The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN: Fundamental Fallacies of Spiritualism’s Fellow Travelers

I. Christian Science Built on Dual Errors Enunciated in Eden

Spiritualism has certain conspicuous fellow travelers. Because of two of its openly declared and constantly repeated positions, Christian Science must be examined in this connection. In approximately a century (beginning in 1866) it has spread to every part of the globe. It now lists more than eleven thousand practitioners of metaphysical healing and reputedly has a million adherents. MARY BAKER EDDY (d. 1910) was a lifelong student of metaphysics. And her basic textbook and supreme authority for the movement-Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, first issued in 1875-has had an astonishing distribution, which attests to the formidable spread of the movement. It requires attention. CFF2 1176.1

We are not here concerned with the healing aspect. Nor are we interested in the stormy controversy as to whether Mary Baker Eddy borrowed her basic principles from Phineas P. Quimby. But rather, we are interested in the published declarations of her authorized teachings as they concern our quest. Neither are we impugning the lives or the moral integrity of the adherents of the system. We are dealing solely with their departures from the Word of God, their doctrinal deviations, primarily as they pertain to the origin, nature, and destiny of man, and their championship of the age-old dual fallacies of the Innate Immortality of the soul and the innate deity of man. CFF2 1176.2

However, the various strands in the complex doctrinal fabric of Christian Science are so tightly interwoven that it is impossible to separate those pertaining to the origin, nature, and destiny of man without considering the over-all pattern and weave. That particular part can be understood and evaluated only in the light of the whole. We must first consider, perforce, those larger aspects. CFF2 1177.1


It should be noted, however, in passing, that it reveals certain undeniable traces of ancient Gnosticism, as well as the pantheistic mysticism of Hinduism. There is striking similarity to those features of Hindu philosophy which assert that the only reality is the Cosmic Soul, with man’s highest ideal being the reaching of complete union with this impersonal Cosmic Entity. Mrs. Eddy also revives ancient Docetism in denying the reality of our Lord’s human nature. And there is also the dualism of the “Father-Mother” God concept of Hinduism and of Shakerism. But first note the broader background of basic repudiation of Christian fundamentals ere we turn to the question of man. CFF2 1177.2


Christian Science is built on a series of categorical denials, repudiating every cardinal doctrine of evangelical Christianity. It nullifies every saving provision of the plan of redemption. By denying the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the personality of God, the incarnation and deity of Christ, the actuality and efficacy of the atonement, the death, resurrection, ascension, and second advent of Christ, the reality of matter, sin, suffering, and death, the existence of a personal Satan, and the need of salvation-as well as the Biblical record of the Fall, and thus the need for regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification-the way is thrown wide open for the acceptance of a whole system of grave errors based upon metaphysical and occult concepts. That is the justification for this examination. CFF2 1178.1


Mary Baker Eddy claims to have taken the Bible as her “sole guide,” her “only authority,” 1 and “only textbook.” 2 But she declares that it must be understood in its “spiritual meaning,” 4 and with “metaphysical interpretation,” because otherwise it abounds with “metaphors” and “allegory,” as well as “myth” and “fable” that confuse and mislead. CFF2 1178.2


The Bible, Mrs. Eddy asserts, is marred by mistranslation. which are corrected by the renderings of Christian Science. 7 She goes so far as to affirm that Scripture has many thousands of variant renderings and copyist errors. “Mistakes” have crept into “ancient versions,” thus “darkening” the “inspired pages.” 8 The “spiritual sense,” supplied by Christian Science, is consequently said to be essential to right understanding. In fact, this “spiritual sense,” or “metaphysical interpretation,” is claimed to constitute the “new tongue referred to in the last chapter of Mark’s Gospel [Mark 16:17].” 9 That is why Science and Health is called the “Key to the Scriptures.” The position is maintained that there are two meanings in Scripture-“literal” and “spiritual,” and the “spiritual” must be followed to avoid “misinterpretation.” 10 Here is the method. CFF2 1178.3


The authority of the Scripture is swept away by setting aside, as invalid, the literal and obvious intent. Moreover, the “literal rendering” is declared to be fraught with peril. Hence a “metaphysical rendering” is substituted. Thus: CFF2 1179.1

“The literal rendering of the Scriptures makes them nothing valuable, but often is the foundation of unbelief and hopelessness. The metaphysical rendering is health and peace and hope for all.” 11 CFF2 1179.2

Fearful is the depreciation and discard of the validity of the natural, literal Biblical record, as couched in these amazing words: “The material record of the Bible,” she said, “is no more important to our well-being than the history of Europe and America.” 12 CFF2 1179.3


Christian Science disposes of the sin problem by simply denying its reality. And by denying the reality of sin it removes the necessity of righteousness by faith in, and salvation through, a personal Saviour. It presents, instead, a doctrine of man’s inherent goodness and self-sufficiency. Hear it: CFF2 1179.4

“Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” 13 CFF2 1179.5

“To get rid of sin through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind or reality.” 14 CFF2 1180.1

“Man is incapable of sin, sickness, and death.” 15 CFF2 1180.2

Salvation is related to it in this way, as defined in the official Glossary: “SALVATION. Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed.” 16 CFF2 1180.3

Now look at the over-all picture thus provided. CFF2 1180.4


The Glossary in chapter seventeen of Science and Health presents a “substitution of the spiritual for the material” in definitions, “the metaphysical interpretation of Bible terms.” 17 Here are striking samples: CFF2 1180.5

“ANGELS. God’s thoughts passing to man.” 18 CFF2 1180.6

“BAPTISM. Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.” 19 CFF2 1180.7

“BURIAL. Corporeality and physical sense put out of sight and hearing; submergence in Spirit; immortality brought to light.” 20 CFF2 1180.8

“DEATH. An illusion, the lie of life in matter .... Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being.” 21 CFF2 1180.9

“DEVIL. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor mind.” 22 CFF2 1180.10

“GOD. The great I AM; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.” 23 CFF2 1180.11

“RESURRECTION. Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding.” 24 CFF2 1180.12

The resultant concepts are revolutionary. CFF2 1180.13

In the foregoing definitions Mrs. Eddy substitutes a whole series of new meanings for the recognized historic terms, obscuring the real intent and setting aside the testimony of the senses. Biblical terminology is redefined until its major teachings lose all logical sense by spiritualizing away the obvious import. Yet Mrs. Eddy claims hers to be the only qualified interpretation. Thus Christian Science proclaims itself the supreme authority and final interpreter of the Christian religion, with self-salvation as the means of attainment. CFF2 1180.14


Mary Baker Eddy repeatedly asserts that God is “not a person” but a “Principle” (capitalization indicating Deity), and admits that in a sense God is “identical with nature.” 25 Here are sample statements: CFF2 1181.1

“God is definitely individual, and not a Person.” 26 CFF2 1181.2

“An individual God, rather than a personal God.” 27 CFF2 1181.3

“God is Love; and Love is Principle, not person.” 28 CFF2 1181.4

“Infinite and divine Principle of all being.” 29 CFF2 1181.5

“All-pervading intelligence ... divine, infinite Principle.” 30 CFF2 1181.6

This tallies with the reiterated definitions in Science and Health. For example:
“GOD: Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind.” 31
CFF2 1181.7

“In divine (Christian) Science the terms God and good, as Spirit, are synonymous.” 32 CFF2 1181.8

God is thus portrayed as divested of all personality, but embracing “all substance,” 33 and thus presenting a virtually pantheistic concept-denials to the contrary notwithstanding. It must be observed, just here, that the god of Christian Science is strikingly similar to the pantheistic concept held in Hinduism, where matter is likewise unreal, with the only reality the Cosmic Soul, and man a part of God. Terminology almost identical with that of Christian Science is likewise employed in several contemporary metaphysical cults.” 34 CFF2 1181.9


Twenty-two times, according to the concordances of her writings, Mary Baker Eddy stresses the “Father-Mother” duality concept of God. It is worth noting, however, at the outset, that in early life she lived not far from a Shaker colony. 35 She must have been familiar with the characteristic Shaker term “FatherMother God” constantly used in their literature. The designation evidently seemed to her more adequately to express the character of God than the single Biblical term “Father,” for she explains the component terms in this way: 36 CFF2 1181.10

“FATHER. Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, commonly called God.” 37 CFF2 1182.1

“Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.” 38 CFF2 1182.2

“MOTHER. God; divine’ and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love.” 39 CFF2 1182.3

Mrs. Eddy accordingly reconstructed the opening clause of the Lord’s Prayer in the “spiritual sense” to read, “Our FatherMother God, all harmonious,” et cetera. 40 Further, her concept of the “triune” God, the “triply divine Principle” is stated thus: CFF2 1182.4

“God the Father-Mother; Christ the Spiritual idea of sonship; divine Science [Christian Science] or the Holy Comforter. These three express in divine Science the threefold, essential nature of the infinite.” 41 CFF2 1182.5

One more citation must suffice: “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” 42 CFF2 1182.6

So the coeternity of man with God is tied in with the infinite “duality” concept. Hence the pertinence of these observations to our quest. But the Father-Mother concept, it should be remembered, reaches back to Hindu origins. And it should also be added that Theosophy and New Thought-which in certain ways resemble Christian Science-and Unity, together with certain other similar groups, stress the same omnipotence of man and share essentially the same Father-Mother concept of the Godhead. The term, therefore, was by no means original with, or confined to, Christian Science. CFF2 1182.7


Christian Science also makes sharp distinction between Christ and Jesus, referring to it as “the duality of Jesus the Christ.” 43 Note these statements: CFF2 1183.1

“The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual,” whereas, “the corporeal man Jesus was human.” 44 CFF2 1183.2

“The spiritual Christ was infallible; Jesus, as material manhood, was not Christ.” 45 CFF2 1183.3

“Jesus. The highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing to light man’s immortality.” 46 CFF2 1183.4

“The invisible Christ was imperceptible to the so-called personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dual personality of the unseen and the seen, the spiritual and the material, the eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science.” 47 CFF2 1183.5

Elsewhere, speaking of this “dual nature,” Mrs. Eddy refers, significantly, to “the personal and the impersonal Jesus.” 48 CFF2 1183.6


As to the stupendous fact of the Incarnation, which undergirds the whole provision of the gospel, according to Mrs. Eddy there was no actual, miraculous conception. Hear it specifically: CFF2 1183.7

“Mary’s conception of him (Jesus) was spiritual.” 49 CFF2 1183.8

“The Virgin-Mother conceived this idea of God, and gave to her ideal the name of Jesus.” 50 CFF2 1184.1

“Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God.” 51 CFF2 1184.2

“A portion of God could not enter man; neither could God’s fulness be reflected by a single man, else God would be manifestly finite, lose the deific character, and become less than God.” 52 CFF2 1184.3

Answering a related question, “Has Christ come again on earth?” Mrs. Eddy said: “Christ never left.” “Christ is Truth, and Truth is always here,—the impersonal Saviour.” 53 CFF2 1184.4

So, according to Christian Science, there was no union of the Godhead with humanity, of the Infinite with the finite, of the Creator with the creature, that God and man might be united in one Person, in order that the God-man might live a completely sinless life and die a vicarious, atoning death, to make possible man’s redemption, and all as the outgrowth of the divine plan and provision of the Incarnation. CFF2 1184.5