Science And Health
John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
'Many false prophets are gone out into the world' 1 John 4. 1.
The book 'Science and Health' was written by Mrs. Mary Eddy in 1875 and revised by her in 1891. This book is given by the Christian Science sect an authority above that of Holy Scripture. This is hinted at in the subtitle of the book which reads, 'with key to the scriptures'. The practical effect of this is to replace the Bible with Science and Health. This is shown in chapter 17 of the book entitled 'Glossary'. Here keywords of scripture are emptied of their biblical meaning and given entirely new meanings to suit Christian Science.
For example, 'death' is defined as 'an illusion' and so 'resurrection' is described as 'spiritualization of thought'. The person of our Lord is divided between 'Jesus', described as 'the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea', and 'Christ' as 'the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh (also explained as an illusion) to destroy incarnate error'. As a crowning glory to this ludicrous exercise we have 'Judah' as 'a corporeal material belief progressing and disappearing; the spiritual understanding of God and man appearing'. This is not only blatantly dishonest, it is also quite silly.
The book Science and Health fails to qualify as divine revelation on no less than three vital counts.
First, it is a monologue, that is it contains only the writing and teaching of one person, Mrs. Eddy. Thus it suffers the same fatal weakness as the Koran, it is unsubstantiated. It merely records the opinion of Mrs. Eddy. These opinions were no doubt sincerely held, but human opinions are not divine revelations. As the Lord Jesus said, 'If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true', John 5. 31.
Second, the book Science and Health, and with it Christian Science (as with all modern heretical sects), suffers the fatal problem of 'the gap'. Mrs. Eddy states in the preface to her book, 'When God called the author (herself) to proclaim His gospel to this age'. The Bible was completed about A.D. 100. Here we are told that in the intervening eighteen centuries as the Bible was read and studied by millions of people, no one understood it until Mrs. Eddy came along in the nineteenth century and made clear from the Bible the 'truth' which no one had seen before. This proposition is so ridiculous as to require no further comment. Also the idea that for eighteen centuries there was a gap during which no one understood the scriptures would destroy the whole concept of revelation which is the chief purpose of scripture.
The fatal gap problem is true of all the 'too-late' theologians who in the nineteenth century suddenly decided that the Bible taught a whole system of doctrine which no one had ever seen before. This includes Mk. Charles Taze Russell founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, Dr. John Thomas founder of the Christadelphians, Mrs. Ellen G. White of the Seventh Day Adventists, Mr. Joseph Smith founder of Mormonism and Mrs. Eddy founder of Christian Science.
The third fatal weakness of the book Science and Health and its claim to be divine revelation is its very obvious perversion of the gospel. This is not a question of an interpretation of the gospel but of another gospel. 'But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed', Gal. 1. 8. In our previous quotation from the preface of Science and Health we read, 'When God called the author to proclaim His gospel to this age'. The gospel recorded in the New Testament had to do with the past deliverance from the penalty of sin through justification by the blood of Christ, and the present deliverance from the power of sin through sanctification by the Spirit of Christ and the future deliverance from the presence of sin through glorification by the second coming of Christ. But the other gospel of Christian Science, which claims to be so spiritual and non-materialistic, is in fact a materialistic gospel for its main concern is with the health and healing of the body. This is quite clearly another gospel. Paul was saved but he suffered ill health, compare 2 Cor. 12. 7-8 with Gal. 4. 13-15. Timothy was saved but he also suffered ill health, 1 Tim. 5. 23. Trophimus was saved but he was ill, 2 Tim. 4. 20.
So on these three vita! issues the book Science and Health fails even to claim consideration as a divine revelation. First, it is the unsubstantiated opinions of Mrs. Eddy. Second, it would condemn as irrelevant one thousand eight hundred years of Bible reading and study. Third, it is quite patently a gospel completely different from the New Testament gospel, dealing as it does with the healing of the body not the soul. 'As we have said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye received, let him be accursed', Gal. 1. 9.
It has been said that there are only two things wrong with Christian Science; these are that it is neither Christian nor scientific.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.