feel itself, see itself, nor
understand itself. Take away so-called mortal mind,
which constitutes matter's supposed selfhood, and matter
can take no cognizance of matter. Does that which we
call dead ever see, hear, feel, or use any of the physical
Chaos and darkness
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and
darkness was upon the face of the deep."
(Genesis i. 1, 2.) In the vast forever, in the
Science and truth of being, the only facts are Spirit
and its innumerable creations. Darkness and chaos
are the imaginary opposites of light, understanding,
and eternal harmony, and they are the elements of
Spiritual reflection
We admit that black is not a color, because it reflects
no light. So evil should be denied identity or power,
because it has none of the divine hues. Paul
says: "For the invisible things of Him, from
the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being under-
stood by the things that are made." (Romans i. 20.)
When the substance of Spirit appears in Christian Sci-
ence, the nothingness of matter is recognized. Where
the spirit of God is, and there is no place where God is
not, evil becomes nothing, – the opposite of the some-
thing of Spirit. If there is no spiritual reflection, then
there remains only the darkness of vacuity and not a trace
of heavenly tints.
Harmony from Spirit
Nerves are an element of the belief that there is sensa-
tion in matter, whereas matter is devoid of sensation.
Consciousness, as well as action, is governed
by Mind, – is in God, the origin and gov-
ernor of all that Science reveals. Material sense has
its realm apart from Science in the unreal. Harmonious
action proceeds from Spirit, God. inharmony has no
Principle; its action is erroneous and presupposes man
to be in matter. Inharmony would make matter the
cause as well as the effect of intelligence, or Soul, thus
attempting to separate Mind from God.
Evil non-existent
Man is not God, and God is not man. Again, God,
or good, never made man capable of sin. It is the oppo-
site of good – that is, evil – which seems to
make men capable of wrong-doing. Hence,
evil is but an illusion, and it has no real basis. Evil is a
false belief. God is not its author. The supposititious
parent of evil is a lie.
Vapor and nothingness
The Bible declares: "All things were made by Him
[the divine Word]; and without Him was not anything,
made that was made." This is the eternal
verity of divine Science. If sin, sickness, and
death were understood as nothingness, they would dis-
appear. As vapor melts before the sun, so evil would
vanish before the reality of good. One must hide the
other. How important, then, to choose good as the
reality! Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing
else. God's being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and
boundless bliss. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is liberty." Like the archpriests of yore, man is
free "to enter into the holiest," – the realm of God.
The fruit forbidden
Material sense never helps mortals to understand
Spirit, God. Through spiritual sense only, man com-
prehends and loves Deity. The various con-
tradictions of the Science of Mind by the ma-
terial senses do not change the unseen Truth, which re-
mains forever intact. The forbidden fruit of knowledge,
against which wisdom warns man, is the testimony of
error, declaring existence to be at the mercy of death,
and good and evil to be capable of commingling. This
is the significance of the Scripture concerning this "tree
of the knowledge of good and evil," – this growth of
material belief, of which it is said: "In the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Human hypotheses
first assume the reality of sickness, sin, and death, and
then assume the necessity of these evils because of their
admitted actuality. These human verdicts are the pro-
curers of all discord.
Sense and pure Soul
If Soul sins, it must be mortal. Sin has the elements
of self-destruction. It cannot sustain itself. If sin is
supported, God must uphold it, and this is
impossible, since Truth cannot support error.
Soul is the divine Principle of man and never sins, –
hence the immortality of Soul. In Science we learn that
it is material sense, not Soul, which sins; and it will be
found that it is the sense of sin which is lost, and not a
sinful soul. When reading the Scriptures, the substitu-
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