by Young Oon Kim
The Reality And Nature Of God
Unification theology asserts that God has both masculine and feminine qualities based on the universal fact of polarity and the Biblical record (Gen. 1:27). This belief makes Divine Principle very different from most conventional interpretations of the Christian faith. Unification theology starts with the fact of polarity as the main clue for understanding the essential nature of God. Hence it is not primarily interested in defending the trinitarian doctrine of the fourth century creeds. Nor does it resemble ordinary liberal Protestantism which merely affirms the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man and the leadership of Jesus.
In the nineteentmoderntury, belief in the Father-Mother God aroused a great amount of criticism. When Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers, and Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, taught that God has both masculine and feminine qualities, they were often dtury, belief in the Father-Mother God aroused a great amount of criticism. When Ann Lee, the founder of the Shakers, and Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, taught that God has both masculine and feminine qualities, they were often dmodernced as heretics. However, since the birth of the women's liberation movement, the intellectual climate has greatly changed. Many people now recognize the restrictive nature of an exclusively male concept of the deity. As theologian Mary Daly insists, ced as heretics. However, since the birth of the women's liberation movement, the intellectual climate has greatly changed. Many people now recognize the restrictive nature of an exclusively male concept of the deity. As theologian Mary Daly insists, modern theism must go Beyond God the Father. Possibly the contemporary emphasis upon the unique values of "the feminine mystique"' will help us to appreciate polarity in the Godhead.
But what evidence is there for this idea? What grounds are there for abandoning the traditional Christian view that God is masculine
Betty Friedan's book by that title has become one of the classics of modern feminism. or the fairly common notion today that God transcends masculinity and femininity. 2
How can one know God? He reveals Himself in two ways: through nature as a whole and through man. Some of the great world religions are faiths based upon an awareness and appreciation of nature. Hinduism, for example, is built upon reverence for all life derived from the beauty, orderliness and majesty of the world. Other faiths, like Judaism and Christianity, can be called man-centered rather than world-centered religions. For Christians and Jews, God reveals Himself when we study ourselves. Know yourself and you will know God. Man is made in the image of God, so if we contemplate the wonder of human existence we can recognize the reality and nature of God.
Mankind exhibits a fundamental law of polarity. Let me give several examples:
1) A human being is a product of his heredity and environment.
2) As soon as we become aware of ourselves we also become aware of the universe outside.
3) Each individual recognizes that he consists of an outer physical form as well as an inner personality. As Divine Principle puts it, we have an external form and an inner character. 3
4) Then when a person examines his real self he sees that he possesses a mind and powerful emotions.
5) Finally there is the obvious difference between being a man or a woman.
What do these basic dualities have in common? They all illustrate the fundamental law of polarity. Man must be defined in terms of his relationships. We exist in relatedness. Human nature consists of paired relationships. We exist and act because of a process of reciprocity which takes place between our outer form and inner character, our body and personality, our rational and affective faculties. These dual characteristics of man's nature should therefore reveal something about the reality and character of God.
Modern Protestantism has gradually recognized that a dynamic view of man will produce a dynamic doctrine of God. During the last part of the nineteenth century Albrecht Ritschl insisted that theology should focus its attention on God's relationship with man. He pointed out that the customary metaphysical definitions of God are far too abstract and lifeless. In his opinion, the moral attributes of God are more important than the ontological ones. 4 Following Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Ritschl asserted that because of the intrinsic limitations of our rational faculty, God's essential nature lies beyond man's comprehension. We may never know what God is like in Himself. All we can grasp is His relationship with ourselves. But for Ritschl these are the most important divine attributes anyway.
Why is this true? Bemodern the metaphysical definitions of the Godhead tend to separate Him from us, whereas the moral attributes bring us closer to Him. Karl Barth in his Dogmatics realized this when he treated first "the perfections of the divine loving," before consi the metaphysical definitions of the Godhead tend to separate Him from us, whereas the moral attributes bring us closer to Him. Karl Barth in his Dogmatics realized this when he treated first "the perfections of the divine loving," before consimoderng "the perfections of the divine freedom." 5 According to Barth, the six attributes of God's loving nature are His grace and holiness, mercy and righteousness, patience and wisdom. Notice how all of these divine perfections are directly relg "the perfections of the divine freedom." 5 According to Barth, the six attributes of God's loving nature are His grace and holiness, mercy and righteousness, patience and wisdom. Notice how all of these divine perfections are directly relmodernto man, his problems and his aspirations. Now look at the attributes of God's perfect freedom which are also six in number: the divine unity and omnipresence, His constancy and omnipotence, His eternity and glory. All of these qualities stress God's mto man, his problems and his aspirations. Now look at the attributes of God's perfect freedom which are also six in number: the divine unity and omnipresence, His constancy and omnipotence, His eternity and glory. All of these qualities stress God's mmodernysical uniqueness. By emphasizing how different God is from man, they make Him more distant, more unapproachable. In our age when faith in God is so difficult for large numbers of people, we do not need to stress how far above and beyond God is. What ysical uniqueness. By emphasizing how different God is from man, they make Him more distant, more unapproachable. In our age when faith in God is so difficult for large numbers of people, we do not need to stress how far above and beyond God is. What modern men long for are signs of His nearness. This may also help to explain why Divine Principle teaches that the fact of polarity in man points to the existence of polarity in God. By showing how human nature reveals the mode of God's existence, He becomes closer to us.
Since human nature comes in two complementary forms, one should ask if the relationship between masculinity and femininity can help to explain the nature of God. Barth thought so. He insisted that the traditional doctrine of the imago dei did not refer to something man has that makes him like God. The divine image does not refer to the fact that we resemble God because we possess reason or free will, as earlier theologians maintained. When the Bible says God created male and female in the likeness of God, this indicates that our resemblance to God is seen in our loving relationships to one another. We are created male or female as a sign of our need to fulfill ourselves through love. Hence, we bear God's image because we realize our nature, as He fulfills His, in the experience of harmony, unity and love. 6
Like Barth, Unification thought teaches that the imago dei text in Scripture has to do with the fundamental relationship between men and women. But according to Divine Principle the Adam and Eve story shows that their creation as a pair actually represents the external and objective manifestation of the polarity of God. Adam alone did not and could not be the complete divine image. Eve was needed to reflect God's total likeness. Thus, God must exist in polarity. That is, He must possess within Himself the dual characteristics of masculinity and femininity which are perfectly expressed and fully harmonized in His nature.
The doctrine of divine polarity taught by Unification theology should be seen not as an eccentric novelty but rather as a reaffirmation of a valid theological insight. In ancient times and cultures, devout men recognized the existence of masculine and feminine aspects of the Godhead. This was clearly true in the Chinese and Indian philosophical and religious traditions. From the earliest period, as seen in the Confucian classic I Ching, the world was interpreted as an expression of the Great Ultimate manifested through the complementary dualities of the masculine (yang) and feminine (yin). Yin-yang philosophy was the presupposition of both Confucianism and Taoism in spite of their disagreements over other matters. According to Chinese sages, yin refers to the earth, woman, receptivity and the beautiful aspects of life, whereas yang symbolizes heaven, masculinity and the active virtues like bravery and justice.
One should be careful not to misinterpret yin-yang doctrine. It is not dualistic in any rigid sense. The yang and yin are different but in no way antithetical. Originating from a common supreme source, masculinity and femininity are dipolar in nature and are designed to complement each other. Nor is one necessarily superior to the other in value. Hardness and softness are equally desirable. Wetness and dryness possess similar merit, depending upon the circumstances. So it is with masculinity and femininity or activity and receptiveness. The male is different from the female, but each has its proper function which is not to be confused with the relationship between the primary and secondary or the superior and inferior. 7
Archeologists have uncovered numerous statuettes dating back to 3000 B.modernproving that ancient Indians worshipped the great Mother Goddess. Hindus express divine polarity in two forms: the holy marriage of Siva and Sakti and the romantic union of Lord Krishna and the cowgirl Radha. Let us concentrate on the latter, as seen proving that ancient Indians worshipped the great Mother Goddess. Hindus express divine polarity in two forms: the holy marriage of Siva and Sakti and the romantic union of Lord Krishna and the cowgirl Radha. Let us concentrate on the latter, as seen moderne theology of the Brahmavaivarta Purana, a sacred text from the 15th century A. D. The lovely Radha, consort of Lord Krishna, is praised as the Mother of the worlds, the supreme Goddess, full of grace. Krishna and Radha embrace eternally, becoming thee theology of the Brahmavaivarta Purana, a sacred text from the 15th century A. D. The lovely Radha, consort of Lord Krishna, is praised as the Mother of the worlds, the supreme Goddess, full of grace. Krishna and Radha embrace eternally, becoming themodernnts of all mankind. As divine mother, Radha protects her children. She embodies total love and devotion to her mate as well as provides a boat for crossing the ocean of this life because of her unceasing compassion for all her earthly offspring. 8 In nts of all mankind. As divine mother, Radha protects her children. She embodies total love and devotion to her mate as well as provides a boat for crossing the ocean of this life because of her unceasing compassion for all her earthly offspring. 8 In modern times this Mother Goddess (under the name Kali) inspired the exalted mysticism of the well-known Sri Ramakrishna. 9
By comparison with the strong Chinese and Indian traditions concerning divine polarity, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept of God has in most cases been exclusively masculine. As feminist theologians like Mary Daly have complained, the Biblical image is that of a heavenly patriarch who rules His people according to His mysterious and seemingly arbitrary will. Such a notion supports and legitimates an oppressive, male-dominated social order, making it almost impossible for women to exercise their rights and realize their unique worth. If God is male, then the male is God, she concludes bluntly. 10
As a result of the feminist liberation movement, theologians have begun to reinterpret the Semitic religions. Raphael Patai's study of The Hebrew Goddess represents a landmark in the reassessment of the Judaic tradition. 11 Were the Hebrews unaware of or hostile to a masculine-feminine concept of divinity? Not at all, says Patai. Repeatedly Jews recognized the feminine aspect of the Godhead. During most of the monarchial period, Israelites seem to have worshipped both Yahweh and His consort who was called Asherah or Astarte, the queen of heaven. With equal fervor and devotion they invoked the blessings of the Earth Mother and their warrior ruler Lord of hosts. In Philo of Alexandria the polarity of God was interpreted in terms of the masculine attributes of Elohim and the feminine attributes of Yahweh. Then in later mystical Judaism great importance was attached to the love of Yahweh for His beloved partner, the Shekhinah. 12
As for Christianity, in the late Middle Ages, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (b. 1401) reaffirmed a bipolar concept of the Godhead. He defined God as the "coincidence of opposites." The very large and very small, the very far and very near, the transcendent and immanent are not contradictory but are unified in the nature of God. This notion was adopted by the late eighteenth century German Romantics and is particularly important in the theology of Schleiermacher. 13 He described God in terms of a polar relationship between His absolute inwardness and His absolute vitality. When Christians mention the divine attributes of eternality and omnipresence they are pointing to God's unrestricted inwardness; and when they refer to His omnipotence and omniscience they are talking about God's inexhaustible vitality. In the Christian doctrine of the Creator, the inexhaustible vitality of God is stressed. In the description of God as love we emphasize His nearness, His inner presence and manifestation in all things. 14 This resembles Unification theology's interpretation of the relationship between the heart of God (His absolute inwardness) and His universal prime energy (God's absolute vitality).
An older contemporary of Schleiermacher, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) described divine polarity even more concretely in three ways. First, he taught that the nature of God consists of the dual essentialities of divine wisdom and divine love. Divine wisdom reflects the masculine aspect of God's nature and divine love God's feminine quality. Divine love and divine wisdom exist in a reciprocal relationship within ourselves. Furthermore, every individual possesses both masculine and feminine qualities as part of his personality. Secondly, there is in God and throughout His creation a polarity between His external form and internal essence which corresponds to what Divine Principle calls hyung-sang and sung-sang. God manifests His nature externally in the whole universe but most particularly in man. Thirdly, Swedenborg recognized the basic correspondence which exists between the world of spiritual reality and our earthly existence. Man is the image of God's wisdom and woman is a representation of His love. Hence the fundamental polarity of husband and wife in a happy marriage manifests the highest expression of God's total nature. Marriage then, for Swedenborg, should last for all eternity because the joyous union of a man and woman fulfills the ultimate purpose of creation. Men and women are inclined for "conjunction into one" as part of God's plan. Man was created by God to understand truth, whereas woman was created to be an affection of good. Therefore, a truly spiritual marriage refers to the masculine understanding of truth united with feminine goodness. True marriage is holy since it symbolizes the conjugal bliss derived from the male wisdom of love and the female love of wisdom. According to Swedenborg, spiritual marriage originates from God, fills humans with heavenly love and makes the wedded couple in the image of the Lord. 15
Modern psychiatry has also stressed the importance of masculine-feminine polarity, especially in the writings of C. G. Jung. 16 Through clinical experience, Jung discovered that the human psyche consists of several basic polarities. We all experience a certain bipolar tension between our reason and instincts, our consciousness and subconsciousness, our loves and hates. Most important is the masculine-feminine polarity. This is to be found in every individual. Each man has a little of the feminine in his psyche which Jung called the "anima" and each woman has an element of masculinity in her nature, the "animus." To be healthy one must recognize and accept these psychic polarities, for if we do so they become the source for creative energy and enable us to grow into wholesomeness. We mature through the struggle to harmonize these contrasting tendencies within our individual natures.
Besides recognizing the existence of psychic polarities, Jung was particularly concerned with the distinctive value of the feminine aspects. Western man has become unbalanced, troubled and neurotic simply because the West has denied, degraded or tried to ignore the feminine elements in human nature. Men are too rational, too domineering, too analytical these days because they have refused to accept the valuable feminine side of their personalities. Women can teach men the importance of warm relationships, deep feelings and mystical realities far transcending ordinary logic. Mankind needs to appreciate both Eros and Logos, Jung said.
He also felt that we should radically revise our concept of God to find a place in it for the ultimate value of the feminine. As he put it, the all-male Trinity must be expanded to include God's femininity. On the whole, however, Jung's thought made no major impact on Christian theology while he was alive.
Nevertheless, Ann Belford Ulanov of Union Seminary has continued Jung's work, especially in her book entitled The Feminine in Jungian Psychology and in Christian Theology (1971). She contends that Jung's understanding of the bipolar nature of the personality has important implications for the Christian doctrines of God, Christ, the Spirit and salvation. If we neglect the feminine or think of it as merely second-best, we are not accepting the full expression of one's individuality. When we accept only a partial expression of our personality, how can we surrender ourselves totally to God? When Protestants suppressed the feminine aspect of Christian symbolism during the Reformation by attacking the cult of the Virgin Mary, they denied the feminine aspect of the Godhead. As a result, head ego has come to dominate over heart ego. Until we somehow recover respect for the feminine as well as masculine elements in the divine nature, our social order will remain dangerously out of balance and our individual lives will be threatened by psychic maladjustments, Ulanov warns. 17
Ulanov's work is also important because she deliberately seeks to relate Jung's views to the central stream of Christian thought. Although he was the son of a Swiss Protestant pastor, Jung concerned himself with peripheral aspects of the Judeo-Christian tradition-Gnosticism, Kabbalistic mysticism, medieval alchemy. By highlighting the confirmation of his analytical depth psychology with these illustrations, Jung unfortunately alienated himself from the established churches. Ulanov corrects this. For her, supportive material for Jung's concepts are found within more widely-accepted Christian theological patterns. Thus, she corroborates the truth of Jungian analysis by referring to Barth," Tillich, 19 Father E . X. Arnold 20 as well as the Russian Orthodox philosophers of religion, Solovyev 21 and Berdyaev. 22
Because God exists in polarity, God is by nature loving. As the New Testament insists, God is agape. On the human level love is always a dynamic relationship between two persons. Love implies a vital and fruitful interaction between a subject and an object. Love is the experience of creative union between a husband and wife leading to the birth of children. Nevertheless, we still have to show how these definitions of human love apply to divine love.
If God is love, He must have a beloved. Some think that because God is infinite, eternal and perfect existence, He has no need of anything. He already is absolute bliss, so nothing could increase His total happiness. If we say that God is love, all we mean is that He would be content to love Himself forever, it is claimed. God finds happiness by imagining Himself as the beloved whom He imagines that He loves. Certain interpretations of the Trinity resemble this argument. God is love. The lover part is called God the Father. The divine object of the Father's love is that aspect of the Godhead called the Son. Since the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, their process of divine loving is the Holy Spirit. However, there is a serious flaw in this interpretation. As there is only one God, then God is merely loving Himself; and an egocentric love is unsatisfying even on the human level.
Because God is love, He created man, Divine Principle asserts. 23 With man God planned to have an I-Thou relationship, as Martin Buber would say. Hence, God projected His whole nature into His human creation. He produced men and women to manifest His invisible self in the form of a visible and tangible image. Love cannot be reciprocated unless there is both a subject and object, a lover and a beloved. Therefore man was created to be God's partner. God wanted to direct His infinite love toward mankind and to receive their full response. So by studying the implications of divine polarity, we have come to see the need for creation. Our universe was created in order for God to experience ultimate joy by loving give and take with man.
So far we have assumed that love on the human level and love on the divine level are similar. But is this true? Bishop Anders Nygren sharply contrasts these two kinds of love in his book Agape and Eros. 24 Eros is human love based on desire and has nothing in common with God's love, agape. Eros represents man's efforts to reach up to God, whereas agape is God's reaching down to man. Eros aspires to unite with something higher. Agape, on the contrary, refers to an undeserved gift of sheer grace from the all-perfect God to utterly sinful man.
Notice that Nygren's definition of agape is not quite a description of love as we experience it. What Nygren talks about is not love but charity. For instance, an enormously rich man tosses a few coins to a beggar. He who has everything graciously gives to someone who has nothing. The rich man does not owe the beggar anything. Perhaps he has never even seen him before. So the gift of agape, according to Nygren, is an act of disinterested graciousness.
However, the rich man and the beggar are in no way connected by ties of love. Nygren ignores the fundamental fact of divine polarity. Hence, this illustration misses the point. Love produces a higher experience of joy than carrying out an act of pure charity. Charity may only imply a one-way relationship from the donor to the recipient.
From the standpoint of polarity, what does loving mean? Love depends upon a process of giving and receiving. Love has to be a two-way relationship. It can never be complete unless it is reciprocated. Thus, if God loves mankind, then God must benefit as much from the relationship as we do. God created man to feel the supreme joy of companionship. God longs for the ultimate satisfaction of being accepted as a partner. Therefore He wants to be loved as well as to give love.
Neo-orthodox theology ignored the law of polarity which is implicit in the doctrine of God's love. Emil Brunner shows this defect when he insists upon a one-way relationship between the Creator and His creation. God minus the world is still God, but the world minus God equals nothing, Brunner declared. What this means is that the creation is totally dependent upon God, but that God gets nothing extra from the fact of His character of loving.
Unlike neo-orthodoxy, Unification thought explains the purpose of creation in terms of God's intrinsic need to express His loving nature and His desire to feel the ultimate joy of being the recipient of lasting affection. Because God is all-loving by nature, He longs for the companionship of a sympathetic and loyal partner. As a husband and wife achieve the maximum joy through lasting give and take of their loving companionship, the deepest purpose of God is to be able to love another fully and to enjoy the supreme delight of being loved completely in return. Since God is love, then the joy of loving and being loved was the primary purpose of creation.
Recent process thought holds a very similar concept of God. Unification thought talks about the vital interaction between God's sung-sang (essential inner character and will) and His hyung-sang (external form manifested through creative energy) which brings about creation and works in history. Whiteheadians speak of the polarity of God's primordial and consequent natures. His primordial nature is the structure of all possibilities: eternal, perfect and impassible. His consequent nature acts and reacts in time and process on the world, moves creatively in relation to the world and is affected by the results of the world's experiences. God operates in history in a dynamic, acting-reacting manner.
An equally important purpose of creation was for God to be able to express Himself in a physical way. Divine Principle expounds a very sacramental theology: man was designed to serve as a vessel of God's love and a temple of His presence, as the New Testament records. 25 In other words, God who is infinite spirit created finite humans in His image as a way for Him to become incarnate. As the prologue to the Johannine Gospel states, the Word of God was destined from the beginning to become flesh. Why did God seek to be incarnate? He wanted to participate fully in human life, to feel the full range of our experiences. God sought to experience for Himself what it means to live at the physical level. Thus, we could say that God created man to be His body.
Is such a view totally unlike older Christian theologies? Not really. Let me point out two somewhat similar notions from the history of doctrine. First, the Greek Fathers worked out a deeply incarnational 26 theology. Man's goal, they taught, was to achieve deification (theosis).
God wants us to be like Himself. Hence, Christ came to enable us to be an incarnation of God. Unlike the Latin Fathers who claimed that God became man to atone for the sins of the world, the Eastern Orthodox theologians recognized that God's primary purpose in creation was for men to be visible, tangible manifestations of the divine nature.
In the second place, while many medieval theologians taught that the incarnation only became necessary as a remedy for man's sinful condition because of the Fall, several Franciscan theologians 27 asserted that the incarnation was part of God's original plan for creation. That is, from the beginning God intended to become incarnate in man.
According to Unification theology, Adam and Eve were supposed to become the first embodiments of God's spirit. The perfected Adam and Eve, as the true parents of mankind, would serve as prophet, high priest and king of the human family: prophet because they would instruct men about God, high priest because they would serve as God's mediator, and ruler because they would be the representative of divine authority, fulfilling the threefold office of Christ as Calvin and Brunner interpret it. If God's plan had worked out as intended, starting with the primal couple, all subsequent men and women would have served as vehicles for God's continuing incarnation. Consequently, the goal for mankind is to become a visible manifestation of God and therefore the proper lord of all creation.
In this manner Divine Principle asserts that God exists in a polarity of internal character and external form. His internal character or spirit is eternally hidden from sight even though His presence and power can be perceived. However, His external form can only be' fully manifested when men and women become incarnations of the divine image. Previously, while His hyung-sang was expressed in the operation of mere divine energy, God's power was greatly restricted; whereas after His incarnation, God's omnipotence will be fully actualized according to the law of His love.
Perhaps some would wonder if such an incarnational doctrine might not rob God of His dignity. Must not Christians always recognize the radical transcendence and uniqueness of God? But to believe that theosis is man's ultimate goal does not really deprive God of His authority and power or erase the distinction between the creature and Creator. God in no way is diminished when He extends His presence by being incarnate in man. Quite the opposite, for He expands the range of His operations by participating in all the joys and sorrows of His children. While remaining unique as the Creator, God wants to share in every way the life of His sons and daughters so that in them He lives and moves and has His being. As Revelation reports, when the kingdom comes, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God" (21:3).
How can this ideal communion of God and man come about? Let us examine the Biblical plan of creation for clues. According to the Genesis account, God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, intending them to grow in fellowship with Him and one another. If they had realized the purpose of creation, they would have united in a marriage centered on God and become the true parents of a happy, harmonious human family. Adam and Eve with their offspring could have provided God with a foothold on earth by which He would exercise His full sovereignty over the world. Thus, Adam and Eve were supposed to serve as the foundation for the kind of God-centered family which would expand into a clan, tribe, nation and global community. If the Fall had not occurred, the whole earth would have remained the Garden of Eden in which joy, harmony and righteousness prevail. It was that type of society which Jesus called the kingdom of God, a realization of divine sovereignty on earth.
Let us now look at another aspect of the Divine nature. In the Old Testament, Judaism emphasized the importance of an individual's ties to his family and his nation. No one, the Jews insist, comes into God's presence alone. When you find yourself with God, you discover that you are always with other people. Hence, God is never a private God. When He is your heavenly Father, He is always "Our Father" at the same time. In other words, man lives in togetherness with others. No one is supposed to exist in isolation. Ultimately, God is not really interested in us as individuals. He is primarily interested in us as part of a larger community. As persons we constitute a unique network of relationships. We discover God in and through those relationships. In relating to one another on the most personal level we also encounter God. We should never think, I am what I am. Actually, I am because of you. All that I am is determined by what others are. We have our being in community.
Nevertheless, Unification theology goes far beyond a religion based upon social solidarity. Even though God is always our universal Father, it is possible to have a very private relationship with Him. A theology of polarity makes love central. Reinhold Niebuhr insisted that love is and has to be limited to direct person-to-person contacts. We simply cannot relate to a whole group with the closeness experienced toward specific individuals. 28 So our fellowship with God can be and should be based upon heart-to-heart contacts. That is why our likeness to God has been compared to the oneness of a husband and wife.
Look at this problem from another angle. When we first define the nature of God we usually describe Him as the Creator. He is God because He is the maker of heaven and earth. Or to quote Divine Principle, God is the universal prime energy. For this reason Tillich defines God as "the ground of being." He is the creative source of everything which exists. According to Unification theology, God is more than simply the perpetual, self-generating energy which brings the whole creation into existence and is responsible for its maintenance.
Unification theology specifically reaffirms the very personal nature of God. When seen from the inside, our universe reveals the existence of a God of heart. God is not just "a Power that makes for righteousness," 29 Not simply "the unmoved Mover" of Aristotle's metaphysics. Not omnipotent Will. Not cosmic orderliness and natural law. Even if all of these terms tell us something about God, they do not point out His most important characteristic: the divine heart.
In our time, many religious people find it difficult to accept the idea that God is personal. Isn't that too anthropomorphic? they ask. Because we are persons we try to remake the whole vast universe in a human image. Surely the nature of the cosmic process is as far superior to men's understanding of it as an elephant's view is different from that of an ant. What right then do we have to measure the universe by our petty human standards?
Suppose we grant that God's nature is far more exalted than our own. We still have to measure Him by the highest we know. When we describe God as a person, we are admitting that He is like the best we can imagine. 30 By contrast, those who deny the personality of God often tend to explain His nature in less than human terms: as an impersonal cosmic force, for example.
Once we decide to ascribe to God qualities like our own, we face another problem. What human characteristics are the best? Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, man's nobility has been defined in terms of his reason. Reason makes us akin to the gods, it was said. But this is a highly intellectualist definition of the self. Isn't there something greater about man than his ability to think?
Divine Principle claims that the heart is more fundamental than the mind. It is not so much what we think but how we feel that makes a man truly human. We are praised or judged by the depth and range of our emotions rather than how much we know. For this reason, the New Testament puts love at the top of the list of virtues, even higher up than faith.
Of the great modern Protestant theologians, Schleien-nacher stressed the religion of heart. For him faith is not doctrine as the Lutheran scholastics claimed, nor is it simply ethics as Kant maintained. Faith is a warm living relationship between man and God. Religion is the intuition and feeling of absolute dependence, the experience of God-consciousness and becoming one with the infinite in the midst of the finite. 31
If the heart symbolizes the inner core of human personality, then God should be thought of in similar terms. Above all else, He is a God of heart. What does this mean? It means that our understanding of God must be based on an appreciation of human feelings. God feels at least as deeply as we feel. He is at least as sensitive to what goes on in the world as we are. If He is a God of heart, then He experiences the whole range of emotions from loneliness and intense grief to wonderful joy. If He is forgiving, He is also wounded by pain. God can love and express righteous indignation. Consequently, because God is a God of heart, He must be profoundly affected by everything which takes place in His creation.
This explains why Unification thought, like process theology, refuses to define God as simply almighty and all-knowing. 32 The conventional meanings of these attributes ignore the fact of polarity. God is not omnipotent. His power is far greater than man's but it is limited by His own nature and His cosmic laws. God is not free to violate His essential relatedness because that is part of His very being. Also, man was created in such a way that he can restrict God's purpose. Our responsiveness can determine the effectiveness of God's acts in history. As Jesus showed, if a man does not have faith even God cannot heal his sickness. Man's response to the divine initiative can either frustrate or bring to fruition the intent of God. God's will can be hindered for a time when we do not act responsibly. However, we can be certain that God will ultimately triumph. His method of persuasion will eventually win men over to His side so that the purpose of creation will be realized.
Nor is God completely all-knowing. His omniscience, like His omnipotence, has to be qualified by man's free will. God does not know everything that will happen because even though He wills some result it cannot take place if we do not cooperate. Yet God is omniscient in one very important respect. He knows all possibilities. Nothing we may do ever surprises Him. 33
Most of the world's great faiths have given some recognition to the heart of God. One can find it expressed in Hasidic Judaism, Sufi Islam, bhakti Hinduism and some forms of Mahayana Buddhism. At the same tmodernreligions have often opposed belief in the God of heart in the name of reason or the divine transcendence. Therefore by highlighting the centrality of heart in our understanding of God and man, Divine Principle makes a profound contribution to religions have often opposed belief in the God of heart in the name of reason or the divine transcendence. Therefore by highlighting the centrality of heart in our understanding of God and man, Divine Principle makes a profound contribution to modern theology.
2 Cf. R. Kress, "God the Mother:' Whither Mankind (1975), pp. 265-289.
3 Divine Principle (1973), pp. 21-22.
4 D. L. Mueller, An Introduction to the Theology of Ritschl (1969), pp. 38-40.
5 K. Barth, Church Dogmatics (1957), 11/1/pp. 322ff. 6Ibid. III/l/p. 196.
7 W. M . de Bary et al, Sources of Chinese Tradition (1960), pp. 96-99.
8 Cf. C.M. Brown, God as Mother (1974).
9 Cf. C. Isherwood, Ramakrishna and His Disciples (1965). Kali (also called Sakti) is the divine consort of god Siva.
10 M. Daly, Beyond God the Father (1973), pp. 13, 19.
11 R. Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (1967). Cf. also G. Scholern, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism (1965), pp. 104-109.
12 Shekhinah-literally, "face of God:' something like the Holy Spirit. Hosea taught that God was like a lover seeking His beloved. Mystical Jews later taught that the divine spirit which was close to Israel was like God's bride who went with Israel into captivity. God therefore longs to be reunited with His beloved.
13 R.R. Williams, Schleiermacher the Theologian (1978).
14 Ibid., pp. 87-98. During the neo-orthodox period, Schleiermacher was often attacked as the worst modern foe of Biblical theology. A positive reassessment of his work has since become rather widespread. For example, Williams criticizes the Barthian treatment of Schleiermacher as one-sided, sloppy, fragmentary and irresponsible.
15 Cf. E. Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom and Conjugal Love, also C.O. Sigstedt, The Swedenborg Epic (1952), pp. 354-359.
16 V. S. deLaszlo, Basic Writings of C. G. Jung (1959), pp. 158-182, 469-544; cf. also Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul; Psychology and Religion; The Answer to Job; Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
17 Cf. Ulanov, The Feminine (1971), pp. 289-334.
18 K. Barth, Church Dogmatics, III, Pt. 4, pp. 118-122.
19 P. Tillich, Systematic Theology (1963), vol. 3, p. 293.
20 E. X. Arnold, Woman and Man (1963), pp. 18-19.
21 V. Solovyev, The Meaning of Love (1945).
22 N. Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man (1960), pp. 61-67, 187-195, 232-242.
23 Divine Principle (1973), pp. 41-46.
24 A. Nygren, Agape and Eros (1953).
25 Corinthians 6:19.
26 Lossky, Orthodox Theology (1978), pp. 136-137.
27 E.g. Alexander of Hales, Duns Scotus.
28 Niebuhr, An Interpretation of Christian Ethics (1956), pp. 97-123.
29 A phrase from Matthew Arnold, the nineteenth century liberal Anglican essayist.
30 R. A. Bertocci, The Person God Is (1970), pp. 17-37.
31 M. Redeker, Schleiermacher: Life and Thought (1973), pp. 36-48.
32 E. H. Cousins, ed., Process Theology (1971).
33 C. Hartshorne, Logic of Perfection (1962), pp. 133-147
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