GIVEN the Monitor's focus this week on chemical and biological warfare, the title of this religious article might seem a bit ironic. And yet if you're familiar with the Bible, you'll recognize this title as part of a much-loved Scriptural verse. It's a statement of great power and of hope. Of power, because it shows the most effective way to heal the hatred and mad ambition that would unleash the monstrous evil of these weapons. And of hope, because it promises that all things, all peoples and nations, must finally yield to the knowledge of God and to the power of His Christ.
The quotation is from St. Paul, who knew more than a little about what many consider the most important war of all -- the battle between the flesh and the Spirit, between what he called ``spiritual wickedness'' and divine goodness. Writing to his converts and instructing them on how best to defeat the evil of the world, he said, ``Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.''1
Is the spiritual insight of a man living in the first century A.D. relevant to people living in the closing years of the twentieth century? It must be, because war, genocide, diabolical weaponry, torture, totalitarian repression -- all the horrors and evils we see man inflicting on man -- are merely the outward expression of an inner battle taking place in human consciousness. Metaphysically put, it is the age-old battle between good and evil, between spirituality and materiality.
Once we understand that behind the creation and use of chemical or biological or nuclear weapons lies the evil imaginations of the carnal, or animal, mind, we see how Paul's statement is just as relevant now as it was in the time when the most deadly weapons were slings and arrows.
The enemy of mankind, the enemy of peace, was the same in Paul's time as it is now: the unregenerate human mind. It is in the ``imaginations'' of this dark mentality that the virus of hatred incubates to take form finally in inhumanity, hatred, and revenge. The horrific weapons of modern warfare are but technological extensions of ``tooth and claw,'' the extreme manifestations of the false mentality that Christ Jesus said was ``a murderer from the beginning.''2
The efforts of individuals and nations to curb and ultimately outlaw chemical and biological weapons are essential if horrors on an unthinkable scale are to be avoided. The demand underlying these efforts is to get at the root of the problem and, as Paul says, pull down the strongholds of evil and cast down the evil imaginations of the carnal mind.
The key is ``bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.'' Whose thought? Principally, our own. Peace always begins with some individual wanting an end of hostilities, an end to hate and revenge. This impetus to peace, however faint or undeveloped, is evidence of Christ, the spirit of God, working in human consciousness to bring ``on earth peace, good will toward men''3 through the recognition of man's spiritual sonship and sinlessness as God's likeness.
Christian Science shows how this Christ influence can be cultivated and empowered in our lives through a spiritual understanding of God as the one Mind, the Mind that makes man in its image, not materially, but spiritually. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains, ``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.''4
To claim and realize in prayer that there is only one Mind, and that this Mind is good, and to strive to express that loving Mind, ``which was also in Christ Jesus,''5 are true spiritual warfare. This is not the world's way of warfare but Christ's, and there was no greater peacemaker than the Prince of Peace.
Our sincere, deep prayers for peace within ourselves, peace in our families, peace in the workplace, peace in societies and among nations, do make a difference. Never underestimate what one individual, reflecting and obeying God, the divine Mind, can do for the world.
1II Corinthians 10:3-5. 2John 8:44. 3Luke 2:14. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 469. 5Philippians 2:5.