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Evil Without Origin


         In the Revelation of St. John, evil is depicted as that which deceiveth the whole world and which hath but a short time. One of the means whereby it continues to deceive mortals is shown by the question, How did evil originate? Whoever undertakes to answer it, not perceiving that it assumes and impliedly asserts the reality of evil, and is therefore the self-assertion of error, is likely to become involved in the mystery arising from the apparent existence of both good and evil.

         Aurelius Augustinus, better known as Saint Augustine, was converted to Christianity in the year 387, and in his autobiography, entitled "Confessions," which was published ten years later, he says, "For other than this, that which really is I know not; and was, as it were through sharpness of wit, persuaded to assent to foolish deceivers when they asked me, 'Whence is evil?' . . . At which I, in my ignorance, was much troubled, and departing from the truth, seemed to myself to be making toward it; because as yet I knew not that evil was nothing but a privation of good, until at last a thing ceases altogether to be." This language plainly means that evil is "nothing but a privation of good" and, in the last analysis, it "ceases altogether to be." It classifies evil as impersonal and unreal, therefore it corresponds, as far as it goes, with Christian Science. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy, treats exhaustively the subject of evil's unreality. (See p. 186.)

         It is also to be observed that Saint Augustine regarded the question, Whence is evil? as a deceptive question; apparently because it assumes and impliedly asserts the reality of evil. Only a false sense of things will admit the reality of the unreal; therefore, if evil is merely negation or error, the question, How did evil originate? must emanate from a self-deceived thought. Our Leader's answer to this question is to be found in "Christian Healing," p. 9, and "Miscellaneous Writings," pp. 45, 346. See also, "Retrospection and Introspection," pp. 86-92.

 

Written by an early student of Christian Science
 

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