Christian Science was founded by Mary
Baker Eddy [nee Mary Ann Morse Baker], who was born in
Bow, NH on July 16, 1821.
Several major factors influenced the
formation of her theology. The first major influence was
Mary Baker Eddy’s illness. One either accepts the
reality of one’s illness and seeks some form of
treatment or one denies the reality of one’s illness.
Mary Ann Morse Baker chose the latter. She was a nervous
child afflicted with a spinal weakness that caused
spasmodic seizures, followed by prostration, which
resulted in a complete nervous collapse.
Because of her spinal weakness, she
committed herself to the care of Phineas Parkhurst
Quimby in October 1862. Quimby was a "mental healer" who
believed that illness and disease could be cured through
positive thoughts and healthy attitudes, by changing
one’s beliefs about the illness. She believed herself to
have been healed by him on November 7, 1862. The
inauguration of Christian Science, however, did not
occur until February 1866, when Mrs. Eddy claimed to
have had a near fatal fall on an icy pavement. She said
she was instantly healed when "the healing Truth dawned
upon my senses." (Miscellaneous 24; Science
A second major influence was the doctor,
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby. Convinced that his ideas were
correct, Mrs. Eddy borrowed much from them in
formulating her theology (see Horatio Dresser’s The
Quimby Manuscripts). For example: Quimby spoke of
his system as the "Science of the Christ" and even
called it Christian Science in February 1863; Mrs. Eddy
called her system "Christian Science." Quimby called his
ideas "Science of Health"; Mrs. Eddy entitled her book
Science and Health. Mrs. Eddy reworded and
incorporated sections of Quimby’s "Science of Man" into
her textbook Science and Health
with Key to the Scriptures
The next factor which influenced Mary
Baker Eddy’s theology was her dislike for Calvinistic
theology, and therefore Christian theology. Her father,
Mark Baker, was a stern Calvinist. While in her teens,
she often disagreed with him on such points as
predestination, the final judgment day, and eternal
torment. For example: Mrs. Eddy related that her worry
about predestination made her ill, that her father kept
stressing this and other doctrines which she disliked,
but that her mother told her to lean on God’s love.
Listening to her mother, she said her fever soon was
gone and "the ‘horrible decree’ of predestination–as
John Calvin rightly called his own tenet–forever lost
its power over me." (Retrospection 13-14).
Mrs. Eddy wrote of her dislike for
Calvinism in Science and Health. For example: She
mentions "the practically rejected doctrine of the
predestination of souls to damnation or salvation." (Science
150) She says "this teaching is even more pernicious
than the old doctrine of foreordination—the election of
a few to be saved, while the rest are damned." (Science
Finally, Mrs. Eddy’s theology was
influenced by her association with Ann Lee and the
Shakers. Like Ann Lee, Mrs. Eddy recognized the Deity as
masculine and feminine, "Our Mother-Father God;" allowed
herself to be represented as the equal and successor to
Christ and was so revered by her loyal followers; wanted
to be called "Mother" ["Mother Eddy"]; and stressed
A. Initial premise and logical deductions
1. Christian Science begins with a
pantheistic view of the nature of God. "All is infinite
Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is
All-in-All." (Miscellaneous 21)
2. Since God is "All-in-All," anything
that is not God does not exist. "Nothing possesses
reality nor existence except the divine Mind and His
ideas." (Science 331)
a. If God is Spirit and God is all, then
non-Spirit [matter] does not exist.
1. God is All-in-All.
2. God is Good. Good is Mind.
3. God, Spirit, being all, nothing is
matter." (Science 113)
(2) "Spirit is the real and eternal;
matter is the unreal and temporal." (Miscellaneous
b. If God is Life and God is all, then
non-Life [death] does not exist. "If it is true that man
lives, this fact can never change in Science to the
opposite belief that man dies . . . Life is real, and
death is the illusion." (Science 427-8)
c. If God is healthy and God is all, then
non-healthy [sickness] does not exist. "Man is never
sick, for mind is not sick and matter cannot be." (Science
and Health 393)
d. If God is Good and God is all, then
non-Good [evil] does not exist.
B. Doctrines, following from the initial
premise and the application of Mrs. Eddy’s metaphysical
1. The Trinity
– "Triply divine Principle."
a. The Godhead does not consist of three
Persons. (Science 256)
b. The Trinity is "a triply divine
Principle." "Life, Truth, and Love constitute the triune
Person called God—that is, the triply divine Principle,
Love. They represent a trinity in unity, three in
one—the same in essence, though multiform in office: God
the Father-Mother; Christ the spiritual idea of sonship;
divine Science or the Holy Comforter. These three
express in divine Science the threefold, essential
nature of the infinite." (Science 331)
2. The creation
– Since no allowance is made for the reality of matter,
God could not have called a material universe into
being. Mrs. Eddy understands the creation narrative
found in Genesis 1 as simply referring to "the unfolding
of spiritual ideas and their identities" in the mind of
God. (Science 503)
3. Jesus Christ
a. He is not God. "The Christian who
believes in the First Commandment is a monotheist . . .
[He] recognizes that Jesus Christ is not God as Jesus
Himself declared, but is the Son of God." (Science
b. He is Jesus the Christ. "Jesus is the
human man, and Christ is the divine idea; hence the
duality of Jesus the Christ." (Science 473)
c. He was conceived by the Virgin Mary’s
spiritual thoughts. "Jesus, the Galilean prophet, was
born of the Virgin Mary’s spiritual thoughts of life and
its manifestations." (The First Church
d. He was fallible. "[Jesus] knew the
mortal errors which constitute the material body, and
could destroy those errors; but at the time when Jesus
felt our infirmities, he had not conquered all the
beliefs of the flesh or his sense of material life." (Science
e. His ministry consisted of correcting
"Jesus cast out devils, mediating between
what is and is not until a perfect consciousness is
obtained. He healed disease as He healed sin; He treated
them both, not as in or of matter, but as mortal beliefs
to be exterminated." (No 40-41)
f. His death was not real, only apparent.
"Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine
Science in his victory over death and the grave . . .
Jesus’ students, not sufficiently advanced to understand
fully their Master’s triumph, did not perform many
wonderful works until they saw Him after His crucifixion
and learned that He did not die." (Science 45,
g. He did not atone for our sin by
shedding His blood on the cross.
(1) "The real atonement–so infinitely
beyond the heathen conception that God requires human
blood to propitiate His justice and bring mercy–needs to
be understood." (No 34)
(2) "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 25)
h. He did not rise physically from the
dead. (Science 339)
i. He did not ascend into heaven. "The
eternal Christ and the corporeal Jesus manifest in the
flesh, continued until the Master’s ascension, when the
human, material concept, or Jesus, disappeared, while
the spiritual self, or Christ, continues to exist in the
eternal order of divine Science." (Science 334)
j. He is not returning physically to
(1) "The second appearing of Jesus is,
unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing
idea of God, as in Christian Science." (Retrospection
(2) "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 earth or antipode of heaven. It is
a marked coincidence that those dates were the first two
years of my discovery of Christian Science." The
First Church 181)
k. He is the "Way-shower." "Jesus taught
the way of Life by demonstration. There is but one way
to heaven, harmony, and Christ in Divine Science shows
us the way." (Science 242)
l. He is relatively unimportant to Mrs.
Eddy. "If there had never existed such a person as the
Galilean Prophet, it would make no difference to me. I
should still know that God’s spiritual ideal is the only
real man in His image and likeness." (The First
4. Salvation is by correcting erroneous
beliefs. "To get rid of sin
through Science, is to divest sin of any supposed mind
or reality, and never admit that sin can have
intelligence or power, pain or pleasure. You can conquer
error by denying its verity." (Science 339)
5. The Bible
a. The Bible has been corrupted. "The
manifest mistakes in the ancient versions; the 30,000
different readings in the Old Testament and the 300,000
in the New – these facts show how a mortal and material
sense stole into the divine record, darkening, to some
extent, the inspired pages with its own hue." (Science
b. Science and Health with Key to the
Scriptures is the "first book"
which has been "uncontaminated by human hypothesis." (The
First Church 115; Science 99, 139, 456-457)
Christian Scientists feel that her book offers the
complete spiritual meaning of the Bible. They believe
that this full meaning could not have been available to
them without Mrs. Eddy’s discovery." (George Channing)
Witnessing to Christian Scientists.
Avoid attacking Mrs. Eddy
in your witness. Anything said negatively against her
will be rejected as "mortal mind resistance to the
Truth" or "persecution.". If you develop a good
relationship with a Christian Scientist, encourage him
or her to consider the truth about Mrs. Eddy by reading
Edwin Dakin’s Mrs. Eddy or Georgine Milmine’s
The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of
Help Christian Scientists to see that the
major premise [assumption] and the logical deductions
from that premise taught by Mrs. Eddy and Christian
Science are false.
1. The Bible clearly presents the true
God as personal, not impersonal as Mrs. Eddy teaches.
God performs acts that only a personality is capable of.
For example, He is a cognizant reflective ego (Ex 3:14),
He hears (Ex 2:24), He sees (Gen 1:4), He knows (2 Tim
2:19) and He has a will (1 Jn 2:17).
2. The Bible also presents a real
material creation that is distinct in essence from God
(Ps 33:6; Ps 148:1-5). Therefore, God is not all and all
is not God as Mrs. Eddy teaches.
3. If the premise that God is all and all
is God is false, then so are the logical deductions
drawn from it (the denial of matter, sickness, evil, and
death). Contrary to what Mrs. Eddy taught,
a. Matter is not an illusion, but is real
and was created distinct from God. He pronounced it
"good" (Gen 1:31).
b. Sin, sickness, and evil are not an
illusion, but a result of man’s willful choice to rebel
against a Holy God.
c. Death, both physical and eternal
separation from God, is the result of sin (Rom 3:10, 23;
Focus on the Person and Work of Jesus
Christ. Contrary to Mrs.
1. Jesus Christ is God (Jn 1:1; Col 2:9)
2. Jesus Christ added to His divine
nature a human nature in coming to earth (Jn 1:14; Phil
2:7-8). He became the God-man (Jn 1:18)
3. Jesus is the Christ (Mt 16:13-20; Mk
8:27-29; 14:60-62; Lk 2:11; Jn 11:27; 20:31; Acts 17:3).
4. Jesus Christ is far more than one who
shows the way ["the Way Shower"]; He is the Way (Jn
5. Jesus Christ died on the cross (Rom
8:34; 1 Cor 15:3; Mt 27:58-60; Jn 19:33). His blood paid
the price for all our sins (Ex 12:3-7, 13-14; Lev 16; Jn
1:29; Heb 9:11-14; 10:4-12; 1 Pet 1:18, 19).
6. Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead
(Lk 24:36-39, 46; Jn 20:24-29), ascended into heaven
(Acts 1:11), and is returning to earth one day (Rev 1:7)
7. Salvation is by grace alone through
faith in His blood and efficacy to cleanse from all sin.
Encourage Christian Scientists to read
the entire Bible for themselves.
1. Help them to consider those passages
in the Bible which clearly contradict Mrs. Eddy’s
teaching. For example:
a. Mrs. Eddy wrote "There is no sin." (No
35). Have them read 1 Jn 1:8-10.
b. Mrs. Eddy taught that Jesus is not the
Christ. Have them read Mt 16:13-20 and Jn 20:31. Note
also that Christ was born (Mt 2:4), and that Christ died
and was resurrected from the dead (1 Cor 15:3-4).
1. Ask them to read the entire passage in
the Bible whenever an ellipsis [ . . . ] is used in a
quote from the Bible in any Christian Science
literature. For example, note how Mrs. Eddy omits the
reference to Jesus Christ in each of the following:
a. "Believe . . . and thou shalt be
saved." (Science 23). Have them read Acts 16:31.
b. "These signs shall follow them that
believe . . . they shall lay hands on the sick and they
shall recover." (Science 38). Have them read Mk
If necessary, explain to Christian
Scientists the inherent contradictions in their
theology. For example:
1. If none of our physical senses can be
trusted, then how can we trust our eyes when we read
Science and Health or hear the "truths" of Christian
Science with our ears.
2. If God is Good and God is all, as Mrs.
Eddy teaches, where did the idea (or illusion) that
there is such a thing as Evil, the opposite of Good or
God, originate, since from Good only Good can come?
a. Either this "illusion [of evil]" is
ontologically real, or it is just a phantom of the mind
that has no existence.
b. If the "illusion" is ontologically
real, then Christian Science affirms the reality of evil
(the evil of the illusion). There is no difference
between having a leg amputated in reality or the
illusion of one being amputated.
c. If the illusion has no real existence,
why send out practitioners to cure an illusion? As Elton
Trueblood once said, "If all Evil, whether moral,
natural, or intellectual is truly illusory, we are
foolish indeed to fight it. It would be better to forget
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Bates, Ernest Sutherland and John V.
Dittemore. Mary Baker Eddy: the Truth and the
Tradition. Knopf, 1932.
Dakin, Edwin Franden. Mrs. Eddy.
New York: Scribners, 1929.
Dresser, Horatio W (ed). The Quimby
Manuscripts. New York: Crowell, 1921.
Ehrenborg, Todd. Speaking the Truth
in Love to the Mind Sciences. Published by the
Hoekema, Anthony. Christian Science.
Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972.
Martin, Walter R. and Norman H. Klahn.
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Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science.
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—. Miscellaneous Writings.
Boston: A. V. Stewart, 1911.
—. No and Yes. Boston: Trustees
Under the Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1919.
—. Retrospection and Introspection.
Boston: A. V. Stewart, 1915.
—. Science and Health with Key to
the Scriptures. Boston: Trustees Under the Will of
Mary Baker G. Eddy, 1906.