The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, propounded the notion that God could be understood by delving into his nature scientifically but without suggesting He is not the beginning and end of creation. She wrote in the 19th century that her beliefs are rooted in the bible, but she does not believe everything the bible says or in some cases interprets scripture differently from the way Christians see it.
How It Started
Mary Baker Eddy was badly injured but believed, from what she knew of Christ’s miraculous actions in the Gospel, that she could be healed if she prayed. She was, in fact, healed of her injuries and decided to devote her life to a better understanding of how this came to be.
She and her followers formed an association known as Christian Science in which members would pursue purity and goodness. Her catchphrase is “the law of God, the law of good.” God is eternal love and the source of redemption. At this point, Christians and Christian Scientists can agree.
Believers in Christian Science say they will be redeemed and transformed by their knowledge of the Creator. This is not the case according to Christians. Knowing God better does not redeem or transform; Christ’s crucifixion, taking their sins to the cross and dying to cover them in the blood of the Lamb, has saved them; the Holy Spirit transforms; nothing any human being does is able to change him except having faith in the work that is already finished. One should learn more about God out of love and devotion, not to achieve anything.
An imperfect understanding of scripture could leave an individual vulnerable to being mislead. The two ideas are very similar, but stronger differences emerge creating an indisputable schism. These have to do primarily with the role of Jesus in the Bible and His Sovereignty.
As far as the Bible is concerned, Jesus is God. From Genesis 1 and the book of John, we see that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Christians believe that Christ is the Son of God but that He came to earth to be God incarnate. They preach belief in a Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Mary Baker Eddy and followers who later led the followers of Christian Science to believe that Jesus was the Lord’s son but not Emmanuel (God with us). For them, Jesus was an example of what God’s love does for us, healing sickness and provided redemption before leading the faithful to eternal life. The crucifixion was not enough in its own right to cover all sin for eternity; more blood would be needed, more sacrifice would be required in the future.
This is a fundamental difference, one which cannot be overcome. If Christ is not the Messiah and has not died to cover sin, then the word “Christianity” has no place in the title of this belief system.
Death and Christian Science
Christians believe that God can heal, but they also value the gifts and skills of talented scientists, doctors, surgeons, and psychologists who are able to treat conditions such as cancer and depression. They pray and have faith, but not necessarily to heal in this life; they believe the body will be resurrected to perfection in Heaven for eternity. Healing through the gifts of doctors is a blessing, not a right.
Christian Scientists do not approach doctors for cures to cancer and other illnesses; they look to prayer first and reject medical science. To them, the only science that matters is a deeper pursuit and understanding of God’s word. Devotion to prayer should be enough to effect healing. Many people of all ages have died or suffered unnecessarily as a result of this belief.