Unification News for September and October 1999
Divine Principle, Volume 3 Part 10
Paul referred to Jesus as the last Adam. (I Cor. 15:45) for the Divine Principle, this is one of those brilliant insights which quite regrettably was never taken up and elaborated upon by succeeding generations of Christian thinkers. Nevertheless, its importance is clear. In becoming the new Adam, Jesus was to fulfill the divine mandate given to his original ancestor. Because Adam, the first man, did not fulfill his divine mission, another man as to come in his place -- as a man.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus at one point asserted his humanity, not his deity. I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. (Jn. 14:28) By saying that the Father is greater than he, Jesus made clear distinction between himself and God.
At another point Jesus is reported as drawing a sharp distinction between himself and God, exclaiming, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone." (Lk. 18:19)
The Man Jesus
Beyond such statements, Jesus was in appearance no different from other men. Even his brothers failed to see anything unusual about him. One of them, James, did not join the Christian movement until after the crucifixion. Because of his very human qualities, Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan.
According to the earliest Gospels, he often retired to a lonely spot to pray because, as a man, he needed strength from God to continue his exhausting ministry. Like anyone else, he was hungry and sleepy at times. More than once, the Evangelists tell us, he broke down and wept.
Jesus also became disheartened by the opposition encountered from the Pharisees and the disbelief of his fellow-countrymen even in his hometown of Nazareth. He was filled with distress when his inner circle betrayed, denied and then abandoned him to his fate.
For proof that Jesus was thoroughly human consider his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and his lonely cry from the cross, "My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?" (Mk. 15:34)
The early Christian theologian Athanasius of Alexandria argued that Jesus could be of help to us and could be our Saviour only if he were one of us in every respect. Divine Principle would agree adding that if Jesus were not subject as a human being to temptations similar to those facing the rest of us, he could never liberate us from Satanic dominion. If Jesus were not human, his life, his teaching, and his example would have no significance for us.
The Divine Mission
Nevertheless, Jesus is different. In addition to being a man who fulfilled the ideal of creation, Jesus is set off from other people by his mission. Jesus is described by John's Gospel as the true vine and his followers as its branches; only as part of the tree could they bear good fruit.
By being spiritually reborn through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, a fallen person can be restored as a spiritual child, and can ultimately come himself to resemble Jesus. If Jesus was the first fully human man, others were to achieve their own full humanity in relation to him. Jesus was the temple of God, and all others could become temples by uniting with him. In this divine mission Jesus was unique; but this mission he was to fulfill as a man.
New Life, New Birth
One of the most famous statements in the New Testament is Jesus' assertion to a stunned Nicodemus that to see the Kingdom of God, one must be born anew. (Jn. 3:3) Regardless of the historical age, ever since the remark of the concept of rebirth has been a core doctrine within the Christian faith. In light of the Principle, let us investigate why humanity is called to rebirth.
As we have suggested, if Adam and Eve had fulfilled the original ideal of God, becoming true human beings, true partners and True Parents, then the Kingdom of Heaven on earth could have been realized centered on them.
However, because of the fall, Adam and Eve became false parents, giving birth specifically to children stained with sin and generally to a world we can call the Kingdom of Hell. In this world, fallen, conflicted men and women can never find liberation unless they are released from sin and born again into new life and new love.
As we know, however, we cannot be born without parents. To inherit God's love and grace, fallen persons need parents who can represent God to them. In this sense, Jesus came as the True Father to impart new life to all humanity. He is called the last Adam (I Cor. 15:45) and the Everlasting Father (Is. 9:6) because he was to be the True Father in the place of Adam.
But what of the mother's role? Just as for physical birth, for spiritual birth to occur there must be not only a True Father, but also a True Mother. Consequently, after the crucifixion, God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit as a mother spirit, or feminine spirit, to work with the risen Christ in Eve's place.
Making restitution for Eve's part in the Fall, the Holy Spirit inspires and comforts the human heart, leading us back to God.
Reflecting her feminine essence, the Holy Spirit is traditionally known as the comforter. As children are born through the love of parents, so through the give and take of love Jesus and the Holy Spirit give spiritual rebirth to all those who follow them.
We may thus understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit as spiritual True Father and True Mother. Being born again through Jesus and the Holy Spirit means that one's spirit is made new through the love of the spiritual True Parents.
Beyond this, however, Divine Principles emphasizes that complete restoration requires not just spiritual rebirth, but physical rebirth also. The division between spirit and body so poignantly described by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 7) is to be healed. This further dimension of rebirth will take place through the Second Coming.
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