What is the true meaning of another world? It is supposed that man lives in this world and goes to God or a spirit-world. This is the general belief and if this is true, why should it be so strange that some persons should believe their friends return to earth and appear to the people? This was the belief of a large class of mankind in the days of Jesus. All this is called truth, it is founded on an opinion that there is another world and the Bible is quoted in proof of it. To me this is error based on ignorance of Science. Science would never have led man to that belief.
It is said men had wandered away from God and become so wicked that they were in danger of eternal punishment. What does this mean? Man is here on the earth as he always was, so it did not mean that he got off the globe. To wander away from God is to suppose that He had some locality, and to be in His presence is to return to His place of residence. This place must be somewhere where God resided because the belief was that Christ came to lead man back to God. If God is in another world and Jesus came from that place down to the earth to lead man there, or to open a way whereby man could get there himself, then it is to be supposed man had been in heaven in the presence of God but had wandered away and could not get back. All this looks very silly when we think of asking men to believe it, but we embrace it without giving it the least thought.
Man is made up of thought and ideas. There is nothing about man unchangeable but his science, for Science embraces a principle [and the spirit] and principles are not matter or ideas but a knowledge of them. Life is an evidence of Science, so is feeling, taste, etc. All the senses are admitted by Science to exist independently of matter, and the senses are all there is of man that cannot be changed.¹ They may be obstructed by error but not destroyed. To separate these two is to explain the true meaning of life and death.
All the people believed in death. Jesus did not; therefore His arguments were to prove that death was a false idea. So if we believe in death we are in our belief, if we know it as an error we are in life. Jesus had to prove that what we call death was only a separation of His Truth from the people's belief. But the crucifixion of Jesus was death according to their belief. Jesus never intended to allude to the natural body. So when He speaks of a resurrection it is from the dead; not that the dead rise, for that would go to show that He was still a believer in matter, and if He believed in matter [in that way] He must have believed it dies and then rises again. But if He believed it is nothing but a medium for the senses to use and control, then all that He meant was that His senses should rise from the dead or the error of the people who believed that the senses are a part of the idea called body. To prove His truth was to show Himself to the disciples, after they had seen Him as they supposed dead, alive again. To them this was a resurrection of the dead, or the same idea. But if Jesus' same idea or body rose it would have been a resurrection of the dead, not Christ's or Jesus' ideas. Jesus' teachings were to show that Christ was a truth of God, a higher knowledge that separated Science from ignorance, and this Christ was in Jesus.
When the people saw their idea of form destroyed their hope was cut off. But when in the clouds of their ignorance they saw this same Christ or Truth take form again they were afraid, and as it became dense enough to be identified it was recognized as Jesus' body. But it was not the body or idea that they had believed in some days before. This is where the trouble was. The people's mind was changing but not scientifically, and they were left in a more nervous state than before. For now they thought Jesus' body rose and if Jesus' body rose it went to show that His ideas were not changed from the common belief. It amounted to nothing at all, for no man has ever risen since, and there was no proof of Jesus' soul being separated from His body.
So man has to get up a belief in opposition to the Bible's belief, he must believe Jesus went to heaven with a body of flesh and blood. So the common explanation of the resurrection leaves it worse than before. But to take the man Jesus as a man of flesh and blood like all other men and give Him the knowledge that matter is under the control of a higher power that can act independently of matter, and that He, Jesus, could be in two places at the same time and be out-side of the body called Jesus — then it would not be hard to believe that this knowledge called Christ which Jesus had should say, though you destroy the idea of Jesus, Christ will rise or make Himself known to the people. For this Christ or Truth had the power to assume any form it pleased. But as the people knew it only as it came within their senses as the natural man, they could not believe till it took the form of Jesus as a man. This form the people called Jesus; therefore the report went out that Jesus rose from the dead, and it has always been believed by those who call themselves disciples of Jesus.
Now, here is my belief: I believe in Christ or the Truth. Christ knew that they knew not what they did; therefore the Christ said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." This same Christ was not in the idea that the people had, but just as far as this power was made known, it could make itself manifest. Now to believe that the idea, or Jesus, or flesh and blood, rose is to believe that the dead rise. This Jesus denied when he said that what rises from the dead never marries or is given in marriage. As touching the dead that they rise, He says: "God is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live unto Him."
— May, 1860
P. P. Quimby