Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
Introduction to The History Of Restoration
The thousands of years of human history are a ghastly record of human imperfection and suffering, involving the lives of billions of people. For many who question God, it is this sad history and the profound problems of the world today that make belief so difficult. How can one believe in a good God if the world He made is so full of suffering and misery?
The answer lies in the nature of God's relationship with human beings. The principles that govern that relationship were made by God to bring joy to both Creator and creation. A central element of those principles is that humans exercise their free will responsibly, in accordance with God's will. When people are disobedient to God they violate God's principles and create chaos and suffering. Thus humanity's obedience or disobedience to God shapes human life and history.
History and the world present many baffling realities that beg explanation. Why, for example, has the history of evil been drawn out for so long? What has been accomplished for God in all the thousands of years of human existence, and what has yet to be accomplished? What roles did the various religious figures of the past play in God's plan to restore human beings to the original purity? How can evil be finally eliminated? If these and related questions cannot be answered conclusively by believers, their faith in God will not be well-grounded or convincing to others.
For modern individuals to be powerful and focused in their lives of faith they need to comprehend God's thinking and activities in the world today. These can be understood clearly only in the context of His thinking and activities in history. It is not enough to have a general belief based on abstract faith. After all, many crimes have been committed and many wars fought by people professing faith in God and believing Him to be on their side, even though other believers, and even fellow-religionists, have been the victims of those crimes and the enemies in those wars.
God does not have a contradictory purpose; His unitary nature prevents Him from working against Himself. It is only the inadequacy of human understanding of God that produces disagreement, confusion and conflict among believers.
The situation in the world today was produced by a historical battle between forces of good and evil. God and Satan cannot coexist harmoniously because their purposes are opposite. Therefore, the struggle between good and evil will continue until the true love of God prevails. How can believers contribute to God's victory? How can they know what God wants of them? To be close to God, to serve God in the most meaningful way, believers need to know where the battle's front line is and what God most wants them to do to help in the work of restoration. These things can only be known through an understanding of the historical processes that produced the situation in the world today.
The following chapters explain the principles that govern the process of restoration and explain the high points of the history of restoration, centered on the lives of central figures chosen by God to play pivotal roles in that history. This outline of providential history provides a framework for understanding the role played by major religions in God's overall restoration scheme and how the process of restoration affects today's world.
Because of the vastness and complexity of human history, this account is necessarily extremely limited, focusing only on some of the most important people and events in the long process of restoration. The history of restoration, discussed in scriptures, is the central history of humankind. Other, secular histories are of secondary importance. Since all humankind is to be restored, every people, race and nation has its own restoration history, usually centered around the rise of a religion.
In making its emphasis the principles of restoration and their application in history, this text does not set out to reconcile itself with existing scriptural accounts of God's providence through exegesis. That is the purpose of other explanations of the Principle. Rather, it presents an account of God's work with His children in history that reveals His principles operating in human affairs. Thus readers will recognize many familiar figures and events from scripture in the following pages but find the contextual perspective offered here to be new. If there appear to be conflicts between traditional scriptural accounts, or interpretations of such accounts, and this one, the reader will be able to judge these contents on the merits of the overall integrity of the Principle.
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