Ten Theologians Respond to the Unification Church - Edited by Herbert Richardson 1981

The God of Principle: A Critical Evaluation -- Frederick Sontag


The average person, whether layman or theologian, approaches the Unification Church with newspaper and magazine headlines ringing in his or her ears. Given the sensationalism surrounding the rapid expansion of the followers of Sun Myung Moon from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s and the controversy which surrounded this, it could hardly be otherwise. However, our task is not to evaluate the barrage of media criticism, nor to evaluate the program and practices of the Unification movement, but to understand and appraise the view of the nature of God which lies behind it. This is a proper theological task. And the theme of this essay will be that their view of the Principle according to which God acts is both Rev. Moon's 'revelation' and the key to understanding the actions of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (the movement's original name), as well as its attractiveness to young people worldwide. The general public hears about street fundraising in America, real estate purchases and business ventures, but these activities attract few to be disciples of Rev. Moon. The rare insight he offers into God's plan to create a new world, however, does.

The Mission of Jesus is, of course, also central, as well as Moon's account of the Fall and the entrance of evil into human nature. But these are secondary, derivative doctrines, which depend on his initial insight into the Principle according to which God acts. Even members are not in full agreement about what 'Principle' means, although it is central to the thought and life of each convert. The outside public quite naturally believes that the devotion of each disciple is to Rev. and Mrs. Moon as persons, as True Parents,

Their place is central in the concept of the new unified Family and the arranged, blessed marriages which are to inaugurate the God-centered families that Adam and Eve, and Jesus too foiled to start. Although the relationship of Moon to the Principle is both complex and subtle, his place is determined more by the concept of the Principle of God's action rather than vice versa. The key to conversion of new disciples is their acceptance of the teaching of the Principle, which itself is not quite identical with the book now entitled Divine Principle,1 just as the Word of God may be revealed in the Bible without being identical to the printed word of a certain version of that scripture.

The core of the subtlety, of course, is that the revelation, and the development of the Principle, came to and through Rev. Moon in his early years in Korea. In traditional fashion, he preached the Principle orally before it was written down, and the earlier written versions were less elaborately filled out with historical accounts than the present standard text. Some of the added material came from sources other than Moon, and the book can be revised (he says he will do so) without damage to the core of the Principle. The members speak of it as the Completed Testament, since the key to God's intended action is the revelation of this Principle which was reserved to be made dear in these latter days. God has not rejected the program of the Old or New Testament, but, as some scripture indicates, he did not reveal every detail of his projected action or time table at first. He reserved some disclosures for a later day when the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth would be inaugurated. Just as the early Christian Church viewed Old Testament scripture as preparation for the New, so Moonists look on the New Testament as a preparation for God's action in the last days, now outlined by the communication of the Principle via Rev. Moon.

One key to this new understanding of God's revealed way of action involves the use of "central-figures" as God's instrument for affecting the course of human events, Adam, Moses, Abraham, Jesus were such central-figures, and now Moon is called to that crucial position in a pivotal time, The question of whether Moon is a new messiah, or the Lord of the Second Advent predicted by the Principle, is not so important and is subject to a variety of affirmations. But it is hard to conceive of anyone following Moon, or putting up with the demanding and sacrificial life involved, unless he or she believed Moon to be the central figure selected by God as his instrument in the present age. As we shall see, such election does not necessarily mean success for the mission, but Principle teaches that the primary meaning of faith is the identification of such a central figure or figures and uniting with them to try again to institute God's Kingdom on earth, God's goal since creation. Lack of unity with the central figure, which means a lack of centering love in God's purpose, is the primary reason for previous failures in God's program, and thus it is the chief sin in the spiritual world of Rev. Moon,


So much by way of setting the scene for describing God and his principle of action. Let us proceed first to scan Divine Principle for its description of God's plan of action, next summarize this, and then offer an evaluation. I say "God's plan of action" rather than "God's nature" since Divine Principle offers an activist, pragmatic account. To be sure, God's nature is outlined in a metaphysical description of his attributes, but God is primarily to be understood, and related to, according to our understanding of his principle of action. I know no member who is devoted to the account of the elements of God's nature, but many who are convinced that they now understand 'God's heart,' the principle of his action, and the plan according to which he would now have them act and serve him. Ina day in which God has been pronounced dead by theologians and placed in limbo by skepticism, underneath the sensationalism the most important fact about the rise of the Unified Family (a name they once used for themselves) is the strength of the individual member's assurance that, at last, he understands God's plan. This is now available to him thanks to Rev. Moon's suffering (paying of indemnity) to overcome Satanic forces and uncover the Principle.

The key to understanding and appraising the Unification view of God, I will argue, lies with this account of God's newly revealed principle of action. If you understand and accept the Principle, and Moon as its instrument, you are a Moonist, However, the metaphysical theological issue underlying this is: (1) Whether God is bound to the detail of the Principle, or whether he remains independent from it and could revise it; and (2) Whether he did save the climax of his progressive revelation until this latter day and choose a new nation (Korea) for its expression. Also, even if dl this is accepted, has God's revelation now dosed with the expression of the Principle, or could God act again at some future time to alter his program?Also, even if all this is accepted, has God's revelation now dosed with the expression of the Principle, or could God act again at some future time to alter his program? This, of course, reduces to the question of whether, even if one accepted this later revelation and the disclosure of God's principle of action, God is identical with this revelation or is independent of it. Many who reject the Unification Church do so because they take revelation to be dosed at some time in the past and thus no longer open. For Moonists, the issue is whether revelation is still open after the Principle.

Setting aside the fundamental issue of whether God could alter a past revelation and open yet another new future, what is the Unification view of God's nature and the Principle of his action? As confirmation of this way of approach to the Unification view of the nature of God, note that the church's chief theologian, Young Oon Kim, has no section in her book, Unification Theology and Christian Thought2, specifically on God. There is a chapter on Christology and the Mission of Jesus, but the rest of the work outlines God's action and his plan for the future in the Principle of Creation, the Fall of Man, the History of Restoration, etc. Of course, God lurks about on every page. Moonists are ever-sensitive to God's aims versus some Christian groups which center on the sacraments, on liturgy, or on social programs. Thus, Professor Kim is always describing God, not so much directly or metaphysically but in terms of his program, human history, and the future. Rev. Moon uses metaphysical concepts to describe God in Divine Principle but I see no attachment on his part to the unalterable truth of these concepts. They seem symbolic or suggestive, and thus alterable. It is the core of the Principle of God's action in history that is normative.

From the devoutness of the core members of the Movement and its worldwide spread, we know it is possible to relate to God on the basis of the Principle and experience a sense of the presence of the divine. To me this does not indicate that it is the sole avenue to God, nor even the preferable one, but it does tell us that it is one of the ways men and women can be brought to see God, sometimes with considerable impact. Since Divine Principle begins with the Principle of Creation, we know that this is the beginning of its approach to God, True, Genesis is the first book in the Bible as we have the canon, and it begins with the creation story. However, since Unification theology is a variant of Christianity, it is important to note that the New Testament writers sometimes take a different approach. True, the office and mission of Jesus have often been interpreted in terms of Old Testament expectations, and some Christian groups still rely heavily on Old Testament sources and images. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to say that Genesis forms the context of traditional Christian teaching in the same way that it does for the Unification view of God.

In other words, Jesus' mission as the Christ is understood in terms of a more general outline of God's action in creation and history, rather than Jesus himself serving as the center. This is neither unique nor necessarily bad, but it is true that Moonists speak more about God and less about Jesus. Or more accurately, they relate directly to God and understand Jesus within their new view of God, rather than God's sole self-revelation being found in Jesus, Mediation to God is via the Principle and its disclosures, in which to be sure Jesus plays a central role, but not as the sole incarnation of God, To go further on this theme would take us into Unification Christology, but it is important to go at least this far in order to understand how God is approached and what this tells us about both the divine nature and Jesus' office, Since Jesus offered a central revelation, but not the only revelation of God, and since revelation was not dosed but remains open, to understand God it is necessary to search out the movement of the Holy Spirit in the present age. Then, we use this new insight as the key to piece together God's past actions with his future intentions -- which is what Rev, Moon did in his prayer and biblical study to uncover the Principle.


Divine Principle opens by suggesting that we all seek happiness, which is attained when our desires are fulfilled. We can go the path of unrighteousness, but we each have an "original mind" (p, 9) which seeks happiness by delight in the law of God. Through the Fall, we have lost our ability to follow the original mind and so are caught in great contradictions. At this point Moon makes his first assumption about God, that he would not have created man with such a contradiction (divided nature) (p. 3.). This rationalist assumption is so basic to Unification views of God that it is hard to over stress the importance of its consequences. It sets the Moonist in opposition to the Existentialist, for example. As we will see, it is the beginning of a series of restrictions Divine Principle places on God which have the paradoxical consequence of both revealing a dear pattern of God's activity for the believer to relate to while at the same time binding God rigidly to that schedule. For instance, the Introduction already sounds the important theme of the necessity to unify science and religion (p. 4), so that the church's cultural endeavors (e.g., dance and musical groups, conferences) become central to God's program, but it also binds his success to the outcome of questionable projects (e.g., bringing cultures together, uniting science and religion).

It may be that no one can have a revelation of God that is concrete without binding God to the detail of the form of the revelation. Still, it is possible to see God and announce that vision but add that this may not be the only way in which God either can appear or may choose to do so, Although Moonists believe in a contingency in God's program, so that he does not relate to the world as a necessary process the precise details of which he foreknows, there is fixity in the Moonist assurance that theirs is indeed the program of action God will adhere to. Perhaps involved in the very notion of receiving a revelation, whether it be Moon or Luther, is the overwhelming conviction that this is the conclusive insight into divinity. However, it is possible to coordinate this with a sense of the divine mystery, the hidden though revealed God, so that one's increased learning about divinity is a "learned ignorance" as Cusanus puts it. One learns, sees, penetrates, feels God revealed but at the same time sees larger mysteries opened which the spiritual novice cannot be aware of. At the moment, followers of the Principle seem inflexible in their certainty of God's ways, but perhaps this is typical of the fresh convert's attitude and not so true of Moon himself. The disciple's test in relation to God will come if he ignores the script or alters his prescribed lines. At that point they will need to decide whether they were wrong in their first perception, or whether God keeps an escape clause in all his contracts. (If I were God dealing with man, I would.)

Like most new revelations, Divine Principle comes at a time when it sees Christianity in confusion and ineffective (p. 7). As with Luther, Kierkegaard, Augustine, or George Fox, a decline in spirituality and the loss of institutional vigor seem to provide an occasion for fresh revelation. Some movements press for a new strict spirituality in their disgust with the world. The Principle asserts that the worlds of spirit and flesh must be "joined in perfect unity" (p. 8), This makes it opt for a heaven realized on earth (cf Marxism) and promote an activism in the world to bring about God's plan. Physical happiness is important, since the physical body is not an obstacle but a means to achieve spiritual perfection in harmony. Divine Principle evidences its origins in a time of high optimism over the fruits of the physical sciences when it insists that the road to unity requires interpreting things "scientifically" (p. 8). This assumes the singularity and finality of scientific theory as if it were one thing, a hope many shared in the first half of this century but few do today. God, then, is scientific in his procedure.

The whole vision is one of science approaching religion and religion approaching science. They only wait for "a new expression of truth" (p. 9) to bring these diverse realms together in a find consummation. Again the question is not so much whether our perception of science has changed since the first half of the century or even whether religion can be interpreted scientifically, as many others hoped also, as whether God achieves his purpose by these movements within culture. If he did, it would be easier, but the problem is that God is then bound to a cultural project and thus subject to defeat if that project fails or changes. However, the new truth which can accomplish this unity "should enable us to know God as reality" (p. 10). Thus, the conviction, and the assumption, is that God stands at last fully revealed -- at least to the vanguard of this new truth (cf. Marxism) if not yet to all. The question, then, is whether any such final knowledge of God is possible in the nature of the case, given God and given human capacities. The question is also whether God chooses to work in this way of progressive and then, at last, find revelation of his principle, Surely to feel oneself in possession of that principle, now fully revealed, is an overpowering experience. We have sought unity among religions for some time, and Unification thought sees this as God's way. There should be a truth which can unite all existing religions in one absolute way (p. 11). This project involves enormous assumptions about the nature of religions (e.g., that they are such as to be able to be unified on any basis) and about God (e.g., that he moves by uniting all religions), both of which involve serious questions. Is it the case that God desires all men to live together in brotherly love under God as our Parent on this earth (p. 12)? The key to accomplish this is, of course, the liquidation of sin. Again like Marx, Moon thinks he has located evil in a single source and possesses the formula for its eradication (with God's help, of course). God has been manipulating history toward this end, which brings in the major assumption: that God works by and through the processes of history. This, too, like the confidence in science and the ideal of unifying all religions, is a child of the nineteenth century, so that perhaps the crucial issue concerning God is whether he does in fact use history in this way. But God has sent a messenger to resolve the fundamental questions of life and the universe: Sun Myung Moon.

Are the heavenly secrets now brought to light by one who has fought against Satanic forces in the spiritual and physical world and won a victory (p. 16)? Again, we have the question of whether God operates in such a fashion, or whether his secrets are revealed more as a surprise gift than as a reward for conquests. Chapter one of Divine Principle is the "Principle of Creation." This is the focal point where the ones who come after the spiritual revealer begin their search to understand God too. Until this day no one has known the plan for the creation of man (p. 19), so that 'Principle' primarily means: the final coming to light of this plan as the result of the struggle of the central figure in our age. The assumption is that we know God's characteristics by observing the created world. This question has long been argued by philosophers. But Divine Principle is not really a natural theology, since even after Rev. Moon's spiritual and physical struggle and God's decision to reveal his plan in our time, the 'average man' cannot discern God's nature simply by empirical observation. He must study Principle intently and devoutly, and he must struggle spiritually and physically ("pioneer") at the same time.


At this point a metaphysical principle is introduced, which governs not only God and his creation but the activity of all men, particularly those whose lives try to embody the Principle. A creation cannot come into being, we are told "unless a reciprocal relationship between positivity and negativity has been achieved" (p. 20), Male and female are treated as having essentially the dual characteristics of positivity and negativity It is not dear whether this way of proceeding is binding or is only one expression for how God creates. Also there is the even more central notion of 'external form' and 'internal character' (p. 21). This makes it evident that God's nature is not governed by unity first of all, rather, a balance of dual characteristics is primary. External form is the visible counterpart of the internal character, and subjective and objective position govern these relationships. God exists as absolute subject, "having characteristics of both essential character and essential form" (p. 24). God's existence is governed by a reciprocal relationship between the dual characteristics of internal and external, and also masculinity and femininity.

The Universe is God's substantial object, and Divine Principle then quotes the I Ching in support of its notion of God's dual characteristics. However, the traditional Western metaphysical notion of God's self-existent nature is affirmed. "Give and take" is a way of process, and the universe is seen as forming give and take action due to the Universal Prime Energy of God (p. 28). Each individual stands as God's object and receives the power necessary for its existence. Thus, 'power' and 'process' are prime concepts for interpreting God, more so than, say, 'substance' or 'being' in traditional theories. Unification views of the nature of God have been compared with Process Theology, and the similarities come out most dearly at this point. However, the Fall cut off man's give and take relationship with God, which indicates Divine Principle's stress on the Fall and sin, neither of which are prominent in Process Theology. But fallen man can unite with Jesus in a give and take relationship and be restored to his original nature (p. 30). At this point we see the novelty of the Principle, for it is said to be within man's scope to take the action necessary to restore himself.

The "four position foundation" (p. 32) outlines the intricacies of God's operation and is used in preference to a traditional notion of trinity. God, husband and wife and their offspring manifest the four position foundation, which indicates the centrality of the family in the Unification view of both God and salvation. If the mind centers on God, the body then unites with the mind as the mind becomes one with God, and the individual becomes the substantial object of God. The purpose of creation is restored when man lives centered on God. This would have been accomplished in Adam and Eve had they not fallen. The universe lost its center when man fell.

One might justifiably stop at this point and spend some time analyzing the details of Divine Principle's somewhat novel notion of how God's nature operates. It represents the metaphysical core, and it explains their belief in salvation-through-the-family The concentration is on male-female unity, which leads to the notion that Jesus' aim was to marry and found the God-centered family which Adam failed to do. However, I believe the core of their faith lies in the overall outline of God's operation, so that this metaphysical account is accepted if the larger picture is accepted, not vice versa.

When it comes to God's relation to creation and his power, the Divine Principle is quite traditional. They can affirm with Haydn in The Creation, "A new created world springs forth at God's command." Some modern views have abandoned God's absolute control on creation, either limiting him to a role in the process or accepting an evolutionary scheme of progressive creation. However, the mystery in the Principle appears at this point, and I do not believe it is ever dispelled: If God has such absolute power over creation, why is he then bound to observe a certain process in order to accomplish his purposes, rather than exercising his power and restructuring the whole of creation at his will? Furthermore, theodicy is never really explained. That is, did God know Eve would succumb to Satan, and could this have been prevented? Do we live in the only possible order God might have created, or could he have created an order more conducive to our success than the one in which we live? The Divine Principle skips over these issues and seems to assume we live in the only order God could have ordained and that it is the best one, But to assume this imposes a questionable restriction on God's creative powers.

Again in accord with part of the Christian tradition, Moon asserts that the purpose of the creation of the universe, and man's coming into existence, is to return joy to God (p. 41). God feels joy as man does when he feels his original character and form objectively through the stimulation derived from his substantial object. The man whose mind and body have formed a four position foundation centered on God becomes God's temple. "This means that man attains deity" (p. 43). Thus, God is very human in conception. He feels joy and suffering, and he achieves joy as man does. But on the other hand, man is not so far from divinity. A man who becomes such an object for the joy of God can never fall, but Adam did not reach this level of human perfection. He needed to go through a process of perfection first, and he and Eve never completed this growth stage. The nature of God's love is expressed in parental love, the conjugal love of husband and wife, and in children's love. This gives us a due as to why the establishment of perfected families lies at the center of Unification practice, and why the mass marriage ceremony is their primary and only sacrament. When the subject and object center in Satan we have 'evil.' When they center in God we have 'good.' But man fell before he could accomplish the three stages of growth. The Moonist mass marriage 'blessing' begins the process of growth toward perfection again.

When Divine Principle says that each being grows autonomously by the power of the Divine Principle and each person has his "own portion of responsibility" (p. 83), we recognize the stress the Principle puts on freedom. God will not interfere and compromise human freedom, and thus his purpose depends on man's responsibility for its fulfillment. There is a program for the restoration of humanity too, and man must follow this in order to restore his dominion over all things. It is by achieving perfect oneness with God's heart that man attains dominion over things, as Adam should have done. Man is the mediator and center of harmony between the two worlds, the invisible substantial world and the visible substantial world. This mediating role has often been reserved for Jesus as the Word in traditional theologies, and Divine Principle does say that Jesus came as a perfected man in flesh and spirit in order to perfect fallen men by striving to have them unite with him. The failure of Jesus to obtain this perfect union, and his decision to settle for spiritual perfection, thereby leaving physical perfection and union for another time, is the story of Unification Christology. However, where God's nature is concerned our question is whether the procedure as outlined was and is God's only alternative.

The realization of the Kingdom of Heaven waits on the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth (p. 62), which points out the importance of physical perfection as a base for spiritual perfection. God embodies his own nature in creation and then seems dependent on physical conformity to achieve a spiritual god. Physical arrangements take on great importance and certainly are not to be disparaged, which explains why Moonists buy neglected red estate and work to restore it. The way to the Kingdom of God is through physical creation and its perfection, not away from it. Since Adam fell, a man must come again who will draw all men to him in harmonious oneness in order to fulfill the ideal of creation (p. 68). It is as if God elected one plan and has no choice but to keep trying until he can make the original plan work. God embodies the process, but he is also bound to it. He used a formula in creating man, and now he must labor through creation until he can find a way to induce men to live up to it. The whole history of Providence is the story of God trying again and again to make the formula work. He controlled creation with full power in his initial act, but paradoxically, he now seems bound by his own hard work.


A slightly different note is introduced when Divine Principle asserts: "man was created to live in accordance with the Principle" (p. 80). The notion of returning joy to God is traditional, but now we learn that the lately revealed Principle is the key to all man's understanding. Deviation from the Principle caused the Fall, and living in accord with it starts the process of restoration (salvation) and growth (perfection). Thus, not only could man and history not be fully understood until we became aware of the Principle, but, more important, God could not be fully understood. From the divine perspective, however, the critical issue is whether God adopted this one Principle from a variety of possible ways of procedure, and if so, is he now bound to follow it without recourse to other modes of action? If he is tied to this elaborate plan, a "new Legalism" is introduced, since both God and man are bound to a rigid code of behavior, and the well-being of both depends upon their ability to carry out the formula within history. Neither man nor God has any guarantee of eventual success, although the Divine Principle portrait of God presents him as constantly calculating and trying again. He never settles for failure, but he is never assured of success.

Followers of the Principle show a totally serious commitment to carry out the project, and they respond as if the future of the world rested on their shoulders -- which it does if Divine Principle is correct. Exhaustion and disillusion over making the formula work are the major reasons why some long-time members eventually leave. The project of restoring the world is an all-consuming affair, and the round of practical activity the church engages in is simply the physical counterpart of an equally exhausting spiritual struggle demanded of each full-time member. God is suffering, as he has been for two thousand years or more. He depends for his release on human cooperation, a theme Katzantzakis sounds in The Saviors of God. Although many Catholic and Protestant movements are equally austere, the sense of joy and release which characterize some Christian experience of God is largely missing. True, in their singing and witnessing, Moonies smile a lot and convey enthusiasm. But that is largely the result of the exhilaration of feeling that you have at last found God's formula, know the way to perfection, and have begun the uphill battle. It is not, and cannot be for them, the joy of release.

The Principle is nothing else but the power of love (p. 81), we are told. But there are forces which oppose it, the same that made man fell, and so the struggle is intense. Illicit love caused man to deviate from the Principle, so that control of love relationships is a primary matter of concern. It accounts for the Moonist practice of an initial period of celibacy followed by arranged marriages. The trick is to begin the right process and go through the requisite stages of growth, which Adam and Eve did not have a chance to do. Then, after reaching perfection and becoming husband and wife, one enters into God's dominion through absolute love and can no longer fall. Man became Satan's child and formed the four position foundation centered on Satan, The key formula which the Principle brings to us is how to pass through the stages of growth properly, marry, form a four position foundation centered on God, restore creation, and then remain immune to all further sin. From God's perspective, the question about this is: Will it result in perfection? Is the Principle in fact the sole cure for sin, and is God bound to operate in this way only? Could sin arise in other ways from other sources?

The attraction of the way of the Principle, as revealing the secret of God's plan, is powerful. More than one ex-member has left the church through forced deprogramming, or due to some practical disillusionment, but still has maintained that he or she "believes the Principle." Most who are outside the movement do not realize that the initial conversion of new followers takes place by continued study of the Principle through repeated lectures that go into greater and greater detail. Members study the Principle continually or go through refresher courses. The preaching and personal effort of Rev. Moon has little to do with proselytizing, and many members have never seen or met him. The primary confrontation takes place between the individual and the Principle, and converts will compare notes on whether it was the second or third or some other lecture which was the turning point for them in their conversion. Of course, the personal attraction of the members whom the novice meets, or the lecturer (it was never Rev. Moon after the early days in Korea), has a great deal to do with conversion as is true in all religious movements, just as disappointing personal relationships have much to do with members leaving. Still, the Principle as the path to God always forms the core of their religious experience.

The exhilaration that sweeps over the new convert is "we can do it!" Now, with the Principle in hand, man can make Satan come to a natural surrender through accomplishing his "portion of responsibility by his own volition" (p. 85). That is exciting news, to be able to restore perfection, relieve God's suffering, bring God joy, and set mankind on the way to perfection. God will never restore men by force, Divine Principle is sure; we must do it. This places it close to the Social Gospel of Rauschenbusch. The Kingdom of God will be realized on earth. The world of evil will be restored to perfect goodness centered on Christ. All this becomes possible now, although it was not before, because we did not possess the Principle to unlock God's plan of action so that we could carry it out, Part has been known and disclosed earlier. Now we can know in full. It is an amazing and awesome responsibility to be part of God's vanguard who carry the plan for human restoration (c.f. Marxism again), But from God's perspective we must ask: Even if it is a plan that works for some, is God limited by the Principle, or can he also act outside this new Law?

Divine Principle tells us "there is no freedom apart from the Principle" (p. 91). This is easy to understand where human nature is concerned, since the Principle sees itself as the avenue for release from sin, The question is whether this is also true for God. If men do not live up to their role, even granting it as a correct formula to eliminate sin, can God get free of the path of the Principle and act outside it? Man fell because "the power of non-principled love was stronger than the directive power of the freedom of the original mind" (p. 93). Supposedly the revelation of the Principle gives us the formula to avoid such loss of freedom (the Fall) in the future. The question about the Principle is whether in fact its growth formula and plan of marriage can create God-centered families in which the superior power of non-principled love is at last brought under control, as it has not been since Adam's fall. The question for God is whether his sole plan is to release the formula of the Principle and then allow men to make their way back to perfection after centuries of living in sin.


We can understand the God-of-Principle's relation to contingency when we consider the account of the Fall. We are told that God "foresaw the possibility of the fallen act" (p. 95) but did not intervene to prevent it, although he is a traditional God with the power to do so. The reasons for God's restraint, which has been left unsolved until the Principle are: 1) Man must perfect himself by accomplishing his portion of responsibility; (2) "God intervenes with beings or acts only within the Principle" (p, 96); and, (3) Man must perfect himself through a course in the Principle before he can dominate all creation, as originally intended. A great deal comes to focus in this account, because we learn that: (1) Man can perfect himself by following the outline of Principle, so that his is essentially a self-salvation, although guided by God and surely impossible without God's find revelation of Principle. (2) God so prizes Principle that he will see man fell before intervening in the course set out for human perfection, which means that God foresees contingencies and not a fixed course of events. But, most important, (3) it is explicitly stated that God will not act outside Principle, Thus, he is a God bound by law.

We also know that God moves only by human instrumentality and never directly His vessels are fallible; thus his purpose is never sure of completion, Nor can God act directly. He must work through history and peoples and cultures to prepare for the mission of the man he elects. But today we are in the Last Days, which is why the full Principle has finally been revealed. Although Jesus accomplished a high office and managed one half, i.e., spiritual salvation, God holds to no one human instrument but may work through many We have been hidden from God before, but now, in the Last Days, we may come freely before him (p. 121), A kind of evolution in human nature and culture is realizing its peak. A worldwide culture is developing, centered on Christianity, Divine Principle claims. We must find our True Parents and become children of goodness through rebirth, God moves to restore heavenly sovereignty by degrees, it is asserted (p. 124), which raises the question of whether God does in fact move by slow evolution or by intervention.

At this point Divine Principle shows itself to be a child of nineteenth-century evolutionary optimism, as well as trust in science and the upward rise in culture. Do twentieth-century events support such optimism or give any evidence that God works through culture? However, where God himself is concerned, the question is whether he is bound to such historical work or holds himself more aloof from the workings of cultures. Where man is concerned, the question is whether he too follows an evolutionary cycle on the spiritual level. And the factual question is whether he has in fact, in these last days, "restored his spiritual light" (p. 128). Certainly few now share such optimism about man, given his recent record of performance. But Rev. Moon has brought back a notion to America which did dominate our religious theology and our culture for some time. However, that original American optimism (to build the Kingdom of God in communities on the Atlantic seaboard) now seems lost beyond recall.

When we come to the question of the Advent of the Messiah and the Mission of Jesus, there are many questions about Divine Principle doctrine. But the central issue, where God is concerned, is whom God chooses as his instruments. We are told that our mission is to find the central figure of the new history in order to unite with him. However, God did not foreknow Jesus' death, only its possibility. Both he and Jesus had to adjust their program and settle for the lesser good of spiritual salvation, due to the unfaithfulness of the people in Jesus' time. The question is whether the new central figure can turn human failure around. However, perhaps we can best see the issue of whom God chooses as instruments when Divine Principle states that Jesus came to sway the mighty, the leaders of his day, and not the outcasts he ended up with, "Actually, the disciples Jesus would have preferred were not people of this kind" (p, 160). The ignorant fishermen were such poor representatives, not such as to impress the powers that be. Jesus (and God) needed to win over the intellectual and political leaders of the day as followers in order to establish the full physical kingdom, marry and restore the family back to God's control.

In many ways, the issues concerning God come to a head at this point. Although churches have and often do adopt a triumphal and aristocratic mode, the gospel as traditionally preached stresses God's identification with the poor and the suffering and those not in the seats of power. It is not that the Unification Church neglects such; the Kingdom of Heaven is for all. But they see God's chance for success as necessitating a move through the power circles of the day The lords of the earth, the scientists, the intellectual leaders and the respectable people, must join the movement of Principle if the Kingdom is to come on earth. This is why the church is open to criticism for the money it spends on real estate, industries, and the conferences of "important people" it sponsors on a lavish budget. They do engage in what traditional Protestants call social work, but it is consistent with their doctrine that the uncompleted work of Jesus demands that friends be won at high places at all levels of society. The social, political and financial operations of the movement are in keeping with the Principle, once the mode of God's operations is understood.

The issue, of course, is whether God is like this and whether the coming of his Kingdom depends on this kind of goodwill mission into the upper reaches of industry, culture, and political affairs, When the invited visitor arrived at Moon's Washington Monument rally held in September of 1976, in addition to receiving his fried chicken he witnessed several hours of entertainment, mostly by church member groups, capped by the world's largest fireworks display. In the middle of this, Rev Moon appeared to speak for a time in Korean about God's plan for America, but the audience (except for church members) was bewildered. Considered in the light of the Principle, it all makes sense, and again it highlights the question of God's nature. Culture is being given back to God's purpose, and people should be swayed to join the rising tide. Members do not see themselves as a struggling band of outcasts but as the forefront of culture, True, the Principle predicts persecution and difficult times, but the goal is to infiltrate culture and society at all levels, after overcoming opposition, to succeed and win it back to God. Religion, then, seems less a matter of worship and more a matter of carrying the message to important people to gain their support,

Jesus had to settle for non-leaders on the social level, when he should have gone to Rome and won over the Roman Empire. But the question still remains: Does God work through, and require the cooperation of, the powerful in society? Is God's power so restricted that he must maneuver for support? Or, can he take the lowly, the despised, the unexpected and use weak reeds to accomplish his plan because his power is sufficient unto itself? The God of Principle is thoroughly modern in accepting contingencies and genuine human freedom, He is traditional in holding absolute sway over creation. But again, as with other modern theologies, God is limited in what he can accomplish alone. His own power is bound to the processes of nature. Divine Principle has its interpretation of what these historical processes are, but it no less restricts God to these avenues than do other natural theologies and theories of historical evolution or progress. As Divine Principle continues, the major part of its bulk is devoted to intricate historical analyses and outlines of dates and sequences. Obviously, they feel God is to be found at work here.


When we come to the doctrine of "indemnity" as outlined in Divine Principle we reach another crucial point in our understanding of the God of Principle, The physical resurrection of Jesus is rejected as unacceptable to the modern mind (p. 16d. The goal is the restoration of all humanity, so that the resurrection of one human body is unimportant, How does God accomplish this general restoration? Again, he is bound by Principle which requires that indemnity be paid for man's debt of sin (p. 186). Jesus has not "paid it all," as the hymn declares. Man must set up a corresponding condition of indemnity, although he may win the cooperation of the spirit world. The progression will go from the family level, to the national, and then to the worldwide level, but indemnity must be paid at each stage of advance. The question is whether God is a careful and unforgetting banker who counts the debt and checks the payments received. Or, in traditional terms, is he instead a God of grace who can forgive without demanding payment? If not, it is a fearful burden Moonists carry on their shoulders.

Again, in the section on Predestination we get a glimpse into the God of Principle. Evil is entirely due to man's failure to fulfill his portion of responsibility. God wills to accomplish his purpose in creation, but this can be fulfilled "only by man's accomplishment of his portion of responsibility" (p. 192), although this does include the work of the central figure in charge of the mission too. Thus, God is man-dependent, and, should man fail again as he has in the past, God's purpose fails. The crux of the matter is that Unificationists think the revelation of the Principle, plus something propitious in the culmination of events in the Last Days, make the success of the project likely today which has not been the case before. Some of God's previous failures were due to man's ignorance of God's principle, which has now been corrected. But still we have to ask: What if man fails again; will God fail? And, are the events of this day in fact so changed? Principle is dear in stating that the odds of success are indeed better today, Furthermore, should we fail again, can God overlook indemnity and failure and save us in spite of ourselves, or is his power really totally bound to Principle?

God's intention is absolute, but the accomplishment of his will is relative, we are told (p. 198), And it is here that the famous formula appears: God's ninety-five percent responsibility combined with man's five percent responsibility. The issue is not to debate the mathematics of these figures but to ask whether, if God's intention is absolute, must he not retain the power to accomplish his purpose even if the relative or contingent factors combine to force a loss again? One need not deny contingency in human affairs in order to assert God's power, as some have thought they must. The point is whether God retains any options if contingent events prove destructive in their outcome. God evidently has "omniscience" to the extent of being able to pick the central figure in the providence of restoration but not in the usual sense of foreknowing all events. The issue is mirrored in the question of Christology too. Jesus "can by no means be God himself" (p. 211), but the question is not so much the metaphysical one of Jesus' nature, or even God's complete foreknowledge, but whether Jesus retains God's full power to triumph over the tragedies which the contingencies of human existence lead to. Jesus does not need to be God, but he does need God's power.

Again, the Divine Principle doctrine of True Mother (and True Father) leads us to an insight into God's nature. The Holy Spirit is a female spirit (p. 215) and must come as the second Eve. Thus, to complete the duality in God, and to establish the four position foundation, "there must be a True Mother, along with the True Father, in order to give rebirth to the fallen children as children of goodness" (Ibid.). Whatever Rev. Moon's relation to the Principle, or whatever the office of the Lord of the Second Advent may be, it is clear that members regard him as the central figure of providence in the present age, and that he and Mrs. Moon are seen as True Father and True Mother in the process of restoration. Since this is the new truth revealed in the Principle, it is easy to see why Jesus should have married and established a family and why restoration even now must follow this process. It traces back to the duality of male and female to God, and thus it is in all things and must be expressed in creation and be part of any true revelation of God. The New Testament does not speak in these terms, but, knowing God's plan as we do now in its entirety, we see that Jesus did not live long enough to reveal this part of the Principle. Thus, it is missing in the New Testament accounts.

When we are told that "man must set up certain necessary conditions in order to restore himself" (p. 224), we realize that God reveals this principle (only fully in the Last Days) but man must accomplish it. God works on a partnership basis. In so doing he subjects himself to human failure, although Divine Principle is optimistic about the outcome this time around. The crucial factor is to know precisely God's heart, but this the Lord of the Second Advent reveals. Moonists are aware that human action in the past has failed. They document these repeated tragedies, or partial successes, But our ability to know God's heart now is what they count on to reverse this history of human failure. They believe the way has been opened to success, and now we must decide whether this seems to be so and whether we see God acting in terms of Principle. The foundation must be set up to receive the messiah if the mission is not to fail again. This, they say, cannot be accomplished by God's power alone, but is to be fulfilled "by man's joint action with God" (p. 283).


When Divine Principle tells us that "God cannot grant man grace unconditionally" (p. 341), we know that God's power is bound by the procedures of the Principle. Divine Principle goes on to explain that this is because God does not want Satan to accuse him of unfairness. But surely this evidences a restricted God. (Why should God care what Satan says?) John the Baptist looms as the figure in the failure of Jesus to restore the full Kingdom, which again indicates how dependent God is on certain human actions. The course is set, and even God cannot alter it, It is a scenario given by God but acted out by men. "The Lord of the Second Advent must restore through indemnity the providential course of restoration left unachieved at the time of the first coming" (p. 364). God evidently has no other choice. "God's form is also mathematical" (p. 381), so that numerology looms large in interpreting and plotting God's actions. He is addicted to significant numbers and evidently bound in his actions by them. He likes 4, 21, 40 and 12. We can calculate his actions in such figures and their combinations.

God is a politician too, as well he must be, and he identifies with democracy (p. 442). After the monarchical image of God that dominated divine imagery for centuries, it is refreshing to find a democratic model, but it is perhaps too literally tied to existing political systems and ideologies. Satan steers us to communism. But the Second Advent of the Messiah must make the present political system display its intended function centered on God's will (p. 471), which contrasts dramatically with Jesus' aloofness from the politics of his day But this was his mission's failure, according to Divine Principle, Jesus never got as far as his political and social program.

The history of evil's sovereignty centering on Satan is said to end with the appearance of the Lord of the Second Advent (p. 476). However, it is hard to see how this can be asserted so confidently, since God cannot accomplish this change with certainty by himself. Divine Principle answers: God will let the prophets know the day and the hour of the coming of the Lord of the Second Advent (p. 497), but the question is, why? Why must God share this secret, and can he know it with assurance in advance, given the restrictions on his own power of actualization? Korea is said to be the Third Israel (p. 521).

Young Oon Kim asserts that the "universe reflects the personality of God3" (p. 3). The universe becomes God's body, and since God's nature involves polarity, the creation and nature exist in the same polarity Of course, this is not an empirical matter since the Fall makes man unlike God in that respect. This means you cannot see God by looking at man and nature directly but only in the "original mind" hidden within, Still, basic polarity is a primary feature of God, Kim says, and our problem is to evaluate this as a basic structure for understanding God. The inner invisible nature versus the outer form is a metaphysical structure which characterizes both God and his creation. Subject, as the initiating force, and object, as the responding power, is another bi-polar mode for understanding God. The "four position foundation" is not so much a structure characteristic of nature as a form which prescribes relationships. "Give and take" also governs relationships. "The universal source energy emanating from God operates to stimulate and produce a give and take action between subject and object" (p. 11).

What shall we say about this metaphysical scheme for understanding God and his creation? Its value will eventually be determined by its use or disuse, but it is a "modern metaphysics," although derived from ancient sources. It has some counterparts in other suggestions about God, particularly either Process Theology or those based on an evolutionary scheme. It is, then, a viable framework for interpreting God, although, as I have argued, the metaphysics is not so important as the way in which God's actions are described according to Principle. However on one important score, that is, the protection of freedom and contingency in both God and man, Unification theory does better than most classical metaphysical schemes in Western theology, many of which start with a preference for necessity and completion, for example, Aristotle and Aquinas. When theologies derived from these principles want to interpret "freedom," they either have difficulty, because that notion runs counter to their metaphysical base, or they offer freedom in only a limited sense. The Principle makes freedom and contingency both basic and natural, which has advantages in the modern world,

Since God as the ultimate subject "requires an object for the give and take of his love" (p. 18), God cannot experience joy without the creation of nature and man within it. Some classical theologies asserted God to be dependent on nothing else, the sole absolute existent. Casting God with human qualities, particularly emotion, Divine Principle makes the creation of our natural order a necessity for God. However, Christian theologies have always come close to the assertion of the necessity of creation, so a metaphysical scheme which links God's own experience of completion with creation and its perfection can fit a Christian scheme. In many ways it is easier than theologies which work laboriously to prevent saying God required nature as an object of his love. It is, in fact, easy for Divine Principle to assert love in God as an emotion, as well as suffering. How to do this is a problem which has plagued Christian theologies for centuries, since they wished to assert God's love for man and his willingness to suffer in Jesus, but at the same time tried to protect his independence. However, like other contemporary theologies, Principle compromises God's power in order to assert these features, so much so that he becomes dependent on the outcome of history. Man and God become partners in moral and intellectual development (p. 24). Man is challenged to become a co-creator. This enhances the significance of man, but it also compromises the control of God, as I have argued. Classical theologies tried to prevent this, even at the expense of adopting metaphysical notions which worked against such Christian principles as love and freedom. Heaven must begin on earth, we are told for example (p. 30). But this ties God to the outcome of the historical process. "The center of Unification theology is to alleviate God's sorrow and to fill his heart with happiness" (p. 35). That is an exhilarating and exciting task for men, but what if they fail? What if the formula of the Principle does not work? What can God do to avoid catastrophic loss? One who is optimistic about the outcome of culture need not worry about this, but what is the evidence that the human drama will in fact turn out to be comedy rather than tragedy on its own power? The Unification view of God offers options for man's freedom and an openness of history to contingency which other theologies have had difficulty affirming. But what about God's power in the face of human failure?

This question concerning God's power is illustrated again in Divine Principle's account of the Fall and the centrality it is given. Of course, there is the question of whether the Fall should be so central in Christian theology and also whether Genesis should be given such a literal interpretation. But Kim is quite dear in wanting to keep God free of responsibility for the Fall. "God is in no sense a responsible participant" (p. 62). However, what God does not share in he may not have control over. That is, if in the beginning he could not recognize evil as part of his plan of creation, as Kim asserts, God was rather limited and blind not to be aware of what would become so central to the human drama and occupy his own energy for centuries. Man is left "to discern evil and abolish it by the exercise of his own free will" (p. 63). True, we had not been given the formula of the Principle until recently, and we ought to give its program time to prove itself. But a God innocent of evil also becomes dependent on man for its cure, and surely the human record to date does not hold out much optimism, given the demise of our confidence in evolution, progress, and trust in modern science, Divine Principle banks a lot on a dramatic reversal taking place in the present age. If it does not come about, what can the God of Principle do?

Just as Moonists believe that "a forthright and unqualified endorsement of Jesus by the Baptist would have turned the tide in Jesus' favor" (p. 98), so they still think a turn in political events is crucial in God's ability to establish his Kingdom today. Some in Jesus' time dearly expected him to make political moves to restore Israel's independence, and they were furious and dismayed when events did not move that way. Divine Principle retains this hope but moves its fulfillment up to the present day, What can God do if he is frustrated again? According to the Principle nothing except "try, try again"? "Without support, Jesus could not hope to lay a foundation for a godly Kingdom" (p. 103), that is quite right. But if Jesus failed to do this, as Moonists and other Christians agree, what can God do? The traditional version has God's power step in at the resurrection event, but Unificationists turn Jesus' resurrection into an account of the plan for historical restoration. At this point they are quite similar to Process Theology. But is God limited to these options, and is he always forced to follow men?

"God works in History," Kim says (p. 223), and when you read the account of God's operations in Divine Principle you find a God very much a stickler for detail, jealous and demanding, but little forgiving. His suffering and his love are dearly evident, but he is little able to do much about this except to keep working intricate schemes hoping to swing men to his side. "By the crucifixion of the Messiah of Israel," Kim tells us, "God's will was effectively thwarted" (Ibid.). Christianity has traditionally said that God did not accept Jesus' defeat and offered the resurrection as our hope. Unification theology does not accept this, and that does make it easier to account for why so little is changed in the world since Jesus' time. Some Christian traditions act too much as if the world were already changed as a result of Jesus' resurrection, when dearly little in the human condition has altered since the Jerusalem trial. On the other hand, if God was thwarted then and could or would do nothing about it (Moon and the Christian tradition agree that Jesus was his highest hope), what leads us to think that the future will be any more favorable to God's hope? Here we face the Principle. Is it so powerful that its formula can bring in the full Kingdom on earth and prevent God's failure this time?

Is "the inexorable march to goodness" (p. 253) as relentless as Divine Principle suggests? Here we face Divine Principle's romantic and evolutionary-progress optimism. "According to the Divine Principle, in our own time we are witnessing a dramatic reversal of the direction of human events" (p. 256). That is fine, if true, but what can the God of Principle do if such optimism is not borne out? Are a new heaven and a new earth appearing? Most voices now speak of the spoiling of the earth and its devastation in the present age. Is love today increasing so that we now have the ability to "love as God loves"? (p. 258) The contemporary world talks more of holocausts. At this time in history, will "the spiritual and physical become one" (p. 261)? Will goodness steadily rise and evil decline? The Jews of Jesus' time expected this too, but it didn't happen. Is our time so different that we can succeed where others failed? -- that is the question. Through a man and a truth, is world harmony "within our grasp" (p. 288)? That is fantastic if true. But does the God of Principle have a contingency plan if tragedy strikes human optimism again?


What, then, should our "critical appraisal" of the God of Principle be? (1) In explaining what he/she is like, I have asked the important questions in that context at each step. (2) In outlining how the God of Principle acts, I have also raised the issue of the limitation which Principle places on his action. (3) If I am right, it is not so much a question of a metaphysical appraisal of the technical concepts Moonists use to describe God's nature (e.g., polarities) as one of assessing the picture given of how such a God acts religiously. (4) Like all theologies, Unification thought should in the end be tested by the vigor of the religious life it creates and sustains. My assumption is that there is no one single "true" theology but a variety of ways to describe God, some more effective in certain situations than others. Moonists have stressed the peculiar crisis, the turning point of the present day, Many of the excesses the movement engages in, which have brought down a hail of criticism, stem from their sense of urgency that the time for men and women to move is now. Couple this with the conviction that man's role is crucial for either bringing in God's Kingdom or delaying it, and you have the makings of a crusade.

However, more important than an appraisal of either the original doctrine, or their present campaign to bring the Kingdom of God on earth, is the question of what the movement will do and how the doctrine may be revised if the projected time table does not hold or men fail the central figure again. This is a religious movement and a theology in its formation stage, to borrow a phrase from Divine Principle. Thus, its critical appraisal eventually depends more on how it is developed in the future than on assessing its past record or even its present (controversial) performance, Christianity was not built in a day. Of course, the movement could fade away, but that remains to be seen. I have argued4 (1) that the movement is here to stay, although perhaps in lesser numbers than Moon hopes; and (2) that it is presently passing through its "crucifixion stage." Their crucial test will be, as for the early Christians, how the members respond to disappointed hopes, if they remain loyal and do not desert.

However, since our concern is the God of Principle, our question becomes: What will, or can, the God of Principle do if the present time table does not hold? Of course, since Moonists believe in a necessary growth stage, in human freedom, in contingency in human events, and the necessity for human cooperation according to a strict plan for restoration to succeed -- failure or postponement is no surprise to them or to the God of Principle. He and they have borne disappointment, suffering and delay before. Thus, although they have a program, its frustration is not as difficult a matter for those who understand Principle as it would be for a Calvinist deterministic God. Furthermore, Rev, Moon has indicated that he may revise the present version of the Divine Principle. Neither he nor his followers consider it an infallible book, just as they do not accept every page of our present Bible literally. The question is whether the core of Principle can remain and the calendar built around it still be altered or changed. This is a process many religions, particularly millennial groups, have gone through in the history of both Judaic and Christian messianic expectations.

But will the God of Principle change any in the process? The terms in which he is described are not sacrosanct. If he did not dose revelation with the fixing of the canon of the New Testament, he could speak again to Rev, Moon or to others. God's response to the lack of fulfillment of the Divine Principle program is almost more crucial than that of Rev. Moon or his followers. Yet God never speaks directly but only through human instruments, so the form in which we receive his word is fragile and our hearing is never perfect, "We have our treasures in earthen vessels." Religions which immunize themselves against change often crush themselves on their own inflexibility. Like Christianity, Unification thought incorporates many of the culturally popular notions of its time of origin. This does not prove it wrong but only that, like everything born in enthusiasm and pentecostal fervor, it needs refining. Some theologians refine away the core of their belief, using yet another more current set of cultural assumptions to replace the ones from an earlier time that they do not like, The question is whether the God of Principle can survive the refining fire which the-God-beyond-the-Principle seems to send to test every new incarnation.

However, as human beings, we come to know God by perceiving how he works. Where the vision of Divine Principle is concerned, the major issue is whether God works more through the major, the important, and the powerful figures in an era; or does he find the lowly, the humble, and the social outcast his preferable vessel? Christianity has in its theology traditionally stressed the latter, although like any institutional religion, in its practice it often cultivates the rich and the powerful. The Principle corrects the picture that the New Testament gives of the band of lowly fishermen made powerful by God's action. They say that the stress on the poor and the meek is simply the early church's apology for its failure to become successful and powerful, move on to challenge Rome and usher in God's Kingdom. The issue, however, is not to debate the question of New Testament interpretation or Divine Principle's special hermeneutic but to ask ourselves how and where we find God active. This is the question Divine Principle raises for us.

Considering what we know about human nature, the powerful and successful seldom make good spiritual instruments, because they are too "full of themselves." Each has an agenda of his own, or he would not have climbed as far as he has. Those outside the power structure, those who lack temporal authority, are open and receptive to be filled by power outside themselves. "The well have not need of a physician." The Spirit can enter and find a home. It more easily transforms life in one who is not bound up with his or her own importance. In looking at the God of Principle, and as we seek to locate where God may be present in our own time, we need to ask what kind of human instrument God is likely to choose. Of course, both Rev. Moon and Korea were humble in their origins and lacking in world power as they emerged on the scene. But the issue is whether God next needs the help of "world leaders" as those who have been chosen to usher in his Kingdom move out from their early obscurity.

How could it have occurred to anyone that the way to usher in God's Kingdom on earth is to enlist the world's temporal authorities in the cause? At this point we come up against the element of shamanism in Unification thought. As I went to Korea to investigate the origins of the movement, the church's opponents repeatedly told me that Divine Principle was simply "Korean shamanism dressed up." I puzzled about this, particularly as I came to see Moon's Presbyterian missionary background and Divine Principle's dose affinity with, and dependence on, Christian doctrine. But Moonists believe in an active spirit world. Rev. Moon has traveled there to meet the sages of the past and to do battle with the forces of Satan. He even talks of using the power of the spirit world in order to guide his church after his physical death,/The battles in that world are decisive for the turn of events on this earth -- that is the shamanistic element in Divine Principle. Thus, Unification Family members count on spirit men to assist them in their labors on earth. This gives them confidence that they can win over to their cause otherwise self-preoccupied temporal power figures, Spirit men and women will come down to sway those decisive to victory, they are sure.

But if this shamanistic view of the power of the spirit world over our affairs is incorrect, and if God does not operate that way, the Principle is seriously in question. If God stands alone in his relation to affairs on this earth and seldom intercedes in human life, and if the spirit world is separated off from our own affairs more decisively than Divine Principle assumes, what then? God may still be present to us in the Holy Spirit, but Caesar's affairs would be his own and very little subject to spiritual influence. God would not correct the world and usher in his Kingdom by coercing powerful figures in the world of intellect, politics, and finance. He would work through the lowly and the meek, and by his own spiritual presence to those who seek him, That is, he works indirectly and in silence, until the day the trumpet is blown, and he breaks the power of the present temporal order by the direct release of his own power held in suspension for that decisive moment.


1 Divine Principle (Washington: Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1973).

2 Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology and Christian Thought (New York: Golden Gate, 1975); see also Sang Hun Lee, "The Unification View of God," in Sebastian A. Matczak, ed., God in Contemporary Thought (New York: Learned, 1977), pp. 727-49.

3 Kim.

4 Frederick Sontag, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1977). 

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