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Science and Health and the Bible:
Do They Agree on Questions of Eternal Significance?

By Charles Burke


Jehovah's Witnesses





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Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science & Health that “the Bible has been my only authority," and that “Divine Science derives its sanction from the Bible.” (Science & Health, 126:29-30, 146:23) What this means is that Mrs. Eddy has charged you to evaluate, for yourself, the degree to which Christian Science is validated by the teachings of the Bible.

The time for thinkers has indeed come. It is time for Christian Scientists to think about how the teachings of Science & Health compare with the teachings of the Bible.

Mrs. Eddy describes the Bible as the “inspired Word,” which is “our sufficient guide to eternal Life.” (Science & Health, 497:3-4) In fact, however, as this article shows, there are direct contradictions between the teachings of the Bible and the teachings of Science & Health. These differences concern critical issues of eternal significance.

Jesus once asked His disciples a question that faces us all—“But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Your answer to that question will determine your eternal destiny. The Scriptures provide a very clear answer to this and related questions that are very different from the ideas provided by Mrs. Eddy in Science & Health. We urge all Christian Scientists to study God’s inspired Word to discover who Jesus was and why He was given to all mankind.


Science and Health


The Bible

People are above sin:


Everyone sins:

"Man is deathless, spiritual. He is above sin or frailty." (Science and Health, 266:29-30)


For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)

Sin is not real: it is a mortal belief:


Denying the reality of sin is self-deception:

"Christ came to destroy the belief of sin." (Science & Health, 473:6-7)


"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (I John 1:8)

There is no day of judgment for sin:


Judgment awaits everyone after death:

"No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man in divested of all material error." (Science & Health, 291:28-31)


"and as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

"The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." (2 Peter 2:9)


Science & Health


The Bible

No sacrifice can pay the debt of sin:


The sacrificial death of Jesus Christ paid the debt of sin:

“One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner’s part.” (Science & Health, 23:3-5)


“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3)

“But this man [Jesus ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12)

Jesus did not die for the forgiveness of sin:


Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven:

“Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and are willing to be forgiven?...Then we must differ ....”(Science & Health, 24:20-26)


“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6)

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

The blood of Jesus cannot cleanse from sin:


The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin:

“The material blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sin when it was shed upon 'the accursed tree,' than when it was flowing in his veins as he went daily about his Father’s business.” (Science & Health, 25:6-9)


“...the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14)

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9).


Science & Health


The Bible

Hell is not an actual place:


Hell is a place of lost souls:

“HELL. Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which 'worketh abomination or maketh a lie.' (Science & Health, 588:1-4)

“The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint his own heaven by doing right.” (Science & Health, 266:20-21)


Hell is a place originally intended for Satan and his  demons. (Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4) Hell is a place of fire (Matthew 18:9, Mark 9:43-47, Rev.20:10,15), a place of damnation (Matthew 23:33), and a place of “everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), where the soul can be left and destroyed. (Matthew 10:28, Acts 2:27,31)

Heaven is a state of mind, not a place:


Heaven is a place where God lives. It has been prepared for those who believe in Jesus Christ:

“Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind....” (Science & Health, 291:13-14)


Referring to heaven, Jesus told His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2) Heaven is described in the Bible as a place made by God (Acts 14:15), a place where God resides (Matthew 5:16), a place that we can enter into or be taken up into (Matthew 18:3, Luke 24:51), and a place where rewards are given. (Matthew 5:12, Luke 6:23)

We reach heaven through understanding:


We reach heaven through Jesus:

“To reach heaven, the harmony of being, we must understand the divine Principle of being.” (Science & Health, 6:14-16)


“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” ((John 14:6)

“And this is eternal life, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

Christian Science is the correct path to eternity:


Jesus Christ is the correct path to eternity:

“Christian Science, rightly understood, leads to eternal harmony.” (Science & Health, 338:1-2)


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)

Salvation comes through progressive understanding:


Salvation comes through confession of and belief in Jesus Christ:

“Salvation: Life,Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness and death destroyed.” (Science & Health, 593:20-22)


“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)


Mrs. Eddy taught that Christian Science can heal every physical illness and will never fail if properly applied. As she said in Science & Health, “If the student adheres strictly to the teachings of Christian Science and ventures not to break its rules, he cannot fail of success in healing.” (Science & Health, 448:26-28)

Mrs. Eddy’s own life, and our own experience, prove that this cannot be true. No matter what a person relies upon for physical healing—whether the medical profession or prayer or mind science or something else—healing will ultimately fail and everyone will face death. Even Mrs. Eddy faced death. If healing failed the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, what realistic hope can her followers today have that they “cannot fail of success in healing?” We cannot avoid the reality of death, a point that the Bible confirms in Hebrews 9:27 which says, “it is appointed unto men once to die.”

Given the inevitability of death, Jesus taught that it is wrong to focus excessively upon physical health. Instead, Jesus taught concern for the eternal soul far above concern for the body.

“And I say unto you my friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.” (Luke 12:4-5)

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

The Bible warns of judgment, condemnation and eternal separation that awaits the souls of sinners who do not repent and trust in Jesus. (Matthew 12:36 and 13:49-50; John 3:16-19 and 5:24; Romans 2:2-6 and 6:23; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 2:9)

How can your soul be saved from condemnation? The answer, according to the Bible, is to confess your sins to God and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose sacrificial death and shed blood paid the penalty for your sins. (John 1:12, 11:25-26, and 17:3; Romans 5:6-9 and 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 1:7-9)


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