Science and Health


Chapter XVII

These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.  —  Revelation.

579:1In Christian Science we learn that the substitution of the spiritual for the material definition of a Scrip3tural word often elucidates the meaning of the inspired writer. On this account this chapter is added. It contains the metaphysical interpretation of Bible terms, 6giving their spiritual sense, which is also their original meaning.

Abel. Watchfulness; self-offering; surrendering to 9the creator the early fruits of experience.

Abraham. Fidelity; faith in the divine Life and in the eternal Principle of being.

12    This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding.

15Adam. Error; a falsity; the belief in “original sin,” sickness, and death; evil; the opposite of good, — of God and His creation; a curse; a belief in intelligent matter, 580 580:1finiteness, and mortality; “dust to dust;” red sandstone; nothingness; the first god of mythology; not 3God’s man, who represents the one God and is His own image and likeness; the opposite of Spirit and His creations; that which is not the image and likeness of good, 6but a material belief, opposed to the one Mind, or Spirit; a so-called finite mind, producing other minds, thus making “gods many and lords many” (I Corinthians viii. 5); 9a product of nothing as the mimicry of something; an unreality as opposed to the great reality of spiritual existence and creation; a so-called man, whose origin, 12substance, and mind are found to be the antipode of God, or Spirit; an inverted image of Spirit; the image and likeness of what God has not created, namely, mat15ter, sin, sickness, and death; the opposer of Truth, termed error; Life’s counterfeit, which ultimates in death; the opposite of Love, called hate; the usurper 18of Spirit’s creation, called self-creative matter; immortality’s opposite, mortality; that of which wisdom saith, “Thou shalt surely die.”

21    The name Adam represents the false supposition that Life is not eternal, but has beginning and end; that the infinite enters the finite, that intelligence passes into non-24intelligence, and that Soul dwells in material sense; that immortal Mind results in matter, and matter in mortal mind; that the one God and creator entered what He cre27ated, and then disappeared in the atheism of matter.

Adversary. An adversary is one who opposes, denies, disputes, not one who constructs and sustains reality and 30Truth. Jesus said of the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning, . . . he is a liar and the father of it.” 581 581:1This view of Satan is confirmed by the name often conferred upon him in Scripture, the “adversary.”

3Almighty. All-power; infinity; omnipotence.

Angels. God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, 6purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.

Ark. Safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved 9to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter.

    God and man coexistent and eternal; Science show12ing that the spiritual realities of all things are created by Him and exist forever. The ark indicates temptation overcome and followed by exaltation.

15Asher (Jacob’s son).  Hope and faith; spiritual compensation; the ills of the flesh rebuked.

Babel. Self-destroying error; a kingdom divided 18against itself, which cannot stand; material knowledge.

    The higher false knowledge builds on the basis of evidence obtained from the five corporeal senses, the more 21confusion ensues, and the more certain is the downfall of its structure.

Baptism. Purification by Spirit; submergence in 24Spirit.

    We are “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (II Corinthians v. 8.)


582:1Believing. Firmness and constancy; not a faltering nor a blind faith, but the perception of spiritual Truth. 3Mortal thoughts, illusion.

Benjamin (Jacob’s son).  A physical belief as to life, substance, and mind; human knowledge, or so-called 6mortal mind, devoted to matter; pride; envy; fame; illusion; a false belief; error masquerading as the possessor of life, strength, animation, and power to act.

9    Renewal of affections; self-offering; an improved state of mortal mind; the introduction of a more spiritual origin; a gleam of the infinite idea of the infinite Prin12ciple; a spiritual type; that which comforts, consoles, and supports.

Bride. Purity and innocence, conceiving man in the 15idea of God; a sense of Soul, which has spiritual bliss and enjoys but cannot suffer.

Bridegroom. Spiritual understanding; the pure con18sciousness that God, the divine Principle, creates man as His own spiritual idea, and that God is the only creative power.

21Burial. Corporeality and physical sense put out of sight and hearing; annihilation. Submergence in Spirit; immortality brought to light.

24Canaan (the son of Ham).  A sensuous belief; the testimony of what is termed material sense; the error which would make man mortal and would make mortal 27mind a slave to the body.

Children. The spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love.


583:1    Sensual and mortal beliefs; counterfeits of creation, whose better originals are God’s thoughts, not in em3bryo, but in maturity; material suppositions of life, substance, and intelligence, opposed to the Science of being.

Children of Israel. The representatives of Soul, not 6corporeal sense; the offspring of Spirit, who, having wrestled with error, sin, and sense, are governed by divine Science; some of the ideas of God beheld as men, casting 9out error and healing the sick; Christ’s offspring.

Christ. The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error.

12Church. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.

    The Church is that institution, which affords proof of 15its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of 18divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.

Creator. Spirit; Mind; intelligence; the animating 21divine Principle of all that is real and good; self-existent Life, Truth, and Love; that which is perfect and eternal; the opposite of matter and evil, which have no Prin24ciple; God, who made all that was made and could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself.

Dan (Jacob’s son).  Animal magnetism; so-called mor27tal mind controlling mortal mind; error, working out the designs of error; one belief preying upon another.


584:1Day. The irradiance of Life; light, the spiritual idea of Truth and Love.

3    “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis i. 5.) The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind 6 measures time according to the good that is unfolded. This unfolding is God’s day, and “there shall be no night there.”

9Death. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life.

    Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind 12 is immortal. The flesh, warring against Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not 15yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being.

Devil. Evil; a lie; error; neither corporeality nor 18mind; the opposite of Truth; a belief in sin, sickness, and death; animal magnetism or hypnotism; the lust of the flesh, which saith: “I am life and intelligence in 21matter. There is more than one mind, for I am mind, — a wicked mind, self-made or created by a tribal god and put into the opposite of mind, termed matter, thence to 24reproduce a mortal universe, including man, not after the image and likeness of Spirit, but after its own image.”

Dove. A symbol of divine Science; purity and peace; 27hope and faith.

Dust. Nothingness; the absence of substance, life, or intelligence.


585:1Ears. Not organs of the so-called corporeal senses, but spiritual understanding.

3    Jesus said, referring to spiritual perception, “Having ears, hear ye not?” (Mark viii. 18.)

Earth. A sphere; a type of eternity and immortality, 6which are likewise without beginning or end.

    To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea.

9Elias. Prophecy; spiritual evidence opposed to material sense; Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold; 12the basis of immortality.

    “Elias truly shall first come and restore all things.” (Matthew xvii. 11.)

15Error. See chapter on Recapitulation, page 472.

Euphrates (river).  Divine Science encompassing the universe and man; the true idea of God; a type 18of the glory which is to come; metaphysics taking the place of physics; the reign of righteousness. The atmosphere of human belief before it accepts sin, sickness, or 21death; a state of mortal thought, the only error of which is limitation; finity; the opposite of infinity.

Eve. A beginning; mortality; that which does not 24last forever; a finite belief concerning life, substance, and intelligence in matter; error; the belief that the human race originated materially instead of spiritually, — 27that man started first from dust, second from a rib, and third from an egg.


586:1Evening. Mistiness of mortal thought; weariness of mortal mind; obscured views; peace and rest.

3Eyes. Spiritual discernment, — not material but mental.

    Jesus said, thinking of the outward vision, “Having 6eyes, see ye not?” (Mark viii. 18.)

Fan. Separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought.

9Father. Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, commonly called God.

Fear. Heat; inflammation; anxiety; ignorance; error; 12desire; caution.

Fire. Fear; remorse; lust; hatred; destruction; affliction purifying and elevating man.

15Firmament. Spiritual understanding; the scientific line of demarcation between Truth and error, between Spirit and so-called matter.

18Flesh. An error of physical belief; a supposition that life, substance, and intelligence are in matter; an illusion; a belief that matter has sensation.

21Gad (Jacob’s son).  Science; spiritual being understood; haste towards harmony.

Gethsemane. Patient woe; the human yielding to 24the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love.


587:1Ghost. An illusion; a belief that mind is outlined and limited; a supposition that spirit is finite.

3Gihon (river).  The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

God. The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, 6all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence.

9Gods. Mythology; a belief that life, substance, and intelligence are both mental and material; a supposition of sentient physicality; the belief that infinite Mind is in 12finite forms; the various theories that hold mind to be a material sense, existing in brain, nerve, matter; supposititious minds, or souls, going in and out of matter, erring 15and mortal; the serpents of error, which say, “Ye shall be as gods.”

    God is one God, infinite and perfect, and cannot be18come finite and imperfect.

Good. God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action.

21Ham (Noah’s son).  Corporeal belief; sensuality; slavery; tyranny.

Heart. Mortal feelings, motives, affections, joys, and 24sorrows.

Heaven. Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere 27of Soul.


588:1Hell. Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-de3struction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which “worketh abomination or maketh a lie.”

Hiddekel (river). Divine Science understood and 6acknowledged.

Holy Ghost. Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love.

9I, or Ego. Divine Principle; Spirit; Soul; incorporeal, unerring, immortal, and eternal Mind.

    There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or 12Mind, governing all existence; man and woman unchanged forever in their individual characters, even as numbers which never blend with each other, though they 15are governed by one Principle. All the objects of God’s creation reflect one Mind, and whatever reflects not this one Mind, is false and erroneous, even the belief that 18life, substance, and intelligence are both mental and material.

I Am. God; incorporeal and eternal Mind; divine 21Principle; the only Ego.

In. A term obsolete in Science if used with reference to Spirit, or Deity.

24Intelligence. Substance; self-existent and eternal Mind; that which is never unconscious nor limited.

    See chapter on Recapitulation, page 469.


589:1Issachar (Jacob’s son).  A corporeal belief; the offspring of error; envy; hatred; selfishness; self-will; 3lust.

Jacob. A corporeal mortal embracing duplicity, repentance, sensualism. Inspiration; the revelation of 6Science, in which the so-called material senses yield to the spiritual sense of Life and Love.

Japhet (Noah’s son).  A type of spiritual peace, flow9ing from the understanding that God is the divine Principle of all existence, and that man is His idea, the child of His care.

12Jerusalem. Mortal belief and knowledge obtained from the five corporeal senses; the pride of power and the power of pride; sensuality; envy; oppression; tyr15anny. Home, heaven.

Jesus. The highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea, rebuking and destroying error and bringing 18to light man’s immortality.

Joseph. A corporeal mortal; a higher sense of Truth rebuking mortal belief, or error, and showing the immor21tality and supremacy of Truth; pure affection blessing its enemies.

Judah. A corporeal material belief progressing and 24disappearing; the spiritual understanding of God and man appearing.


590:1Kingdom of Heaven. The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent 3Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme.

Knowledge. Evidence obtained from the five corporeal senses; mortality; beliefs and opinions; human 6theories, doctrines, hypotheses; that which is not divine and is the origin of sin, sickness, and death; the opposite of spiritual Truth and understanding.

9Lamb of God. The spiritual idea of Love; self-immolation; innocence and purity; sacrifice.

Levi (Jacob’s son).  A corporeal and sensual belief; 12mortal man; denial of the fulness of God’s creation; ecclesiastical despotism.

Life. See chapter on Recapitulation, page 468.

15Lord. In the Hebrew, this term is sometimes employed as a title, which has the inferior sense of master, or ruler. In the Greek, the word kurios almost always 18has this lower sense, unless specially coupled with the name God. Its higher signification is Supreme Ruler.

Lord God. Jehovah.

21    This double term is not used in the first chapter of Genesis, the record of spiritual creation. It is introduced in the second and following chapters, when the 24spiritual sense of God and of infinity is disappearing from the recorder’s thought, — when the true scientific statements of the Scriptures become clouded through a 591 591:1physical sense of God as finite and corporeal. From this follow idolatry and mythology, — belief in many gods, or 3material intelligences, as the opposite of the one Spirit, or intelligence, named Elohim, or God.

Man. The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spirit6ual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind.

Matter. Mythology; mortality; another name for 9mortal mind; illusion; intelligence, substance, and life in non-intelligence and mortality; life resulting in death, and death in life; sensation in the sensationless; mind 12originating in matter; the opposite of Truth; the opposite of Spirit; the opposite of God; that of which immortal Mind takes no cognizance; that which mortal mind sees, 15feels, hears, tastes, and smells only in belief.

Mind. The only I, or Us; the only Spirit, Soul, divine Principle, substance, Life, Truth, Love; the one God; 18not that which is in man, but the divine Principle, or God, of whom man is the full and perfect expression; Deity, which outlines but is not outlined.

21Miracle. That which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly; a phenomenon of Science.

Morning. Light; symbol of Truth; revelation and 24progress.

Mortal Mind. Nothing claiming to be something, for Mind is immortal; mythology; error creating other 27errors; a suppositional material sense, alias the belief 592 592:1that sensation is in matter, which is sensationless; a belief that life, substance, and intelligence are in and of 3matter; the opposite of Spirit, and therefore the opposite of God, or good; the belief that life has a beginning and therefore an end; the belief that man is the off6spring of mortals; the belief that there can be more than one creator; idolatry; the subjective states of error; material senses; that which neither exists in Science nor 9can be recognized by the spiritual sense; sin; sickness; death.

Moses. A corporeal mortal; moral courage; a type 12of moral law and the demonstration thereof; the proof that, without the gospel, — the union of justice and affection, — there is something spiritually lacking, since justice 15demands penalties under the law.

Mother. God; divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love.

18New Jerusalem. Divine Science; the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe; the kingdom of heaven, or reign of harmony.

21Night. Darkness; doubt; fear.

Noah. A corporeal mortal; knowledge of the nothingness of material things and of the immortality of all 24that is spiritual.

Oil. Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.

27Pharisee. Corporeal and sensuous belief; self-righteousness; vanity; hypocrisy.


593:1Pison (river).  The love of the good and beautiful, and their immortality.

3Principle. See chapter on Recapitulation, page 465.

Prophet. A spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth.

6Purse. Laying up treasures in matter; error.

Red Dragon. Error; fear; inflammation; sensuality; subtlety; animal magnetism; envy; revenge.

9Resurrection. Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding.

12Reuben (Jacob’s son).  Corporeality; sensuality; delusion; mortality; error.

River. Channel of thought.

15    When smooth and unobstructed, it typifies the course of Truth; but muddy, foaming, and dashing, it is a type of error.

18Rock. Spiritual foundation; Truth. Coldness and stubbornness.

Salvation. Life, Truth, and Love understood and 21demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed.

Seal. The signet of error revealed by Truth.


594:1Serpent (ophis, in Greek; nacash, in Hebrew).  Subtlety; a lie; the opposite of Truth, named error; 3the first statement of mythology and idolatry; the belief in more than one God; animal magnetism; the first lie of limitation; finity; the first claim that there is an oppo6site of Spirit, or good, termed matter, or evil; the first delusion that error exists as fact; the first claim that sin, sickness, and death are the realities of life. The first 9audible claim that God was not omnipotent and that there was another power, named evil, which was as real and eternal as God, good.

12Sheep. Innocence; inoffensiveness; those who follow their leader.

Shem (Noah’s son).  A corporeal mortal; kindly affec15tion; love rebuking error; reproof of sensualism.

Son. The Son of God, the Messiah or Christ. The son of man, the offspring of the flesh. “Son of a year.”

18Souls. See chapter on Recapitulation, page 466.

Spirit. Divine substance; Mind; divine Principle; all that is good; God; that only which is perfect, ever21lasting, omnipresent, omnipotent, infinite.

Spirits. Mortal beliefs; corporeality; evil minds; supposed intelligences, or gods; the opposites of God; 24errors; hallucinations. (See page 466.)

Substance. See chapter on Recapitulation, page 468.


595:1Sun. The symbol of Soul governing man, — of Truth, Life, and Love.

3Sword. The idea of Truth; justice. Revenge; anger.

Tares. Mortality; error; sin; sickness; disease; 6death.

Temple. Body; the idea of Life, substance, and intelligence; the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of 9Love; a material superstructure, where mortals congregate for worship.

Thummim. Perfection; the eternal demand of divine 12Science.

    The Urim and Thummim, which were to be on Aaron’s breast when he went before Jehovah, were holiness and 15purification of thought and deed, which alone can fit us for the office of spiritual teaching.

Time. Mortal measurements; limits, in which are 18summed up all human acts, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, knowledge; matter; error; that which begins before, and continues after, what is termed death, until the mortal 21disappears and spiritual perfection appears.

Tithe. Contribution; tenth part; homage; gratitude. A sacrifice to the gods.

24Uncleanliness. Impure thoughts; error; sin; dirt.

Ungodliness. Opposition to the divine Principle and its spiritual idea.


596:1Unknown. That which spiritual sense alone comprehends, and which is unknown to the material senses.

3    Paganism and agnosticism may define Deity as “the great unknowable;” but Christian Science brings God much nearer to man, and makes Him better known as 6the All-in-all, forever near.

    Paul saw in Athens an altar dedicated “to the unknown God.” Referring to it, he said to the Athenians: “Whom 9therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you.” (Acts xvii. 23.)

Urim. Light.

12    The rabbins believed that the stones in the breast-plate of the high-priest had supernatural illumination, but Christian Science reveals Spirit, not matter, as the 15illuminator of all. The illuminations of Science give us a sense of the nothingness of error, and they show the spiritual inspiration of Love and Truth to be the only fit 18preparation for admission to the presence and power of the Most High.

Valley. Depression; meekness; darkness.

21    “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” (Psalm xxiii. 4.)

    Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life 24 and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought, the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Christian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud 27and blossom as the rose.

Veil. A cover; concealment; hiding; hypocrisy.

    The Jewish women wore veils over their faces in token 597 597:1of reverence and submission and in accordance with Pharisaical notions.

3    The Judaic religion consisted mostly of rites and ceremonies. The motives and affections of a man were of little value, if only he appeared unto men to fast. The 6great Nazarene, as meek as he was mighty, rebuked the hypocrisy, which offered long petitions for blessings upon material methods, but cloaked the crime, latent in thought, 9which was ready to spring into action and crucify God’s anointed. The martyrdom of Jesus was the culminating sin of Pharisaism. It rent the veil of the temple. It re12vealed the false foundations and superstructures of superficial religion, tore from bigotry and superstition their coverings, and opened the sepulchre with divine Science, 15 — immortality and Love.

Wilderness. Loneliness; doubt; darkness. Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a 18material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.

Will. The motive-power of error; mortal belief; ani21mal power. The might and wisdom of God.

    “For this is the will of God.” (I Thessalonians iv. 3.)

24    Will, as a quality of so-called mortal mind, is a wrong-doer; hence it should not be confounded with the term as applied to Mind or to one of God’s qualities.

27Wind. That which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God’s spiritual government, encompassing all things. Destruction; anger; mortal 30passions.


598:1    The Greek word for wind (pneuma) is used also for spirit, as in the passage in John’s Gospel, the third chap3ter, where we read: “The wind [pneuma] bloweth where it listeth. . . . So is every one that is born of the Spirit [pneuma].” Here the original word is the same in both 6cases, yet it has received different translations, as in other passages in this same chapter and elsewhere in the New Testament. This shows how our Master had constantly 9to employ words of material significance in order to unfold spiritual thoughts. In the record of Jesus’ supposed death, we read: “He bowed his head, and gave up the 12ghost;” but this word ghost is pneuma. It might be translated wind or air, and the phrase is equivalent to our common statement, “He breathed his last.” What 15Jesus gave up was indeed air, an etherealized form of matter, for never did he give up Spirit, or Soul.

Wine. Inspiration; understanding. Error; fornica18tion; temptation; passion.

Year. A solar measurement of time; mortality; space for repentance.

21    “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” (II Peter iii. 8.)

    One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual 24understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity. This exalted view, obtained and retained when the Science of being is understood, would bridge over with life 27discerned spiritually the interval of death, and man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony, where sin, sickness, and death are un30known. Time is a mortal thought, the divisor of which 599 599:1is the solar year. Eternity is God’s measurement of Soul-filled years.

3You. As applied to corporeality, a mortal; finity.

Zeal. The reflected animation of Life, Truth, and Love. Blind enthusiasm; mortal will.

6Zion. Spiritual foundation and superstructure; inspiration; spiritual strength. Emptiness; unfaithfulness; desolation.