Must We Believe That Evil Is Power?
THIS is definitely a question that can't be answered in one short article. But we can look at some aspects of the issue. To fear evil is an easy response to fall into. When we look at the world around us, a great deal seems wrong. And we may have faced some pretty stiff challenges in our own lives.
But Christ Jesus, sent by God to be the Saviour of the world, was not overcome by the supposed power of evil. In fact, he confronted and mastered it in all of its forms -- hatred, sin, lack, disease, even death. He said to his followers, ``Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.''1
The power to tread on serpents! We do have God-derived power, through Christ, to gain dominion over the claims of evil. And it's important to realize that the Master demanded that his followers ``heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.''2
An understanding of our relationship to God gives us courage to confront and overcome evil. Why? Because God, infinite good, includes no evil, and there can be no genuine power opposed to Him -- to omnipotent Mind and omnipresent Love. We live in God. Our real selfhood is His spiritual image. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Man, made in His likeness, possesses and reflects God's dominion over all the earth.''3 Acknowledging this dominion, coming to realize it in the depths of prayer, we are able to see through the apparent force of sin and disease and find healing. Man in God's image is not subject to penalty or debility or to any curse that would retard progress.
As we accept Christ -- as we understand the true idea of God -- we realize that the same power that cast out evil in Jesus' time is present with us today. Of course, finding the freedom from evil that the Christ-power gives requires that we bring our motives and actions into line with what Jesus taught. We must strive to lead better lives -- lives in harmony with the Ten Commandments and the Master's Sermon on the Mount. But this is natural because our true being expresses the purity of the divine nature.
To gain increasing freedom from evil in its various forms, we need to concede its ultimate unreality. This may not be an easy task, and it certainly doesn't imply that we ignore the sin and sickness that need healing. But in order to cure those ills we have to side with the allness of God. Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy states: ``Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness. Christian Science despoils the kingdom of evil, and pre-eminently promotes affection and virtue in families and therefore in the community.''4
As I pray each day, I've found it a great help and protection to acknowledge God's allness and goodness and to see clearly that good never produced evil. The ninety-first Psalm has been a constant comfort: ``There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.''5
The only law operating in us and around us, God's children, is God's law of harmony. When I pray from that standpoint, I don't feel the same old vulnerability. And I'm not afraid of losing the good that more consistently flows into my experience. Daily, as I plant my life in Christ, I'm supported by the promise ``Nothing shall by any means hurt you.''
1Luke 10:19. 2Matthew 10:8. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 516. 4Ibid., pp. 102-103. 5Psalms 91:10, 11.