THE FORBIDDEN TREE of Fruit of Knowledge of Good and Evil

by MJSmith


            In the allegory about the Lord God Jehovah, Adam man, the serpent, and the woman, who was falsely identified by mortal mind to be Eve, there is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What is this tree really all about? What is the knowledge that one gains after mentally digesting its poisonous fruit? We are told that this fruit is good and evil so the knowledge must be good and evil. But does this really explain it to us? Some might think good refers to God (Spirit) in this instance (which is what I have thought for quite some time) and some might say evil is the devil (a fallen angel). It certainly sounds like the good fruit is the knowledge of Spirit and the evil fruit is the knowledge of matter.  And I still believe this is correct, however, it is not the pure knowledge of good (God) that the fruit represents.  I feel that it is a false belief that man entertains about good (God, Spirit) and evil (error) coexisting in matter where Spirit is the slave of matter, or where matter seems to reign over Spirit, good.  This forbidden fruit (thought) brought into Adam man’s consciousness the false practice and false beliefs of spiritualism.  And it is this spiritualism, the belief that Spirit and Soul can reside within matter and be controlled by matter that leads us into the belief that matter is both pleasurable (good) and painful (evil).  A section of a book by Bicknell Young makes it clear that the knowledge of good fruit is the belief that matter as being good and pleasurable while the knowledge of evil fruit is the belief that matter is evil and painful. For sure, the knowledge of good as being matter falls way short of the Third Degree’s spiritual understanding!

            In order to answer my questions about this fruit of knowledge of good and evil I would like to turn to Bicknell Young’s last class instruction found in the book DYNAMIC Christian Science, on pages 28-31. My comments will be in brackets.

Subtle Forms of Evil’s pains and Pleasures


            It often happens in the first contact with Christian Science that an inharmonious bodily condition is destroyed, and healing is experienced. The individual is convinced that the disease was real; and also that the healthful state was one of reality; that is, both conditions of matter are accepted as reality, the one undesirable, the other one most desirable. [This means that many Christian Scientists fall into the trap of thinking that Christian Science is to be used as a medicine, a remedy for what ails them physically. They believe that the goal of Christian Science is to heal them of all physical discomfort and they are willing to hang onto their physical pleasures, one being sexual intercourse another would be the act of eating food because it seems to taste so good (delicious)!] As one progresses in the understanding of Science, the unreality of the erroneous condition becomes more clear, but the healthy material condition still remains very real and very desirable. At this state of progress, the student has not realized that the words evil and error as used in the textbook in many instances, refer to both healthy and sick states of mortal mind and matter.
            Take the oft quoted passage from the textbook, for example, “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing.” Here the word evil is not confined to a discordant person, place, or thing, but it includes the harmonious, material person, place and thing. The mist of mortal sense, which still goes up from the earth, envelops the pleasures of sense in the alluring draperies of bodily strength, activity and health. The student has not yet learned that the apple from the tree of knowledge is both pleasurable and painfully evil. Only the revelation of the truth about matter that Christian Science has given to humanity, could bring to light the subtlety of mortal sense.
            The Biblical account in Genesis states: “The woman saw that the tree was good for food” — the first reference to the desirability of good matter. The account continues, “She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat” — a procedure ardently followed down the ages by the progeny of Adam and Eve. Good matter is still the chief of the world’s gods.
            The revelation of divine Science which shows that good matter is as much an evil as discordant matter, is the fulfillment to Paul’s prophecy of the coming of the day of Christ, or the Truth about all things, in which prophecy he states, “That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” In the light of this revelation, the Scientist learns that not only discordant matter, but good material conditions must be seen as nothing. Both must be clearly discerned as temptation to be overcome, and that good matter is more subtle and difficult to turn away from than evil matter. Good material eyes, good material lungs, good material heart, are as sinful and erroneous as any phase of evil because they deny the allness of Spirit, of God, the divine Principle, Love.
            Science and Health states: “Deny the existence of matter and you can destroy the belief in material conditions.” “Denial of the claims of matter is a great step toward the joys of Spirit, toward human freedom and the final triumph over the body.” Many times in her writings our Leader uses the words evil and matter as synonymous, making no distinction between pleasurable and painful matter. Both are evil. However, the existence of matter cannot be denied until a more or less definite concept of spiritual substance is disclosed. “Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul,” the textbook tells us. There is the modus operandi, the resolving of things into thoughts and then realizing that the thoughts are substantial, are spiritual substance. The textbook states that Mind is substance. Ask yourself what that means, and continue to ask until you are clear.


                        Physical Healing — a Means to an End

            Arriving at the understanding that healthy matter is an evil, the student is prepared for the higher demonstration of Christian Science. Demonstration will then be seen as Immanuel, or “God with us.” No longer will the goal of the student be healthful material conditions, although to the human senses such conditions will seem to be the result of the treatment. The earnest searcher for truth will bar his thought against the restitution of the student’s physical body, to behold in Science the perfect man as did the Master. Then will there be gladness to leave the old landmarks of physical healing, and joy to see them disappear and be replaced by God’s own likeness, the correct view of man, that heals the sick through the understanding that man is never sick.
            Physical healing must continue to herald the coming of Truth to human consciousness; but to the sincere student of this Science, it will signify that disease does not exist. It will mark the passing of the dream of a selfhood apart from God. Physical healing will be but a means to an end, that end being the establishment in individual consciousness of the allness of God, and the consequent non-existence of aught that would deny His allness. [Belief in the reality of matter of the good type or the evil type is a denial of God’s allness.] Like darkness, which is seen to be a belief only, an illusion which disappears before the light, physical healing will be recognized as a delusion of life and intelligence in matter, a delusion which fades away in the omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience of Spirit. Physical healing will no longer signify the great necessity of changed conditions; but to the alert student of the Truth of being, it will announce the glorious fact that the infinite goodness of divine Principle has never for a moment ceased to exist, cannot cease and never will cease to exist as the self-expression of God. From this altitude of spiritual reality, Mrs. Eddy wrote in the textbook, “Man is God’s reflection, needing no cultivation, but ever beautiful and complete.” The same spiritual inspiration found expression in John’s words, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.”
            Rise in your treatment to the Mount of Revelation, where the coming of error of whatever nature causes you to turn to the perfection of Mind, and the loveliness of Love, which is revealed to you in the place of evil. Search for your revelation, open the door to it, and dwell peacefully with it, whenever the call comes to help someone in distress. As you learn to ascend to the heights where your revelation comes to you as the infinite perfection of all being, yours will be the sure touch of the healing grace of divine Love. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer and while they are yet speaking, I will hear….They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” So wrote Isaiah. It is your birthright to recognize as yours this holy mountain of revealed Truth [The Major Pyramid Matrix of Truth? I think so.], and to recognize as your heritage the ability to speak with such authority that “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing.” Do not be timid in taking this progressive action, but go forward with sure step, confident of your right as a beloved son to see the glory of your God and Father filling all your earth with joy, peace, and loveliness. When some wretched sufferer asks for your help, you will find that “I, if I be lifted up from earth [if my conscious thought is lifted up high to the Pyramid Matrix of Truth and up out of the knowledge of good and evil existing in matter, then I], will draw all men unto me,” into the Mount of Revelation; your universe will arise with you; and the weariness, fear and pain will vanish away from the experience of that one whom you have taken to your holy mountain.


Harry Houdini’s Battle With Spiritualism

            Harry Houdini was a very successful magician during the Victorian Age; in fact, he purchased Queen Victoria’s dress and gave it to his mother. Harry Houdini, or Erich Weiss, lived at the same time that Christian Science was a newborn child, yet despite the fact that the master magician never turned to Christian Science he was totally in line with what Christian Science deals with – illusion.
            This week (on September 1 and 2, 2014) the History Channel ran a biographical movie titled Houdini. It was factual yet as misleading as the great magician himself!
            My interest in Houdini began in the 1970’s when ABC aired The Great Houdinies staring Paul Michael Glaser as Harry. After seeing the movie, which I loved way more than this weeks two part movie, I read biographies on the man (some good some not so good). I even purchased Doug Henning’s biography that I loved because of all the wonderful photographs.
            What intrigued me about Houdini was the fact that he searched for a way to contact his mother after the report of her death via telegraph. He was able to expose the tricks of the spiritualist mediums of his day. They could not fool a trickster! He so wanted to communicate with his mother but it never happened. He was not one bit happy that these spiritualists took advantage of their bereaving customers so he exposed their tricks in his stage act. He also investigated them as part of the committee for the Scientific American. He finally went before congress to testify against these charlatans. In Mr. Henning’s book he shows photographs that Houdini had made in order to explain how the mediums faked their photographs they had taken of so-called spirits. It was accomplished with the use of a simple technique called “double exposure.” Because of his crusade against the fraudulent mediums they saw him as their enemy.
            Unfortunately, Harry never investigated Christian Science during this time in his life. These mediums, out of their own ignorance, threatened the Great Houdini, they wanted him to die – they mentally malpracticed on him. They hated him and it is possible that this hate was manifested as the poison from the ruptured appendix. But Houdini’s own stubborn pride could have been a contributing factor (in the material belief of things).  In Truth Houdini never died!
            Some say there is no escaping death. Harry was an escape artist, who to material sense testimony, was unable to escape the belief of death. There is, however, another Jew who really did escape death and we all know his name to be Christ Jesus. Jesus resurrected the body (Temple) and eventually ascended beyond finite corporeal sense. It is possible that if Harry Houdini had investigated Christian Science that he could have defeated the sting of death on Halloween 1926 and resurrected in spite of spiritualism.

“Mortal existence is an enigma.  Every day is a mystery.  The testimony of the corporeal senses cannot inform us what is real and what is delusive, but the revelations of Christian Science unlock the treasures of Truth.  Whatever is false or sinful can never enter the atmosphere of Spirit.  There is but one Spirit.  Man is never God, but spiritual man, made in God’s likeness, reflects God.  In this scientific reflection the Ego [Soul] and the Father [Life] are inseparable.  The supposition that corporeal beings are spirits, or that there are good and evil spirits, is a mistake.” (S&H 70:1)

            On his supposed deathbed Harry left instructions with his wife, Bess, as to what he would say to her if it were possible to return as a spirit in order to communicate with her. There is no communication between those who are believed to be dead and those who believe someone to be dead. Nor can a so-called spirit enter into a mortal man to control him. If a spiritualistic medium seems to be genuine, on the up and up, the truth is that they are not tuning into divine Mind but they are picking up mortal minded thoughts in the same manner as how a quarts crystal picks up radio waves. It is possible to know things in this way, but it is far different from the prophets of God who “listen for Thy (divine Mind’s) voice.” Another sign that these mediums are not tuning into Spirit is the fact that they go (or pretend to go) into mesmeric trances. If they really are going into trances then they are practicing animal magnetism.
            Something else I loved about Harry Houdini is the fact that he proved that man cannot trust his five material senses. An example of this is seen in the movie Houdini. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believes that Houdini has spiritual powers because his mortal eyes believe he saw the magician walk through a brick wall. Even though Harry tells him that it was only a trick Doyle still believes that what he saw with his corporeal eyes was supernatural.
            Today’s magicians are more honest in describing their profession or trade. They outright refer to themselves as illusionists. They practice the science of illusion. They misdirect and lie to their audience. It is all in fun and part of the act, but today the audience should be educated enough to know that they are being deceived because “The testimony of the corporeal senses cannot inform us what is real and what is delusive”.
            The Houdini movie did not speak of the Reverend (he is not a revered leader in any way) Arthur Ford and his relationship with Bess Houdini. Ford was a spiritual medium, a fake. He was good at what he did because he did his research on people. Head F.B.I. man, J. Edgar Hoover, was jealous of Ford’s files!
            The last séance that Bess held, on a Halloween night, took place in California. Although nothing noteworthy happened during the séance, there was a most unexpected rainstorm afterward. The rainfall in this city was a rare occurrence. Who can say if Harry was responsible, but I think if he was it was just like him, because he would have done something big like a rainstorm!

           “Those individuals, who adopt theosophy, spiritualism, or hypnotism, may possess natures above some others who eschew their false beliefs.  Therefore my contest is not with the individual, but with the false system.  I love mankind, and shall continue to labor and to endure [I will never die].
          “The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and self-immolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposition, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God’s spiritual, perfect man.”  (S&H 99:18-29)