Unification News for January 1995
On the Virgin Birth
Jesus' conception came through what we call the virgin birth. Evidence of a literal virgin birth is scanty in the New Testament; the account is a product of the early church. But whatever the literal or figurative nature of the virgin birth, the significance is the same: Jesus' birth was completely different from usual births. Jesus, as the Messiah, could not be born by usual means, even to very excellent people of pure faith. There had to be an intervention from beyond this world, and the only terms by which we can depict this is as something extraordinary, inexplicable, and beyond the reach of all fallen men: a virgin birth.
The proclamation of the virgin birth, whether literal or figurative, is a revolutionary declaration by Christianity that something is radically wrong with our conception of children, and thus that the Messiah could not be born through normal means. Christians know this in their hearts, but they have never known what to do about it.
The procreative act of the parents was the decisive act in the conception of Jesus, as it is with all children. What is wrong with the conceiving of children in the world? Is there something wrong with the physical means? No; the creation of life in the womb is the most miraculous of nature's creative events. This is not a prison planet; the flesh body is not a material shroud, as various dualistic philosophies believe. The problem is with the spiritual dimension.
One aspect of this is the parents' motivation, the mixed, impure motives brought to the conjugal bed by the partners in love. Joy, commitment and stimulation notwithstanding, seduction, manipulation, lust, irresponsibility, guilt and shame are common features of this act. These emotions are passed onto the child which is conceived.
There is a larger problem as well, which renders it impossible even for the most excellent of married couples to avoid this problem, and that is the spiritual realm of love in this fallen world. The love practiced in this world is not divine true love but is Satan's false love. That is, Satan has a claim over our love; hence he has a claim over us (since we are constituted by the love which created us) and he has a claim over the offspring of our love, our children. This claim is referred to traditionally as the original sin. Original sin is not an obscure, arcane doctrine. It simply means that people cannot escape selfishness when they make love, and selfishness is ungodly, and it is inherited.
The Messiah could not be born out of selfish motivation or within such a fallen environment. The significance of conception by the Holy Spirit and the virgin birth is that Jesus' conception was not tainted by fallen motivation, and it took place in an environment separated to a sufficient degree from Satan, by the 2,000 years of preparation of the chosen people, Israel, to receive the Messiah.
Therefore Jesus was born with no connection with the previous lineage, with the world's way of conceiving children. He was born, in other words, with no original sin. Thus he is comparable to Adam, who also was born with no original sin. This is why Paul referred to Jesus as the last or second Adam (1 Cor 15.47). When the wise men were following the star, they were in search of the second Adam. When the angels guided the shepherds, they were leading them to the second Adam. In the stable in Bethlehem, all were gathered around the second Adam, the new beginning of the human race. Therefore Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (Jn 8.58) The concept of the Messiah, then, is related to the breaking of the old lineage, signified by the virgin birth. When we recall Jesus' words that "you are of your father the devil" (Jn 8.44) calling us a "brood of vipers" (Mt 12.34), we realize that our lineage is indeed wrong. Through the cross, we are adopted as children of God (Rom 8.23, Eph 1.5), but still our physical lineage is impure. An adopted child of God, after all, has natural parents other than God. This is why Christians realize that baptism is necessary, and that we must be reborn. And it is why Jesus must come again.
That is, Jesus, who broke from the old lineage, must provide the way for all mankind similarly to break from the old lineage. Also, the Second Coming will begin a new lineage. Our engrafting to that lineage is precisely the breaking from the old lineage. As Jesus said, "I am the vine, and you are the branches." (Jn 15.5)
How does this happen? Well, how does lineage begin? It begins through marriage. Thus the Messiah must offer to humankind a new way of marriage. This is why the second coming is couched in terms of a marriage supper, with the Messiah himself called a bridegroom coming to take his bride (Rev 19.7, passim).
What if every marriage could be as pure as that which conceived Jesus, and every child born as a true son or daughter of God? Would Jesus want that? would God want that? would all humankind want that? Of course, the answer in every case is yes. This is a lesson we can take from Christmas, our celebration of the virgin birth.
Those who have ears, let them hear. The Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon have blessed the marriages of nearly 100,000 people of all races, nations and religious backgrounds, creating the substantial foundation for the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. They will be Blessing the marriages of 360,000 couples on August 25, 1994, in Korea and throughout the world by satellite. Whether you are single or married, you are invited.
A Socratic Dialogue to Teach about True Parents
Socrates: So we understand there is something wrong with people.
Student: It cannot be denied.
Socrates: That is, we are false people, not true persons.
Socrates: So we must change flase people into true people.
Socrates: Then, how do we change people? Is it not by stopping what is wrong and creating in them what is right?
Student: It cannot be otherwise.
Socrates: And are these not one and the same thing, because to stop what is wrong is itself an action of right?
Student: Yes, it is so.
Socrates: So the question is, "How do we create what is right, a good person", is it not?
Student: It is exactly that. Socrates: Well, how are persons created at all?
Student: Parents create them.
Socrates: As created beings, do we not resemble that which created us?
Student: Yes, and so children resemble their parents.
Socrates: Both inwardly and outwardly?
Socrates: And that we are wrong, false persons signifies that our parents were false parents.
Student: It is a logical step.
Socrates: And to create true persons, then, what is it we need?
Student: If false parents create false persons, to create true persons we need true parents.
Socrates: And to create true persons is to save mankind, is it not?
Socrates: Then to save mankind, we need true parents.
Student: Well said.
I am often struck by how our society is an expansion of playground society of my childhood. There was the inner clique: the dominant boys and precocious girls. There were those who wanted to be in the clique but somehow didn't quite make it. The clique and its hangers-on was a realm of gossip. Who said what to whom and did what where, etc. etc.
Then there were those who rejected the norms of the clique, in favor of other values: for some it was cars, for some, academics, for some, intellectual pride, for some, general rebellion.
Status as an insider, for the smallest kids, revolved around physical abilities and simple aggressiveness. As we grew up, status came to revolve around fashion and style--issuing eventually in attractiveness to the opposite sex. The inner clique were the first to experiment with driving, with alcohol, with dating, with sex. They were hip; they knew what others didn't know but wanted to know. They did what others were too timid to do. They grew up fast. They were headed for worldly success.
Think back to elementary school, though. Do you remember the boys who liked to sneak looks when the girls were swinging on the horizontal bars, to see their underpants? Did you ever participate in a childish chase after a little girl to get her to pull down her pants? Did you play doctor?
I see a headline in a New York newspaper: it says that some starlet is going to take off all her clothes for a movie. Take off your clothes: this is status, this is fame. You're in.
I understand that in order to progress in show business, well, women have to take off their clothes in front of the man or men, and do what children would call nasty things. In return, the women become famous, the center of the inner clique. Lots of magazine articles, photographs, to keep those on the outside interested.
And I think of the playground. That supposedly mature adults, who shape our society, view the opposite sex the same way we did as children. Who can get a girl to pull down her pants? Who can sneak a look at her underwear? And who is so excited to figure out which girl's objections are really come-ons?
On the Call of Greatness
I have a friend whose son of 14 ran away from home to become a rock star. Of course she is devestated as a mother.
Maybe her son will succeed; maybe he'll be a star someday. But at what cost?
Perhaps if he had stayed at home, he would never have been a star. Perhaps he would have lived a conventional life, unnoticed by the nation and world. To make his parents happy.
Maybe he'll be a star someday. Joe Cool, the idol of millions. He is devoured by fans; he brings pleasure to the world by his wonderful voice, his honest and compelling lyrics, his revolutionary message. The world does not care about Joe Cool's parents, about the desecration of love he committed for the sake of his own dream. The world praises Joe Cool. The world wants more of Joe Cool.
When Joe burns out, the world chases another, Joe Cooler, looking for the ultimate, Joe Coolest.
John Lennon said that the Beatles were number one because they were the biggest bastards of them all.
The world doesn't really care. It likes the music.
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