Controversy About The Dead


May 1860


by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby


The religious world has always been in a controversy in regard to the dead. Before Jesus taught a resurrection from the dead, the Pharisees believed the dead rose at the end of the world. Others believed spirits came back and entered the living, but there was no idea that was satisfactory to the thinking classes. The Sadducees disbelieved in everything but admitted one living God. This was the state of man's belief at the time Jesus appeared before the people. He spoke as never man spoke for He spoke the Truth and gave the lie to all the opinions of mankind. I will take the liberty of putting my own construction on Jesus' truth and leave it to the common sense of the people to decide which is consistent with Science. You see that at the time Jesus spoke the idea [the persistence] of an identity after death was never taught, and to teach that was to the Jews blasphemy. So Jesus admitted their various beliefs, but attached a spiritual meaning to them. Jesus spoke to the people in parables, for His object was to rid the world of superstition. His words were called out in answer to some question asked by the rulers of the people, and His answer was in accordance with the question, but in it was shown the absurdity of the belief; so they could not catch Him.

The greatest evil to overcome was the resurrection of the dead. This was a difficult question to solve, for Jesus never believed in the natural body rising and to deny the resurrection of man was as absurd as to deny the resurrection of the body, so to deny one and prove the other was to admit a resurrection and teach it. But as the people called sin "death" and truth "life," it was easy to adopt these meanings. He could then show that the resurrection from the dead was a resurrection from an error to a truth. But this must be explained by a parable. Here is what Jesus intended to convey: that this power that the people could not account for and which they ascribed to evil spirits or the dead was a Science of ourselves, which embraces all we are and our senses. It is life itself, and a knowledge of it is to put it into practice so the world can be benefited. Ignorance of it embraces all phenomena. This makes man superstitious, for he is ignorant of himself, man thinks his belief is all there is of him, and so it is till he is brought into a higher state which shows that he has two minds. One mind embraces matter and is in it. The other is Science and is out of matter, and uses matter as a medium to convince the natural man of a higher knowledge of himself. It was Jesus' mission to convince the natural man of this truth; so when He spoke of Jesus He spoke of the earthly man, but when He spoke of Christ He spoke of the heavenly man or Science. This the people could not understand, so when He said He should rise from the earthly man, (Jesus) He spoke of this Christ, and the people had no idea what He meant to convey to them. So when they saw Him taken and tried they all forsook Him and stood afar off and some denied Him. This showed that they expected that Jesus would be crucified. This embraced Jesus Christ and all of His preaching and when He was crucified that ended the life of Jesus Christ to them.

Now, to rise from the dead was what He had promised His followers and they believed that Jesus intended to prove that His body, or Jesus, which was flesh and blood, should rise. Here was where they misunderstood Him. Jesus never intended to convey any such idea. If the people had understood what Jesus meant they would have put a different construction on everything. If they had known the facts they never would have troubled themselves about the man Jesus, but would have let that body remain in the tomb and when Christ showed Himself to His disciples and others they could have seen the flesh and blood in the tomb. Then He, that is Christ, had established the saying, although you destroy this flesh and blood you do not destroy the knowledge of it, and this same knowledge can make to itself another body and show it to the people, to convince them of eternal existence, not after death, but after a progress of our knowledge.

Now, I want to be as liberal as I can to the friends of Jesus, but I must say that in their zeal to establish what Jesus told they made a great mistake. For I do believe they did steal or take away the body of Jesus to establish their belief that it rose again. This upset what Jesus intended to prove, that is, that although they should destroy this flesh and blood, Christ would show Himself to prove that man can live and have all his faculties and knowledge after the world calls him dead. But as it stands it shows nothing, for no one expects the body to rise. Like all religious fanatics, in their zeal to carry out an idea they left the whole affair in a worse state than before. This gave rise to all sorts of controversies, and as Christ had made Himself manifest to the people they of course believed that Jesus' body rose, Others saw the absurdity of the idea that flesh and blood rose, so it was not long before the believers were fighting, just as in our days.

Paul said to them, "I understand there is a dissension among you as touching the resurrection of the dead. Now, "if Christ be preached (not Jesus but this truth or Science) that he rose from the dead (or from Jesus) how say some among you, there is no resurrection (or Science) and all is of no force?" You see the people confounded the two ideas, that is, the people called Jesus Christ one and when Jesus Christ rose He was one because they had no idea of two identities. Those that differ from them had to contend against the deception of these fanatics who stole the body of Jesus, for those who believed the body rose were more enthusiastic in their belief than those who believed in the science. You see how all those persons that can work themselves up to believe that the time is coming when our bodies will rise again are about as far behind the times as those old persons who believe the time will come when the factories will be abolished and the girls will return to the spinning wheel and loom, when steam will be abolished. If they can get any comfort out of that kind of food I for one will not disturb their repose. I have commenced climbing Jacob's ladder, whose top round I have never heard of — it is said to reach to heaven so that the angels could descend on it. The Christian ladder has from one to seventy or eighty rounds, so when man climbs half his life it takes the other half to get back to where he started. That makes him once a man and twice a child. So I suppose he commences a child and climbs to a man and then steps over and returns back to a child. This is proof that the natural man is a mere bubble. [This is all that is held out to man as proof. It is true that we are told that we shall rise again or at least the soul. When we ask for proof we are referred to Christ but when told that there was no proof that any other flesh and blood rose, then comes mystery and we are called infidel because we don't believe what they don't prove nor themselves believe.]

— May, 1860

P. P. Quimby

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