I REMEMBER a childhood game called ``Truth or Consequences?'' It was one of my favorites, even though it could be embarrassing! The person voted the leader would invite each player by turn to choose ``truth'' or take the ``consequences.'' If he chose ``truth, a question was asked that required an absolutely truthful answer--and usually one that seemed soul-searching and important at the time. (These included such questions as ``What girl or boy in the class do you like the most?'') Only the reckless chos e ``consequences, as it could require you to carry out a terrible deed--like writing your name, in ink, on the front steps of the school. I got this mission once. My mother was called to school, and I had to scrub the school steps at dismissal time. The giggles from my peers were the worst punishment I could ever have imagined.
According to the book of John in the Bible, Christ Jesus declared to his followers, ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'' (8:32). The truth about creation is found in the first chapter of Genesis: ``God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And at the end of this chapter we read: ``God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good'' (1:27, 31). To know this truth is to be made free by Christ from the f ruits of false belief--fear, sin, sickness.
That's what's true about creation. But what about the allegory of Adam and Eve, which describes creation as mortal and imperfect? This cannot be the truth of man made in God's likeness! And the acceptance of this false version of creation has the consequences of accepting all the evil that this mythical creation includes. Evil--the talking snake that tempted Eve--would invite us to accept this erroneous view of creation. But it is only an invitation! You don't have to accept! Eve accepted the invitation- -and its terrible consequences are recorded in the Bible. Of course, these consequences are not sent by Truth, God; they are the effects of error--the error of material belief that Christ, Truth, corrects and frees us from. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, he refused to accept the invitation, and the New Testament records the blessings the world has gained from his choice.
In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ``We cannot choose for ourselves, but must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught'' (p. 30). Elsewhere in Science and Health she says: ``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 disappear. 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! (pp. 480-481).
I had to make a choice between Truth and consequences once when I was alone late at night with a small child. A box of matches ignited in my hand. When the fire was extinguished, the hand was badly burned. As a student of Christian Science, I knew I could choose good as the reality or face the consequences of believing evil, the evidence before me. Despite severe pain, the thought came to me: ``God doesn't know anything about this, so as His likeness I can't either!'' With the uncharred hand, I got my co py of Science and Health and tried to read. At first I was unable to see any print--there seemed to be a haze over the pages. But as I continued praying, words of healing truth stood out from the pages. I don't remember how long this went on, but at one point I realized there was no longer any pain. I went to bed without looking at the hand. In the morning, after a restful sleep, I'd almost forgotten the accident until my toddler asked about it. The hand was slightly discolored, but there were no blisters o r other evidence of a burn. Even the discoloration soon faded. I was free to go about my business that very day. And I did so with much rejoicing!
And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel . . . I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth . . . . And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God for bid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods . . . . We will serve the Lord. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.
Joshua 24:2, 13-16, 21, 22