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

The Fall of Man in Divine Principle -- Francis Clark

On reading Divine Principle for the first time, I was especially struck by its coherence of structure and thought. To assess each of the individual chapters and sections aright it is necessary to see the work as a whole, and to realize how the individual parts fit into a master plan and how they mutually complement and clarify one another. Thus the meaning and force of the chapter on the Fall of Man is not fully apprehended until one has seen the application of the ideas here put forward in the later sections of the book. Moreover even the specific teaching on the Fall of Man is not restricted to the chapter on which I have been asked to comment. In several places in later chapters we return to the teaching on the Fall, and these later references bring new insight, and even at times a new choice of wording which throws light on what is said in our chapter.

It is right that I should "declare an interest" at the start, and indicate my own standpoint. I was for several years a Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, However, I hope my comments and my outlook will not be considered as too narrowly those of a Roman Catholic theologian and historian of Christian thought. My present responsibilities, and my own heart-felt interest, are concerned with the religious brotherhood of mankind in the widest sense. I learn much from the faith and worship of others, and I find I am enriched when I reverence the reverence of those who do not share my own belief.

For the sake of easy reference, and clarity in our discussion, I will group my comments under the headings of the Sections given in Chapter 2 of Part I of Divine Principle. I offer these reflections, for the most part, as questions, If I have not properly understood the original meaning of the text, perhaps it will be a useful occasion for others to point out what I have failed to apprehend.

Section I

It is indeed with a striking claim that this Section opens: "Until the present era, not a single man has known the root of sin". The same claim is repeated, in equivalent terms, later in the book. It will be a useful question to ask at the end of the discussion, how this claim is justified, and in what essential respects the answer given in Divine Principle is unique, in comparison with other answers given throughout history.

Does Divine Principle establish that man is fallen, or does it take this for granted? In the chapter on the Fall of Man, it seems to be taken for granted; nevertheless if we turn back to the General Introduction, we find the basic premise of the Fallenness of man stated and justified there. In those opening pages of the book there is already sketched out a theology of "original righteousness", or, as it is there termed, "the original mind of man" as intended in the divine creative plan. The fact of the Fall is taken as certain. Texts from Romans witness to the universal experience of the "great contradiction in man" -- namely, that, "within the same individual, the power of the original mind, which desires goodness, is at violent war against the power of the wicked mind, which desires evil" (Divine Principle, p. 2). In asserting this universal experience and conviction of the Fallenness and evil inclinations of mankind, Divine Principle is at one with a fundamental teaching in mainstream Christianity from New Testament times, through the Augustinian tradition, through the witness of the Reformation, and still present both in Catholic and Protestant theology to this day. This teaching is also a constant in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, though there it is less prominent. If we ask whether this traditional Christian doctrine implies that the Fallenness of mankind is so obvious from universal experience that it is naturally knowable, and known, even independently of the Christian scriptural revelation, we do not find unanimity among the theologians. Those in the Augustinian tradition would answer affirmatively, Fallen man inevitably experiences and knows his predicament, even if he cannot know without revelation and grace the divine answer to it. On the other hand, an influential trend in Mediaeval and later Catholic theology, represented by the Franciscan, Scotist, Nominalist, Jesuit and other Molinist schools, would not necessarily answer in the affirmative. (For very different reasons, Karl Barth also denies that the reality of original sin can be comprehended independently of scriptural revelation.) As we shall see, these schools differed from the thoroughgoing Augustinian theology in their understanding both of the nature of original righteousness and of the effects of the Fall. Since they did not agree that human nature was radically vitiated by the Fall, they did not assert that the fact of Fallenness could be certainly and universally deduced by all men from their experience of inescapable moral decadence.

Since we are discussing Divine Principle in comparison not only with mainstream traditional theology but also in comparison with other influential theological positions both in antiquity and in modern times, it is also relevant to point out that since the days of Schleiermacher there has been a significant rejection within the world of Protestant theology of the dogma of both the Fall and Fallenness of man. Liberal Protestantism turned away from what it saw as the pessimistic Augustinian heritage, and asserted an evolutionary optimism. There was no state of original righteousness from which man had fallen; human waywardness and the moral struggle were to be attributed to the imperfections and obstacles inseparable from the upward march of evolutionary progress.

It is true that the somber experience of two World Wars in the twentieth century brought a sharp check to this evolutionary optimism of Liberal Protestantism, and a return to a theology of crisis based on the Pauline and Augustinian insights. Yet we should recognize that in the wide field of modern theological thought the evolutionary perspective is once again a significant influence. Not only is it widespread in post-Barthian Protestantism, but it also has an important impact in Catholic theology, especially through the spread of the ideas of Teilhard de Chardin. Now Divine Principle claims to promote and provide a synthesis between faith and science; yet the ruling orthodoxy in science holds tenets about evolution which would seem to be difficult to reconcile with the premises of Divine Principle about the earliest condition of mankind and the Fall. I would like to hear this question further discussed. Later I shall refer again to the rival theories of monogenism and polygenism; whereas the latter is asserted by most biological scientists, Divine Principle seems to depend on acceptance of the former. Or is there some reconciliation of these two apparently conflicting viewpoints, which is not explicitly spelt out in Divine Principle?

Any theology of the Fall must presuppose a theology of creation and of original righteousness. This Divine Principle provides, in Chapter 1 We cannot discuss the teaching on the Fall without constantly referring back to the principles laid down in the previous chapter. I note here some points from that chapter which are very relevant to our present discussion. There is the affirmation on pp. 38-39: "Man was created to be the center of harmony of the whole macrocosm... However, the universe lost this center when man fell; consequently, all of creation has been groaning in travail, waiting..." Although this conviction of the travail and disorientation of the whole material universe as a result of man's Fall is not often asserted in modern Christian theology, it has considerable support from Patristic and later traditions.

Likewise the test to which the proto-parents of the human race were put in their state of original righteousness, discussed in Section V of Chapter 1, is presented in a way which largely accords with much of Christian tradition. A notable exception is that in mainstream Christian tradition man was not cast for the role of ruler of the angels (cf. Divine Principle, p. 56 and p. 61)1. The corollary, stated on p. 58, that "God does not dominate the world directly" is likewise untraditional from the standpoint of Christian theology, One may also remark in passing that the statement in the second paragraph on p. 56 seems akin to the view of the Semi-Pelagians about the "initiumftdei" being man's contribution, and not the gift of God's grace. This is not to imply, of course, that Divine Principle must be bound by or interpreted in accordance with the categories of traditional Christian theology. I mention this and similar points of contrast because I take it that our purpose is to make a comparative appraisal of the text before us, and especially to note what is distinctive in it.

Turning now directly to the text of Section I of Chapter 2,1 note with interest the exegesis of Genesis III which sees the two trees in the Garden of Eden as symbolizing respectively manhood and womanhood, the Tree of Life being associated with Adam and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil being associated with Eve. Although, as I shall note later, there was a considerable body of opinion in ancient times which held that after the Fall women were given special occult knowledge by the demons, I do not find that this interesting symbolism of the two trees of Eden has any dose parallel in the long history of scriptural exegesis,

The exposition of the significance of the serpent in the Genesis account, given on pp. 69-71, is wholly consonant with traditional interpretations. Note the rejection of dualism, in the insistence that the spiritual tempter described in the guise of a serpent is not "a being in existence before creation with a purpose contrary to that of God". If that were so, as in Manichaean and Gnostic dualism, and as in Zoroastrianism (according to a common interpretation) then, as Divine Principle puts it, "the struggle between good and evil in the world would be inevitable and eternal". As in dl orthodox Christianity, Divine Principle sees Satan as a spiritual being "originally created for the purpose of goodness who later fell and was degraded", There is no deep root of pessimism in Divine Principle, as in those ancient world views which also stressed the pervasiveness of evil in the world. Divine Principle faces the problem of evil and gives it an arresting statement; but throughout there is a dominant stress on the goodness of creation, Evil neither enters into the divine nature, nor is it an independent empire over against God, nor can it eventually thwart God's good purpose.

To assert the Fallenness of mankind is not the same as to assert the actual event and circumstances of the Fall, Divine Principle proceeds to do the latter in considerable detail. To what extent are Unificationists constrained to accept this account as historical feat, and to what extent can they interpret it symbolically so that they need not assert that any such events ever happened in time and on this earth? In asking this question, of course, one inevitably makes comparisons with similar preoccupations within modern Christian theology. Although the author of Divine Principle discards naively literal interpretations of some details of the Genesis narrative (e.g., that the fruit was literally a fruit, and that the transgression of Adam and Eve was literally through eating of that fruit), nevertheless he is very far from allegorizing away the whole drama of Eden. The persons in the drama are red individual persons, even though they have a cosmic significance. Although the actual nature of the events is outside our experience and is not readily imaginable as a pictorial scenario, there is no doubt from the text of the Divine Principle that the events actually happened, that they were physical happenings, and that they had dire physical consequences for the whole human race, and conditioned the whole of human history.

It is when we return to the remaining sub-sections in Section I, and the first two sub-sections of Section II (Divine Principle, pp. 71-80) that we find what is most distinctive in the teaching of Divine Principle about the Fall, and what is in most marked contrast with mainstream Christian theology. Yet strange as the account given here may seem to those who know only the mainstream Christian tradition, it is interesting to note that there are parallels to this teaching to be found in the history of Jewish and Christian speculation outside mainstream theology.

The interpretation of the Fall of the Angel, as being an act of fornication, has many echoes in ancient religious literature. Although Divine Principle refers only to Jude 1 6-7, this text is by no means an explicit assertion that the rebel angels fell through lust. There are much more explicit and circumstantial statements in the Jewish apocryphal literature of the inter-testamental period. In this literature, and in a long posterity of writings dependent upon it, there is a special preoccupation with a "Fall of the angels", not based on Genesis III, but on Genesis VI. 1-4: "And after that men began to be multiplied on the earth and daughters were born to them, The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose....Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old..." In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, dating from about 170 B.C., there is an explicit explanation of the coming of evil into human experience, through interpreting Genesis VI. 1-4 as relating a miscegenation between wayward angels and women. The "sons of God" were identified as the attendant angels called "watchers". When, bewitched by the beauty of women, they copulated with them, they thereby begot a new mixed lineage. Moreover the fallen angels, Azazel in particular, taught their human wives secrets of wickedness. Here sin is evil knowledge, not transmitted guilt. A similar interpretation of Genesis VI 1-4 is found in other apocrypha dating from between the second century B.C. and the first century A.D., including the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Book of Songs, the Book of Parables, the Book of Jubilees (as interpolated) and the Fourth Book of Ezra. It was especially the Book of Enoch that had most effect on Christian thinkers in the first four centuries of the Christian era, It was widely supposed to be canonical, and for that reason many Fathers of the Church and ecclesiastical writers of repute repeated its fanciful embroidering of the events of Genesis VI. 1-4. The interpretation of the text, which understood it to refer to a miscegenation between fallen angels and women, was given additional emphasis by a variant reading of the text of the Septuagint Greek translation of the Old Testament in verses 2 and 4 of that chapter. Instead of reading "hoi huoi tou Theou" this variant gave "fioi angeloi tou Theou" -- that is, it was directly stated in this variant that it was "the angels of God" who went in to the daughters of men. This variant reading was for long the most widely accepted in the early Church. The Apologists of the second century found no difficulty in accepting the notion of carnal commerce between angelic spirits and women. For example St, Justin Martyr dearly knows the text of the Book of Enoch and the Book of jubilees, and explains that the offspring of this unnatural union were the demons who tempt and prey upon men (Apologia II. 5). The same tradition is continued by Athenagoras, Irenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria, who held that although the angels partook of the spiritual world, they were capable of being attracted to a lower beauty Likewise Tertullian calls these fallen angels "desertores Dei, amatores feminarum", and uses this example to warn women against cosmetics and bewitching finery. Julius Africanus took the "daughters of men" to be the "daughters of the race of Cain". The Clementine apocrypha of the third century explained that after falling from their high estate into an illicit union with women the wicked spirits revealed to women evil arts such as idolatry, magic, astrology and other forms of human perversity. As in exegesis of the Eden story, so here there was a readiness to see women as especially connected with the origin of sin and evil. Lactantius explained that there were two kinds of demons; the first were spiritual creatures only, fallen from heaven; the others were the descendants of the perverse sexual union mentioned in Genesis VI. Although we already find a rejection of the Book of Enoch as non-canonical by Origen in the third century, we find a surprising survival of the ideas sprung from it right into the fourth and fifth centuries, even in the work of eminent Fathers such as St. Athanasius, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome. From the time of St. Augustine the philosophical refinement of the distinction between spirit and matter made it seem absurd to postdate a sexual union between angelic spirits and human beings. St. John Chrysostom denounced as a fable the story of the fornication of angels with the daughters of men, and from the fifth century onwards this tradition, sprung from the interpretation of Genesis VI j-4 as interpreted in the Jewish apocrypha, disappeared from orthodox Christian exposition. It had also been present in Gnostic speculation, for example in Heradeon in the second century. It can still be traced, here and there, in obscurer writings of later centuries.

I have pointed out that the tradition I have just referred to, of a kind of fornication between Fallen angels and the daughters of men, was not based on the temptation narrative in Eden of Genesis III, but on the subsequent text from Genesis VI. In this there is dearly a significant difference from the teaching of Divine Principle, which locates the original fornication of the Angel in Eden itself. Just as the Fall of the Angel is attributed to illicit intercourse between Satan and the first woman, so the Fall of the first man is also understood to have been a sexual sin. The explanation in Divine Principle is nuanced, and takes account of obvious objections which could be brought against this interpretation of Genesis III. Some of the indications which are given in Divine Principle to show that this sin of the proto-parents of humanity was a sexual transgression were also used by writers in antiquity.

Strangely enough, there was much greater readiness in the early Church to admit illicit carnal union between angels and women in the post-Eden period than to explain the sin of Adam and Eve as an act of fornication. This idea was, it is true, sufficiently current to call forth protests and counter-proofs from the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. It seemed especially significant, as Divine Principle points out on p. 72, that after the Fall Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness and covered their sexual parts. St. Augustine himself seems to find that this detail is somewhat surprising, since one would more naturally suppose that they would have covered their mouths, the organs through which they had sinned. Moreover, the maledictions delivered by God against the woman concerning the travails and sorrows of childbirth and maternity could be taken to indicate a link between her sin and her sexual function, (The serpent, too, had sexual connotations in the context of Canaanite fertility cults of which the Yahwist author would have been aware.) However, the Fathers, including both the Alexandrians and the Antiochenes, as well as the Fathers of the West led by St. Augustine, insisted that the Fall of our first parents was a sin of disobedience, and not of sexual disorder. The prohibition of God concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Fathers pointed out, Indicated a prohibited knowledge, and dearly laid down a divine precept which was a test of obedience and humility The inspired author of Genesis had exulted marriage in his account of creation and of the divine ordinance; would he go on to represent the union of spouses as a sin? (Divine Principle, of course, has an answer to this objection. It was not married union as such that was prohibited, but its consummation at the wrong time, in the period of growth before it could come to proper fruition.) The punishment of the woman does not prove that the sin was sexual, any more than the divine malediction of the man or of the serpent relates to the nature of their guilt. The ordinary interpretation of the "fig leaf" sequel of the transgression of Adam and Eve was that concupiscence arose as a consequence of the preceding original sin which caused the Fall. St. Gregory of Nyssa even supposes that biological sex, and its use, arose only as a result of the Fall. The original God-like men, in their ideal state, would have multiplied in a fashion unknown to us, without the use of sex (De Hominis Opiftcio, 17). In later mainstream Christianity it was taken as established beyond dispute that the first sin of Adam and Eve was one of disobedience, a sin of the spirit, a rebellion of the human will against the divine will. To interpret it, as Divine Principle does, as "an improper act of love" between the intended spouses is not indeed unheard of in the long history of Christian thought, but it sharply contrasts with the accepted Christian theology of the past 1500 years. At the time of the Reformation, indeed, the notion reappeared, especially among sects of the Radical Reformation, and can still be traced in modern times.

In the sub-section entitled "The Act of Adultery between the Angel and Man", and in the further explanation given on the two following pages (Divine Principle, pp. 74-75), there is much to discuss, and I should like to know whether I have understood the teaching aright. Evidently there is a difficulty in admitting that there could be "an adulterous relationship between the angel and man". This primordial act, the evil union between Satan and Eve, is given great importance in Divine Principle, and one wants to be sure that one has understood both what is meant by the act and its consequences. Evidently it is not merely an improper union of will, through ill-regulated desire or consent; it is more than that, since the act is a physical or ontological union, and it has physical or ontological consequences of great importance. Phrases which need dear explanation here are, for example: "We have come to understand that the root of sin is not that the first human ancestors ate a fruit, but that they had an illicit blood relationship with an angel symbolized by a serpent"; "From this act, all men came to be born of Satanic lineage, apart from God's"; "What were the circumstances surrounding the affair which made man the descendant of the fallen angel, Satan?" These questions are to be further elucidated in the light of what we read in the following Sections.

Section II

The doctrine of the angels contained in sub-section 1 accords largely with traditional Christian belief. One may except the affirmation that the angels were created to assist God in the creation of the universe (although this doctrine does not lack some support from ancient and medieval writers): likewise the affirmation that "man was supposed to dominate the angels, too".

In sub-section 2 we return to the problem of the illicit sexual relationship between Satan and Eve. Although we are told that this was "the spiritual Fall" whereas the illicit relationship between Eve and Adam was "the physical Fall", it is dear that according to the teaching of Divine Principle the first fall was not merely in the moral or intentional order. Feelings, sensations and contact can be predicated even of spiritual beings: "Therefore, sexual union between a human being and an angel is actually possible". On page 79 we read that "Eve received certain elements from Lucifer when she joined into one body with him through love". These elements are given as the sense of fear, leading to guilty conscience, and a kind of higher wisdom giving her insight into creative purpose, As I have observed above, there is an ancient, and quite long-continued tradition within the Christian Church, which saw no impossibility in an illicit carnal union between angels and women, leading even to the procreation of demonic offspring which partook of the nature of both parents. (I may also recall that even when such a notion was rejected as impossible in the official theology of the Church, the idea of actual sexual intercourse between a devil and a woman long continued in medieval and later folklore -- for example, in the popular dread of the Plantagenets as the "Devil's Brood". The mediaeval doctors did not dispute that the devil in bodily guise could so invade the body of a woman, nor that she could be a willing accomplice in the unnatural union; but they denied that it could be true generation, since a spirit could not procreate from a human being.)

The description given in Divine Principle of the Spiritual Fall of Lucifer, in his illicit union with Eve, is free from the grossness of some ancient and mediaeval speculations. The motivation which led Lucifer to tempt Eve to submit to him is of great interest. The explanation of this motivation has a resemblance to traditional Christian teaching that it was because of envy of man, newly created and highly endowed and loved by God, that the devil brought about man's Fall. In support of this view there was the text in the Book of Wisdom (accepted as canonical in the Catholic Church): "For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he gave him. But, by the envy of the devil, death came into the world" (II. 23-24). One should note, however, that in traditional theology the devil had already fallen before he tempted Eve and Adam; whereas in Divine Principle the devil's fall was in the act of making the woman fall, The devil's sin was traditionally explained as basically a sin of pride, which led him to refuse to acknowledge the nobility of human nature, in which he was shown that God himself would become incarnate in Jesus Christ. This explanation, I should add, was never an official dogma of the Church, but a theological opinion widely held.

What is significantly different in the teaching of Divine Principle is that Lucifer saw in his seduction of Eve his opportunity and hope to use this contact with human nature so that he might obtain the mediatorship between God and the whole universe, in addition to the mediatorship he already possessed as the supreme archangel in the angelic world.

The motivation which led Eve to draw Adam into a premature and illicit sexual relationship is also described in a passage of great psychological interest. The consequences of the two-fold adultery are further explained later. The whole of this part of Divine Principle is very carefully constructed and closely argued; to understand the significance of the two-fold Fall in its cosmic context and consequences one has to return to the deep metaphysical foundations laid in Chapter 1, "Principle of Creation".

Section III

I find this short Section of particular importance, since it points to a basic premise which underlies the whole approach to reality put forward in Divine Principle. It is the assertion that the power of love is stronger than all, even stronger than the power of the Principle. There is a fundamental strength and soundness in a world-outlook which declares the primacy of love. Fate, necessity, eternal law -- affirmation of these ultimates can undergird somber, pessimistic and world-denying philosophies and theologies. But the affirmation of ultimate love is the avowal that life-bringing goodness is at the heart of all reality and act. Bonuen est diffusivum sui. One is reminded of the mediaeval controversies about the primacy of divine Will or Intellect. One is reminded, at a deeper level, of St. Paul's "the greatest of these is love", and of St. John's "God is love".

Section IV

The consequences of the Fall of man are here worked out with clarity and logical coherence. Understanding of these consequences is necessary for an understanding of the Restoration which is to be explained later in the book.

In sub-section 1 emphasis is laid on how "the world came under Satanic sovereignty". There is, indeed, scriptural warrant for this conviction, and it has played a large part in Christian thinking through the ages. It is strongly reasserted throughout Divine Principle, and it seems to be a powerful psychological element in the spiritual attitude of those who accept Divine Principle as their guide. There is no need to point out how alien this viewpoint must seem to the majority of their contemporaries, not only those who accept materialistic and secular assumptions, but also a large proportion of believing Christians in the modern age. They see it as a psychological and religious aberration of past ages to be obsessively preoccupied with the action of demons in the world, and they pass unfavorable judgments on past ages, such as the later Middle Ages and the period of the Reformation, when Christians were intensely concerned with the devil and with manifestations of diabolic power. Many Christians today either deny the existence of evil spirits, or at least hold that they should have no place in the religious consciousness of believers. Is there a danger that Unificationists give too much attention to the demonic and Satanic, and that by asserting that in some way human beings are descendants of Satan they are obscuring their assertion of the goodness of being and of the power of love? I realize that an answer can be given from the pages of Divine Principle itself (e.g., in sub-section 3, pp. 85-87); but it is an answer which needs to be discussed.

I have some incidental questions about points raised on page 86. There we read, in the second paragraph, "that even the world of evil, when turned towards the purpose of goodness centered on Christ, will be restored to perfect goodness, thus realizing the Kingdom of God on earth". This belongs rather to later stages in our discussion, when we consider the teaching on the Restoration. But in passing I ask whether there is here a hint of the doctrine, put forward in antiquity by Origen and a few others, which held that even Satan and his fallen angels would eventually be saved in the final restoration of all things?

I find the last paragraph on page 86, continuing on to page 87, obscure. Is the English translation perhaps to blame?

Another point on which I should like clarification is the teaching about "the spirit men of evil men on earth" (p. 84). Sub-section 4, on "The Works of Good Spirits and Evil Spirits" is relevant here. Are "the evil spirit men" permanently such, or do men who are at other times collaborating with the work of good spirits become temporarily "evil spirit men" when they collaborate with the work of evil spirits? I may note in passing that sub-section 4 has a number of resemblances to a famous section of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, entitled "On the Discernment of Spirits".

The definition of the four kinds of sins, given in sub-section 5 (pp. 88-89), may usefully be discussed, I note there is a distinction between "original sin", defined as "the sin derived from the spiritual and physical Fall of the first human ancestors", and, on the other hand, "hereditary sin", which is defined as "the sin of the ancestors transmitted to the descendants through blood lineage". This distinction of two kinds of derived sin, one derived from the first parents of the human race, and the other presumably derived from less remote ancestors, seems unusual. It could be objected that the text from Exodus XX. 5, cited in Divine Principle at this point, does not say that the sin of the parents will be conveyed through several generations, but that the iniquity of the fathers will be visited upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate God. The third kind of sin distinguished in this sub-section, namely "collective sin" is one that is much discussed in modern theology. Many theologians equate a collective "sin of the world" with what older theology described as original sin.

In this connection, I may observe that the view, widely accepted in mode m Christian theology, that the account in Genesis III is not a divine revelation that there was an initial Fall involving individual proto-parents of the whole human race, but is a symbolic assertion of the universality of "collective sin", is not only in opposition to Divine Principle but also to the traditional teaching of the Christian Church and the universal belief of the faithful throughout the greater part of Christian history. It is also in opposition to the teaching still maintained by the ordinary magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church (as can be seen in the Encyclical Humani Genesis of Pope Pius XII and in a later pronouncement by Pope Pad VI), and to the biblical understanding of many other Christians, notably the Eastern Orthodox and many in the Protestant Churches, On this point we do not find Divine Principle ranged over against mainstream Christian theology, but rather in the same camp with traditional mainstream theology. Thus the same criticisms which are leveled against conservative Catholic and Evangelical theology, for being "fundamentalist" and "outmoded", will naturally be made by many modern theologians against the Unificationist interpretation of Genesis III and of the doctrine of original sin.

However, because the perspective of Divine Principle, like that of conservative Christian theology, is now dismissed as old-fashioned, that is no reason for denying it serious consideration. Fashions in theological thinking vary from age to age, and a Zeitgeist can change remarkably in a fairly short span of time. An example was the great swing of the pendulum when Liberal Protestantism waned in the first part of the twentieth century, and neo-orthodoxy became the most dynamic movement within Protestant theology. It would be rash to assume that the present near-abandonment of the doctrine of original sin will necessarily be permanent; in a future age it may be restored to centrality in Christian theology.

The last sub-section in Section IV is entitled "The Original Nature of the Fall". Some very controversial questions, which have exercised the minds of Christian theologians throughout the centuries, are relevant to a discussion of this brief sub-section, interpreted in the light of what has preceded it. What are "all the characteristics" which were transmitted from Lucifer to Eve, then from Eve to Adam, and so "gave rise to the fallen nature of man"? On page 79 the only two "elements" mentioned, as received by Eve from Lucifer in her illicit act of love with him, were the sense of fear and wisdom concerning her intended spouse. Nevertheless, it is dear from several references throughout Divine Principle that "the fallen nature of man" implies the influence of considerably more than these two "elements".

The "fallen nature of man", stemming from the inherited characteristics, is evidently something positive and intrinsic to man, containing active propensity to evil. There is wide scope for discussion of this point, to ask how the teaching of Divine Principle stands in relation to the historic controversies between theologians about the nature and constituents of transmitted original sin. While the teaching of Divine Principle is dearly more "optimistic" about the fallen nature of man than is the thorough-going Augustinian teaching of total corruption, it would also seem that it would not go so far as the opinion, predominant in Roman Catholic theology since the Middle Ages, according to which original sin is essentially a privation, the absence of something (namely, sanctifying grace) which ought to be there according to the original endowment by which God raised man's natural capacities to a supernatural destiny

Again, Divine Principle does not enter into the question, so hotly debated in past centuries, about the manner of transmission of original sin. Clearly, it agrees with the traditional teaching, reaffirmed both by the Protestant Reformers and by the Council of Trent, that original sin was transmitted by the process of human generation, and not merely by moral influence or imitation. The opinion of St. Augustine, that it was the human procreative act precisely as affected by lust that was the causal instrument for the transmission of original sin is not here asserted in such terms. Is something similar implied in what we read on pages 75-76, about adultery as the root of sin, about the significance of circumcision, about the "evil blood" received because of universal adultery, and about the inevitability of this evil inclination in all humanity up to the time of the Lord of the Second Advent?

The notion of "concupiscence" has a wider significance in Christian theology than disordered sexual desire, and Divine Principle dearly does not restrict the evil inclination in man to sexual disorder. One may ask how Unificationist theology would stand in relation to the vexed historical controversies about the place of concupiscence in original sin; whether it is identical with transmitted original sin, as Luther held, or whether it is a partial ("material") element of it, as Aquinas held, or whether it is not a constituent element of it at all, but merely a pend consequence, as the Scotists, Nominalists and Molinists held?

Section V

The discussion here about human freedom in the various phases of man's existence also has analogies with parallel discussion in traditional theology about freedom in the supralapsarian, inftalapsarian and eschatological phases, Divine Principle seems to be in accord with the stricter Augustinian tradition, and with Reformation theology, in asserting that "man lost his freedom because of the Fall" (p. 93). This absolute-sounding assertion is, however, mitigated by the statement that follows, to the effect that "man, though fallen, still has a remainder of his original nature which seeks freedom in God", and further, "that, as time goes by, man's zeal for the pursuit of freedom grows". It would be anachronistic to interpret these statements in terms of the classic debates about free will and divine determinism; but at least they offer some analogies with both Arminian and Roman Catholic teaching, even if they do not go so far as the Council of Trent, which anathematized any who asserted that "after the sin of Adam the free will of man was lost and extinguished" (Canon 5 de justificatione).

A noteworthy feature of this Section of Divine Principle, not found in any of the traditional views mentioned above, is the teaching that the tendency and the yearning for "the freedom of the original mind" has been renewed and developed in the course of time. "In the providence of restoration" it seems that this hunger and zed for freedom is pointing forwards to its fulfillment. The social revolutions of recent centuries are not said to be a legitimate part of this providential process, but at least they testify to the growing strength of man's yearning for his original freedom.

Section VI

The deep questions raised in this Section cannot be brushed aside as mere anthropomorphism, or as mere metaphysical subtleties. They involve the problem of evil itself, the radical search for a theodicy which perpetually presses on the religious conscience of mankind, and which all the world religions seek to answer in one way or another.

Why did God, although omniscient and omnipotent, "not intervene to prevent the act of the Fall when He foresaw it"? Divine Principle says that this basic question "has been left unsolved throughout human history". One may understand this assertion to mean that none of the solutions proposed are considered satisfactory. In Christian theology many great minds have offered partial solutions, but there is a readiness to admit that the full resolution of this mysterious question lies beyond the adequate grasp of human reason.

Although modern theologians would refuse to discuss die question in the categories presented here, theologians of past centuries, especially the mediaeval scholastics and the Calvinist thinkers of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, would have acknowledged that this way of presenting and discussing the question was meaningful and useful. The Scotist and Ockhamist theologians who distinguished momenta rationis in the divine will and providential decrees, were well aware that this kind of distinction referred to ontological priority, not to temporal sequence or multiplicity, which could have no place in the being of God. Nevertheless they, like Protestant theologians later who discussed the order of the divine decrees, found this form of theological speculation a necessary path to a deeper penetration of the divine mystery. The use of similar processes of reasoning in Divine Principle when discussing the counsel and volition of God can likewise be defended from the charge of anthropomorphism.

Of the three reasons given in this Section, the first, namely that God did not intervene to prevent the Fall in order not to circumvent the free responsibility he had delegated to man, can be found not only in the thinking of Pelagians but also in some Catholic thinkers of later centuries. The second reason would be countered by most Christian speculative theologians, on the grounds that God's permissive will does not implicate him either in causality of or in responsibility for the moral evil attending some physical act. Moral evil as such requires no positive cause, since it is a negation, a falling away from due goodness, a "surd", as Lonergan puts it.

As for the third reason in this Section, it depends on the metaphysical postulates about divine and created dominion which were set out in the previous chapter. Those who accept the postdates in question will find the present reasoning cogent; those who do not will likewise be unconvinced here.

Some Concluding Reflections on "The Fall of Man"

In its interpretation of Chapters II and III of Genesis, Divine Principle succeeds better than the usual Christian expositions, it seems to me, in giving coherence to the divine prohibition, given originally to Adam and Eve, not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Yahwist author presents the act of eating from that tree as an act of enlightenment, and he indicates that man acquired a feculty of discernment by his act of disobedience. It would be a relevant difficulty to bring against the ordinary Christian exegesis to object that according to Christian doctrine the Fall did not bring enlightenment or enhanced discernment, but ignorance and moral obfuscation,

I have already noted the strong impression given by Divine Principle of a creed which is optimistic, positive and life-affirming. There are some significant phrases on page 86: "...the purpose of creation was to obtain joy, and joy can be obtained only when desire is fulfilled, If man had no desire or ambition, he could have no joy". This is in direct opposition to creeds which show man's ultimate god as reached by the part of the extinction of desire. The perspectives of Divine Principle are very different from those of Stoicism, Quietism or Buddhism,

Nevertheless, Divine Principle is also in opposition to exaggerated evolutionary optimism, which would see the moral obliquity of man as no more than imperfection and defectibility inherent in the process of evolution from a state of primitive struggle towards higher consciousness. "Misuse of human liberty is one thing: it is involved in original sin, But the misuse revealed is one that brings with it a privation of godliness, which is not identical with defective creaturehood" (C. J. Peter).

When referring earlier to evolutionary theory, I said that I would return to the problem of monogenism. Like the traditional Christian theology of original sin, Divine Principle has to face the widespread assumption that belief in an individual pair of human proto-parents, as the starting point of the "history of salvation", is incompatible with science. To put the objection in a nutshell: "The appearance of an individual mutant is not evolution; only populations evolve and survive, not individuals" (E. Bone, Nouvelle Revue Theologique, 1962). Some Christian theologians deny that this dictum of science can determine what happened at the dawn of human spiritual responsibility; since human evolution is unique, a special teleology can be assumed for it. Others accept the postdate of polygenism, and adopt a symbolic interpretation of Genesis which they see as compatible with it. According to Karl Rahner and others, such a reinterpretation is not excluded for Roman Catholic theologians, even by the papal Encyclical, Humnani Generis. How would Unificationists view a similar enterprise to reinterpret Divine Principle in a polygenistic perspective?

The great value of discussions such as the one on which we are at present engaged is, in my opinion, that they insistently redirect the attention of Christian thinkers to the revealed doctrine of original sin, which has during the past century become a largely neglected branch of theology, relegated to the limbo of unimportant or outmoded opinions. This doctrine of original sin runs counter to so much of what is taken for granted in modern thought, so that, to quote Karl Rahner, "It is understandable but not on that account excusable that the doctrine plays a very small part in the contemporary presentation of Christianity". It is now fifty-six years since N. P. Williams, in the first of his Bampton Lectures, described the contemporary theological situation in terms which are even more applicable to the situation today:

"There was a time when the scheme of orthodox dogma appeared to all as an unshakeable adamantine framework, reposing upon the two pillars of the Fall and of Redemption. These two complementary conceptions -- that of the great apostasy, which defaced the image of God in man, and that of the great restoration through the Incarnation and the Atonement, which renewed it -- were universally taken for granted as the twin focal points which determined the ellipse of traditional theology.... It is not too much to say that, whilst for professed and genuine Christians the second great pillar of the faith, the doctrine of Redemption, remains unshaken, founded upon direct experience of the redeeming love of God in Christ, even they have the uneasy feeling that the first pillar, the doctrine of the Fall, has been irretrievably undermined, and totters on its base, no longer capable of bearing its former share of the super-incumbent weight. There are, indeed, those who urge that it is now a source of weakness rather than of strength to the fabric which it supported for so long and should be razed to the ground." (The Ideas of the Fall and of Original Sin, London: Longman's, Green, 1929, pp. 8-10)

This brings me to my last observation, which I regard as substantial. Divine Principle seems to explain the predicament of man almost entirely by reference to the account in Genesis II and III, expounded independently of Christology. Both Catholic and Protestant theologians insist that the mysterious doctrine of original sin cannot be illuminated or seen in its correct setting unless the primary reference is to the New Testament revelation of the divine salvific will through the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. True, much of the older systematic theology, especially in the Reformation tradition, has followed the same methodology as that of Divine Principle in this question. The protest of Karl Barth has made a profound impression in the present century:

"The incline obviously begins at the point where we think we have to create the message of sin from some other source than that of the message of Jesus Christ. This forces us to ask for an independent normative concept, and to move forward to the construction of it, and we fall at once into the whole arbitrary process.... And why should we not avoid the mistake at the point where it begins? What reason is there for that first belief that the doctrine of sin must precede Christology and therefore be worked out independently of it? The belief is a traditional one which has seldom been questioned but has usually been treated as more or less self-evident. In opposition to it we maintain the simple thesis that only when we know Jesus Christ do we really know that man is the man of sin, and what sin is, and what it means for man.... Because the God against whom the man of sin contends has judged this man, and therefore myself as this man, in the self-offering and death of Jesus Christ His Own Son, putting him to death and destroying him;... Because the verdict passed in His resurrection from the dead unmasks this old man, showing what everyman is before God, and therefore what I myself am before Him, the man who is judged and put to death and destroyed. All this came upon Jesus Christ for every one of us and therefore for me, in our place and therefore in my place.... Because He is the One who has done this for us, the verdict of God passed in His resurrection and revealed in His being and living and speaking and witness is relevant to all men and therefore to ourselves.... In this verdict we learn what God knows about us, and therefore how it really is with us.... The fact that man is a sinner, and what his sin is, is something that in the last resort we can measure properly and fully only by that which on the New Testament understanding is man's salvation, the redemptive grace which comes from God to man." (Church Dogmatics, Vol. IV Part 1, E. T. Edinburgh: Clark, 1956, pp. 389-91)

This insight of Karl Barth is shared by Christian theologians today, both Protestant and Catholic, who take seriously the theology of sin. They do not look first to Genesis II and III for the revelation of Christian hamartiology, but to I Corinthians and Romans. Karl Rahner sums it up from the viewpoint of Catholic theology: "The feet that the mystery of original sin has its ground in the mystery of the bestowal of sanctifying grace also explains why the actual doctrine of original sin only appears in Scripture when the divinization of man by the Pneuma of God is explicitly grasped.... Original sin and being redeemed are two existentials of the human situation in regard to salvation, which at all times determine human existence" (Sacramentum Mundi, Vol. 4, s.v. "Original Sin").

In this perspective, I submit, our present discussion of the Fall and sin of man can only be proleptic, pointing forward to and presupposing the doctrine of Redemption and Restoration.


1 There is, of course, I Corinthians VI. 3, 

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