October 26, 2016
Do we ever feel like grasshoppers compared to our big government, big banks, big pharma, or any other big problems that we might encounter? What is the symbolism of these giant mixtures of good and evil, the semi-metaphysical, the semi-pure? Mingling material and spiritual may lead to “mighty” conflicts in our life; and pardon the pun, some mighty dual-ism (duel-ism).
We’ve all heard about Goliath, but were there other giants in the Bible? Remember the giants who scared the children of Israel away from the Promised Land? Have you heard of the famous Og, the king of Bashan, whose 13 foot long iron bed became a tourist attraction in Ammon? What about the four sons of the giant in Gath, all of whom were killed by King David’s family and servants?
I remember in Sunday School wondering about those “five smooth stones” David selected from a brook before battling Goliath. He only used one stone, so what purpose were the others? Then in preparing these readings, I discovered there were four more giants which adds up to five giants conquered by five weapons of truth (or stones or swords). That is a very cool connection for a precocious Sunday School class!
In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes of the five erroneous postulates and of the five physical senses as the basis of pantheism. Pantheism is defined in the Webster 1828 Dictionary as “the doctrine that the universe is God”; a contemporary definition is that the Universe and God are identical. According to the son of science educator Carl Sagan: “My father believed in the God of Spinoza and Einstein, God not behind nature, but as nature, equivalent to it” (Pantheism in Wikipedia).
I have a much better understanding of this subject in Christian Science after reading this article by Helen Wood Bauman:
The denial of error is essential in the healing method of Christian Science. And the basic claim of error, or mortal mind, the claim that needs the most thorough and emphatic denial, is pantheism—the belief that life and intelligence arise from and depend upon matter. Until this belief, which is so deeply embedded in human thought, is understood as unreal, as sheer delusion, the healing of sickness and sin is likely to be protracted or unfinished. . . .
Mary Baker Eddy denied again and again the belief of pantheism. In fact, she made the first sentence in the vastly important “scientific statement of being” such a denial. This statement is found on page 468 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” and the beginning sentence reads, “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.”
To believe that the use of this first sentence should be avoided in the practice of Christian healing is to believe that one of the most powerful arguments in such healing should be discarded. The importance of this denial of pantheism is shown in the position it is given in “the scientific statement of being.” One sometimes hears that it is wrong to use this first sentence at the time of the birth of a child. Nothing could be farther from the fact. One who denies pantheism for the new infant is starting him off in human life with a definite release from the binding error that he is dependent upon flesh for his life, his substance, and his intelligence. (The Denial of Error” by Helen Wood Bauman, from the December 21, 1963 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel).
Wow! I had never thought about the Scientific Statement of Being as such a powerful denial of pantheism and what a reminder that the child we see physically is never the child that God sees. That is definitely a blow to error — the fire melting the frost.
On page 269 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy capitalized Pandemonium, which is the demon-filled capital of hell in John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost. (Yes, Mrs. Eddy has other quotes from Paradise Lost, and I’ve included a painting of Pandemonium on the research page.)
Here is some research on the Rephaim or giants:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ref’-a-im, re-fa’-im (repha’-im, from rapha’, “a terrible one “hence “giant,” in 1 Chronicles 20:4, . . ., “sons of the giant”; the King James Version, Rephaims): A race of aboriginal or early inhabitants East of the Jordan in Ashterothkarnaim (Genesis 14:5) and in the valley of Rephaim Southwest of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8). They associated with other giant races, as the Emim and Anakim (Deuteronomy 2:10, 11) and the Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20). It is probable that they were all of the same stock, being given different names by the different tribes who came in contact with them. The same Hebrew word is rendered “the dead,” or “the shades” in various passages . . . In these instances the word is derived from rapheh, “weak,” “powerless,” “a shadow” or “shade.”
REPHAIM, VALE OF
. . . This was a fertile vale (Isaiah 17:5), to the Southwest of Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8; Joshua 18:16; the King James Version “Valley of the Giants”), on the border between Judah and Benjamin. Here David repeatedly defeated the invading Philistines (2 Samuel 5:18, 22; 2 Samuel 23:13 1 Chronicles 11:15; 1 Chronicles 14:9). It is located by Josephus between Jerusalem and Bethlehem (Ant., VII, iv, i; xii, 4). It corresponds to the modern el-Biqa`, which falls away to the Southwest from the lip of the valley of Hinnom. The name in ancient times may perhaps have covered a larger area, including practically all the land between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where the head-waters of Nahr Ruben are collected. Click here for a good map:
So, David as a shepherd boy was in a land of giants. No wonder he needed to be prepared with five stones!
The mingling of material and spiritual left the Israelites with an illusion of giant problems. Yet, God multiplied the Hebrews after a generation in the wilderness so that they could cast out the giants when they finally entered the Promised Land; and David’s government matured to conquer the remaining giants roaming his kingdom. With the Christ (Caleb/Judah) and the Comforter (Joshua/Ephraim), we cannot fail to fulfill the promise!