Articles from the October 1997 Unification News
Divine Principle, Volume One. Part Eight.
In a very memorable scene of the popular theater, the dream sequence in Fiddler On The Roof, the cornered Tevye invokes the spirit of his wife Golde's late grandmother in order to extricate himself from a very problematic situation: he has promised his Daughter to the wrong man. Tevye reports that the grandmother has come to him in a dream warning against this almost finalized match. His wife's agitated yet believing response, referring to her grandmother Tzeitel's coming all the way "from the other world" to impart her needed guidance, tells Tevye his ruse has worked.
While merely a fictional, construct acted out in the cultural setting of the Russian Jews, this scene nevertheless reveals something universal in human consciousness. From Plato and the early Greeks, through Jesus and Paul, through most African and Oriental cultures, to spiritualists of the 20th century, a belief in some kind of survival of bodily death has been unequivocally affirmed. Jesus' assertion that in his Father's house "there are many rooms," would seem to be justified by the fact that this common belief is held by such divergent peoples.
The Mount Of Transfiguration
While many traditional believers tend to shy away from the topic, testimony to the existence of a spirit world actually permeates the Bible. Prophets such as Ezekiel and Isaiah report powerful spiritual visions, as does the writer of the book of Revelation. In the Gospels, angels speak(Lk 1:28) and on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus talks with the long-dead Moses and Elijah.
"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them upon a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him (Mt. 17:1-3)."
Today, perhaps the most dramatic testimony to the existence of the spiritual dimension comes from those who have had what are commonly called "near death" experiences. These individuals, who were pronounced clinically dead but who were later revived, recall remarkably similar experiences while they were "dead."
While many people, if not most, are prepared to admit belief in some kind of life after death, few are willing to accept the proposition that even during our physical lifestyles we are existing in two realms at once-a material one and a spiritual one. Yet this is what Divine Principle teaches. There is an invisible spiritual world that surrounds this physical one and that is inhabited by those who have passed on.
Because the two realms do interpenetrate each other, the spirit self of a person near death can float on out of his body and then return later on. For this same reason the spirits of Moses and Elijah could appear to Jesus.
To begin to understand how we could simultaneously live in two realms and, for the most part, be unaware of it, we must remember that there are many things, even in the natural world, that exist beyond the range of our five physical senses. For example, we can't see infra-red light or x-rays, or hear sounds above or below certain frequencies. Nevertheless, x-rays and high and low frequency sound vibrations do exist. In the same way, even though we cannot perceive a spiritual world through our physical senses, it does exist all around us.
The discoveries of modern science lend credence to this prospect. Whereas in prior times scientists thought of the material world as constructed of solid, though minute, blocks of matter, they now believe this is not the case. Rather what we think of as the material world seems to consist of invisible patterns of energy.
As Professor Raynor C. Johnson of the University of Melbourne has pointed out in The Imprisoned Splendor, "The world of hills and rocks, tables and chairs is for the ordinary unreflective man the one real world. There may have been some excuse for the materialistic philosophy of the nineteenth century which supported this, but the discoveries of modern physics...have undermined that outlook. The solidity of the material world has proved illusory....
The implications of this new theory with regard to the possible existence of a spiritual dimension are clear. Indeed, it is probably such a discovery as this that gave rise to Albert Einstein's celebrated remark that his work was spiritual, involving the discovery of where matter ended and spirit began.
Subject And Object
By applying the principle of polarity, we can conclude that a counterpart to the physical world must exist. As previously stated, God created all things in subject-object relationships. Man as subject has both spirit and body; therefore, his object-the world-must also have a two-fold nature. Just as the physical world was created as an environment for man's physical body, so the spirit world was created as an environment for his spirit.
As man has five physical senses for perceiving the physical world, so he has five spiritual senses with which to perceive the spiritual world. These spiritual senses make possible such experiences as those discussed above and others such as hearing voices, having prophetic dreams and seeing visions.
The spirit is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body there is a spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44).
Existing in both worlds, each of us consists of both a physical self and a spiritual self. Just as the physical body and a physical mind (which functions similar to instinct in animals), in the same way man's spirit has a spirit body and a spirit mind. The spirit body is the body of the spirit self, just as the physical body is the body of the physical self. As the spiritual form is identical to that of the physical self, people are recognizable even in spirit. When Jesus saw Moses and Elijah he saw them in their spirit bodies. The spirit mind is the central part of a person's being, the source of his emotion, intellect, and will. Here our personality and self-awareness originate. Through the spirit mind God is able to communicate with us, inspire us, and guide us in our growth.
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