Is it real?

When my children were young they subscribed to a weekly paper that frequently carried pictures for them to look at and decide if they represented the real or the unreal. One depicted a cat jumping over the moon (unreal), another a dog climbing a ladder (real).

Children are constantly learning that some of the stories they hear and read are not real, that most of the movies they see are fictional, and that advertisements may sometimes be exaggerated. Adults, too, continually have to make these distinctions.

The question of what's real and what's unreal becomes even more vital when we consider it specifically in relation to good and evil. For most people the basis for making such judgments is the testimony of the physical senses, which assert that evil - sickness, suffering, and so on - is as real and powerful as good. Yet can we trust the senses? Scientific investigation has shown us, for example, that the sun does not circle the earth, as it appears to, and that matter itself is not the solid substance it appears to be but consists of minute particles in constant motion.

Is there a more reliable source of truth than the senses? Yes. The Bible, in its very first chapter, provides an unshakable, spiritual basis for determining what is and isn't true. Here we read that God created everything and saw that it was very good.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states: ''Since God is All, there is no room for His unlikeness. God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good. Therefore evil, being contrary to good, is unreal, and cannot be the product of God.'' n1

n1 Science and Health, p. 339.

When I first read this book, I accepted and realized the logic of the premise that God is All and that God is good. But I could not accept the conclusion that evil is unreal - until one day when I was confronted with a small child who had just been stung by wasps. As soon as I began talking to him about God, how He created everything good, and therefore created nothing that could harm, the child immediately stopped crying. And the red spots on his arms and face just disappeared.

This experience showed me how Christian Scientists prove that evil is, in the final analysis, unreal. As they perceive what is true of God's creation, that which is untrue disappears because it was never created by God, the only genuine creator. It only seemed immovable to the unreliable material senses.

Christ Jesus' healings resulted from his understanding of the spiritually good nature of his Father, God, and the absolute supremacy of God's goodness. To the Master, this was the real.

Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. People thought this kingdom must be coming soon because it was not visible to their eyes. But Jesus refuted that thought when he said, ''Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.'' n2 Jesus sent his disciples out with the command ''Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils,'' and he told them to preach that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. n3 The former happened because the latter was true.

n2 John 4:35.

n3 See Matthew 10:7,8

The fact that evil is unreal is difficult for mankind to comprehend because our unreliable senses argue so strongly that the opposite is true. Nevertheless, if we abide in the knowledge that God's harmonious kingdom is ever present as the motion picture of life unwinds before our eyes, and if we examine each frame , determined to cherish the good as real and discard the evil as unreal, we will find our view of life - and our experience - improving. DAILY BIBLE VERSE In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the begin- ning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3.

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