Unification Sermons and Talks
by the Reverends Eby
January 17, 1999
As I understand it, Unificationism has two notions of sin: (1) Sin as misbehavior (in any of the ways you want to understand misbehavior, including failure to love, etc.); (2) Sin as distorted blood lineage. (Personally, I think the blood lineage language is a bit misleading -- I prefer the term "ontological change.")
As I understand it, Unification Doctrine on sin and salvation falls apart without the existence of a literal Adam and Eve and a literal fall. In that fall, according to Unification doctrine, Eve and then Adam died, so to speak, as daughter and son of God and were reborn, so to speak, as daughter and son of Satan. This is what Unificationist Doctrine means by "change of blood lineage."
The central fact about the Messiah, according to Unificationist Doctrine, is that he is of the blood lineage of God. This is crucially important. The central fact about the Messiah according to Unificationist Doctrine is not that he does good deeds or teaches good things -- although, in fact, he does those things and indeed may need to do so -- but he is the son of God in the sense that he is of the divine blood lineage. (This is what it means to be born without original sin.)
Since the messiah has this quality, he has the ability to pass it on to his descendants, and to other people who are engrafted into his lineage. (That's the central meaning of the Unification Church blessing.)
Thus, if sin is understood as being of a blood lineage other than that of God, then the messiah cannot have sin; otherwise he would not be qualified to be the messiah.
But if sin is understood as misbehavior, in any sense of misbehavior other than what would destroy the divine blood lineage, then the messiah can sin without destroying his messianic status.
Not, the difficult part is that Sun Myung Moon sometimes says things that support what I've just said and sometimes says otherwise. He sometimes seems to emphasize that his role is to eliminate sin as misbehavior. Other times he's clear that the central problem he has to solve is to change the blood lineage of fallen people into the divine blood lineage. (I'm leaving out a lot -- the messianic mission is actually the mission for a couple -- a man and woman, because re-birth requires the ministration of both the male and the female. Thus, the messiah, who comes as a male, has first to restore a bride before he can change the blood lineage of anyone else.)
Also, there does need to be some relationship between sin in the sense of defiled blood lineage and sin in the sense of misbehavior. This relationship is ill-explained in Unificationist Doctrine, I think. If I understand Unificationist Doctrine correctly, it wants to say -- or, better, needs to say, in order to be logically and theologically consistent -- that sin as misbehavior came about, ultimately, because of sin as defiled blood lineage. From that it would seem to follow that sin as misbehavior can be eliminated, ultimately, once sin as defiled blood lineage is done away with.
If Unificationist Doctrine is true, then the Blessing as change of blood lineage (however trivially done it seems at the time, and however much the participants may even be unaware of what has transpired), is the key to solving the problem of sin (in both senses of that term).
So to summarize: Can the messiah be sinful? Depends on what you mean by sinful. He can be sinful in the sense of moral and ethical misbehavior. But he cannot be sinful in the sense of being of Satan's -- as opposed to God's -- blood lineage.
Sun Myung Moon's pronouncements on the messiah and messianic behavior are confusing too. He has said -- frequently -- that everyone should be the messiah. He no doubt means it, but he doesn't mean that everyone can do what he is alleged to do/have done. Clearly, he thinks that only he has the divine blood lineage, so everyone must eventually become reborn through him, thereby leaving the satanic blood lineage. But messiahhood understood as dealing with sin as misbehavior is something anyone can do -- or at least do to some extent, and he thinks that everyone should do that. He also thinks that everyone ought to be of the divine blood lineage, and in that sense too everyone should be the messiah.
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents