No man hath seen the person of good or of evil. Each is greater than the corporeality we behold.
"He cast out devils ." This record shows that the term devil is generic, being used in the plural number. From this it follows that there is more than one devil. That Jesus cast several persons out of another person, is not stated, and is impossible. Hence the passage must refer to the evils which were cast out.
Jesus defined devil as a mortal who is full of evil. "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" His definition of evil indicated his ability to cast it out. An incorrect concept of the nature of evil hinders the destruction of evil. To conceive of God as resembling--in personality, or form--the personality that Jesus condemned as devilish, is fraught with spiritual danger. Evil can neither grasp the prerogative of God nor make evil omnipotent and omnipresent.
Jesus said to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan;" but he to whom our Lord gave the keys of the kingdom could not have been wholly evil, and therefore was not a devil, after the accepted definition. Out of the Magdalen, Jesus cast seven devils; but not one person was named among them. According to Crabtre, these devils were the diseases Jesus cast out.
The most eminent divines, in Europe and America, concede that the Scriptures have both a literal and a moral meaning. Which of the two is the more important to gain, --the literal or the moral sense of the word devil, --in order to cast out this devil? Evil is a quality, not an individual.
As mortals, we need to discern the claims of evil, and to fight these claims, not as realities, but as illusions; but Deity can have no such warfare against Himself. Knowledge of a man's physical personality is not sufficient to inform us as to the amount of good or evil he possesses. Hence we cannot understand God or man, through the person of either. God is All-in-all; but He is definite and individual, the omnipresent and omniscient Mind; and man's individuality is God's own image and likeness,--even the immeasurable idea of divine Mind. In the Science of good, evil loses all place, person, and power.
According to Spinoza's philosophy God is amplification. He is in all things, and therefore He is in evil in human thought. He is extension, of whatever character. Also, according to Spinoza, man is an animal vegetable, developed through the lower orders of matter and mortal mind. All these vagaries are at variance with my system of metaphysics, which rests on God as One and All, and denies the actual existence of both matter and evil. According to false philosophy and scholastic theology, God is three persons in one person. By the same token, evil is not only as real as good, but much more real, since evil subordinates good in personality.
The claims of evil become both less and more in Christian Science, than in human philosophies or creeds: more, because the evil that is hidden by dogma and human reason is uncovered by Science; and less, because evil, being thus uncovered, is found out, and exposure is nine points of destruction. Then appears the grand verity of Christian Science: namely, that evil has no claims and was never a claimant; for behold evil (or devil) is, as Jesus said, "a murderer from the beginning, and the truth abode not in him."
There was never a moment in which evil was real. This great fact concerning all error brings with it another and more glorious truth, that good is supreme. As there is none beside Him, and He is all good, there can be no evil. Simply uttering this great thought is not enough! We must live it, until God becomes the All and Only of our being. Having won through great tribulation this cardinal point of divine Science, St. Paul said, "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." MBE