am certain that I know what Jesus meant to convey to the people, for
I have seen death, myself -
and eternal life that he spoke of - and can testify that I have passed from death unto life,
as he taught his disciples.
~ Phineas Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Life & Death
What is death? Man, from ignorance, has associated truth with error, till an error has gotten to be as true as life, itself. For life cannot be seen, except as it is made manifest in some idea. This idea is called matter, and it has become so identified with life that life cannot exist without it.
This is the way man reasons. To destroy life is to destroy the idea that contains it. Therefore, when we see the idea without life, we say our life is “dead.” This would be true, if death was life; but it is not so, according to the words of Jesus. He says, "I am the life," and he came to destroy death and him that had the power of death; that is, the devil. Now if the devil has the power of death , death cannot mean what the people think it does.
Let us see what were Jesus' ideas of death and if they are like those of the Christians of our day. What did Jesus mean by these words, "I came, not to save life, but to destroy it; and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it; and he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live?”
Here you see he used the word “death” applied to persons that can be seen at this time. So if death means what we are taught to believe, then Jesus knew not what he said. Take it as you please. It either means an idea that can be changed or it means the destruction of life, and then all he said amounts to nothing. I am certain that I know what Jesus meant to convey to the people, for I have seen death, myself, and eternal life that he spoke of - and can testify that I have passed from death unto life, as he taught his disciples. And knowing this life that is in Christ, I teach it to you; not by opinions, but by words of wisdom that will destroy death and put you in possession of that true life that will make death only an idea - like all other ideas man must get rid of to enjoy himself.
If you will listen to me while I explain the mystery of life, you will see just where the people were at the time Jesus taught this eternal life. The world was in darkness in regard to one thing - that was life, independent of a belief. It never entered into their minds that wisdom was not an idea or that their wisdom was nothing but opinions; not life, but shadows that depended on the light of this life (or science). So as the lamp of science lit up, it dispelled the shadow of opinions and embraced life.
Matter, as it is called, with science is nothing but a shadow. Life attaches itself to its own belief, and as its belief is changed, death is destroyed, and life takes its place. For illustration, take the idea man. We all have been made to believe that we are flesh and blood. I, for one, do not wish to lose that idea and believe I shall die. So I believe I am flesh and blood, and my life is attached to it. I also believe in death, according to the New Testament, which is eternal life.
I will now put myself in the position of those who Jesus said were dead in trespasses and sin. I believed, as all the world did, that this body would die, and if there was anything after death, I might be raised and united with my friends in another world, either happy or miserable. Now all this is under the law. So by the law, no flesh can be saved; but the gift of God must be eternal life. In the darkness of this error the light sprang up, and I arose from the dead (or unbelief) to the light of science and am now out of my old belief, and my life is still attached to the old idea of flesh and blood.
Perhaps you do not get the idea, so I will state it in a clearer way. You once were ignorant of mathematics. Then if a person should present you with a mathematical book, it would be all darkness to you. But the principle (or spiritual wisdom) was in the book; and as you began to understand, you had life, and your life was in your understanding - and you still had a body of flesh and blood, in your belief. As you lose your life (or ignorance), you rise from the dead, but you still have flesh and blood, till the grave (or skepticism) is destroyed, and you rise into the scientific world, where those who are in the law (or ignorance) cannot see you; for the dead know nothing of mathematics.
Here is a resurrection. You have risen from the dead and are set down with those who have gone before you. Instead of being in the book - you are out of it; and to prove that you are out of the book, you say to those who are struggling with the world that you will show yourself to them by your resurrection.
So you do a mathematical problem without the book and then show that they are to be judged by their books; and if they are not found in the book of science, they are dead in their own sins (or ignorance).
You have a body of flesh and blood in both worlds. So it is with all errors. Death is ignorance. Flesh and blood are admitted. And unless you are made to destroy it by your own belief, you cannot get rid of it. The world has made an end of life, but Jesus was the end of their life. So their life, to him, was death; and his death was the destruction of their belief; and their life was in their belief. So I believe in flesh and blood, but not in death; for I have passed from that belief into a life that is eternal. I have flesh and blood, as you all see, and I shall never be without it. You, from your belief, may destroy my life to yourself - but to me, it is the same today and forever. Here you have the belief of one who has seen the idea of death swallowed up in science. Therefore, to me, the change is not a thing of belief - but a truth.
You may ask me if I do not believe in what is called “death.”
I answer, “Yes. If I did not, I should not try to destroy it in others.”
But it is a belief to those who are under it, and as our lives are a part of each other - to know that my friends are separated from me on account of their belief makes me more earnest that they shall believe the truth. If your father or mother were carried out of your sight, and you thought they were dead - if they knew it, would they not weep for your unbelief? They know they are alive with flesh and blood, but your belief makes a wall so dense that you cannot penetrate your own belief.