"Somewhere in the Bible it says "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord". And often people console themselves with that when a heinous crime has been committed, or when they think about the people who have done the worst possible evil, heads of state mainly. Top of the list is Hitler, or Bin Laden, or Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, the North Korea gang, Pinochet and more.
"People like to think that they who do these things will wind up in hell, as divine punishment. Is there a divine retribution for them, or will God just let them keep on until they get it and repent, since the only power of evil is to self-destruct?"
This was posed to me following my recent "Angry no more" lecture. There are a couple of questions raised here - Is God a vengeful God? and, Does God know and punish sinners? Here is my response. Stay with me to the end. Don't let the first sentences fool you into thinking that God doesn't take on and take down evil.
God is divine Good, pure Spirit, infinite Love, resplendent Soul. Just as Light isn't vindictive toward the darkness it displaces, God, pure good, doesn't avenge evil. Light knows light and only light. God is conscious of Himself and all that He manifests. Nothing is real or permanent outside of God and the infinite manifestation of His goodness.
God is All, and that allness is the exterminator of anything unlike good. Just as light eliminates darkness through it's simple presence, eliminating moral and physical darkness isn't an act of destruction for divine Good; it's an act of simply being God.
So where did the darkness come from if it isn't part of God's allness? Darkness is a false perspective; it's not a thing, it's the suggestion of an absence of light.
Darkness is often self-imposed. Take my cat, for example. She loves light, even seeking it out. But she also closes her eyes tightly when the sun is shining on her. The light doesn't disappear, and she can't avoid its effects; but the darkness she experiences may seem very real to her with her eyes closed to it.
If one is duped into believing that God is distant, that good is far off, that good can be subverted and changed into its opposite, or that one is not good as God's image, he is holding a false view of the divine Light in and around him.
Sin is Bible vocabulary for negativity, for evil thoughts and deeds.The Bible teaches that sin is punished. It also teaches that man is redeemable from sin. Christ Jesus illustrated this redemption by forgiving and turning people's hearts from sin. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures points out one of the basic tenets of Christian Science: "We acknowledge God’s forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts." (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 497)
It is important to note that God doesn't do the punishing. A sin belief punishes itself. Sin is self-destructive. The belief punishes itself, induces suffering on itself, until the belief is released. "Vengeance is mine" is an attempt to to explain this phenomena of self-destructive evil by blaming the discomfort on a human-like and angry god.
To the question of "people like that," whether they will ultimately be redeemed, it is important to note that mortals don't become children of God. Mortality and its conditions of evil passions and appetites, depraved will, cruelty, hatred, revenge, have no life in them to redeem.
If there is not a single morsel of morality - some slight indication of humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness or temperance in a Hitler, than that Hitler was never a man. (Man, in this sense, is the generic term for manifestation or child of God.) In such a case he would be classified, and would always remain, a figment of what Christian Science denotes as animal magnetism, the anti-Christ, generic evil, or complete darkness. However, If there is any slight indication of humanity there - whether we have personally ever seen it or not - that makes him redeemable.
Fortunately, we don't have to worry about if or how a Hitler is or isn't transformed or changed. Whether man or a figment of animal magnetism, the divine and irrevocable law of progress will sort out the true facts, redeem the real and wipe out entirely that which is unlike God.
Darkness never wins in a contest with Light. Light, and the good that constitutes God and His creation, conquers all.
For a beautiful illustration of how pure good overcame the darkness and evil of the Holocaust, check out my earlier post titled "I will love, if another hates."
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For those who are in northern California, I will give my lecture "Finding God, Finding Health" this afternoon, at 4pm PT in Pacifica. I will be back to blogging next week, but in the meantime lots of interesting ideas are percolating to share.
Here is the November 8, 2012, Daily Lift, entitled "Dump the Guilt", in case you missed it. The Daily Lift is a podcast series featuring the inspiration of members of the worldwide Christian Science Board of Lectureship team. Every Lift is "the best Lift I have ever heard." If you are up for a two-minute inspiration and thought-boost, do give the Lift a regular listen. New Lifts are posted five days a week. You can even subscribe to have each new Lift delivered to your email inbox.
Happy weekend to all!
PLEASE NOTE: THE FORMER LINKS WERE NON-FUNCTIONING AND HAVE BEEN CHANGED. SORRY FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.
What does it really mean to be good? Is good simply a median point on a human scale ranging between bad and great? If so, goodness equates with mediocrity. If we consider ourselves no better than moderately good, we might also find our moral standard fluctuating in a perpetual struggle to behave better.
The goodness inherent in God’s creation isn’t merely a human value in a range of other values. Mary Baker Eddy recognized good as “the primitive Principle of man.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p.14).
The real source of our goodness is God, the universal Principle of divine Good. Good is God, and God’s goodness is the foundational spiritual essence of who we are. Through consistent, daily prayer, expanding on an understanding of the immense subject of God as Good, we can discover our own true identity, and the goodness – the purity, meekness, receptivity, mercy - we are all capable of.
There is nothing mediocre about the good in you.
God is Spirit, all power, all presence, all active Good. God is All, with no opposite, and thus no opposition. Because there is nothing to degenerate or attack God, His divine reflection, man, is safe and sealed - that is, incorruptible.
God is unlimited Good and His creation expresses unrestricted, flawless good. Have you ever identified yourself as unlimited, uninhibited, whole, flawless, and expressing divinity? If not, let prayer introduce you to God’s creation – to the real you.
Good isn’t what we strive to be. Good is who we really are. Divine Good is the only Cause, creating you - the perfect effect of Good.
Good is All; it has no opposite. Good has absolute control, total dominion, complete freedom. God didn’t create us to experience or express a part of His goodness. We reflect all of it, the whole of infinite Good that is God, each in a particular, unique, wonderful, essential, powerful God-caused way. This wholeness constitutes true spiritual individuality.
The Psalmist said, “The LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (100:5)
God is Good! And God's goodness is everlasting and endures in His creation. Every one of your prayers to see more of God’s goodness is a lasting generation of truth. Let your prayers give witness to the goodness of God in you, and in all.
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no