An Introduction to the Thought of Sun Myung Moon: Unification Thought and V.O.C. Theory
The Unification Theory of History is specifically concerned with the philosophy of history. It is intended to provide a firm basis to a new view of history and thus to offer a credible solution to today's complex problems and situations. In the process, it offers answers to questions such as how human history started, in what direction it is proceeding, by what kind of laws it is guided, and what its purpose might be. In each case, there is the need to verify that these observations coincide with historical developments.
The Unification View of History is essentially based on the history of restoration presented by the Divine Principle, which looks at history from three basic perspectives: first, that of sinful history; second, that of the history of re-creation; third, that of the history of restoration proper.
Human history has been a non-principled history that started with the fall of the first human ancestors. All the conflicts, wars, pain, misery, and suffering that have filled history have their ultimate origin in that event of the fall. Consequently, it is not possible to properly address the many problems of history without clarifying issues related to the fall.
Due to the fall of the first ancestors, the original world never came to be. God carried out his dispensation in order to recover and re-create the original world that had been lost. Since history became the history of re-creating human beings and their world, it can be called the history of re-creation. Also, since God created this world through his Word, i.e., through reason-law, the same laws of creation must be at work in re-creation as well.
It is unconceivable that God's creation would end in failure due to the human fall. One way or another, God must therefore restore the non-principled world and humankind to their original positions. Accordingly, from the very beginning of human history, God has been striving to complete his dispensation to restore the world of evil to its original position. The history of humankind has thus been the history of the providence of restoration. This history has been carried out according to certain laws, which are referred to here as the "laws of restoration."
The saying "those who oppose Heaven will perish, while those who act in accordance with Heaven will prosper" means that a transcendent principle beyond human control is at work behind the development of history. In that sense, the specific laws at work in history cannot be opposed by humankind. These laws are the laws of creation and the laws of restoration. The cultural view of history suggested by Arnold Toynbee in the 20th century was unable to present a definite set of laws at work in history. Hegel's spiritual view of history, based on his dialectic, ended up having little to do with reality. As for Marx's historical materialism, which is a combination of Hegelian dialectics and materialism, it turns out to be nothing but the assertion of false laws arbitrarily applied to history. The Unification view of history, on the other hand, looks at history from a theological basis, but in doing so it also succeeds in highlighting the genuine laws that are at work in history. This allows it to include the concerns of the social sciences in its considerations.
The Unification view of history considers the creation and fall of human beings to be the origin of history. It further opposes the views of evolutionism and the polygenic position and considers that human history began with one set of original ancestors, Adam and Eve (the monogenic position). This affirmation is based on the principle that creation starts from one.
The goal of history is the restoration of the ideal world of creation.
Therefore, history inevitably progresses in the direction of that goal. When considered from the viewpoint of the direction and goal of history, the Unification Theory of History appears to defend the perspective of determinism. However, in the Unification view, the process that leads to the fulfillment of the goal of history is not determined. God's will for the providence of restoration depends for its fulfillment on the accomplishment of the human portion of responsibility (in particular that of the providential central figures). Hence, when considered from the viewpoint of the course of history, the Unification view is that of non-determinism. Though the goal of history is clearly set, the course that leads to its fulfillment remains undetermined. We can thus speak of a "theory of responsibility."
Human history is at the same time the history of re-creation and the history of the providence for restoration. Changes in history occur based on the laws of creation and the laws of restoration. Expressed differently, history has undergone changes in two directions, i.e., the direction of development and the direction of restoration. The significance of the Unification Theory lies in the fact that it points out the existence of these two fundamental directions and that it shows how the corresponding laws are at work in the historical process.
In a broad sense, the laws of creation at work in history are laws of development. They are: (1) The law of correlativity; (2) the law of give-and-take action; (3) the law of repulsion; (4) the law of dominion by the center; (5) the law of completion through three stages; (6) the law of the period of the number six; and (7) the law of responsibility.
1. The Law of Correlativity
All created entities exist through the correlative relationship between subject and object elements. Similarly, each individual entity establishes correlative relationships of subject and object with other entities. Accordingly, for development to occur in society through history, the establishment of a correlative relationship of subject and object in areas such as politics, the economy, culture, science, etc. is indispensable. If the law of correlativity is ignored, no development whatsoever will be possible.
2. The Law of Give-and-Take Action
When the correlative elements of subject and object within a thing form a correlative relationship, the action of giving and taking (receiving) certain elements or forces occurs. Such interaction between subject and object is called give-and-take action and the law that produces it is called the law of give-and-take action. In every sphere of human activity, from the individual to the family, to various groups, companies, political life, the economy, the arts, religion, and education, development is unthinkable without the law of give-and-take action and the same is true for history. This give-and-take action does not involve any conflict or opposition.
Because it is based on a correlative relationship between subject and object centered on a common purpose, it has the character of perfection and harmony.
3. The Law of Repulsion
The fact that two subjects or two objects will repel each other is referred to as the law of repulsion. The action of repulsion in the natural world is originally latent and hardly ever surfaces except for strengthening or complementing the give-and-take action between subject and object. In human history and society, however, the action of repulsion between two subjects takes on the form of conflict between good and evil and that of war. When the side of goodness wins, history makes a turn in the direction of goodness; if the side of evil is victorious, it makes a turn in the direction of evil.
4. The Law of Dominion by the Center
In the history of restoration, God establishes central figures and, through them, leads humankind in the direction of goodness. In this case, he first forms a social environment and then inspires the central figure to lead that environment in a direction in accordance with his providence. Thus, the central figure is given the responsibility to take control of the existing environment. This phenomenon in the history of God's providence is called the law of dominion by the center. In the debate over the question of whether it is the environment that produces leaders or whether it is the leaders that are in control of the environment, materialism chooses the first option. In reality, however, at certain stages of historical development God chooses a central figure to change social conditions in the direction of his providence and, in this manner, assumes control of the providential environment. This is the law of dominion by the center.
5. The Law of Completion through Three Stages
This law refers to the fact that all things go through a three-stage course in their growth and development. This law applies to the history of restoration as well. If a certain plan in the dispensation is not fulfilled in the first attempt, it will be completed through a second and, if necessary, a third attempt under similar circumstances. Examples of this phenomenon include the three stages of the Religious Reformation, the three stages of the Humanistic Movement, and the three World Wars.
6. The Law of the Period of the Number Six
According to the Bible, Adam was created within a period of six days, which represents the period of preparation for his creation by God. In exactly the same way, in the providence of re-creation, God began to prepare the way for receiving the Messiah six centuries before the coming of Jesus, the second Adam, thus applying the rule of the number six. Confucius in China, Buddha in India, Zoroaster in the Middle East, and the first philosophers in Greece appeared nearly simultaneously about six centuries BC. This is not a random occurrence. Rather, it corresponds to the preparation period for the coming of the Messiah. In much the same way, from the 14th century AD on (i.e., six centuries before the return of Christ) the movements of the Religious Reformation and the Renaissance took shape, coinciding with a rapid development of science and economics that has been continuing until today. This period of six centuries, starting in the 14th century AD, represents the preparation period for the return of the Messiah.
7. The Law of Responsibility
As in the providence of creation, the providence of re-creation can only be completed when God's portion of responsibility and the human portion of responsibility are fully combined. The human portion of responsibility means that the providential figures in history freely choose to take upon themselves the mission that is given to them and succeed in fulfilling it. This in turn means that when the providential figures fulfill their part of responsibility in completing God's will by applying their insights and their efforts, the providence for restoration reaches a new level. That, on the other hand, when they do not succeed in completing their responsibility, the providence of which they are the center ends in failure. In that case, the providence is prolonged and, after the lapse of a time period corresponding to a certain number, a new historical figure is called by God to complete a similar providence.
While the laws of creation relate to the creation of the universe and to give-and-take action, the laws of restoration are introduced to allow for fallen human beings, who have taken a position contrary to the laws of creation, to start the course of restoration by going through a process of indemnification. Accordingly, the restoration of humankind to the original state requires another set of laws, namely, the laws of restoration. These include (1) the law of indemnity; (2) the law of separation; (3) the law of restoration of the number four; (4) the law of condition-based providence; (5) the law of the false preceding the true; (6) the law of the horizontal reappearance of the vertical; and (7) the law of synchronous providence.
1. The Law of Indemnity
Human beings lost their original state and position through the fall. To recover that position, they need to fulfill a certain condition. The process of fulfilling this condition is called indemnity and the process of thus returning to the original state and position is called restoration through indemnity. Finally, the condition to be fulfilled in the course of restoration through indemnity is called a condition of indemnity. More specifically, this refers to the foundation of faith and the foundation of substance that were both lost due to the fall and need to be reestablished. To establish the foundation of faith means that the people must follow as a leader a central figure chosen by God and thus establish a certain condition during a period of indemnity based on a specific number. The foundation of substance means that the people follow that central figure chosen by God in obedience and unity. Throughout history, righteous people, saints, and sages have had to follow a path of suffering in order to establish a condition of indemnity and to restore fallen people to God's side. This is an example of the way the law of indemnity is at work in human life.
2. The Law of Separation
Separation in this context refers to the appearance of a side of goodness and a side of evil separated into clearly defined positions. All conflicts, quarrels, and wars of human history are ultimately based on a struggle between good and evil in terms of the view of value. Due to the fall, human beings, who originally were meant to relate only to God (goodness), found themselves in a midway position where they relate to two lords, God and Satan. It is not possible for God to work for his principled Providence through fallen people standing in such a non-principled position. Therefore, fallen people had to be separated between God's side (the side of goodness) and Satan's side (the side of evil), with the intent that the side of goodness would overcome the side of evil and thus restore the world to goodness. This is the meaning of the law of separation. The materialistic view of history considers the conflicts of human history in terms of class struggle, but this is by and large a fabrication destined to justify violent revolution. In reality, human history is not the history of class struggle but the history of the struggle between the sides of good and evil. Even in the case of conflicts that resemble class warfare in some respects, the fundamental nature of the struggle remains that of a fight between good and evil.
3. The Law of Restoration of the Number Four
The number four is a conditional number symbolizing the restoration of the family-level four-position foundation lost to Satan due to the fall. God's purpose of creation was to substantially realize his love through the family four-position foundation. Hence, the restoration of the number four takes on the meaning of restoring the family four-position foundation, the ultimate goal of the providence of restoration. For this, God always begins his conditional providence by establishing a time period based on the number four or a derivative of four, such as forty or four hundred. This method refers to the law of restoration of the number four. Examples include the forty days of the flood judgment at Noah's time, Moses' forty years in the wilderness, and the four hundred years of Christian persecution under the Roman Empire.
4. The Law of Condition-Based Providence
Under certain circumstances, if a central person fulfills (or fails to fulfill) the human portion of responsibility in accordance with God's will in a particular providential event, this will determine the character of a future providential period. Providential events do not occur accidentally but, to some degree, they are predetermined by various elements inherited from the past.
The way providential events unfold in a given period affects the character of subsequent historical events (i.e., present events precondition the future). This recurring providential condition is based on the law of condition-based providence.
In the Old Testament Era, the doves sent out by Noah, the Tabernacle, and the Temple were not simply meaningless items; they symbolically prefigured the future coming of the Messiah. Precisely speaking, "condition-based providence" means that, whenever the historical figures called to fulfill God's conditional providence were unable to complete their portion of responsibility, Satan was able to invade the course of the substantial Messiah based on these negative conditions.
5. The Law of the False Preceding the True
In the course of history, according to the law of the false preceding the true, what is false will appear before what is true or genuine. Human history began as an evil history when the side of evil gained supremacy over the side of goodness. Throughout the changing course of history, Satan has always tried to realize his ideal in advance of the side of Heaven. God has had to follow in his footsteps in order to restore to the heavenly side the world and the people that Satan had raised by imitating the original ideal. In sum, prior to the appearance of a true ideal world on Heaven's side, a false ideal world on Satan's side has appeared, in accordance with the law of the false preceding the true. For example, before a heavenly global nation could appear centering on Jesus, the global nation of the Roman Empire was established, centering on Julius Cesar. In the Last Days, before a unified world centered on the returning Messiah can be established, an imitation ideal world on Satan's side has to appear in the form of the communist world.
6. The Law of the Horizontal Reappearance of the Vertical
Vertical refers to the accumulation of historical events through the passage of time, and horizontal refers to the horizontal expansion of the present world. "Horizontal reappearance of the vertical" means that all providential events and figures of history reappear on the world level at the consummation of human history in order for God to complete his providence of restoration. Through this phenomenon, historical events of God's dispensation that have not been solved throughout the course of time can be successfully resolved in the Last Days. Thus, providential history can be completed by having the entirety of the providential contents restored at once. Many difficult and complicated problems appear all over the world in the Last Days because all the events accumulated vertically throughout the course of history unfold at once, horizontally, in the present world.
According to God's providence, all the unresolved providential situations of history are solved horizontally (simultaneously) centering on the returning Messiah.
7. The Law of Synchronous Providence
According to the law of synchronous providence, a certain type of providential event (including a central figure, a condition to be met, and a numerical period) can be repeated from period to period.
When a historical central figure fails to complete a portion of responsibility, the providence centered on that particular individual comes to an end. After a certain lapse of time, a different, but similar individual will be chosen and asked to restore the failure of the earlier providential period by performing a similar historical action, thus repeating the same pattern. Examples are the two thousand year period from Abraham until Jesus and the two thousand year period from Jesus until the present day, the time of the return of the Messiah. The contents, key figures, events, and time periods within these two providential eras are extremely similar. This demonstrates the synchronous character of historical periods that repeat with similar contents.
History has been undergoing changes by following two different courses: development (progress) and restoration (turning). Development refers to advances in the sciences, economics, and culture; restoration means recovering the ideal world of love and peace that was lost. These two different directions reflect the fact that history consists of a history of re-creation and a history of restoration.
In the course of historical change, the most important laws are the law of give-and-take action, the law of repulsion, the law of separation, and the law of indemnity. The law of give-and-take action is responsible for development in history; the law of repulsion, the law of separation, and the law of indemnity taken together cause changes in the direction of history. Hence, in historical change, the law of give-and-take action alone becomes the law of development, and the three other laws form the law of turning. This law is also called the "law of the struggle between good and evil."
Development itself only occurs through give-and-take action between subject and object centering on a common purpose. This excludes any presence of conflict or opposition. In communism's materialistic view of history, class struggle is seen as the source of historical development. In reality, however, contradiction and conflict block development. They, in fact, make it impossible, rather than promoting it. Conflicts that have arisen in history have not been the product of class warfare, as the materialistic dialectic would have it. They have been conflicts between good and evil coinciding with turning points in history. Turning in history occurs at a certain point of historical development. At that point, if good is victorious in the struggle over evil, history takes a turn in the direction of restoration. In this phenomenon, the law of repulsion, the law of separation, and the law of indemnity are at work simultaneously. Each time these three laws of turning have been at work in history, a conflict or a war has occurred. However, this does not absolutely have to be the case. If the leader who stands on the side of evil surrenders to the leader on the side of goodness and follows him, a peaceful change of direction is possible. The process of change in history is represented in Fig. 16.
Fig. 16: Changes in History