No and Yes, by Mary Baker Eddy
Books by Mary Baker Eddy
IS THERE A PERSONAL DEVIL?
IS THERE A PERSONAL DEVIL?
No man hath seen the person of good or of evil. Each
is greater than the corporeality we behold.
"He cast out devils." This record shows that the term
devil is generic, being used in the plural number. From
this it follows that there is more than one devil. That
Jesus cast several persons out of another person, is not
stated, and is impossible. Hence the passage must refer
to the evils which were cast out.
Jesus defined devil as a mortal who is full of evil. "Have
I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" His
definition of evil indicated his ability to cast it out. An
incorrect concept of the nature of evil hinders the destruction
of evil. To conceive of God as resembling - in personality,
or form - the personality that Jesus condemned
as devilish, is fraught with spiritual danger. Evil can
neither grasp the prerogative of God nor make evil omnipotent
Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan;" but
he to whom our Lord gave the keys of the kingdom could
not have been wholly evil, and therefore was not a devil,
after the accepted definition. Out of the Magdalen, Jesus
cast seven devils; but not one person was named among
them. According to Crabtre, these devils were the diseases
Jesus cast out.
The most eminent divines, in Europe and America, concede
that the Scriptures have both a literal and a moral
meaning. Which of the two is the more important to gain,
- the literal or the moral sense of the word devil, - in
order to cast out this devil? Evil is a quality, not an
As mortals, we need to discern the claims of evil, and to
fight these claims, not as realities, but as illusions; but
Deity can have no such warfare against Himself. Knowledge
of a man's physical personality is not sufficient to
inform us as to the amount of good or evil he possesses.
Hence we cannot understand God or man, through the
person of either. God is All-in-all; but He is definite and
individual, the omnipresent and omniscient Mind; and
man's individuality is God's own image and likeness, -
even the immeasurable idea of divine Mind. In the
Science of good, evil loses all place, person, and power.
According to Spinoza's philosophy God is amplification.
He is in all things, and therefore He is in evil in human
thought. He is extension, of whatever character. Also,
according to Spinoza, man is an animal vegetable, developed
through the lower orders of matter and mortal mind.
All these vagaries are at variance with my system of metaphysics,
which rests on God as One and All, and denies
the actual existence of both matter and evil. According to
false philosophy and scholastic theology, God is three
persons in one person. By the same token, evil is not only
as real as good, but much more real, since evil subordinates
good in personality.
The claims of evil become both less and more in Christian
Science, than in human philosophies or creeds: more,
because the evil that is hidden by dogma and human reason
is uncovered by Science; and less, because evil, being
thus uncovered, is found out, and exposure is nine points
of destruction. Then appears the grand verity of Christian
Science: namely, that evil has no claims and was
never a claimant; for behold evil (or devil) is, as Jesus
said, "a murderer from the beginning, and the truth abode
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Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada