Unification News for September 1998

The Divine Principle

Volume Two - Part Nine

What are the consequences of the Fall of Man? How has is affected our world? Certainly we can say that with Adam and Eve's failure to establish a true parenthood, throughout history their descendants have been unable to live as true brothers and sisters.

In other words, without true parental love we have not had true brotherly or sisterly love. but why is this so? What are the specific effects of the Fall? Let us examine some of the most basic ones.

If Adam and Eve had reached perfection, forming a four position foundation with God, they would have been able to love each other as husband and wife with God's love, and they would have borne children as expressions of that love.

But because our first parents fell, forming a four position foundation with Satan, God's love was not realized on earth. Adam and Eve created a family centered on false "love", and initiated a satanic lineage based on self-centered love.

Reflecting this reality, the gospel of John reports Jesus as telling the people: "You are of your father the devil." (John 8:44)

In another passage from the New Testament, Paul deems Satan as the "god of this world." (II Corinthians 4:4)

To state that the world is under satanic dominion is to suggest that there are negative spiritual forces operating in our lives.

Although this reality is testified to almost unanimously by such spiritual teachers as Jesus, Paul, Buddha and Mohammed, it is questioned by some in the modern age. Ever since the Age of Reason there have been fewer and fewer educated Western people who have accepted the existence of malevolent or benevolent spiritual beings other than God and the immortal souls of departed humans.

Satan as deceiver

Someone, perhaps C.S. Lewis, has quipped that since Satan is the father of lies, his most effective deception has been to tell people he doesn't exist. If we are not looking for him, he can do his work without much fear of discovery. If physical objects can skip our notice simply because we are preoccupied with other matters, how much more difficult it is to perceive spiritual reality which we cannot easily see, hear or touch. This is particularly true in the modern age in which Western man has largely restricted his attention to the temporal rather than the eternal, the material rather than the spiritual, the human instead of the divine. Regardless of our awareness of spiritual forces, they are still realities.

It is nevertheless imperative to distinguish the actuality of Satanic forces from popular misconceptions handed down to us from folklore. For example, Satan is supposed to have horns and a tail, yet otherwise look like a human being. If we actually conceive Satan in such terms it would be highly unlikely that we will ever receive a visual confirmation of his existence.

It is important to recall that Satan is an expert of disguise and appears in a variety of ways depending at least in part upon what we expect. Baudelaire, the poet--and for a time a confirmed Satanist--reminds us, "The devil's first trick is his incognito." If he sometimes manifests himself in a manner which makes his identity crystal-clear, more often he appears masked in an attractive form.

Ultimately, the best teacher in these matters is experience itself. As one begins to walk a spiritual path, he will frequently encounter all kinds of disturbances, obstructions and temptations. It is such experiences as these which have led those who have gained a certain spiritual enlightenment to conclude there are satanic forces that work against individuals and that have contributed to the destructive nature of human history.

Satanic influences can affect a person only as long as he cooperates with them. Man is influenced by Satan only when he makes a base for him. Ultimately, each person is responsible for his own feelings, thoughts and actions.

Claims that "the devil made me do it" are futile. If one were to rid himself of the negative, destructive or evil elements he has within himself, Satan would become powerless.

What is good?

the argument may be made that since the actions of Lucifer, Adam and Eve were based on love, then they should have been all right. After all, love is good, isn't it?

From the point of view of Divine Principle, nothing is good or evil itself. All things are created neutral and their goodness or evilness depend on their purpose.

A person, for instance, may pursue a great deal of money. If, beyond providing for his personal needs, his goal is to use the money to provide for his family, serve his community, or help his nation, this is a good act. On the other hand, if his goal is purely selfish or even destructive--for example investing in a drug ring--then this action is evil.

This principle applies to human nature itself. For instance, human ambition is often considered evil, but in fact, is part of the original nature given to us by God. Without ambition, human history would be barren of great men and great events. Moses would never have led his people out of Egypt. Lincoln may never have seen his divided country united again. Edison may never have invented the light bulb.

All too often, however, human ambition has been directed to less public-minded purposes. Ambition directed toward selfish ends has led people to steal, dominate others and even to kill.

In this same way, man's capacity for love is neutral. When used in accordance with Godly ideals and principles, it is the most creative and constructive force in the world. Apart from such principles love can be selfish, destructive and merely and expression of lust.

The problem then is in defining what is good, or in arriving at a universal standard of goodness. However, ever since the Fall standards of good and evil have been relative.

At one time the values of one group predominate while at another time another party with entirely different values sets the standard.

Two hundred years ago in the United States perhaps the credo "all for one and one for all" expressed the dominant ethic. Today "doing your own thing" seems to be what is sanctioned by society's opinion leaders. Politically, for the communists, state ownership of all means of production is good. For capitalists, private ownership is what is most desirable.

As a result of such conflicts in standards, history has been filled with struggle. These conflicts will continue until a universal standard of goodness is found, restoring the standard that would have been established if the Fall had not occurred.

The emergence of sin

Although scholars and theologians have identified different types of sin, the sin of Adam and Eve is almost unanimously regarded as the primal, original one--the root all sin. For Divine Principle, it is the cause of the spiritual death that has beset humanity from time immemorial.

But what is sin? For different people, the word has slightly different meanings. The ancient Hebrew understood sin in terms going astray or missing the mark. Others stress that sin is an act separating a person from God. People wander from the path of righteousness, breaking the covenant binding God and mankind together. For Divine Principle, sin may be thought of as any act or thought which violates God's law and which inhibits negatively our own growth to perfection. Sin is thus never simply against God. It is also against ourselves, in that it violates our own deepest essence.

Even though we may not identify it as such, in one way or another, we all have the experience of sin. This fact is proclaimed in the apostle Paul's famous words "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) In a similar vein, Jesus' disciple John writes to the early Christian Church:

"If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." (I John 1:18)

Next Month - Part Ten
Fallen Nature

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