No Final Judgment for Mortals?

DEAR FRIEND: If you are a Christian Scientist or are thinking of becoming one, then this letter is written especially with you in mind. You are, most likely, very sincere in your desire to learn the truths of God. It is because of your sincerity that I feel compelled to write to you. One can be sincere—but sincerely wrong—about anything!
You might think that I am incorrect in making such a statement. All I ask is that you bear with me awhile. Please be assured that my only intention is a biblical one, that of “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). If you are seeking after truth like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11-12, I hope that you will seriously consider what I am saying and will feel persuaded to diligently “search the Scriptures” to see what God alone has to say (see John 5:39-40; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 2:15; 3:15-17).
Mrs. Eddy’s View of Hell and Judgment
In studying Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, one comes across a very familiar statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error. (S&H, 291:28-31)
Mrs. Eddy also says, “The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, the saint his own heaven by doing right” (S&H, 266:20-21. See also lines 26-27). In other places she identifies hell as “the fire of a guilty conscience” and as “mortal belief, error . . . self-imposed agony . . . that which ‘worketh abomination or maketh a lie'” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, 160:25; S&H, 588:1-4; see also Miscellaneous Writings, 237:2-6).
Mrs. Eddy’s attitude about final judgment is perhaps most clearly seen in The People’s Idea of God:
The eternal roasting amidst noxious vapors; the election of the minority to be saved and the majority to be eternally punished; the wrath of God, to be appeased by the sacrifice and torture of His favorite Son, –- are some of the false beliefs that have produced sin, sickness, and death. . . . (The People’s Idea of God, 3:5-10. See also Retrospection and Introspection, 13-14)
The Christian Science Publishing Society writes the following on the first page of its pamphlet, Questions and Answers on Christian Science:
To us, heaven and hell are states of thought, not places. People experience their own heaven or hell right here in proportion as they draw closer to the love of God or fall into the confusion of dead-end materialism.
It seems abundantly clear what Christian Science teaches about the eternal state: NO FINAL JUDGMENT!
A Contrast
There is a marked contrast between Mrs. Eddy’s statements regarding hell and judgment and what the Bible says about them. While Mrs. Eddy describes hell as a state of thought and judgment as a process, the Bible portrays hell as a place and final judgment as an event. These differences are surprising since Mrs. Eddy has clearly stated that Christian Science is based on biblical authority:
The Bible has been my only authority. I have had no other guide in the ‘straight and narrow way’ of Truth. . . . Divine Science [Christian Science] derives its sanction from the Bible. . . . (S&H, 126:29-31; 146:23)
Is Mrs. Eddy saying something contrary to the Bible, or are her descriptions of hell and judgment actually spiritual interpretations and clarifications of what the Bible writers were trying to articulate? I will attempt to answer that question in the pages that follow. As we approach this study, it is important to remember that spiritual interpretations and clarifications should illuminate—but not contradict—what the Bible says.
What the Bible Says About Itself
The Bible provides the basis for our current discussion and Mrs. Eddy’s stated foundation for Christian Science, so let us begin by considering what it says about itself:
Psalm 119:142, 160
Your law is truth . . . the sum of your word is truth. (NASB translation)
Proverbs 30:5-6
Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. (NASB translation)
John 17:17
Thy word is truth. (KJV translation)
I Thessalonians 2:13
And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. (NASB translation)
II Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed [“theopneustos” in the original Greek] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV translation)
II Peter 1:20-21
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (NIV translation)
These and other verses say that the Bible was authored by “the God of truth“ (Isaiah 65:16). He is the One “who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), and so his Word must be truth. We can believe what the Bible says.
A Few Questions to Ponder
Do Mrs. Eddy’s statements regarding judgment, heaven and hell have any basis in biblical or theological fact? Specifically,
• Is hell only a “false belief” that produces “sin, sickness, and death”?
• Is it true that heaven and hell are just mental states of existence? (Or could they actually be real and permanent locations reserved for the righteous and the wicked after physical death?)
• Is it really true that hell is a condition of “self-imposed agony,” composed of flames produced by a “guilty conscience”?
• Is it true that hell is a man-made existence created by those who are accustomed to “doing evil”? (Or, would it be closer to the truth to say hell is a place where the flames are real and where a very real agony is “imposed” upon the ungodly by a holy and righteous God who is “angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11)?
What does God say in His Scriptures concerning heaven and hell? What did Jesus, the prophets and apostles say about them? These are questions that need solid biblical answers, not speculative opinions. One writer offers some basic advice for anyone seeking spiritual truth, especially as it concerns heaven and hell:
All teachings, new or old, should be examined closely by the Bible . . . did Jesus teach it in the Gospels? Was it practiced by the early church in the Book of Acts? Were we given instruction on it in the Epistles?[1]
Another writer states:
What of eternity? There are thousands of shrewd, farseeing men today who look sharply after their own interests in this life, but seem stone-blind to eternity before them. In spite of the infinite love of God, in spite of the known brevity of man’s history here, in spite of the terrors of judgment after death and the solemn probability of waking up at last on hell’s side of a “fixed” gulf, men hurry on to the bitter end, as if there were no God, no death, no judgment, no heaven, no hell. One can put off the thought of eternity, but procrastination is not only a thief but a murderer. There is much truth in the Spanish proverb that says, “The road of ‘By-and-by’ leads to the town of ‘Never.'” One must travel that road no longer: “now is the day of salvation.”[2]
If you have even the slightest doubt regarding where you will spend eternity after this life is over, does it make any sense to place your trust in the opinions of one woman, namely, Mary Baker Eddy? Is it possible you are living a life on borrowed time that is precariously based on someone else’s erroneous theological information? Could it be that Mrs. Eddy’s knowledge of eternity is NOT based on the truth of God? It has been said that hell is the truth discovered too late!
The Bible’s View of Hell and Judgment
If hell and final judgment are innocuous as Mrs. Eddy would have you believe, then why do Jesus and his apostles teach the exact opposite? Why are descriptions of hell throughout the New Testament terrifyingly different from the “hell” of Christian Science? A careful examination of the Scriptures reveals a hell that is:
• A place of unquenchable fire (Matthew 5:22; 18:8-9; 25:41; Mark 9:48)
• A place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12; 13:42; 22:13)
• A place of outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; II Peter 2:17; Jude 13)
• A place that is like a bottomless pit (Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1-3, 11:7; 20:1-3)
• A place where people scream for mercy, have memories, are in conscious torment, feel alone, and cannot escape (Luke 16:19-31)
• A place of everlasting damnation and destruction (Mark 3:29; II Thessalonians 1:9)
• A place of punishment where the wrath of God is continuously being poured out forever (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 14:10-11)
• A place called the second death (Revelation 21:8)
A Bodily Resurrection and the Final Judgment
Even if one granted Mrs. Eddy’s notion of hell as only a mental state of existence and not a real place, it would still be a merciless and hideous state of mind in which to spend eternity![3] Jesus, however, does not give her that option. In Matthew 10:28 he says, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (NASB, emphasis added).
In Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we find the rich man in hell crying out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame” (verse 24, NASB, emphasis added). Notice that both Lazarus and the rich man have bodies. In the case of the rich man, his body is experiencing real torment. This is not a just a mental state of being.
In John 5:25-29, Jesus says that his Father has given him all authority to execute judgment upon everyone, and that some will rise from the grave “unto the resurrection of life” while the rest will come up from the grave to experience a “resurrection of damnation” (verse 29, KJV).
Jesus spoke of his resurrection many times while here on Earth “in the days of his flesh” (Hebrews 5:7, KJV). On one occasion, he referred to the “temple of his body” that would be raised on the third day (John 2:19-22, KJV, emphasis added).
What Jesus is plainly saying in these passages is that the body—not just a “mental state of being,”—will be raised up on the Last Day. The resurrection body created by God will be made either eternally corruptible to endure everlasting torment (Mark 9:43-49) or eternally incorruptible to enjoy everlasting bliss (see 1 Corinthians 15, especially verses 42, 51-54). The spirit and soul of a person will always exist because it is the immaterial part of man and does not need to be resurrected. The resurrection is physical—pertaining only to a person’s body. At some point in time, the material and the immaterial part of a person will again unite for eternity in heaven or hell. Speaking to the believers at the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul writes: “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [i.e., the resurrection]” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NASB, emphasis added).
Paul expands his argument for a bodily resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15: Since we obviously possess a physical body in our present finite existence (15:35 ff.), and since the Lord Jesus Christ had a very real physical body before and after his resurrection,[4] and since his bodily resurrection is historical fact and guarantees our resurrection in the future (15:12-24), then it follows that we too will possess a body fitted for eternity. It will be a body that God has chosen (15:38), a body related to the former one (15:36), yet different (15:39-41).[5]
It is well to remember that the God “who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist” (Romans 4:17, NASB, emphasis added) is the same God who spoke to Jeremiah and said, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, NASB, emphasis added) In these two short passages God says that he created real beings of flesh and that he is able to raise them back to life after their physical death!
Yet, Mrs. Eddy insists that “the belief that material bodies return to dust, hereafter to rise up as spiritual bodies with material sensations and desires, is incorrect” (S&H, 73:19-21). According to whose opinion is it incorrect—Mary Baker Eddy’s or God’s? It never seemed to bother Mrs. Eddy that her resurrection theology was (and still is) far removed from the teachings of Jesus and Paul, let alone the rest of the Bible. (See for example S&H, 44:28 ff.; 45:6; 45:32-46:3; 291:25 ff.; 313:26-30; 593:9-11.)
The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Final Judgment
In saying that “no final judgment awaits mortals,” Mrs. Eddy blatantly contradicts and disregards the many Bible passages referring to the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ—an event that is directly connected to the final judgment of everyone who has existed, now exists or will ever exist. The apostle Paul writes that “we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ . . . . every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12, KJV, emphasis added; see also II Corinthians 5:10).
Speaking to the pagan philosophers at Athens, Paul exhorts, “God is now declaring [or “commanding,” KJV] to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31, NASB)
Paul also writes concerning repentance and the coming judgment of God, “Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.” (Romans 2:4-6, NASB,)
In the book of Romans, Paul says that “God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:16, NASB). Yet, Mrs. Eddy claims that “no final judgment awaits mortals”!
Mrs. Eddy has left no stone unturned, theologically speaking. She states, “The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science” (Retrospection and Introspection, 70:20-22). Equating Christian Science with the Second Advent of Jesus, Mrs. Eddy continues:
Some modern exegesis on the prophetic Scriptures cites 1875 as the year of the second coming of Christ. In that year the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” was first published.[6]
In another place she writes:
It is authentically said that one expositor of Daniel’s dates fixed the year 1866 or 1867 for the return of Christ—the return of the spiritual idea to the material world or antipode of heaven. It is a marked coincidence that those dates were the first two years of my discovery of Christian Science.[7]
And The Mother Church, echoing Mrs. Eddy, tells us:
As you begin to study Christian Science, you soon realize that the corporeal Jesus is not coming back to earth. But this is not a great disappointment to you. He does not need to come back.[8]
Needless to say, these are incredible claims and they deserve a closer look. For example, Mrs. Eddy states that 1866, 1867 or perhaps even 1875 was the date of the Second Coming. Which date was it? Why was she unable to make up her mind on such a crucial issue? Wouldn’t a true prophet of God speak definitively about something as important as that? Yet, a bigger problem for her concerns the words of Jesus. He said on more than one occasion that “of that day and hour no one knows . . . it is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7, NASB).
Furthermore, what does she mean by the term “Daniel’s dates,” and which expositor of “Daniel’s dates” is she talking about? It is one thing to use impressive phrases like “it is authentically said,” and quite another to produce any substantial predictions from the book of Daniel that the advent of Christian Science would be in 1866, 1867, 1875, or at any other point in time! Throughout church history, no biblical scholar of worthy reputation has ever found even a clue of such an advent in the book of Daniel—the reason being that it is not in Daniel to begin with. References to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ can be found there, but not references the advent of Christian Science.
Who Is The Christ?
Please pause here for a moment and ask yourself the following:
“Who is Jesus? Who is the Christ? Are they one and the same Person? Why does Mrs. Eddy say that ’Christ’ is only a ’spiritual idea’ and not a real Person?”
The New Testament answers these questions in the following passages, clearly showing that “Christ” is a title belonging to Jesus alone and that Jesus and Christ are the same Person.[9]
• Christ was born (Matthew 2:4; Luke 2:11; John 7:42)
• Christ is a Person (II Corinthians 2:10; John 1:14)
• Christ is a Son (Matthew 22:42; Romans 1:3; Hebrews 3:6)
• Christ had human ancestry (John 7:42; Romans 1:3; 9:5)
• Christ came from the seed of David (Matthew 1:1; Mark 12:35; John 7:42)
• Christ had a body (Romans 7:4)
• Christ had blood (I Corinthians 10:16; Ephesians 2:13; Hebrews 9:12-14)
• Christ died (Romans 5:6, 8; 8:34; 14:9; I Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 2:21)
• Christ suffered (Luke 24:26, 46; Acts 17:3; 26:23; I Peter 1:11; 2:21; 4:1)
• Christ was made sin and a curse on our behalf (II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13)
• Christ was crucified (I Corinthians 1:23; Acts 4:10)
• Christ was raised from the dead (Romans 6:4; I Corinthians 15:12-13,17)
• Christ is our living High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:11)
• Christ will judge (II Corinthians 5:10)
• Christ was sacrificed “once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him” (Hebrews 9:28, NIV).
The above references show that Christ is a Person who possesses qualities of true humanity. These references do not, however, contradict the Bible’s clear teaching that, in Jesus Christ, “all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9, NASB) and that he is God “manifested in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16, NKJV. See also John 1:1-14; 20:28). (For Mrs. Eddy’s refutation of Colossians 2:9, see S&H, 336:19-24.[10]) Christ is a Person who expresses the attributes of personality—will, emotion and intellect. The Christ of the Bible is not a “divine” or “spiritual” idea as Mrs. Eddy claims. A “divine” or “spiritual” idea does not have a physical body or a human genealogy—nor can it suffer, die or rise from the grave as described in the Bible verses listed above.
Even though Mrs. Eddy would like to make a division between Jesus as a mere mortal and Christ as “the divine idea of God,” the Bible never makes such an artificial dichotomy. The Bible indicates that Christ (which means “Messiah” or “Anointed One,” John 1:41) is the title of only one Person in history—a distinctive title for the unique office that Jesus alone holds—that of Prophet, Priest and King.[11] It is the same as saying the office of the United States Presidency was held exclusively by someone like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. In such a case it would be perfectly normal and correct to call the President a person in the same way one would call Washington or Lincoln a person. Thus, it logically follows that Christ can be called a Person just the same way that Jesus can be called a Person. To do so would be perfectly normal and correct. But to call Christ a “spiritual” or “divine idea of God” is contrived and false, and is at odds with the generally accepted historical and grammatical methods of biblical exegesis. Here again, one finds Mrs. Eddy’s esoteric opinions in direct conflict with the clear testimony of the Bible.
Friend, in which Jesus have you placed your faith? If your faith is in the “metaphysical” Jesus of Christian Science; if you believe in the Jesus who is just the “Way-shower”—but not the only Way to God the Father; if you think that he is just a good man, an “Exemplar” who demonstrated the “Christ-idea” better than anyone else—but is not Jehovah God in the flesh, the second Person of the triune Godhead—then you have the WRONG JESUS! You will not be ready when the real Jesus appears. Only the authentic Jesus of the Bible can save you. The Jesus of Christian Science is “another Jesus” that cannot save anyone. Paul warns that people who offer a different Jesus from the Jesus of Scripture are not sent from God and are not to be believed (II Corinthians 11:2-4). Paul said that such people were:
. . . false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (II Corinthians 11:13-15, NASB; cf. Galatians 1:6-9)
Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians
One passage that should forever silence Mrs. Eddy’s claims about the Second Coming of Christ and the judgment of God is found in Paul’s second letter to the church at Thessalonica:
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution (or “taking vengeance,” KJV) to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day. . . (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, NASB).
Of the many things the above passage is saying, one thing is certain: the “corporeal” Jesus of the Bible is most assuredly coming back to planet Earth, and is going to cast all those who refused to believe his gospel into the hell of everlasting destruction. From this passage we learn that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will indeed be a real and visible event, that the hell of the Bible is a real place of torment, and that the God of the Bible is a very real and awesome Person. We learn too that it is obedience to the saving gospel “of our Lord Jesus” that will rescue one from “the penalty of eternal destruction” and into an everlasting relationship with the living Lord of the universe. Let us examine Paul’s message to the Thessalonians a little more closely.
“The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven”
Please note that it will be “the Lord Jesus” who is coming back from heaven, not the “Christ-idea” of Christian Science. When he returns to earth (as he clearly said he would—see Matthew 16:27; John 14:2-3, etc.) it will not be a secret, esoteric “spiritualized” event. It will be just the opposite. Many terrifying and unprecedented disturbances, on a cosmic level, will precede and accompany this momentous event. There will be, as Mark’s gospel states, “days of distress unequaled from the beginning when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again” (Mark 13:19, NIV). In Luke’s gospel, Jesus states that,
On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26, NIV)
Jesus also predicts that the lights of the entire universe will be shut off as part of the grand climax:
But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24-26, NASB)
The “Day of the Lord,” as the Bible tells us, will come as a “thief in the night” and will bring “sudden destruction” upon all those who are unrepentant towards God (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 and II Peter 3:10-13).[12] The sky will “split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up” (Revelation 6:14, NASB), and then the brilliant and awesome glory of Almighty God will fill the heavens and reveal the advent of his only begotten Son. The Scriptures record for us what that moment will be like:
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him . . . .
For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.
. . . when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . . .”
Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels. . . .” (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:27; 25:31-34, 41, NASB)
Many on that day will seek to hide themselves, begging even the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them in order to avoid “the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb” (see Revelation 6:15-16, NKJV). To such people, the painful realization will be that “the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (verse 17). From all these passages, as well as from many others not mentioned, it is obvious that the Second Coming described in the Bible is a radically different event than the one portrayed by Mrs. Eddy!
“The penalty of eternal destruction”
Paul’s letter describes hell as a place of “eternal destruction”—an existence far removed from the presence and glory of God. Here, the word “destruction” comes from the Greek word “olethros,“ which means ruination (see 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 above). To quote one Greek scholar, “the word does not mean annihilation, but implies the loss of all things that give worth to existence.”[13] This is one of many passages directly refuting the pseudo-hell of Christian Science and its teaching that “man cannot be separated for an instant from God” (S&H, 306:18-19; cf. 522:10). Paul says that it is an axiomatic truth, based on God’s character and promises, that those who do not repent and believe in “the gospel of our Lord Jesus” will indeed be separated from God forever. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, NASB). On his third missionary journey, Paul preached “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus” (Acts 20:21, NASB). We see from the totality of Scripture that the people the Lord Jesus will condemn to hell are those who will have made a conscious choice to rebel against his gospel message of salvation—people who will have known of the one true God, but will have failed to honor and worship him as such. These will be people who chose to worship a god of their own design (see Romans 1:18-32). These people will have heard the gospel, but their willful disobedience to a royal invitation of salvation from the King will bring upon themselves his everlasting condemnation (see Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:15-24).[14]
We have briefly seen how Jesus and Paul view the doctrine of eschatology, but what do the other writers of the New Testament say?
HEBREWS: The author of Hebrews asks rhetorically how the unrepentant can avoid God’s judgment if they “neglect so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:1-3, NASB). The same writer states that it is “a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” and that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 10:31; 12:29, NASB).
JAMES: James warns that “there is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy” (James 4:12, NASB).
PETER: The apostle Peter says that the unsaved and the rebellious “shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (I Peter 4:5, NASB; cf. Acts 10:42; II Timothy 4:1). Like the writer of Hebrews, he rhetorically asks, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” and what will be the fate of “those who do not obey the gospel of God”? (I Peter 4:17-18, NIV). Peter later answers these questions by saying that the Lord will keep all such persons—especially false prophets and false teachers—“under punishment for the day of judgment,” and that “by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (II Peter 2:9; 3:7, NASB).
JUDE: Jude, the brother of James and half brother of Jesus, writes about those who are presently being kept “in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” and who are “suffering in the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7, NKJV; see also vv. 14-15).
REVELATION: The apostle John—“the disciple whom Jesus loved”—warns against following Satan rather than Jesus Christ during the period of time he addresses in the book of Revelation. His warning includes some insights into the character of hell. John says, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night . . .” (Revelation 14:9-11, NKJV).
“Those who do not know God”
As we look again at 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10, we see that the God of this passage is not the pantheistic “All-in-all,” impersonal “divine Principle,” of Christian Science. He is not the “Father-Mother” deity of Mrs. Eddy’s inventive imagination. Such heretical views do not come from Judeo-Christian theology, but in truth have their origins from the pagan teachings of Hinduism, Gnosticism, Spiritualism and even Shakerism. Noted theologian Dr. Charles Ryrie has commented that,
The God of the Bible is not a god of man’s own making or thinking or choosing, but He is the God of His own revelation.[15]
If God is “the God of His own revelation,” how has he revealed himself to us? From the first verses in Genesis to the end of Revelation, we are informed that God is the Creator and Preserver of the material universe. We are told that he created all things “visible and invisible” and that he now holds all things together “by his powerful word” (see Psalm 33:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 11:3). The Bible also declares that “the God of all flesh” (Jeremiah 32:27) is Sovereign King, Redeemer and Judge over all his creation, and that his creation owes its existence and obedience to his loving lordship. Sadly, the Bible also tells us that all of mankind has rebelled against God and his rightful claim on their lives. Paul gives us a very sobering revelation concerning God and the rebellion of humanity:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools . . . . They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. (Romans 1:18-22, 25, NIV)
A Christian Scientist might find it shocking to discover how God expresses his wrath “from heaven.” In this passage, God’s wrath is not some kind of irrational divine temper tantrum, but is his ”holy and just revulsion against what is contrary to and opposes His holy nature and will.”[16] The result is his “abandonment of the wicked to their sins,” for they have rejected “the truth about God revealed in the creation order.”[17]
No one—not even the one who has not heard of the Bible or of Christ—has an excuse for not honoring God, because the whole created world reveals Him.[18]
Some Concluding Thoughts
By now you might be asking yourself, “Why would a loving God want to send someone like me to hell?” A better question to ask is, ”Why should a perfect, holy, and righteous God, who cannot tolerate sin in his presence, allow me—or anyone—into heaven?” After all, it is God’s heaven, and he has the right to define the entrance requirements.
One word explains why there is a hell: SIN. As one author has noted,
We must take this doctrine of hell, therefore, and make sure we are practically affected by it. A hard look at this doctrine should first change our view of sin. Most . . . do not take sin as seriously as God does. We need to realize that in God’s eyes, and in His actual plan, sin deserves eternal punishment in hell. We can actually learn, by comparison, to hate sin as God hates it. As the reality of hell violates and offends us, for example, so sin violates and offends God. As we cannot bear to look upon the horrors of hell, so God cannot bear to look upon the horrors of sin. As hell revolts us to the point of hatred for it, so also God finds sin revolting. The comparison is not perfect, but it offers a start.[19]
Mrs. Eddy claims that man’s salvation is “universal” (S&H, 291:12; Message to the Mother Church, June 1901,13; 22-25) and that “man as God’s idea is already saved with an everlasting salvation” (Miscellaneous Writings, 261:25-26). Yet, the Lord Jesus clearly stated that “not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21, NASB). He also said that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NASB). At his return he will say to many, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS” (Matthew 7:23, NASB). On that day, many “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, NASB). Salvation may be “universal” to Mrs. Eddy’s way of thinking, but the Bible clearly states that “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15, NASB; cf. Luke 10:20; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 21:27).
We have examined the biblical data. Either Mrs. Eddy is correct in her views—in which case no one has a thing to worry about—or the Bible has the correct view. If the Bible is correct, every living person should be concerned and should humbly cast himself or herself upon the mercy of God for his free and gracious offer of salvation. Only a loving Jesus would take up so much space on the pages of Holy Scripture warning us of a place he wants us to avoid! He and his apostles must surely have used the doctrine of final judgment as a strong incentive for making us run to the Lord. In fact, Paul says:
Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . . We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, BE RECONCILED TO GOD. (II Corinthians 5:11, 20, NKJV, emphasis added)
Friend, can you honestly say that Mary Baker Eddy has any concern for your soul? Can you say without reservation that she has your best interests at heart? When we see her play fast and loose with the biblical doctrines of the Second Coming, the Final Judgment, and the deity of Jesus—as well as with every other major teaching of God’s Word—we have a right to ask! Mrs. Eddy cannot save souls. Her teachings do not lead to salvation. Only the Lord Jesus has the power, ability and desire to save souls. Only Jesus Christ can claim to be “the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (I Peter 2:25, NASB). Only the LORD God can say, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine “(Ezekiel 18:4, NASB). And finally, only Jesus Christ—not Mary Baker Eddy—could ever make a statement like this:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NASB)
© 2006 by Phil Fewsmith (Used by permission.)
Abbreviations for Bible translations used:
KJV — King James Version
NKJV — New King James Version
NASB — New American Standard
NIV — New International Version
________________________________________
Endnotes
[1] Heath Habbeshaw, “The Greatest Lie Ever Told,” Passport Magazine (April/May 1987): 13.
[2] George Cutting, The Joy of Assured Salvation (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 4.
[3] Dave Bridgeman, cassette #12 from Christian Way.
[4] See Luke 24:36-43; John 2:19-22; 20:26-29; Hebrews 2:14-17; 5:7; 10:5b; I John 4:1-3; II John 7.
[5] Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Version (Chicago: Moody Press, 1978), 1748-49.
[6] Mary Baker Eddy, Message to The Mother Church Boston, Massachusetts June, 1900 (Boston, MA: Published by the Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1928), 6:28-7:2.
[7] Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany (Boston, MA: Published by the Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1941), 181:27-32.
[8] Is Jesus Coming Again? (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1972) 3.
[9] List compiled by Todd Ehrenborg, Speaking the Truth in Love to the Mind Sciences. (Personal publication: Spurgeon United Methodist Church, 1025 West Memory Lane, Santa Ana, CA 92706), p. 62.
[10] “God is indivisible. A portion of God could not enter man; neither could God’s fullness be reflected by a single man, else God would be manifestly finite, lose the deific character, and become less than God. Allness is the measure of the infinite, and nothing less can express God.” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, [Boston, MA: Published by the Trustees under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1934], 336:19-24.
[11] Jesus as Prophet: Deuteronomy 18:15-19, cf. Acts 3:19-26; Matthew 13:57; 14:5; Luke 24:19; Hebrews 1:1-2.
Jesus as Priest: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-10; 7:11-28; 9:24-28; 10:10-14.
Jesus as King: Psalm 2; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 2:2; 21:4-5; 25:34; Luke 23:1-3; John 1:49;
18:33-37; I Timothy 1:17; Revelation 1:5; 17:14; 19:16.
As Mediator, Christ has three offices: Prophet, Priest and King of His church. First, as Priest, Christ procures pardon and peace by His sacrifice on the cross and maintains peace by His intercession.
Second, as Prophet, Christ is wisdom — teacher and counselor in all things.
Third, as anointed King, Christ rules and reigns over the true believer in all things and protects him
from all his enemies.” (Ernest C. Reisinger, Today’s Evangelism [Phillipsburg, NJ: Craig Press, 1982], 154.)
[12] Many Old Testament references describe the Day of the Lord as a time of judgment and darkness. For examples, see Isaiah 13:9-11; 24:23; 34:4; 50:3; Ezekiel 32:7-8; Joel 2:10-11, 31; 3:14-16; Amos 5:20; 8:9; Nahum 1:2-8; Zephaniah 1:14-18; 2:2-3; 3:8; Haggai 2:21; Zechariah 14:3-7.
[13] Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, ed. Cleon Rogers (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976), 606-7.
[14] Kenneth L. Barker, ed., The New International Version Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1985), 1828.
[15] Charles C. Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972), 25.
[16] Kenneth L. Barker, ed., The New International Version Study Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1985), 1707.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Ibid.
[19] John Thomas, “That Hideous Doctrine,” Moody Monthly, September 1985.