We are entering a new century and a new millennium. Abundant speculation and anticipation exists with regard to what will happen when the year 2000 finally rolls in. Some believe we are nearing the end of time and that apocalyptic doom is awaiting. Others predict that we will witness the dawn of an age of peace and prosperity for all.
The question we have to ask ourselves is: have we as individuals, despite the technological progress and material abundance, become better and happier people? Have we become more loving, caring and responsible? The answer unfortunately is no. Technology has enabled us to produce more and better goods, but it has not at all improved the well-being of our families and communities. Even though our knowledge of the physical world has increased tremendously, we remain ignorant of life's spiritual dimension. The hatred that separates people, nations and races is the same as it always has been.
As a result, the world is beset by problems that seem insoluble: war, famine, environmental pollution, drug abuse, AIDS, family breakdown, crime and suicide. Who has the solutions to these problems? Government institutions certainly do not have the answers, nor can we expect them to. Neither will the ultimate solution be found in a scientific research institute or laboratory. The established religious institutions, for all their vigor and long-standing dedication, have been unable to prevent this crisis from developing. Their moral authority has been severely questioned.
A deeper analysis of the problems in our society reveals that they are not new. Infact, the failures of our modern civilization are the result of a deeper cause, which can be traced back to the beginnings of humankind. We observe that throughout history, people have striven for happiness and yet have indulged in attitudes and behaviors which lead to unhappiness and utter misery. Why is it that human beings have always longed for peace and brotherhood, and yet have caused so much conflict and suffering? Are love and hatred, good and evil destined to coexist, as some believe, so that lasting peace and harmony can never be achieved? If the world was created by a loving God, why is there so much suffering?
These and many other difficult questions touch upon the very essence of our being. What is the purpose of our life? What is our origin and destiny? Does God exist, and if so, how can we know God? Humankind has sought to answer these questions through religion, which is a spiritual, internal path, and through science, which deals with the external world. However, religion and science must be bought into harmony by a higher understanding of truth, one which interprets the spiritual and material aspects of life within one consistent framework.
To have a real effect in the world, this higher understanding of truth should also solve the inconsistencies within and between religions, creating the basis for reconciliation among religions and cultures. The major religions, based upon teachings given in the far-distant past, do not compel the intellect of modern people. In particular, this new expression of truth must clarify the meaning of the Bible and all the world's scriptures, paving the way for the world's religions to resolve their internal struggles and become resources for building world peace.
Furthermore, the true nature of God must be revealed, enabling us to know God through both logic and heart, and thus leading all people through the power of their consciences to lives of goodness. The new truth should reveal the source of the contradiction within the human heart, and show us how we can resolve the coflict between the mind and body. If we find peace within ourselves as individuals, then peace within families, communities, nations and the world will become a real possibility.
The purpose of this booklet is to introduce this new and revolutionary teacing. It is called the "Divine Principle" and is based upon the teachings of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. The Principle, as it will be referred to here after, is the result of divine inspiration, prayer, and the study of religious scriptures and of life itself. Many tears and much intense suffering were part of the price of gaining this profound understanding.
There are three main parts to the Principle: the first part deals with the nature of God and why He created man and the universe; the second part explains why God's ideal for man was not realized and how evil came into this world; the third part explains how God has been working throughout history to restore humanity and establish His ideal world of true love.
From reading this booklet, it may be difficult to grasp the full power of the Principle, but if you begin to see even a glimmer of its potential to enrich your life, then you are encouraged to continue your study.
Harmony, precision and order are evident in nature and the vast cosmos. For millions of years, the cycles of life, nature and the universe have repeated themselves with remarkable consistency. It cannot be that htis marvelous universe was formed as the result of an accident. Everything which exists, even the smallest particle or cell, has some meaning and purpose. For example, every part of the human body has a distinct, unique function and interacts with other parts to achieve the higher purpose of sustaining life. There must be an origin of universal purpose and design, a first cause, which gives purpose to everything and maintains harmony in the universe. We call this first cause, God.
Throughout history, humankind has tried to understand this first cause. Religions have sprung up and guided people on how to connect to the source of life. Three of the world's major religions -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- teach that God is our Creator and that He is a being of love. Let us dwell on this for a moment.
How can we know anything about our Creator if He is invisible and intangible, and therefore not accessible to the probing of science? According to the scriptures of many religions, God's character can be understood by examing the world He designed -- the world all around us.
Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
The power of spiritual forces in the universe -- how active it is everywhere! Invisible to the eyes and impalpable to the senses, it is inherent in all things...
(Doctrine of the Mean 16)
I believe in God only I spell it Nature.
(Frank Lloyd Wright)
Indeed, just as the paintings of an artist reveal something about his or her personality, so too God's personality is reflected in the things which God created. This follows from the inter-relationship between cause and effect. Could a chaotic cause create a harmonious universe? Could a hearless God create a world which has great beauty in it? This would defy all logic. Therefore, we can learn about the cause, God, by studying the effect, the creation.
What universal attributes can be found in the created world? One is that all entities have the attributes of male and female, or, in the mineral realm, of positive and negative. These paired attributes are called dual characteristics. We see men and women, male and female animals, staminate and pistillate plants all exemplifying the pair system. On the level of the mineral world, we discover polarities such as protons and electrons, cations and anions, plus and minus charges. The world is made in such a way that everything exists and multiplies through the reciprocal relationship of give and take action between male and female, positive and negative.
What can this tell us about God? If these dual characteristics exist everywhere in the universe, then God, who is the cause, must embody not only the essence of masculine nature in His divine personality, but the essence of feminine nature as well. Where would faminine nature originate other than from the same Creator and Designer of life?
Thus, man and woman are equally essential expressions of God. In fact, the most complete human expression of the heart and personality of God would require a man and a woman together. Some religions call God our Heavenly Father. But since God is the origin of femininity, God must have motherly characteristics also. God is the original Parent of mankind, and we human beings are His children.
In God, masculinity and faminity are perfectly harmonious. In the creation also, masculine and feminine, and positive and negative, are in harmony. This occurs through myriads of give and take relationships. For example, the body maintains its life through the give and take action of the arteries and veins, and of inhalation and exhalation. Both plants and animals maintain their functions through give and take action among their various organs and systems. Material things come into being and maintain their existence through physical-chemical reactions based on give and take action between particles, atoms, and molecules. We find that even the solar system exists through the give and take action between the sun and the planets in their orbital movements.
There is a second duality which all created entities share: everything has an internal character as well as an external form. The internal character gives purpose and value to the external form. We see that on every level of existence, consciousness, reason and law shape the behavior of energy. Particles, atoms and molecules are made of energy, but are guided by the invisible laws of nature. Plants are made of cells, but are guided by what scientists call the plant mind, which directs the physiological functions of the plant. It has been found that plants are sensitive to their environment, responding to music and human emotions. Animals are made of tissues, but are guided by their (invisible) instincts. The human being also has a body that consists of cells, but, in addition, we possess a unique human mind, which enables us to think and feel in a distinctly human way.
Since everything God created has an external form and internal character, He Himself must have external and internal aspects also. The external aspect of God we call Universal Prime Energy, which is the cause of all physical energy (for example solar and electric power, the force of gravity, magnetism, etc.) and hence is the cause of all matter. God's Universal Prime Energy creates, develops and sustains the cosmos.
The internal aspect of God has to do with personhood -- motivation, purpose and identity. To understand this, we must look at ourselves, since human beings manifest not only the greatest complexity and sophistication of any creature, but also the greatest self-awareness.
The main attributes of the human mind are emotion, intellect and will. We have the capacity for selfless love and the impulse to pursue truth and goodness. We value the beauty of nature, we are delighted at the arrival of a newborn baby, we enjoy the harmony of music and dance, and we like to express our own creativity. We aspire to become knowledgeable and wise. Our conscience urges us to do good and reject evil. Everyone dreams of a world of peace and harmony.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil ...
Gerard Manley Hopkins
What could be the origin of these commong qualities and aspirations? We cannot claim to have created them ourselves; there must be a prior source, our Creator. God is the source of the values we all cherish: love, truth, beauty and goodness. God's power is guided always by reason and principle, but is expressed above all in His impulse to love. Heart is the essence of God's being. Heart is the impluse to love and seek an object to love. God loves each one of us individually, and rejoices when we return His love and multiply it by loving others.
Joy is created not by an individual alone, but through our having a substantial object that reflects our own nature. An artist fels joy when she is able to express herself in a work of art. An architect feels joy by seeing his building completed. This is because a creation reflects the invisible character of its creator; we see ourselves reflected in what we create. This likewise is characteristic of God Himself.
God feels joy when He sees Himself reflected in the creation. Therefore God wants His love and His ideal expressed through a substantial object. God has the power to love, but He needs someone to whom He can give His love, otherwise His heart cannot be satistfied. We as God's children are God's ultimate creation, born with the capacity to receive and reciprocate His love.
Religious scriptures regard human beings as special in that they were created in the likeness of God. For example, the Bible states that the human being was made in the image of God. We resemble God most in our creativity and responsibility.
I have breathed into man of my spirit.
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
The superior man reflects in his person the glory of Heaven's virtue.
I Ching 35: Progress
The ultimate joy is that which parents feel through their children. All the internal and external traits of the parents are reflected in the child. Further, the child has the potential to develop the parents' qualities to new heights. All parents are proud when they see their children become successful individuals; indeed, they wish for their children to be greater and happier than themselves. This is precisely the heart of God toward us.
In reality, however, human beings have never been able to return God's love fully. We are meant to be the objects of God's love, but we are separated from God, our Parent. We are not a true reflection of our Creator. Instead, we have given expression to selfish love, which is incompatible with God's selfless, sacrificial love. God's immense love is unrequited; He sits alone amidst His own creation; He watches His children suffering at their own hands. Surely, God as a parent suffers greater pain than we do when He sees the sorry state of humanity.
God has traditionally been perceived as a being of authority, omnipotence and mercy, but His suffering heart has not been fully understood. We have been like children, who look up to their parents with a sense of awe but with no awareness of their parents' worries. As we mature spiritually, we can recognize the suffering heart of God. Each one of us has the potential, through prayer and reflection, to discover the heart of God, His loneliness and grief which resulted from the loss of His children, and His longing for reunion with each one of us.
The history of humanity up to the present day is the history of God's efforts to help us change ourselves and repair our relationship with Him. God is not a cruel judge who is heartlessly watching us suffer and waiting for the right moment to condemn everyone for their shortcomings. Rather, He is a heartbroken Parent who has been trying to show us how we can break out of our misery. Unfortunately, we have almost always refused to listen, and when we did listen, we usually failed to understand. Today we are challenged to overcome the obstacles of the past and achieve our potential to realize our happiness and the happiness of God. Therefore, we need to understand the ideal which God envisioned for man and woman. Through fullfilling our true purpose, we will experience everlasting joy and bring joy to God.
According to the Bible, God gave the first humans three blessings: "Be fruitful and multiply ... and have dominion." (Gen. 1:28) The first blessing, to "be fruitful," means that we should perfect or mature our character.
A tree is fruitful when it becomes mature and bears fruit. Similarly, a fruitful individual is someone who is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally mature and bears the fruit of love, wisdom and goodness. Such an individual personifies God's own nature and heart. A fully mature person has such a close relationship with God that he or she is able to feel God's joy or sorrow and communicate with God fully. Such a person naturally lives and acts in accordance with God's will.
In His original ideal, God wanted everyone to be perfected in love, able to give true and unconditional love to every human being and to the creation.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ... You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus personified God's true love. He said: "He who has seen me has seen the Father." True love is sacrificial life for the sake of others. In an ideal relationship, however, sacrifice is rewarded, as the person who receives true love will naturally reciprocate that love. True love acts like a magnet, drawing others to it and inspiring true love in them as well. The world's great saints and sages, as well as countless unsung righteous men and women, were motivated by a force much greater than themselves: the power of God's love, which inspired them to deny themselves and live for the sake of others.
Our innate desire for perfection is reflected in the fact that everyone desires to be the greatest, the best and the brightest, and everyone wants to marry an ideal husband or wife and have the most wonderful children in the world. At the same time, we realize our own imperfection; we see the gap between what we want to be and what we are. Many of us will readily identify with the conflict the apostle Paul describes: "I do not the good I want, but the evil I do not wnat is what I do." (Rom. 7:19) We feel torn between what our conscience tells us to do (or not to do) and what our selfish nature wants us to do. We feel guilt or shame when we do things that conflict with our conscience. Perfection is impossible as long as this inner contradiction persists.
Even though humanity has fallen into spiritual mediocrity, God has never given up His original ideal, which is that every individual reach the perfection of love. With God's help and through our own efforts we will eventually fulfill that potential. We will achieve the original, boundless joy and happiness for which men and women throughout history have longed.
The second blessing of God to the first humans was to "multiply." God desired to see a true man and a true woman marry and together raise sinless children. The children, raised by their perfected parents, would also become true men and women. These children would grow up experiencing the masculine love of God through their father and the feminine love of God through their mother.
Have we ever in history has such a family? No, not really. The first human ancestors, whom the Bible calls Adam and Eve, tragically failed to achieve an ideal family. Instead of multiplying goodness and love through their descendants, they multiplied selfishness and corruption. As a result, we have never seen "true parents" who could raise sinless children and create a sinless lineage. Every person has been deprived of true parents, parents who perfectly embody God's love.
When the family declines, the spiritual foundations for life are lost ... and society is plunged into chaos.
Bhagavad Gita 1.40
From true parents, a true family, society, nation and world can be generated, with children experiencing the love of God as an everyday reality. It is in the true family that God's love can blossom on all levels: between parents and children (parental love), between husband and wife (conjugal love), from the children (brotherly and sisterly love). If the members of a God-centered family practice these forms of love within their own home, then their family will become a model for their neighbors, their community, their country and for the family of humankind. This true family would lead to nothing other than the kingdom of God on earth.
The strength of society lies in the strength of its families. If we cannot build healthy families, we cannot build a healthy society. If a society denies the sanctity of the traditional family -- its basic unit -- it will be beset by divorce, free sex and homosexuality. Such a society will inevitably decline. This is because the prime victims of permissiveness and dysfunctional families are the children, and they are the ones who will decide the future of our communities, nations and world.
The third blessing, to "have dominion," is fulfilled naturally by mature, God-centered individuals and communities interacting with nature. God created a wonderful environment for us to live in so that we could enjoy life to the fullest. The beauty of nature is a telling expression of God's boundless love for His children. he intended our interactions with the creation to be based on love and appreciation, not on selfishness and exploitation. Unfortunately, the latter have all too often been the case, resulting in pollution, the destruction of habitats, the extinction of species and other serious damage. We will solve environmental problems when we free ourselves from selfishness and our societies from corruption.
God intended that the first human ancestors fulfill the three blessings and thereby establish on earth the kingdom of God about which Jesus spoke. This was God's plan for building a world of true love. There would be no destructive conflict or corruption of any kind in such a world. Men and women would live together harmoniously as one big family. Most of us are probably inclined to think that the realization of such an ideal world is impossible. But is that necessarily so? Is it not more likely that God, with the power to create the universe, is able to determined to achieved His original ideal?
God, the Parent of humankind, has worked through various religions to liberate His children from evil and selfishness. However, God did not create human beings as robots which can be manipulated by the touch of a few buttons. No, He created us with a will of our own. Therefore He needs our voluntary cooperation. Consequently, even though God is determined to bring about His original ideal, the accomplishment of this ideal in the life of each individual depends upon how quickly and completely that person is able to respond to God's words.
The fact that it took millions of years for the cosmos to be created implies that a time period is necessary for everything to come into existence. Nothing becomes what it is instantaneously. A flowering plant, for example, starts as a seed and reaches its maturity when it has grown to its full size, producing flowers and seeds for the next generation. Humans also need a time period to grow physically and spiritually.
Ideally a person's spirit and body would grow harmoniously together so that by the time a person reaches adulthood, he or she would not only be physically but also spiritually mature. The human body, given proper care and nourishment, grows to maturity automatically in accordance with its genetic inheritance. But spiritual growth is a different matter.
God instilled the power of creativity in human beings. He gave us free will and an original mind inclined towards goodness and unselfishness. Unlike plants and animals, whose growth is guided and controlled by the laws of nature, humans perfect themselves based not only on the principles of biological growth, but also on the fulfillment of their responsibility.
Why did God give such responsibility to human beings and not to other creatures? First of all, God wanted human beings -- His children -- to rule the creation with responsible love. To give us this authority, God had to make human beings superior to all other creatures by giving us a responsibility which no other beings have. Second, God wanted to give us each the unique privilege of participating in the development and creation of our own responsibilities. We are therefore co-creators with God and are to inherit God's creativity. Third, for us to be able to love. Love which does not come freely from the heart is not true love.
Gain: The superior man, seeing what is good, initiates it: seeing what is bad, he corrects it in himself.
I Ching 42
However, if we have freedom, we also have the capability to misuse that freedom. Therefore, God gave man and woman a guideline, as expressed in the commandment to Adam and Eve, so they could stay within the Principle while growing to maturity. Adherence to the commandment was their responsibility.
When man and woman reach perfection, they have such a caring and disciplined nature and such a deep oneness with God that they can never betray God. Therefore, a person can act in an unprincipled manner only prior to attaining perfection, while still in a state of spiritual immaturity. This is precisely what happened with the first human ancestors. They misused their God-given freedom while they were growing towards perfection.
By sustained effort, earnestness, discipline, and self-control, let the wise man make for himself an island which no flood can overcome.
In today's society, freedom is emphasized while responsibility is down-played. The result of this imbalance can be seen all around us: crime is at an all-time high and immorality is rampant. This in turn, has created a climate of fear and mistrust, which has substantially limited everyone's freedom, from the elderly who are afraid to leave homes, to women afraid of being sexually harassed at the work place, to students who must pass through a metal detector before they are allowed to enter school. The solution to these social problems begins when individuals learn to value their responsibilities as much as their freedoms.
While many people share a belief in some kind of life after death, it is not commonly understood that even during our physical lifetime we exist in two realms at once -- material and spiritual. God created each person with a physical self and a spirit self.
Just as the physical world is the environment for our physical self, so is the spirit world the environment for our spirit self. But whereas our sojourn on this earth is temporary, our life in the spirit world is eternal.
God, the universal Parent and source of love, created us as His children to be the recipients of His love for eternity. Through the physical life on earth, centering on the family, we practice all kinds of love, thus creating within ourselves the basis for this eternally developing relationship. Once we achieve this purpose for which God placed us on the earth, there is no longer a need for us to prolong our physical existence. All physical bodies naturally age and die. This is why God did not create a physical world alone; He created a spirit world as well.
This world is like a vestibule before the world to come; prepare yourself in the vestibule that you may enter the hall.
Mishnah, Abot 4:21
Now man is made of determination; according to what his determination is in this world so will he be when he has departed this life.
Shankara, Vedanta Sutra 1.2.1
In God's original ideal, we on earth would be able to interact with the spirit world through our five spiritual senses. However, because we separated from God and failed to achieve spiritual maturity, our spiritual senses have been impaired to the point where we have become ignorant of the spirit world.
Today, perhaps the most dramatic testimony to the existence of the spiritual dimension comes from those who have had what are commonly called near death experiences. Many of these individuals, who were pronounced clinically dead by doctors but who later revived, recall remarkably similar experiences while they were dead. As recorded in such books as Dr. Raymond Moody's Life After Life, they tell us that after they died they floated outside of their bodies and viewed their bodies from a distance. Other spirits came to help them, and they often recognized them as friends and relatives who had previously died.
Many people have had some limited experience of the other world, when they were able to see or sense things beyond the realm of their physical perception. In rare cases, individuals have been able to communicate directoy with the spirits of people who has passed on. In his book, Life in the World Unseen, Anthony Borgia writes about his communications with a decreased Anglican priest. Describing his afterlife experience, the priest reportedly said that the spirit world, with mountains, trees and flowers. But its residents, he said, occupy different levels corresponding to the level of spiritual maturity they achieved during their life on earth.
Others with direct contact with the spirit world have also testified to the different levels or realms there. It is not God who sends people to one place or another. People themselves determine their place in the spirit world. Their destination correlates with the ability to love they attained during their life on earth. For example, the few saints the world has known dwell in the spirit world close to God in a realm of brilliance and warmth. But those whose lives were marked by greed and rapacity gather together in a realm virtually devoid of love. And environment of violence in the spirit world draws the violent soul. An environment of goodness draws the loving soul. Therefore, the oft-used terms "heaven" and "hell" are not merely locations in the afterlife, but actually correspond to the development and purity of heart, or lact thereof, in a person's life.
In God's plan for an ideal world, the spiritual realm, like the physical world, was never meant to be a place of torment, fear and punishment. God intended it to be a place where all men and women, having perfected themselves, would live harmoniously together with God and their families for eternity. Thus, all men and women, no matter what kind of life they have lived here on earth, eventually will be elevated to the highest realm of the spirit world. This is because God, as the Parent of all humankind, cannot suffer anyone enduring eternal separation from him, and, as the almighty Creator, He will ultimately draw all His children to Him. But again, because human beings have their own freedom, this process of restoration and development requires that each person take responsibility for his or her own growth.
Existing in both the physical and spirit worlds, each of us consists of both a spirit self and a physical self. The spirit self is in the subject position and gives purpose and direction to the physical self. Furthermore, the physical self is composed of a physical body (made up of cells) and a physical mind (which manifests itself, for example, in the desire for food and sleep). In the same way, man's spirit self has both a spirit body and a spirit mind. As the spirit body takes a form similar to that of the physical body, people can be recognized in the spirit world. This explains why some people who have contact with the spirit world are able to identify friends and relatives who are deceased. The spirit mind is the core of a person's being, containing heart, emotion, intellect and will. Through the spirit mind God is able to communicate with us, inspire us and guide us in our growth.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
The spirit self needs the physical self for its growth. Our actions of good (or evil) provide the good (or bad) nourishment for our spirit. In return, the spirit gives energy to or drains energy from the physical body. When the spirit self has fully matured and achieved the purpose of life, its attachment to the physical body is no longer essential. It can continue to live freely and eternally in the spirit world, even after the body returns to the earth. But the spirits of people who never attained maturity must return to the earth in the spirit, in order to complete their process of growth through influencing persons on earth.
Each time a person acts in accordance with God's will and the principles of love and service, that person's spirit receives vitality from the physical body, experiences true joy, and is able to receive more of God's love and truth and so grow. On the other hand, if the spirit self receives bad vitality elements resulting from selfish actions, it will make the person feel guilty and his spirit will decline. The only recourse for this person is to repent and right his or her wrongs. The development and quality of a person's spirit self is thus dependent on the quality of his or her actions.
What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? ... For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead also.
It is not sufficient to only hear and believe the Word of God, it has to be practiced also. We need to deny ourselves and live for the sake of others. The physical lifetime is our greatest opportunity to achieve spiritual growth. Once our life on earth ends, we can no longer receive vitality elements from our physical selves and our spiritual growth therefore becomes much more difficult. In other words, since our spirit selves grow on the foundation of the good actions performed by our physical bodies, our experience of love, beauty and joy on earth conditions our ability to experience them in the spirit world. This is why our life on earth is so important. It is on earth that God's ideal and His purpose of creation must be realized.
Since God is a being of infinite love, goodness and power, the question naturally arises: why does evil exist? If we look at ourselves, it is apparent that we live with two conflicting desires: one which tells us to lift other people up and care for them, and another which tells us to take care of our own comforts first, regardless of everyone else. Where does this conflict originate? Did God, after creating a beautiful and ecologically balanced system of life, somehow slip and design His highest creation with an inherent contradiction, like a cup with a hole in it? Of course not.
There is no historic record of events that explains how evil came into this world. However, the Bible offers a significant insight in the book of Genesis, where the story is told of the first human ancestors, whom the Bible calls Adam and Eve, committing the first sin. The story is shrouded in symbolism, however, and therefore lacks clairty to what precisely Adam and Eve did. Certainly, the sin of the first hman ancestors had awesome consequences, as all their descendants have been affected by it. Different scriptural texts offer variations of the fall theme. The Principle presents a profound explanation of the root cause of evil, which has been embedded in symbols in all the great religions. The Genesis story, on which the Principle explanatino focuses, is perhaps the most widely known and profoundly revelatory.
As told in the story of the fall of man, there was a Garden of Eden, and in the center of the garden there were two trees: a tree of life, and a tree of knowledge bearing a forbidden fruit. In this garden lived Adam, Eve, and a serpent who spoke to them and tricked them.
God gave the two people a commandment: do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, or you will die that day. Then a serpent appeared and tempted Eve into eating the fruit despite God's order, and Eve, in turn shared the fruit with Adam. At that point the man and woman felt fear and guilt; they covered their sexual parts and hid from God. God then blocked their way to the tree of life and sent them out of the garden.
Is this story is to be taken literally or symbolically? To interpret the Genesis story, the Principle employs the following criteria: 1) common sense based on our general knowledge of history and the human experience; 2) the Bible as a whole; and 3) the Principle of Creation (as introduced in Part One).
Based on these criteria, we concluded that the story is full of symbols. If they are interpreted correctly, we discover that the story portrays an actual event in the lives of our first human ancestors. They acted in a way to corrupt themselves and degrade their spiritual natures. Furthermore, these events are repeated in the lives of ordinary people every day.
The fruit which the first human ancestors ate could not have been a literal fruit. As Jesus explained: "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." (Matt. 15:11) Moreover, the death that resulted from eating the fruit was not physical death (Adam and Eve continued to live after the fall) but spiritual death, meaning the separation between man and God. Eating a literal fruit cannot cause spiritual death.
One common explanation is that the fruit itself is not important, but it was Adam and Eve's act of disobedience which was the root cause of all the historical evil and sins of humankind. However, this analysis does not explain why Adam and Eve would disobey God over a mere piece of fruit. We cannot believe that God would implant in them a desire to rebel against Him, or to destory themselves for the sake of a piece of fruit. Therefore, the fruit that Adam and Eve ate must signify something far more important to man's happiness than a tasty apple or pear.
After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they suddenly covered the sexual parts of their bodies in shame. Why would they do this? The Bible, in Job 31:33, says: "I have concealed my trangressions like Adam by hiding my iniquity in my bosom." This verse, stating that Adam concealed his trangression, and the account of Adam and Eve covering their sexual parts after the fall, indicate that the sin of Adam and Eve involved a sexual act. If Adam and Eve had sinned with their mouths by eating a literal fruit, they would have covered their mouths in shame. Furthermore, the Bible records that the fall of the angels likewise involved a sexual trangression (Jude 6,7).
What then must be the meaning of the fruit of the tree of knolwedge? A fruit is that part of a tree that bears the seeds for reproduction. If the sin of the first human ancestors was sexual in nature -- the result of the serpent (a symbol for the archangel Lucifer) tempting Eve to "eat the fruit" and Eve likewise offering the fruit to Adam -- then the fruit must symbolize the love of Eve (and the sexual aspect of it).
Does this mean that sex is evil? No. As explained in Part One, God clearly intended for Adam and Eve to fulfill the second blessing (to multiply). But God's commandment not to "eat the fruit" meant that they were not supposed to enter into a marriage relationship until their personalities had matured and they had become a perfected man and woman. Then, and only then, would they have been capable of loving each other and giving the love of true parents to their offspring, beginning a cycle of goodness, beauty and peace that was to repeat itself forever.
By engaging in a sexual relationship prematurely, Adam and Eve let selfish love, centered on their physical bodies, take the place of selfless love, centered on their spirits and God's Word. Thus, they fell. As a result, Adam and Eve could not give birth to and raise good, sinless children. Instead they gave birth to children who inherited from them the selfish nature they acquired through their relationship with the angel, Lucifer.
Then with what motive and by what process did Adam, Eve and the archangel fall in the Garden of Eden? God did not create Lucifer as an evil being. God does not create evil. Lucifer and the other angels were created as good beings. Unlike human beings, they were to live in the spirit world only, not in the physical world. Therefore, angelic beings have a spiritual body but not a physical body. God created them in a servant position to man, who lives in both worlds and therefore has a potential and responsibility greater than that of the angels.
The archangel Lucifer was placed in the Garden of Eden to serve and guide the young Adam and Eve. But as the latter grew older and more mature, Lucifer began to realize that they were receiving more love from God than he was and therefore felt the desire for more love. Since Adam and Eve were God's children, they were meant to receive God's fullest and deepest love. Lucifer's situation may be compared to that of a child who is displaced by a newborn baby. Until the new infant arrived, the older sibling was the sole recipient of his parents' love. Now, all of a sudden, his parents' attention is focusing on the newborn.
What was the wicked serpent contemplating at that time? He thought, "I shall go and kill Adam and wed his wife, and I shall be king over the whole world."
Talmud, Abot de Rabbi Nathan
Contrary to what Lucifer believed, God did not love him any less than before the creation of Adam and Eve. But because he had the ability to compare, Lucifer felt a lack of love. He tried to make up for this by coming closer to Eve. Lucifer saw Eve as very beautiful, and he was stimulated by an impulse of love towards her. From her side, Eve, who was immature and therefore susceptible to Lucifer's temptation, was attracted to the angel because of his wisdom and the attention she was receiving from him. The more Eve responded, the more the archangel was stimulated.
Even though Lucifer knew his intent was self-serving and against the will of God, his desire for more love led him to intensify his relationship with Eve. A vicious cycle ensued. Eventually it drove him to defy God and Heavenly law completely by engaging in a sexual relationship with Eve. Eve, though feeling anxiety and confusion, willfully had this sexual relationship. This was possible only because Eve, prior to the fall, could interact with the spirit world as readily as with the physical world through her spiritual senses. It was a completely real experience. In her union with Lucifer, Eve received his selfish and guilt-laden spiritual elements.
When Eve felt fear, guilt and shame for what she had done, she went to her intended spouse, Adam, who was still pure. Adam could have saved Eve and restored her back to God; but Eve did not confess to Adam what she had done. Instead, Eve, who had acquired Lucifer's selfish nature by uniting with him, tempted Adam and induced him to have a sexual relationship with her againist God's commandment. Adam, though also feeling anxiety and confusion, willingly had this sexual relationship with Eve.
Thus, Adam and Eve consummated their relationship prematurely and with the wrong motivitation. As a result, Adam acquired from Eve the same selfish, ungodly nature that Lucifer had passed on to Eve. Lucifer, for his part, was degraded and became Satan, the being who finds perverse joy in opposing God and destroying all that is good. The conclusion is that the fall was an illicit sexual relationship, an unprincipled act of love between the archangel and Eve, and a premature act of love between Eve and Adam.
Because of Eve's unprincipled relationship with Lucifer and her premature relationship with Adam, the first mother and father of humankind established a lineage based not on the selfless love of God, but on the corrupted, selfish love of Satan. For this reason, Jesus said that the fallen people are of their "father, the devil" (John 8:44). Adam and Eve acquired an inclination toward selfishness which they passed on to their children like a hereditary disease. The consequences were tragic: Abel could not share God's blessing with his elder brother, and Cain's jealousy led to the first murder in human history. This was the beginning of a cycle of hatred and violence that has continued to this day.
The fall of man was actually the distortion and destruction of true love. True love for the sake of others was meant to be the very center of human life, the essence of the kingdom of Heaven on earth. Instead, selfish love has become the way of human life and has created a kingdom of hell on earth.
O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their clothing in order to expose their private parts.
Sexual relations were to be the most beautiful and holy expression of love between a huaband and wife. This love should be eternal. Many people think that love is sex and thereby reduce both to a purely physical affair, whereas sexuality is meant to be the fulfillment of love within marriage. Today love has been so distorted that many people indulge in sex as a casual recreation. Because of the misuse of sexual intimacy, celibacy has been practiced in various religions as a means to come closer to God.
The degradation of sexuality has always been a tragic phenomenon, but the problem has perhaps never been so acute as in our modern age. While parents, teachers and religious leaders may strive to instill the value of sexual abstinence in young people, they have to contend with the formidable influence of the commercial entertainment industry, which often relies on sexual themes and images in order to attract a wider audience. Adultery, promiscuity and prostitution, with its accompanying disease and exploitation, lead to untold misery and human alienation. They cannot be eliminated by passing laws against them, nor can other sexual abuses. They are the results of the original sin and cannot be rooted out unless the fall itself is discovered and corrected.
After the fall, God grieved. After all of His effort to create a beautiful and perfect world for His children, He lost everything when His children abandoned Him. He could no longer hope that Adam and Eve would soon become perfected, fully reciprocating His love. Instead, He watched as His precious children lived with corrupted hearts, orphans insensible to their parentage and ignorant of their own purpose. Humanity descended into a world of violence and oppression. This beautiful earth, which God created out of love as a home for His sons and daughters, was defiled and polluted.
The most tragic irony is that in order to preserve human freedom and responsibility, and to maintain te absoluteness of the Principle ideal of true love, God could not intervene in the fall.
Since the fall, all human beings are born with a selfish fallen nature in addition to their good original nature.
The first aspect of this fallen nature is that we have a tendency to see things from our own, self-centered perspectives rather than from God's point of view. This resembles Lucifer's failure to see Adam from God's viewpoint. So many prophets and righteous people in history were persecuted and even killed because their contemporaries failed to see them from God's perspective.
When a man grasps at things, Mara (Satan) stands beside him.
Sutta Nipata 1103
Second, fallen people will perform actions that violate the responsibility of their porper position. When Lucifer felt less love from God, he left his position as servant and sought an illicit relationship with Eve. When a man is dissatisfied with his marriage, he will seek to have an affair with another man's wife.
Third, fallen people will not hesitate to undermine or attack others in order to gain more power and higher positions themselves, and will use any means to achieve their goals. This resembles Lucifer, who, after refusing to serve Adam and Eve, reversed the hierarchy by making them serve his interests. This is the root of violence and murder.
Finally, people acting out of fallen nature will try tto induce others to sin, in order to justify themselves. Fallen people feel a false sense of security when they observe others acting as they do, and ridicule anyone who would strive to a higher standard of righteousness.
Every religion teaches people to overcome fallen nature, through precepts of humility, self-denial and unselfish service. Philosophy does the same, by teaching people to control their passions and work for the larger purpose, as dictated by reason. But the human struggle to defeat the fallen nature will have no end until the problem of the original sin is solved and humanity can be restored to a pure, God-centered lineage. For this, the world has long awaited the Messiah, a new Adam who, with a new Eve, can establish the position of True Parents and a family of perfect love.
After the fall, God could have chosen to destroy humankind, rather than prolong His suffering of seeing them in such a state of ignorance and sin. He did not do so. Instead, because He is the Parent of love, God took it upon Himself to restore humankind -- His children -- back to His original ideal, a task that would prove to be awesome and seemingly endless.
The mystery of why God did not intervene to prevent the fall is connected with the principle of human freedom. God gave humankind the gift of freedom so that we can respond to Him in love. Freedom brings with it responsibility. God gave human beings a portion of responsibility which is theirs alone to fulfill.
Some people think that God controls human history. But, in fact, progress in human history is dependent upon us fulfilling our portion of responsibility. God's grace is forever beckoning; God's heart longs to save all His children. But as it is we who fell away from God, there is a certain restitution which is ours alone to make.
Why has God's ideal not been realized? Actually, God did not want to wait before sending the Messiah to bring salvation to humankind. However, people have to prepare in order to make the foundation to receive the Messiah. If the Messiah were sent without a prepared environment, there would not have been any foundation for him to be understood and accepted by his contemporaries.
Humankind has never comprehended the serious consequences of the fall. Satan usurped the position of God, and people unconsciously follow the word of Satan and consistently act in self-centered ways on scales large and small, international and local. Self-centered love is so much ingrained into human life that to separate from it requires that one go radically against the way of life of the world. One will meet opposition on every level, not to mention the internal struggle required to practice consistent goodness in a world of evil. Further, Satan insists before God on his rights of ownership over the human race, which God in principle cannot deny. Thus, the way of salvation is a path of self-denial and self-sacrifice.
If any man would come after him, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
The hidden dimension of history, then, is God's providence of restoration or recreation. This is His plan and activity to restore humankind so that He will achieve the ideal world He originally intended. Central to this plan is for God to send the Messiah as soon as people have fulfilled the necessary preparations, and for people to accept and cooperate with the Messiah when he comes.
The Messiah, who is born sinless (as were Adam and Eve), comes as the second Adam to reveal the full and perfect love of God, something the first Adam failed to do. As a result of the fall, man grew ignorant of God's love and became dominated by the selfish, false love of Satan. This is why the Bible says that Satan, who is the originator of man's selfish thinking, is "the ruler of this world." The Messiah comes to end Satan's dominion, to liberate us from false, selfish love and to establish God's kingdom.
The achievement of God's ideal of true love is based on the fulfillment of the three blessings. After the first human ancestors sinned and thus failed to establish a true family, God's desire has been to find a true man and a true woman who would substantiate His ideal and thus achieve what Adam and Eve could not. Coming as a new Adam, the Messiah has the mission to realize for the first time the three blessings (as explained in Part One) by becoming one with God and establishing an ideal family as the basis for an ideal society, nation and world.
As the head of the first ideal family, we call the Messiah and his bride True Parents. The True Parents will establish a new lineage untainted by sin. Through uniting with the True Parents, men and women can separate from Satan and be engrafted into the lineage which has nothing to do with the fall.
It is God's promise and responsibility to send the Messiah, but it is man's responsibility to establish certain conditions in preparation for the Messiah's coming. These conditions, called indemnity, are necessary to reverse the failure of the first human ancestors.
After the fall, God began working immediately in Adam's family to build a foundation whereupon He could send the Messiah. If Adam and Eve had believed God's word and obeyed His commandment, they would have perfected themselves as true children of God. But Adam and Eve lacked fait and separated from God. Therefore, someone else must reverse this failure by demonstrating absolute faith in God's word (the Principle calls it "establishing a foundation of faith"). This foundation is to be set by families, tribes and nations as well as by individuals.
Whoever, by a good deed, covers the evil done, such a one illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.
Had the first human ancestors reached perfection, they would have had dominion over all things and all created beings, including the archangel. However, Adam and Eve succumbed to the archangel, allowing him to take dominion over them. The motivation and process of the fall must be reversed and the proper order of dominion restored as a condition for God to send the Messiah (the Principle refers to this as the "foundation of substance"). To accomplish this foundation, God calls someone in the position of Lucifer (who was elder) and someone in the position of Adam (who was younger). In order to conditionally restore the proper relationship of Adam and the archangel, these two must reverse their positions, with the elder, representing Lucifer, serving the younger, representing Adam.
So the last will be first, and the first will be last.
Cain and Abel, Adam's sons, were in these position. Cain, the elder son, was in Lucifer's position and Abel, the younger, in Adam's position. Abel showed faith in God by offering the best of his flock, and God accepted his offering. But when Cain made an offering of vegetables, God rejected it, and Cain felt distraught (Gen. 4:3-5). It was Cain's responsibility to overcome the same feelings Lucifer felt and accept God's love and will through Abel. This would have reversed the positions of elder and younger, as if Adam had risen above the archangel and established the proper order in their relationship. On the basis of this unity of the brothers, God could claim the parents' position and thus have the foundation to send a new Adam, the Messiah.
This pattern of reconciliation of Cain and Abel as the foundation for sending the Messiah has been God's consistent formula throughout the history of restoration.
But in what was the first murder in human history, Cain, rather than loving his younger brother Abel, killed him. Cain envied Abel, just as Lucifer had envied Adam. Cain could not overcome this feeling nor could he see his brother from God's point of view. Instead of reversing the process of the fall, he repeated it. Thus, God could not send the Messiah to Adam's family.
It was many generations before God found a righteousness man whose family could be entrusted with the task of reversing the failure in Adam's family. This man was Noah, who established a foundation of faith by faithfully obeying God's order to build an elaborate boat, the ark, over a long period of time.
Noah's family was to have marked a new beginning of history. Following the flood judgement, Noah's sons should have been united under Noah, thereby establishing the condition for God to send the Messiah. However, Noah's second son, Ham instead of being loyal to his exemplary father, judged him and felt shame towards him, even turning his brothers against him. Noah was angry over Ham's disloyalty (Gen. 9:20-23). Because Noah's family failed to inherit Noah's foundation of faith, God providence to send the Messiah again was postphone and God had to find a new righteous man and family to reverse the past failures and establish a foundation for the Messiah to come.
Four hundred years later, God called Abraham. According to the Bible, he responded by separating from his fallen environment, the city of Ur, and journeyed to a new land of promise. His wife, Sarah, conditionally restore the position of Eve when she resisted the temptation of Pharaoh, representing the archangel. Abraham, however, failed in his offering of birds and animals. His wife again restore the position of Eve by resisting the temptation of King Abimelech. Finally, Abraham demonstrated absolute faith by obeying God's order to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Isaac himself reversed the failure of Ham by completely uniting with his father, even to the point of offering his live as a sacrifice.
The reconciliation of Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, was a providential turning point. Jacob, the younger brother, was serious about obtaining the birthright, and bought it from Esau for a bowl of pottage. Later, as his father lay dying, his mother Rebekah guided Jacob to impersonate his brother and trick his father into giving him the blessing due the firstborn son. Rebekah understood God's providence and helped her second son gain the blessing. Esau was furious and swore to kill Jacob, but with Rebekah's help Jacob fled to Haran. After 21 years of servitude, Jacob faced his brother, who was armed with a band of 400 men. By sincerely offering gifts and bowing in respect, Jacob melted Esau's heart and they reunited in tears. Thus Jacob and Esau successfully restored the failure of Cain and Abel. Jacob mastered his brother's hatred, overcoming it with sacrificial love. By bringing an end to the resentment of Esau (who, as the elder, was in the position of Cain, Jacob set the pattern for overcoming Satan and restoring God's dominion of love.
On the foundation of Jacob's victory, God could claim the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who came to constitute a lineage embodying, to a relative degree, the heavenly tradition of self-sacrifice and life for the sake of others. Through Moses, God began His dispensation to establish the national foundation for the Messiah. God raised up the Israelites and led them through many trials to create a nation on His side. He revealed to them that one day He would send the Messiah, who would inaugurate a history of peace and justice. Israel began to long for the Messiah to come.
Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago as the second Adam, to complete the providence of restoration and establish the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The main focus of God's preparation was to build a national foundation of faith and substance in Israel. After the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon, God prepared the chosen people by reforming and renewing Judaism through the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah. During a 400-year period, the Israelites, centering on the law and the temple, demonstrated their faith and eagerly awaited the Messiah.
Although God focused His efforts on the nation of Israel, He also prepared the rest of the world for the Messiah's coming. Prior to Jesus, the great empire of Rome had been established, with extensive trade routes. The Roman Empire expanded far and wide, touching most of the other advanced civilizations. With this external foundation, the Messiah's ideology could have spread quickly from Israel to Rome and from Rome to the whole world.
Furthermore, around four centuries before Christ, God prepared the world internally for the coming of the Messiah. In india, prince Gautama Buddha rejected worldly comfort and sought the true way of life. From his example and teaching developed Buddhism, which became one of the most influential religions in the Orient. In China, Confucius appeared, teaching a highly developed ethical humanism. In Greece, the great clasical philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle strove to establish a standard of human ethics and knowledge.
In these and other ways, God set the stage for the establishment of His kingdom, about which Jesus so often spoke. Christ was to become the lord of glory as described in Isaiah. God prepared many people to recognize and follow Jesus. However, God also gave warning that without the Israelite people's faith in His son, Jesus would be forced to endure suffering and misery.
As a final means to prevent this outcome, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way. John lived an ascetic, exemplary lifestyle and devoted himself completely to God, thereby establishing the foundation of faith. He told the people, "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The Israelites knew that John was a special prophet. They had heard of the spiritual phenomena and miracles surrounding his birth. Some people thought that he might even be the Messiah himself, or Elijah, the prophet expected to return in the Last Days. Because he was so widely respected, John was the ideal person to serve as a bridge between the people and Jesus.
But did John the Baptist fulfill this providential responsibility? John initially testified that Jesus was the Messiah, saying of him: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." However, there is no record in the Bible that John ever became a disciple of Jesus or worked for Jesus. Instead, matthew 11 reveals that John came to doubt who Jesus was: at one point he dispatched two of his own disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Furthermore, many Israelites believed in Malachi's prophecy that Elijah would return to herald the Messiah. When they asked Jesus where was Elijah, he replied, "If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come." John, however, denied that he was Elijah, thus putting the Israelites in the position of having to believe either John or Jesus.
John was a well-respected religious figure, while Jesus was the illegitimate son of a poor carpenter. Without John's support, it was very difficult for Jewish people to believe in and follow Jesus. Thus, Jesus' reaction to John's query was unequivocal: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is."
Jesus' request from the beginning of his ministry was for people to "believe in him whom God had sent." Jesus did everything he could to convince the people that he was the son of God. Nevertheless, they refused to believe in him. If the people had known Jesus was the Messiah, would they have persecuted and rejected him?
And when he saw the city he wept over it, saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But they are hid from your eyes."
When it became clear that there was no way to convince the people of who he really was, Jesus determined to become the sacrificial offering to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus not only allowed himself to be crucified, but prayed for forgiveness of those crucifying him. In this extraordinary act, Jesus put into practice God's own forgiving and sacrificial heart, creating a realm free of Satan's false, selfish love.
Jesus' life and his death are a testimony to the power of true, unconditional love. Until Jesus came, the popular belief was that injustice should be punished or avenged in kind -- "eye for eye, tooth for tooth." Jesus showed, however, that God is not a God of vengeance, but that He is a parental and forgiving God, who loves His children despite their sins.
Jesus death on the cross was the tragic result of the failure of his contemporaries to do the will of God. However, Jesus himself was totally faithful. As a result, all people, through faith, can inherit Jesus' spiritual victory and receive spiritual salvation, enabling them to grow to a higher spiritual level. Yet humankind must still await the Lord of the Second Advent, who comes to eliminate sin altogether and finally establish God's kingdom on the earth.
Jesus should have been the lord of glory but he died as the lord of suffering. To understand that the crucifxion of Jesus was not an indispensible element in God's plan for salvation, we need only ask what would have been the result if every person at that time had obeyed Jesus' direction to believe in him. If the people at the time had believed and followed Jesus, does that mean that God's plan would have been frustrated? Of course not. The will of God would have been fulfilled in its entirely. Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane -- "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..." -- reveals that his death on the cross was not the most desirable course. Jesus understood that his rejection by the people would prevent him from establishing the kingdom of Heaven on earth. It is not surprising, therefore, that he spoke so harshly of Judas Iscariot, his betrayer. "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
Had Jesus been accepted, there would have been no need for the Messiah to come a second time, an event never anticipated in the Old Testament. But before his crucifixion, Jesus said, "I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now." He said he wanted to speak "of heavenly things, but you cannot even understand the earthly things of which I speak." He added, "I speak to you now in parables and symbols, but the day will come when I will speak to you plainly of the Father." Although the lack of faith in Jesus' time made this impossible then, the clear truth which he desired to reveal will be made known at the time of the second coming.
God's Principle does not change; nor does His purpose: to bring about a world of true love, the kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Following Jesus' death and resurrection, God began to work through the followers of Jesus, the Christians, to prepare for the second coming of the Messiah. Christianity began with the twelve apostles and seventy disciples of Jesus. For the next four centuries, Christians suffered as had the Jews in Egypt. Despite severe persecution, their faith deepened and they became dedicated believers committed to spreading Jesus' teachings.
The result of their perserverance was that in 392 A.D., the Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the state religion of Rome. Following its acceptance by the Roman Empire, the Christian church gradually expanded its influence. But as was the case during the Old Testament period, there were many failures on the part of key figures, causing further delays in God's providence. Due to the inadequacy of Christian love, cultural and racial barriers divided Christians into different churches, aligned according to nation.
Christianity went through an historical course parallel to that of the nation of Israel. The period of persecution under Rome parallels the period of Hebrew slavery in Egypt. The period between the fall of Rome and the crowning of Charlemagne parallels the period of judges in Israel. The Carolingian Empire resembles Israel united under Saul, David and Solomon, and these were followed by years of division and conflict in both Israel led to corruption and finally a seventy-year exile in Babylon; a corrupted papcy suffered exile for seventy years at the French court in Avignon.
During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church gained tremendous power and wealth but, unfortunately, it also became stagnant and constrictive. The corruption of the Renaissance church ran counter to God's will, and the developing spirit and intellect of the Christian people brought forth calls for drastic reform. This result in the sixteenth century Reformation, which parallels the renewal of Judaism 400 years prior to the birth of Christ.
The cycle is now complete. Christian history has recapitulated on a world wide level, the periods of the history of biblical Israel. The Principle teaches that history has been unfolded according to a divine providence of restoration to correct the mistakes of the past and establish a foundation for the second coming. This new foundation was completed in the twentieth century.
In spite of everything I still believe that people are good at heart. I can feel the suffering of millions and yet, if I look up at the heavens I think that it will all come out right and that peace and tranquility will return again.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
The unprecedented changes and struggles of the twentieth century mark the birth-pangs of a new age. No one can deny that the world has come closer together and many divisions have been overcome. East and West, North and South have begun to mix. International economic blocs have formed. The United Nations, as well as numerous other international organizations, improve the quality of life for all people. Major religions are seeking common ground in their beliefs. Even ideologically, the chief confrontation of this century, that between Marxism-Leninism and democracy, has dissipated. In addition, the spectacular advance of science and technology in this century has made it possible for us to enjoy life more fully than ever before. The development of telecommunications and the rapid expansion of the airline industry have given us unprecedented access to almost every country in the world. There has never before been such a vast interchange between peoples, cultures and races. Our world has indeed become a global village.
At the same time, the devastation caused by world wars and many other regional and international conflicts has been unprecedented. The collapse of communism has not ushered in an era of peace. Mismanaged industrial expansion during this century has damaged our environment, and the moral decline devastating all societies is only gaining momentum.
The direction of history in the new millennium will be determined by the way the world responds to the Second Advent of Christ. Many Christians believe that Jesus will arrive on the clouds of heaven. This view is based on a literal interpretation of a few passages in the Bible. For instance, in the book of Daniel we find the prophecy that the Lord would come on the clouds: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man ..."; Jesus quotes these words when interrogated by the chief priest.
As we saw with the story of Adam and Eve, the Bible contains symbolic language. Jesus stated that he spoke in parables and symbols. In the case of the biblical description of Christ's coming, the word "heaven" does not refer to the literal sky but connotes great value, sacredness, or goodness. Representing and embodying these qualities, Christ will again come as a man on earth, with the power and presence of God, rather than in a supernatural fashion by literally descending from the sky.
The references in the Bible to the last days do not mean that the world will come to an end at the time of the second coming. If the first human family had started in goodness, humanity would have remained eternally good as God is eternally good. However, because the first human ancestors fell away from God, human history has been marked by evil and sin, which God cannot allow to exist for eternity. The history of fallen huamnity must come to an end. The biblical references to the last days do not mark the end of time but the end of fallen history and the beginning of a new age during which God's kingdom will finally be established.
Because Adam and Eve did not fulfill God's ideal, and because Jesus was prevented from bringing God's kingdom on earth (as a result of being rejected by his contemporaries). Some will be born on earth as the third Adam to complete the providence of restoration. He will destroy Satan's dominion over man and substantialize God's three blessings on the earth. Born of a woman, somewhere in the world, he will finally cure the infection of false love, brought on by the fall, by establishing a pure, God-centered lineage into which all humankind, of every race, religion, can be engrafted.
He will break through Satan's barriers to become a man of perfected character. He will live a life of true love, investing all his energy and resources for the benefit of suffering humanity. To fulfill the second blessing, he will find a bride, and together they will overcome the fall, thereby establishing the ideal of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Through accomplishing this, they will substantialize the position of True Parents. The True Parents will guide humanity in overcoming the real conflicts between nations, races, religions and cultures, finally bringing about a world of lasting peace. To fulfill the third blessing, they will bring the way to unite religion and science, our technology and our values, leading to a world of both spiritual and physical perfection.
The True Parents will speak clearly and plainly of the truth, liberating all men from suffering and ignorance and realizing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Their fundamental motivation, however, is to liberate the suffering heart of God.
But as with Jesus 2,000 years ago, the True Parents can expect to meet persecution and misunderstanding. In fact, Jesus himself warned of this when he asked, "When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8).
We live in the most exciting, but perhaps also the most fearful era in the whole of history. Whereas some believe that the world will be destroyed in an apocalyptic disaster, the Principle states that the reign of human selfishness, ignorance and fear -- and not the planet Earth -- will soon come to an end. God's live will prevail when the final division of good and evil comes at the time of the Second Coming. The future of humankind is not gloomy, but hopeful. All will be saved. A new world is at hand. God's promise is being fulfilled today.
This booklet has presented a brief introduction to the Divine Principle. There are countless testimonies to the power of the Principle to give hope and new life to all people. Those who have examined its contents sincerely have found it to be a true gift from God. The Principle shows how husbands and wives can establish pure, eternal relationships, and how parents can guide their children on such intimate matters as love and marriage. It offers lasting solutions to the social and national problems facing our world today. We heartily encourage you to study the Principle and find out how it can benefit you and renew your life.
"A pragmatic sociologist is likely to say that the Unificationists have come upon a family program that works. While marriage counselors and parish priests are wringing their hands over the breakdown of family life, the Unification Church is doing something about it."
Dr. Joseph H. Fichter, S.J., Professor of Sociology, Loyola University, New Orleans
"The vision of the unity of humankind in relation to God is central to the teaching of Reverend Moon. This vision of unity is not uniformity, but incorporates into itself diversity.... Such a vision is what is most desperately required to move us beyond the impasses of the present."
Dr. M. Darrol Bryant, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Waterloo, Ontario; Canada
"... when we work with you for the unity of humanity we stand on our own convictions and traditions, while sharing with you your great vision of God at the center of all and an all-embracing love for all humanity... We pledge, rooted in our own religious traditions, to work with you for the fulfillmen of the will of God."
Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, Former President of the World Council of Churches.