Understanding the unreality of evil

November 10, 2023 | 51 comments

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A commenter on this blog recently asked, “How can a student of Christian Science say evil is unreal when so many atrocities are happening around the world?”

It is true. One of the basic teachings of Christian Science is the reality of God, good, and the unreality of evil. As Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science writes, “God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good. Therefore evil, being contrary to good, is unreal, and cannot be the product of God” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 339).

To understand how Eddy could write such a statement requires one to see the Big Picture of eternal Life with God in Spirit. With God in Spirit, Life is good. Everything is good. Harmony reigns, health is fixed, peace rules, justice prevails and life is forever.

In the realm of mortal mind, chaos, conflict, sin and death appear to reign. To the mortal mind, evil appears very real. But Jesus Christ came to show us there is a more to life than mortal mind perceives. There is spiritual life. What we have in spiritual life lasts forever.

For instance, death appears real to the mortal mind, but in spiritual truth, life goes on. As Jesus proved with his crucifixion, life is not lost in the experience of death. It continues with God in Spirit. The sensation of death is temporal illusion. In the Big Picture of spiritual Life with God, it is unreal. Life is eternal.

And the same rule applies to all evil. It appears very real to the material senses, but when one sees beyond matter, beyond mortal existence, to Life in Spirit, the hold it seems to have disappears. Evil and its effect is temporal. God’s goodness is eternal.

Something that is real lasts forever. There is no ending point. Life with God lasts forever, and it’s a good life, a Life free of all evil.

In the Big Picture of eternal Life with God, evil is unreal. Good is real, and has the only lasting impression on our existence.

51 thoughts on “Understanding the unreality of evil”

  1. So important to remember and think on this when evil tries to assert itself time and time again. It is a constant neccessity and a battle to try and hold this fact in thought. The rewards of thinking this way are so valuable. Thank you Evan for this important reminder. x

  2. Beautifully said Evan ✨
    My friend Joy will love reading this and the gorgeous picture from one of her favorite seasons !!
    ✨ with
    Gratitude McKenzie

  3. But…. good people often let evil walk all over them. They think this is what they are meant to do in order to love their neighbour as themselves.

  4. Evan, Thanks for the understanding which gives reassurance that all is well in spite of the terrible events taking place in the material world.
    Lately under watch I have prayed to know that God is in control of humanities destiny.
    What experiences await those caught up in crisis might expect when freed from mortalities claim?
    I trust in God Almighty to the “pulling down of strongholds”. Evil is coming to the forefront to be expunged by Loving peace and goodness in the heart of everyone.
    Leaders of the world have the consciousness of good built into them. Evil presents itself to be destroyed.
    Eternality for everyone, controlled by lovingkindness.

    1. Would love to expunge ERROR of every kind, to replace it with seeing only the good which God bestows, to us all. He leaves NO one out. Not me, not you, nor any of us all. Thanks David.

  5. This is often so challenging to understand, something I must confront within myself often. I can understand an adult being hypnotized by evil. I have a hard time watching the innocents who are not yet aware such as children, animals, and the elderly who are ill being tormented by these hypnotized people. But I know the only help is to acknowledge God which good , is the only power.
    I am reminded by my teacher’ s words that we can offer tea and conversation. I often exhausted myself trying to fight evil for those troubled. It was something they had to want to discover and none of my business, perhaps with tea and conversation.

  6. Thank you Evan.
    A dear friend reminded me of Science & Health 97:22 It requires courage to utter truth; for the higher Truth lifts her voice, the louder will error scream, until its inarticulate sound is forever silenced in oblivion.

    1. A great quote, Shelley, Thank you. There Seems to be a lot of screaming in the
      world today, but there are also a lot of good people with a lot of courage to
      combat the supposed evil … a lot of courageous folks in quiet prayer seeing
      te untruths that the world seems to throw at us with all it’s might…the Davids
      taking on the Goliaths.

  7. Hymn 370

    We are hid with Christ forever
    In the Father’s holy plan.
    In this pure eternal Union
    We behold the perfect man;
    And we know that sun can never
    Overthrow the sacred rod
    Of dominion over evil:
    We are hid with Christ in God.

    Hid with Christ in God, O gladness:
    O the meekness and the might,
    When the risen Christ has lifted
    All our thoughts into the light,
    Light of Truth wherein no sadness
    Dims the radiant peace we find,
    As we set our whole affection
    On the beauteous things of Mind.

    We are hid with Christ, have dominion, peace,
    light, perfection

    Thanks Evan.

    1. What a lovely PROOF, “forever” to be hid with Christ. I turn that Truth into reality, by stepping back and breathing deep the healing thoughts which make the pure proof come before me. What a comfort. Thank you M

  8. God’s Love was never compromised, nor is it ever compromised. This means that we, being God’s children and therefore of His Love, can too never be compromised.. Mary Baker Eddy says on p. 481 of Science and Health, ‘Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else.’. We are the very wholeness of God. That is our premise as Christian Scientists and we hold to it. God’s Love is Truth. It is True for everyone everywhere, whether or not is it realized. The apparent mortal mind scenario is contrary to God. It is a falsehood. If we mistakenly fall for it, we have turned from God. In this state we can be of no help to others who are suffering from their own mortal mind illusions. Instead, when mortal mind presents its images of discord, we are reminded to turn to God in prayer and steadfastly stay there until we receive His answer regarding the discordant image. God’s answer, His revelation, sets us free. We realize what appeared so real and terrible never had any power at all, it being entirely false. To know this in our hearts is to know God, our Truth. We accomplish this through earnest prayer where desiring to know God is our only motive.

  9. Like the all powerful, loud-voiced scary Wizard of Oz, the reality of all evil is that it is a fraud, manipulated by mortal thought, boasting of magnificence, but really foundationless, weak, meek and counterfeit. Innocent Toto revealed the truth. God is Spirit; we live in Spirit, we are reflections of Truth, Principle and Mind. Leaning, listening, feeling and expecting Love, God, to manifest itself, we can assert our innocence (listen to today’s Daily Lift) and see through evil’s claim. David, Elisha, Jesus and of course Mary Baker Eddy all teach us the importance of seeing the real in the presence of the unreliable testimony of the unreal. We can stand for good, not “stand aghast at nothingness.” Thank you God.

    1. William E, Thank you for the Wizard of Oz idea! That is a great visual! That is an idea to use in Sunday School as well!

      1. I find the Wizard of Oz analogy also very helpful! Not only the fraud of the wizard but when Dorothy pours water on the wicked witch and she melts into nothingness. I have always thought the water is like the Truth that we apply to evil and it just dissolves because it’s really nothing. Both visuals are very helpful! I have been knowing that man is not violent and hateful but the reflection of Love. The child of God. Jesus said to pray for our enemies. The only way I can really do this is to see that the violence isn’t part of their real being as a child of God. Evil is nothing and nobody. Right where evil seems to be is the omnipotent power of Love. “Good thoughts are an impervious armor, clad therewith you are completely shielded from attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited. “
        Mary Baker Eddy

    2. Wonderful, William E.

      I use the analogy of The Wizard of Oz very often in my work of … moving past…illusions. And remembering to be compassionate and patient with those who are yet terrified by Huge Scary Loud OZ!
      They … might notice my fearlessness, my dominion (developing dominion!), my focus, instead, on the little odd man behind the curtain pulling the OZ strings and such! Thank you Toto! ;-))

      1. I remember years ago, a show with a talking horse, Mister Ed/ Even children
        knew horses don’t really talk, but it sure Seemed like he did. (I believe the
        gentleman who played Wi..ll..ll..ber (Alan Young, was it?) was a CStist in
        “real” life.)
        Mortal mind can try to deceive like that, making us wonder if everything is
        alright, if there really Is a talking horse, but it is just an illusion.

  10. A monotheist would say that there is only one God while others would look to the human experience as a ying yang polytheism. That for every good there is an opposite error. But cannot be true because error has no foundation, it has only confusion and interlaced ambiguity to create its illusion of life, while truth has perfection which is the substance in principle, foundation for the multiplicity and demonstration of good, perfection. Each hate crumbles in the face of selfless divine love because it cannot compete with what it does not have which is the structure of Truth and Love. It is this foundation which Jesus spoke of when building your house upon the rock of Spirit which is eternal. Thank you, Evan for another just excellent post.

    1. Wonderful, William E.

      I use the analogy of The Wizard of Oz very often in my work of … moving past…illusions. And remembering to be compassionate and patient with those who are yet terrified by Huge Scary Loud OZ!
      They … might notice my fearlessness, my dominion (developing dominion!), my focus, instead, on the little odd man behind the curtain pulling the OZ strings and such! Thank you Toto! ;-))

  11. The choice to side for good in the face of evil sometimes seems a battle but it becomes easier as we increasingly “take up arms” menrtally against this liar. We had a particularly marked proof of this when our young 20-something, engaged in early practical level employment was rendered unconscious after having been kicked in the face by one of the milking cows she was charged with at the time. Having been alerted to his concern by her employer (the farmer), we drove to the A&E (ER) department of his local hospital to be “greeted” by the voluble concerns of the admissions doctor. Having calmed our own thoughts on the way to the hospital, and now calming the thouight of the admissions officer, we comforted our daughter and promised to come back the following day, which we did. Just those few hours until our next visit saw such a change that the duty admissions officer when we arrived could scarcely believe that the patient he was seeing, was the injured patient who was admitted the previous day. The short end of this story is that she returned to work within the week although the prognosis had been of permanent scarring, lost teeth and need for considerable convalescence, none of which was realised

    1. Lovely to read and so glad that all was/is well. Sometimes we wonder and thoughts seem to
      take on mortal lies into our believing them, especially when we are not there to confirm the Truth.
      Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  12. We do not pray or communue with God with a human, material brain. The physical senses report only a material sense of things, which is always wrong and opposed to God and His perfect creation. Only with our innate spiritual sense can we hear, see, feel and know what is true. In Science and Health we learn that communication is always from God to man. This communication comes through angel thoughts received through spiritual sense. In the Glossary of Science and Health we find this definition of Angel’s. “God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity. and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.” Life is God. It cannot be lost. No one can “go” anywhere except to a higher understanding of God’s Love and indestructible Life. What appears to be death and destruction is only seen through the physical senses which are based in matter. Jesus called them a liar. What helps me take a stand against the seeming reality of evil, is to immediately reject its claim to reality. Once you know something is a lie and understand the spiritual reason why, you will never be tempted again to believe it, no matter how many times it comes to you for acceptance!
    ♡♡

  13. Being married to Christ is such a permanent joy no one to pick up after, unseen arms forever open,
    the windows always clean. Never to doubt where Being Is, or fear this All will end.
    So much I see in thee. Thank God we met, this Divine connection, belonging.
    Humility sees the Grand Expression, Divine Love, like 2×2=4 , understood is no surprize
    Never compromises or forgets … as for Understanding Divine Love, a marriage One in one.
    Sublime all over the Thy World, secure on the Spiritual Rock……
    Walk in the Bliss …this IS..the bread of Life, the Gift……….

  14. Whenever I am tempted to be sad over the injustice that innocent people have been deprived of living out their lives, I think about Jesus. Once he proved, by his resurrection, that there is no death, and showed himself to his apostles and many others, he left forever the mortal sense of life. He did not stay around and live out a mortal lifespan. He rose above the illusion of life in matter to the full consciousness of one life in God.

    1. Thank you, Desert Girl. A good reminder to always go back to CJ’s example. Thoughtfully said. Thank you, Evan. Very helpful post and responses. I hope Pee got some answers.

  15. Basking in the light of these Truths shared here brings such a sense of Peace in a world
    that seems ever increasingly chaotic, evil, unfair, malicious, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes it
    seems overwhelming and just so Not Rright. It is often so difficult to understand what is
    going on.. will all be well? Mortal temptations to believe in all sorts of erroneous things
    can Seem to take over thought and it is quite frightening. Like William E. mentioned the
    Wizard of Oz, it is only a fraud of what is true, but the promise as a child that if we are a
    good person, we will “ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after” seems like a
    dream in this current way of worldly events. But then… all of the Reality like mentioned
    here in these wonderful messages of God’s Being/Truth/Love gently caress our thought
    nto the innocence of the child mentioned in today’s CS Daily Lift, where she fed the snake
    (boa constrictor) who would do her harm and tapped it on the head correctingly with
    authority and continued to see it’s nothingness in it’s power. Isn’t it a bit like the serpent
    in the Bible who would tempt us into believing in the power of mortal mind? Mrs. Eddy
    wrote, “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought”… ( S&H pg 495:14- )
    I could go on and on, writing all day, but will just end with, pg. 494, “[D]ivine Love supplies
    all good… and “Divine Love always has met and always Will meet EVERY human need.”

  16. Thank you Evan for this very strong message, and thank you everyone for your contributions – a lovely sharing which must bless us all and the world.

    I was thinking of how in the picture above everything is shrouded in
    mist, so we cannot see everything clearly as it really is – and it seems like if you drive along that road you will fall off the world!! Everyone, after all, believed the world was flat, until the truth was discovered. When those “mists of mortal seeming” lift, as the sunshine of Truth and Love
    melts them,, we see the clear reality – the beauty and pure goodness of God’s wonderful creation, which has existed forever, and will continue forever as perfect, and containing no destructive element. A wonderful thing to keep in mind whatever the world throws at us.

  17. Thank you Evan for this. I am grateful for all the contributions. They are very helpful as I was working on a similar thought this morning. This statement in Science and Health gave me some ways by which I can keep away from evil. This was on page 242 : 1 – 3 Through repentance, spiritual baptism and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality.
    In this way one can always know the source of an action, whether from the human mind or from the divine Mind. Therefore if man is governed by the divine Mind man will be able to keep way from evil and hold to the good.

  18. Thank you Evan for your willingness to address the sincere doubts that many of us have in trying to understand the seemingly real and unjustified suffering and mortal death of innocent people worldwide on a daily basis. I have a follow up question to your clear and comforting message, Does God have any role or ability in controlling or deciding who will be born on this earth only to die of disease or starvation in under 10 years, or be killed in war, or by a random evil act of another person at any time? Is there any plan, or is everything about this mortal life an unreal dream? You seem so perceptive and intelligent and I’m sure many people struggle to understand why they are still living wonderful mortal lives for decades when so many others suffer and only live in this world a few years. Please elaborate for those of us who are sincerely wanting to grow spiritually and in peace for however many years we live on this earth. Thank you for considering this request.

  19. H Cynthia,

    To answer your question, God’s universe is Spirit! Infinite Love! Jesus Christ was the Mind of God appearing in a way that humanity could understand and follow to find their way out of suffering to reality with God in heaven.

    The dream of life in matter is an unpleasant place to be with so many injustices and evils apparent, as you delineate. I find it most helpful to simply admit that the dream of life in matter is not the place I want to be. I spend my time and effort on waking up from it and realizing my Life in Spirit with God where Life is free of the suffering.

    As long as you believe evil is real, you will have endless questions about it, trying to rationalize it and figure it out. But you can’t. Evil is not sensible. It’s irrational, unjust, and unfair.

    Christian Science is the only teaching I know of that has this figured out, that evil is not the reality it appears to be. God is the one and only true reality.

    As we understand reality better, we find freedom from unreality, we are able to prove it is unreal. It takes steadfast work, prayer and effort to leave the error behind and wholeheartedly work to demonstrate Truth, but the effort is worth it! We do conquer evil and experience God’s good. We can overcome all those injustices you mention, and find ourselves under a just God where Love rules, and evil does not.

    Hope that helps.

    1. This has really helped me Evan. I’ve been unfortunate enough to have read graphic descriptions of some of the evils perpetrated on women during the 7th Oct attack. I’m find widespread support in London UK for this so upsetting I’m almost ready to take up arms myself.
      You’ve reminded me it’s more constructive to wake up out of the nightmare rather than hit back at what is basically a delusion.

  20. Hi dear Evan, for me that helps very very much what you declare to Cynthia! It is very clear, and there are points in your explanations which enlighten my understanding for which I am so very grateful and happy. Your wonderful answer is a keeper for me, and I will print it out to think about it several times when I need some more clarity. And in any case your today`s SpiritView is very worth keeping too. It is so very important that we understand the nothingness of evil and error and the Allness, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, all power – simply All-in-All of our wonderful God !!! 🙂

  21. Thank you Evan, at last someone has answered the big question we are asked by “unbelievers” when we say “God is good and loves us” …it seems ridiculous to many people to say that. We know it is true but I love this part you wrote … “In the realm of mortal mind, chaos, conflict, sin and death appear to reign. To the mortal mind, evil appears very real. But Jesus Christ came to show us there is a more to life than mortal mind perceives. There is spiritual life. What we have in spiritual life lasts forever.
    For instance, death appears real to the mortal mind, but in spiritual truth, life goes on. ” EXACTLY ! YES! This is a no-nonsense, clear, easy-to-grasp way of explaining it.

  22. Thank you so much dear Evan, for your kind and concise response to Cynthia and I’m sure
    it certainly helps to clarify in more detail many of our questioning…what the material senses
    Try so hard to deceive us with. The Love and knowledge expressed here is so very helpful
    always.
    I don’t mean to overstep in any way, with another question for anyone or Evan – that I have
    been wondering about for a while now. Actually a fairly “easy” question. I was wondering
    why in the past while, many in the church have been now referring to “Mrs. Eddy” as just
    “Eddy”. It may seem like a small thing, but every time I hear or read it – it just seems quite
    cold and almost disrespectful… and love in the older periodical articles where she is still
    revered the way she has always been for all of these years… In her early years in teaching
    Christian Science, she was even referred to with the endearing, “Mother” by her students,
    which, to me anyway, is so much more lovable and respectful, as is “Mrs. Eddy”. I know
    gender identity seems to be – the thing – these days by some and was wondering if this has anything to do with it?
    Wouldn’t it be like we calling dear Evan, who we all are so appreciative of…
    “Mehlenbacher” ? That just would not seem right. Like I wrote, it is a small thing and sorry for
    bringing it up, (maybe I’m just old-fashioned), but just seems grating every time I read or hear
    it and was just wondering if anyone has any insights or thoughts on the origins of this change.
    I would appreciate it very much. I hope in asking, I haven’t gone out of place and apologize if
    I have.

    1. Carol, thank you so very much for asking this additional question regarding the use of “Eddy.” I too had been wondering the exact same thing. It actually seemed to bother me quite a bit. And thank you Evan for your explanation & reasoning.

  23. Hi Carol,

    Yes, happy to share some thoughts on using Eddy at times. I don’t use it very often, but sometimes I do. For me, it is used out of utmost respect for the incredible contribution Mrs. Eddy made to the salvation of humanity from suffering. Mrs. brings thought to a woman, which is fine. Mrs. Eddy was a woman! But she was also a great leader, great thinker, and phenomenal discoverer of Truth.

    Great leaders in the world are often referred to by their last name: Lincoln, Washington, Gandhi, Mandela, and so on. The phrase Mrs. Eddy can bring a grandmotherly image to mind, which has a comforting aspect to it. But Mrs. Eddy was more than a great woman. She was a great leader.

    It is true that many Christian Scientists were raised hearing Mrs. Eddy all the time, so they developed a major comfort with those words. Fine. But I’ve heard public speakers at large, who were not Christian Scientists, use Eddy, and it sounded perfectly appropriate. It was not disrespectful at all, just what seemed the right way to identify her. Totally respectful. So, I have a comfort level with using it on occasion. But I still use Mrs. Eddy frequently. Mary Baker Eddy quite often.

    I hope that helps!

  24. Oh, yes, it does help, dear Evan! Thank you. Your explanation makes sense and you
    are so right about developing somewhat of a “comfort” in the familiar way. She
    certainly was/is a great leader and great thinker of her “time” and ours – into eternity
    and like you had described in your comment above to Cynthia, CS does appear to be
    “the only teaching [I] know of that has figured out, that evil is not the reality it appears
    to be. God is the one and only true reality”. How very true and such gratitude to her
    for all of the diligent work she did in enlightening the world with her discovery of this
    Truth and for sharing it with us all.
    Thank you, too, Evan, for all that you do in coming up with such relevant topics for us
    to learn and grow by. So much love and gratitude in making this such a loving and
    special place to come to and be with likeminded seekers of the the Truth!

    1. Thanks for sharing the article. The thought came to me when reading through it with respect to the comments above is that it is evil (error) which struggles not divine Love.

    2. Thank you J, for the wonderful article; it is clear, practical, evidence-based, and answers common questions in a forthright and direct manner. All of the articles you lead us to are excellent, on topic and helpful, but I find this one truly extraordinary.

      1. I very much agree, William E. This article in particular does explain the matter/Spirit
        concept very well and Thank you, J , so much for sharing it. I read it very quickly last
        night, but having it to awake to this morning to puruse over the weekend in rereading
        it like I just did, is so helpful in seeing the Spiritual Reality of things as they Really are.
        What a blessing!

    3. Thank you J for linking this excellent article. I’m always amazed at how re-reading an article always highlights another aspect of Truth….and normally some point one really needs at that time too! Mind knows all that Minds ideas need❣️

      1. Ditto to what you have written, Barbara. And where you wrote, “Mind
        knows all that Minds ideas need”… brought to thought, from Hymn #9,
        “He [God] knows the angels that you need, And sends them to your side
        …To comfort, guard and guide”. So lovely… and
        from the article that I particularly love, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Divine Science,
        rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into
        thoughts and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas.”

  25. I love the thought that it is the ‘evil’ that struggles to claim reality against the invincible omniscience of Truth that is the real ! This weighs those scales in Gods direction from the get go.
    What wonderful comments this SV has invoked . Plus some questions I’ve fleetingly thought of at times now explained so helpfully by Evan.
    No stone unturned …no fear given power …no evil given life. How wonderful to have all the knowledge of God embracing everyones being❣️

  26. les are never real.
    Jesús said, he was a list from the beginning.
    a lie never become truth
    true never become a lie.

    one is real & one is unrealistical.

    Te shall know the Truth, Truth sets us free.

    1. this Swype is not great. it misspelked the important words.

      LIES never become real.

      Jesús, said.., He was a liar from the beginning. ( John 8:4)

      i how that clearsthat up.

    2. Thanks Dr. Shar,
      “ The Truth never becomes a liar”
      Once we realize that , it helps to reconnect
      With that Reality the reality.

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