Exploring Unification Theology Edited by M. Darrol Bryant and Susan Hodges

The Divine Principle: Text And Principle

Dr. Bryant: Let's get straight about the status and transmission of the text of the Divine Principle.

Lloyd Eby: There's an interesting sentence that occurs in the Black Book. It's the last paragraph on page 16. It says that the divine principle revealed in this book is only part of the new truth. "We have recorded here what Sun Myung Moon's disciples have hitherto heard and witnessed, and we believe the happy expectation that as time goes on, deeper parts of the truth will be continually revealed..." I take it to mean that one can distinguish between the divine principle as a principle and the expression of the divine principle which is in the book.

Klaus Lindner: Rev. Moon says that we cannot really know God, although we can experience God. The Divine Principle can only give us symbols and images. These can only point to the divine principle underlying the book.

Dr. Bryant: Could one say, then, what the divine principle is? It seems that it's there in the book, but it's not there.

Lloyd Eby: I think the divine principle is that principle by which God exists, by which God creates, by which God restores mankind. The divine principle is not synonymous with God. But one could say that it's God's logos. Anything that one discovers which is true is, in my opinion, an aspect of the divine principle. For example, all of the scientific truths which will be discovered in the future are parts of the divine principle because they're expressions of God's creativity.

Dr. Wilson: But all this can change because what's considered truth by the last generation's assumptions may not be considered truth by this generation's assumptions.

Lloyd Eby: Yes, that's a problem.

Dr. Wilson: I know a physiologist who was the head of the Physiology Department at Mayo. He says that he has been in physiology over forty years, and half of what he learned he now knows is false.

Lloyd Eby: Yes, there's that problem. My own way of solving that problem would be to start talking about scientific theories as an approximation of truth that one gets through the development of science. Insofar as there are any scientific truths, and I take it that there are some, the process of scientific discovery is a process of coming to something which is a nearer and nearer approximation of the truth. Those things are parts of the divine principle. I give science just as an example to show how encompassing, at least for me, the notion of a divine principle is.

Dr. Wilson: How do you distinguish this from pantheism?

Lloyd Eby: Well, presumably pantheism would be the claim that everything is God. I haven't said that everything is God. I'd say that all truths are part of God's logos, which is quite a different thing.

Dr. Bryant: Let's try to stay on the divine principle. Let's try some other sacred literature. We do for example have the statements in the Divine Principle that the Divine Principle is the completion of the Old and New Testaments. As a completion, I would imagine it has a higher status for members of the Unification Church than, say, the Old or New Testament.

Linda Mitchell: It seems to me that the Divine Principle is very different from the Bible. It seems to me that people take the Bible word by word and each word is interpreted in and of itself. The Divine Principle is, and people can correct me if I'm wrong, the completion of the Old and New Testaments in a special sense. It is a clearer explanation of what we feel God is revealing in the Old and New Testaments. So it wouldn't contradict the Old and New Testaments. We feel it is a clarification of the Old and New Testaments. It's my opinion that the Divine Principle is written down in this form as a way to spread the word and to teach the divine principle. But the Divine Principle doesn't appear to me to be completed. It is not a finished work of theological affirmation.

Dr. Vander Goot: There is this analogy, though, with the Christian Scriptures. The Bible is often called the Word of God, but the Bible is only the Word of God in a secondary sense, because the Word of God is in the creation, and in the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the Word of God in the same sense that this book is the divine principle. It is the lingual, symbolical representation of that which is beyond it, yet in which it is grounded. And I sense, too, that you believe that the Divine Principle is not just the logos of God but also the eros: that is, it is clearly more than the structure of the universe; it's also the dynamic movement of the universe from beginning to end. It seems that it is the logos and eros of the entire cosmos.

Linda Mitchell: We believe that the divine principle is the principle by which God creates and the principle by which man should live. If these two are united, then joy and beauty can happen. But when man is living by a principle which deviates from God's principle of creation, then you have what you have today.

Dr. Bryant: Earlier, Linda, you spoke about rewriting the Divine Principle. Can you expand on that?

Linda Mitchell: This is only my speculation. I've had the feeling that although the Black Book edition is the essence of the Divine Principle, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable if there was a sentence that was changed. I believe that the Divine Principle, as well as Miss Kim's book that came before that, is adequate to explain the divine principle. So we have the essence of the divine principle, but I would hesitate to claim that it can never change. I don't think that it necessarily has to or that it's not true, but I think that there is still a possibility of more being added.

Dr. Sawatsky: Is the distance of the Black Book version of the Divine Principle from the original text seen as a problem? Is there a sense of an original text?

Lynn Kim: At this point, no to both questions.

Diana Muxworthy: We don't have to study Korean to understand the Divine Principle.

Lynn Kim: I think that if one understood Korean, one could understand the Divine Principle with more depth. Since it is not symbolic like the Bible, since it's more systematic and straightforward, the problem of translation is a minor one.

For one thing, Rev. Moon is still with us, so if we have a question we can ask him. The problem of an authoritative text isn't widely felt, at least not yet.

Dr. Sawatsky: Is this because you still have a living tradition?

Lynn Kim: Yes, I think so.

Farley Jones: During the weekend, I've gotten the impression that we were leading some of our guests to think that the principle as a theological system is still in a process of formulation and evolution, that the concepts, in the Divine Principle, will be changed. If anybody has gotten that impression, I think it's inaccurate. I can see that some of the wording may be modified, but I don't think we should assume it's going to happen. I do think that what's in the Black Book is basically what we have to deal with. We don't necessarily see a time when we will sit down as theologians and rewrite the Divine Principle. There may come a time when individuals will develop different theological concepts within the Principle, but that the actual book itself will be reworked or rewritten conceptually is not our expectation.

Mike Jenkins: I fully expect it to be rewritten. (Laughter) When I look at that book I know in my heart that that's not the final written document expressing the divine principle in English. I don't believe that that will become the canonized text. Rev. Moon himself has said that some day he would like to write it himself. On the other hand, I think Lloyd is saying that God or God's divine principle of action and work, His existence, His essence, is something that is within God and does not change. The way God functions in the world is something that is unchanging. But the Divine Principle uses analogies, pictures and examples that are common to everyone's life, and these certainly can be presented in different forms with different examples. The essence, I think, remains the same as is contained in the principle of creation, fall, and restoration.

Jonathan Wells: It seems to me that if Rev. Moon were to rewrite the Divine Principle his rewriting of it might, in fact, be more controversial than this version. I think we should understand that.

Rev. Calitas: In what sense do you anticipate a more controversial version?

Jonathan Wells: I don't mean that it will be. What I am saying is that if the rewriting were to take place under Rev. Moon's direction, it wouldn't be to calm the popular controversy that the book has aroused. That's what I mean.

Dr. Bryant: One thing that's striking to me about the Divine Principle is its form. As a sacred text (at least for this community) I can't think of any other sacred texts that are quite like this one. The more common form is stories.

This is the only sacred text that I know that simultaneously discloses a revelation and attempts to formulate the revelation in categories that then are inexplicably linked with that revelation. Isn't that rather peculiar? Are there other texts like this one?

Lokesh Mazumdar: I would say that we don't really look upon the Book as a sacred Book. It's not a sacred text. The point was made, sometime last year, that many theologians wouldn't read the Divine Principle because it was written in seventeenth century language. I can see something to that. I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, I could easily imagine a group of people coming together and saying, "Let's rewrite the principle in twentieth century language." Now, I don't think that doing that necessarily means changing the divine principle or anything of that kind. The principle will still be the principle, regardless of whether we understand it, or whether we put it down correctly, or whether anybody changes it. That's the way I feel. But it just may be true that it is seventeenth century language, and that people can't relate to that kind of stuff. So I would say develop it, yes, add on to it, yes, but as far as changing the basic structure of the principle, no, that's impossible.

Dr. Bryant: Lokesh, you're saying that the divine principle is the divine principle is the divine principle. Are you saying that the divine principle is in that book, but it's not in the words in that book?

Lokesh Mazumdar: It's not restricted to the words.

Dr. Vander Goot: Let me try. The problem is with the word "principle." Principle, in this context, is not an idea or notion that we have in our minds that we now have to live by or put into practice. In this context, a principle is something that possesses us; it's not something that we possess. This book merely points to that which is beyond it, namely, the organizational dynamic and structure of the cosmos. There is an unfortunate ambiguity in the word principle. Generally we tend to understand "principle" to mean some kind of notion that we have to put into practice. That is clearly not what it means here.

Klaus Lindner: Can I say something? At the time when I joined the Unification movement in Germany, we did not have the Black Book edition of the Divine Principle. Then we had a smaller, red version of the Divine Principle by Dr. Kim. And we had the Study Guide that's written by President Kim, the present President of the Unification Church. I must say that I had no sense that any of those three, quite different, expressions of the divine principle was more authoritative. When we studied the Study Guide, we felt that it expressed the divine principle more clearly. But none of them contradict each other on doctrinal points.

Dr. Vander Goot: It's interesting that there's no doctrine about the Book within the Book itself, (laughter) It has all kinds of doctrines, but that one is absent.

Dr. Richardson: The fact of the matter is that there are different versions with different emphases in different versions. Eventually you're going to have to face this problem. That is, a critical, analytical, theological intelligence is going to examine the organization of each version to see what's in and what's left out. It's like Calvin and predestination. Is predestination the heart of Calvinism or isn't it? Well, somebody says, look at where it is in the first edition and look where it comes in the last edition. Calvin organized them in different ways and it becomes a doctrine for reassurance rather than a metaphysical doctrine. You're going to have to face these problems. What you're going to end up with, of course, is fifteen or twenty different authoritative versions of the Divine Principle, in each of which the principle is fully and completely contained, although they all contradict one another, (laughter)

Tom Selover: I don't think Unificationism is ever going to be a book religion.

Lloyd Eby: I'd like to say something about the relationship of this book to the Old Testament and New Testament. Jesus was faced with the problem of the Old Testament Scriptures, and He said that the real key to understanding those scriptures is understanding me; I'm the one who tells you what those things were really trying to say. I think the same thing is true here. This is the thing that tells you what the Old and New Testament are really trying to say, so if you see an inconsistency, the problem isn't the inconsistency, the problem is your understanding of the Old and New Testament.

Dr. Bryant: If there's anything in the Scriptures, in the Old and New Testament, which contradicts the Divine Principle, now we know where the error is. The error, in your view, is in the Old and New Testament; it's not in the Divine Principle.

Jonathan Wells: Don't we have to take the Old and New Testament and understand why a particular passage was written? For example, in Romans, Paul says that we should live by faith. And in James we read that faith without works is dead. Well, you can understand these two passages to be contradictory if you want to. There are many other examples in the Bible. But if Paul was talking to somebody who overemphasized the law, then of course that person had to be raised in his faithfulness. If James was talking to someone who threw everything into the faith and neglected worldly duties altogether, then that person had to be corrected. And we understand Jesus' words in the same respect. When He talked to the rich young man and told him to give away his wealth, He wasn't saying that in every case the route to God was to give your money to the poor, but your route to God is to get rid of your hang-up by giving your money to the poor and following Him. My point is that we have to understand the context. And Jesus had to say there are no other Messiahs but Me, because there were lots of other messiahs, and they were all false messiahs in those days. But it's also possible to read passages in the New Testament that predict a future Messiah who is not Jesus Himself.

Dr. Bryant: In the Bible?

Jonathan Wells: Sure, in Revelations.

Dr. Bryant: In Revelations, it says "Come, Lord Jesus."

Jonathan Wells: Well, this is where we get into the interpretation. I interpret it differently. I did even before I read the Divine Principle.

Lloyd Eby: I want to say something else about this relation ship. I'll try to be a little more subtle than I was before. That is, I understand that Rev. Moon has said that you should be able to understand the Divine Principle, or at least significant parts of it, by really understanding the Old and New Testaments. In other words, I don't really believe in emphasizing the discontinuity; I want to emphasize the continuity between them. I want to say that this principle, this divine principle, not the book, but this divine logos and eros, has been operating throughout all of history, throughout the whole creation. There is an expression of that in the Old and the New Testaments: if one's eyes were open, one would see it.

Dr. Richardson: What is this principle that we're supposed to be seeing that's so obvious?

Lloyd Eby: I didn't say it's so obvious.

Dr. Richardson: Well, I mean, what is it?

Lloyd Eby: Well, for example, the whole restoration scheme.

Dr. Richardson: Well, Dr. Kim will say that that's not the divine principle. The divine principle is just the principle of creation, and all this historical stuff is speculation.

Lloyd Eby: Yes, I know she says that, but I'm not sure I agree with her. I think the principle of restoration is part of the divine principle also.

Dr. Richardson: Yes, but don't you see how incredible this is? Here's Dr. Young Kim saying that the Divine Principle is just the principle of creation, and all the rest of that stuff is written by other people and added to it. It's not the revelation of Rev. Moon. Then somebody comes along and says what you're saying, namely, that the divine principle is the principle of restoration. And Dr. Kim says that's not right, it's only the principle of creation. And he says, well, I read the book and I see it's the Principle of Restoration. Not only that, but Lloyd Eby agrees with me. (much laughter) Lloyd Eby: I think that's wrong. I think the principle of creation is the primary thing, and the principle of restoration is something which comes into play after the Fall, so that the principle of restoration is a sub-segment of the divine principle. Primarily the divine principle is the principle of creation.

Lokesh Mazumdar: God is using the principle of restoration to bring about salvation, so that becomes the principle of God's salvific work.

Dr. Richardson: Yes, but I mean, how many divine principles are there? 

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