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The Writers of the Bible Believed That Death Could Be Overcome

If we are to give credit, as I suggested, to those who before us sought to blaze the way to continued existence in our present bodies, we must begin with the author of the Book of Genesis. Turn now to that book of the Bible, and read that man was, according to the account there given, created immortal; that for eating of the forbidden fruit he was condemned to die. Death must here refer to the body; if not, then it could only mean annihilation—the absence of any future life whatever. If this latter construction be put upon it, it would utterly annihilate every proposition put forward by the theologians, and remove every stone of the foundation upon which rests the Christian church; nor would the Mohammedans fare better.

It would mean the rankest of materialism; for, if to die meant the death of what remained after the dissolution of the body, there could be nothing upon which to base a theory of salvation, since there would be nothing to save. Hence, when it was said to our first parents (as reported in Genesis, chap. 2: v. 17), "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," it must have referred to the death of the fleshly body. If he did not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil—that is, if he did not violate the law of his being, and so become conscious of being out of harmony with it, he would continue always to live; if he did do this, he would die.

I am not now arguing the inspired character of the Bible, nor do I intend to do so in any part of this work; let that be as it may, and let each student of it judge for himself. Whether it is divinely inspired or not is not a vital issue in this connection. Neither is it of vast importance that we agree as to who wrote the Book of Genesis, or when or where it was written. What I am seeking to point out is, that whoever the author may have been, and whether divinely inspired or not, he conceived man to have been possessed, at his first appearance upon earth, of the power to continue in the body indefinitely; that he lost this power through ignorance or failure to obey the law laid down for him; that thereafter he could have regained immortal life in the body and become as the gods, had he but eaten of the tree of life; i. e., gained such knowledge of the law of his being as would have put him in harmony with the one universal life. Put into plain, everyday language, the Bible statement is that in ignorance mm violated the law of life and became subject to death; but that if he had known more; if he had known enough to eat of the tree of life, which would have been to come into an understanding of the law of his being, he could have continued in the body as long as he wished, and could then have shaped things to his liking, as the gods were supposed to do.

That this is the thought which the authors of Genesis intended to convey is made doubly apparent, when we consider the fact that nowhere in the Old Testament is it made clear that its authors believed in an existence of a soul after the death of the body. This being the case, there is no other possible construction to be put upon the language in Genesis other than that its authors, whether inspired or not, conceived it possible that men might acquire the knowledge which should enable them to command the life forces, and so continue to live in their present bodies as long as they wished.

The authors of the Old Testament, then, were the first to suggest the possibility, if not to point the way, to immortality in the flesh through a victory over death. That Jesus of Nazareth believed also in immortal life in the flesh is evident in the restoration to life of Lazarus and others, and in declaring that he himself would return to life (restore life to his body) on the third day, and in the repeated healing of diseased bodies, which, if not healed, must speedily have succumbed to the disease by which they were affected.

And now I wish to ask the reader's thoughtful consideration of this proposition. I ask it because of the magnitude of the interests involved, and because I believe that any who may have read this far will have become sufficiently interested to, at least, be willing to give the author a hearing, and the subject of which she treats a thoughtful consideration.

The question I wish to ask is this: If by any purely mental process health can be restored to a diseased body, is it not reasonable to suppose that the process can be continued indefinitely, and health, which means continued life, made permanent? In other words, if there is a law by the application of which disease may be eliminated from the system for a time, may it not be that the effect can be made continuous, and disease prevented from ever causing the dissolution of the body?

I do not forget that many—perhaps most people who believe that Jesus really did heal the sick—believe that he possessed miraculous powers; but I would call the attention of all these persons to his assertion that those who believed on him, or as he did, should do greater works than he had done. If he had considered his acts as outside of natural law, and due to some special relation which he bore to Godhead, he would not have declared that others who bore no such special relation should do greater things.

Let us be logical. The interests at stake are the greatest possible to conceive of, and no one among us can afford to do less than to bring to bear the best reasoning power of which he or she is possessed. Jesus did not claim to heal the sick by a power which might not be attained by anyone who would follow his instructions, and he did say that others who should come after him should do more than he had been able to do.

Again I ask, if there exists a law by which, through purely mental processes, and without the use of drugs, diseases of the body can be removed, does it not follow logically that when we have a fuller understanding of the law by which this is done, we shall be able to remove all disease and continue life in the body indefinitely?

Dismissing as not vitally essential to the matter in hand at this moment the question of whether or not Jesus healed through an understanding of natural law, or by virtue of a special relation to a supreme power, I appeal to the ten thousands of giving witnesses—people who are alive today because they have been healed by mental processes purely, after all efforts at healing by drugs administered by the most noted physicians had failed; I appeal to these witnesses to prove the existence of the law for the healing of disease, and claim that in their evidence is conclusive proof of the existence of a law, which, if understood and applied, will annihilate disease and give the victory over death.

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Helen Wilmans

  • Born in 1831 and died in 1907
  • Studied under Emma Curtis Hopkins
  • Was a journalist and author
  • Was active in the Mental Science Movement
  • Was charged with postal fraud for healing through mail. Fighting this charged caused her lose most of her fortune.
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