Unification News for December 2000

Divine Principle Volume 5. Part 3

Auguste Compte, the founder of sociology, theorized that man progressed through three stages: the theological, the metaphysical and the positivist. This doctrine of progress, adopted since the time of the French Revolution, details a cultural ascent of humanity similar the physical evolution identified by Darwin. For many, this rational approach to history parallels (though often not taking into account) religious evolution, and resurrection.

Like judgment, resurrection has been going on since the dawn of history; and like revelation, it has a progressive nature. Humanity's religious ascent is from a primitive superstition and savagery to a greater sophistication and awareness. Students of the history of religion claim that mankind slowly turned from animism to polytheism to monotheism. God could shed only as much light as man could understand and constructively employ.

Divine Principle points out that the religious evolution of humankind may be thought of as proceeding through a succession of stages comparable to a person's life. If Adam and Eve had remained true to their instructions from the Lord, they would have proceeded through the steps of formation, growth and completion to true personal maturity and a fully mature relationship with God. Similarly, the evolution of humanity's spiritual consciousness can be seen as moving through three stages.

While God no doubt began striving for humanity's resurrection immediately following Adam's fall, there is little we can point to in the events recorded in the first chapters of Genesis that would suggest that the Lord had gained a secure foothold with man. Such developments as Cain killing Abel, Noah cursing his son Ham and the construction of the tower of Babel offer us little hope.


With the arrival of Abraham, however, some foundation seems to have been established. He is the individual with whom God initiates his covenant with mankind. He is the person who the Bible depicts as faithfully offering his son Isaac on the altar; also his grandsons Esau and Jacob succeed in reversing the animosity of Cain and Abel by overcoming their enmity and accepting each other.

For Divine Principle, then, Abraham and his family constitute the starting point of universal resurrection, and the two thousand years between Abraham and Jesus comprise the formation period of humanity's return to God.

Although Abraham was an anointed man of the Lord, during his time even such chosen people were so distant from God that they normally approached Him through animal sacrifices and vegetable offerings. After some spiritual advancement had occurred, God gave the Ten Commandments through Moses. Later the Hebrew prophets arose and elevated the spiritual life of the Israelites by teaching additional ethical and spiritual aspects of God's nature and the religious life.

In general, however, individuals who lived during this time could do their part in returning to God by faithfully obeying the Mosaic law, which we may think of as the initial stage of the revelation of God's Word. Overall, we may think of this period as a time when man's relationship to God was governed by law.


On the basis of this formative stage of resurrection, God sent Jesus of Nazareth with the mission to raise humankind's spiritual status to virtual completion. However, because of the failure of the people of his time to accept Jesus, such noble aim was not achieved. Rather the period from his death to the present became simply a second major stage in human religious evolution.

Whereas the Old Testament Word was the initial guideline for the Hebrews' approach to Yahweh, the New Testament fulfilled this role during the years following Jesus' death. We may thus think of the New Testament as the growth stage of the revelation of God's Word, and the New Testament Age in general as the time of justification by faith in the New Testament Word.

In accordance with this pattern, we may readily anticipate the next step. The Second Advent is to be fulfilled on the foundation of the previous stages. In our day the mission of the Messiah is to bring the Completed Testament, which is to fulfill the promises of the Old and New Testaments and complete the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth.

Men and women of this time can be resurrected to the completion stage by accepting and embodying the new expression of the Word and by accepting and supporting God's new Messiah. Therefore, while the previous age was the age of justification by faith, the Completed Testament age is a period of justification by service to the new Lord.

Divine Principle teaches that an individual attains completion when through the messiah he rids himself of the original sin and enters into full relationship of love with God. Completion does not mean that spiritual growth stops. On the contrary, it continues forever. Whereas the Apostle Paul portrayed the early Christians as "groaning inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons" (Rom. 8:23), in the final stage of resurrection men and women are to evolve from the position of being true sons and daughters of God. We may thus hope that the great promise of the writer of the Book of Revelation will ultimately be fulfilled:

Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be with them (Rev. 21:3)

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