Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
The Unification Principle, or simply the Principle, is a religious teaching that addresses the fundamental questions of existence. Where do human beings come from? How were they created and how are they to relate with nature? Is there a supreme creator, God? If so, what is God's nature and why did He create human beings? If there is a purpose to human life, how can it be fulfilled? Why is there evil and from where did it come? If God is good, what has He been doing to end human suffering and what is His will for humankind today?
The Principle was discovered by the founder and leader of the Unification Movement, Sun Myung Moon. As he grew up in his native Korea, he became intensely aware of human suffering and the failure of humanity to create a loving and just world. He sought to understand why people suffer and how suffering can be ended. Raised in a Christian family, he knew that religion addressed the fundamental human condition and promised an ideal world to those who obey God; but he saw that established religions, although centuries old and based on scriptures offering revelatory insights, were, in practice, unable to answer many of life's questions or solve the deepest problems facing humankind. Troubled by the immense gap between religious ideals and the actual state of the world, he began his own ardent pursuit of solutions through a life of prayer and study.
At age sixteen, while deep in prayer on a mountainside near his village, he had a vision of Jesus Christ, who called him to dedicate his life to God and the salvation of humankind. Despite his youth and the seeming impossibility of ending human suffering and injustice, he accepted God's call and embarked on a life of complete obedience to the will of God. Because of his unwavering commitment to this mission, he has faced great hardship and persecution, but he has never deviated from his chosen path.
After receiving his commission from God, he knew he could not succeed in his task without a profound understanding of the Creator and His creation. He intensified his quest for the truth, spending days and nights in passionate prayer, rigorous fasting and study. His method was to posit specific questions, research answers in the physical and spiritual worlds, and then seek confirmation for those answers through prayer. On several occasions he was guided directly by Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and other saints and sages of all faiths, who met him in spirit and contributed to his understanding of God and the complex history of God's relationship with humankind. By the age of 25 he had developed the fundamentals of the Unification Principle, the understanding introduced in this book.
The Principle provides insights into the nature of God and humanity, the reason for creation and the way human society can be ordered to please God and satisfy the inherent aspirations of men and women. It also explains how human beings should relate to their environment. Furthermore, it examines how and why the first human ancestors separated from God, how the human separation from God can be ended and what God has been doing in history to achieve this.
The Principle is the basis for the Unification Movement, which is not a legal entity but the activities, projects and organizations inspired by the vision and teaching of Sun Myung Moon. Most of these initiatives, which range from inter-religious and international cultural foundations to universities and global news organizations, were established by him, and all of them are guided by the ideals and understanding contained in the Principle. The Principle promotes mutual understanding and harmony among people of all faiths and offers a religious vision that can benefit anyone seeking truth. Thus, although religious in inspiration, the Unification Movement is not a new religion and does not seek to compete with existing religions.
This book was prepared primarily for members of the monotheistic faiths, including readers from Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures who were raised in secular homes and never given a formal religious education but are generally familiar with the main figures and historical events of their religious traditions. Much of the content is related to Biblical and Koranic scriptures, although without direct quotation. (Other explanations of the Principle, either in print already or under development, relate it directly to major world scriptures. A philosophical explanation of the Principle, called Unification Thought, presents theories of the original image, ontology, the original human nature, epistemology, logic, axiology, ethics, education, art, history and methodology.)
Scriptural references have been omitted from this text for two reasons. First, many people today lack a specific knowledge of scriptures altogether, even though they might come from nominally religious homes. For them, the scriptural base for a teaching is irrelevant. Second, all too often scriptures are used as ammunition in the theological disputes that divide religions into sects and separate one religion from another. This text is intended to promote understanding among believers of all faiths and does not use scriptures to support its position.
Readers are encouraged to study the Principle as an integrated teaching, a logical sequence of ideas and insights that, taken in part and as a whole, sheds new light on life and history, as well as illuminating existing scriptures. Those well versed in a particular holy book will recognize corroborating links between scriptural passages familiar to them and elements of the Principle. In general, this explanation of the Principle stands on religious history as agreed by most Jews, Christians and Muslims, with major differences acknowledged. Yet the interpretation is new.
The basis for adding a new interpretation of scriptures for the enlightenment of those who seek a deeper knowledge of God and creation exists in the scriptures themselves. The Christian Bible contains the words and deeds of Jesus and his early followers, as the New Testament, as well as the Torah and other Jewish sacred texts, included as the Old Testament. In this way Christians accept the Jewish scriptures as their own, but interpret them according to their own beliefs, which are derived primarily from the New Testament. Jews have interpreted and developed the teachings of the written Torah (the Hebrew Bible) through the insights of the oral Torah as written in the Talmud and other post-biblical rabbinic writings. In the Koran God says, "We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it." (S5, 48) Some Muslim scholars (Yusuf Ali, e.g.) refer extensively to the Bible in their commentaries on the Koran, especially in filling out the sacred history presented in the Koran. Muslims interpret both Jewish and Christian scriptures according to the Koran. Both Christians and Muslims recognize that God revealed truth through the earlier scriptures.
Many concepts from the other great faiths (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and Zoroastrianism) are found within the Principle, and the basic beliefs and histories of these global religions are briefly outlined in Chapter 14.
The Principle covers three major topics: the ideal of God's creation, the failure of humans to fulfill that ideal, and the divinely guided process of human development through history towards the restoration of God's ideal.
The first part, The Principles of Creation, discusses the nature of God, human beings and the rest of creation, as well as God's purpose in making all beings and the way that purpose can be realized. It examines what the world would be like if everyone obeyed God and sin were absent from human affairs. This ideal world embodies the highest dreams and aspirations of all people: a fruitful, peaceful and joyful existence. The first part also explains the process of spiritual growth and the nature of heaven and hell.
The second part, The Human Fall, explores the reasons for human suffering and the extreme aberrations of human behavior evident everywhere. It discusses the results of the fall in human nature, history and the modern world, delineating the remedies that are needed. Without knowing the root cause of humanity's separation from God it is impossible for humans to understand their history of sin and suffering and the contemporary godless state of the world.
The third part, The History of Restoration, explains God's work to restore original, pure love to fallen men and women, and the response of humankind to God over the ages. This explanation relates the main figures and events of sacred history to the principles of restoration, which are the principles of creation as they operate to restore fallen people. The lives of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed are among those examined within the framework of the plan for providential history.
In addition to the three parts of the Unification Principle, a fourth has been added to show how the Principle applies to life. This part includes practical guidelines for a life of faith based on the Principle, in particular, preparation for, and realization of, the marriage blessing, fulfillment of which is the primary objective of Unificationism.
This book was prepared with the approval of Chung Hwan Kwak. Its contents are drawn from hundreds of speeches made by Sun Myung Moon, as well as texts on the Principle and interpretive insights from senior Principle lecturers. It was written primarily by Thomas Cromwell, who has been the Unification Movement representative in the Middle East for the past twenty years, and includes extensive input from Frank Kaufmann, Andrew Wilson, John Andrew Sonneborn, Tyler Hendricks, Taj Hamad, Csilla Balint and Jennifer Symon, all of whom hold relevant academic degrees and are experienced lecturers on the Principle. Any errors or misrepresentations in the text are entirely the fault of the author, and any questions or comments about the text can be sent to him at the address below.
P.O. Box 4155
102 10 Athens
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