The Family And The Unification Church Edited by Gene G. James

Marriage as Eschatological Type in Unification Theology - Frank K. Flinn

In his article, "Marriage, Family and Sun Myung Moon," Joseph Fichter, S.J., wrote: "There has been much comment and criticism of the theological, political and economic aspects of the Unification Church, but very little has been said about the positive value implications in regard to marriage and family."1 The aim of the present essay is to attempt to fill in the glaring lacuna which Fr. Fichter has detected in the prevailing critiques of the Unification Church. The lacuna is glaring because, in my study of and experience with the Unification Church, the teachings and practices concerning marriage and family are the keystone to the edifice of Unification theology. And the axis of the keystone is centered on the eschatological and messianic meaning with which Unification theology endows marriage and family. Furthermore, the attraction which the teachings on marriage and family holds for the young adults joining the church must, I believe, be seen in light of the crisis in the modern conception of marriage and the family.

Marriage, Family and the Crisis of Modernity

The word "crisis" has become a buzz-word in our time, so it is incumbent upon me to make clear how I am going to use it. Most often, the word is applied to situations or conditions of existence, for example, an economic crisis, or a political crisis. I am not addressing the crisis in the conditions of existence which beset marriage and family in modernity. The conditions are all too obvious and prevalent in those societies now in the grip, or about to be in the grip, of the technological moloch. Rather, the crisis I wish to address is the crisis in the conception of marriage and family -- a conception which arose in modernity, which is concomitant with the conditions, and which legitimates those conditions. This does not imply that the idea generates the conditions or that the conditions generate the idea but that the idea and the conditions dialectically reflect one another. Much has been written about the conditions of marriage and family in modern life but little about the conceptual undergirding of those conditions. This is so because it is most difficult to stand outside one's own or to critique one's own from "within the within" in which we live, move and have our being. Much of what goes by the name of critique (e.g., "the end of ideology") is nothing but a rationalization and disguised legitimation of the conceptions of the status quo. One way of standing outside one's own, if only for a fleeting moment, is to recollect what our ancestors thought concerning marriage and family.

According to the classical thinkers, marriage and family are institutions which exist by nature as opposed to convention. The ancients believed that human beings were naturally propelled to enter into marriage, family and wider social and political relations. Their reasons for having this opinion were never more starkly nor more simply stated than by Socrates in the Republic (367b 5-7): "Well, then, a city, so I surmise, comes into being because it so happens that each of us is not self-sufficient but stands in need of many things." Beginning with this humble premise on the natural insufficiency, and hence natural sociability, of isolate humans, Socrates proceeds to "found in speech" three cities. The first, the "city of sows," is dedicated to satisfying solely the physical needs of humans. It fails because humans seem to want something more than meat; they want relishes, too (372d). Because humans want "more" the city of sows, where self-interest and the common good coincide, degenerates and gives rise to the "feverish city" in which self-interest and the good come into conflict through greed and acquisitiveness. The contradictions which arise in the feverish city, in turn, motivate the quest for the City of Beauty, the best regime (politeia), wherein the tension between service and reward (or "obligations and rights"), and between the good and self-interest is mediated through justice. Plato frankly admits that this third city, which strives to bring out what is highest in humanity, is imaginary and fantastic, indeed, improbable of achievement. The city where perfect justice reigns cannot be supposed to exist anywhere on earth but only as a "pattern laid up in heaven for the man who wants to see and for the one seeing to found a city within himself" (592b).

Plato is frequently called an idealist. It would be far more accurate to call him an ideaist. The perfectly just regime is not an ideal which can be targeted as the goal of history but an idea or paradigm by which we may measure the presence or absence of justice in any earthly regime whether it be aristocratic (rule by the best), oligarchic (rule by the few), democratic (rule by the many) or tyrannic (rule by the one). An ideal, by contrast, can be entertained only within the framework of the historicized and secularized eschatology in the age that goes by the name "progress." Ideas are discovered and above us; ideals are realized and in front of us. Failure to acknowledge this crucial distinction entails the failure to recognize the crucial break wrought by all modern thinkers against the ancients, especially on the question of the natural inclination of humanity to live in families, tribes, cities and nations.

Modernity commences with a conscious break with antiquity. According to the moderns, the ancients -- including the classical political philosophers and the Christian thinkers -- aimed too high. The ancients expected too much of human nature. The conscious break was, in the words of Leo Strauss, "a "lowering of the standards."2 Modernity has even a dedicatory text to which all subsequent modern thinkers refer with conscious, if incautious, approval. The text comes from chapter fifteen of Machiavelli's Prince:

Many writers have constructed imaginary republics and principalities which have never been seen nor known actually to exist. But so wide is the separation between the way men actually live and the way they ought to live, that anyone who turns his attention from what is actually done to what ought to be done, studies his own ruin rather than his preservation.3

If we may say that classical anthropology was founded on the assumption that humans are to take their bearings from human perfection or from how they ought to act, Machiavelli may be said to have inverted this assumption and recommended the "realist" position that ethical and political teaching must be based on how humans in fact act. Machiavelli's presupposition might be called a minimalist hypothesis which assumes that "all men are evil and ever ready to display their vicious nature."4 Thus he is forced to "demythologize" the ancient "imaginary republics" -- the City of Beauty and the Heavenly Jerusalem -- and to substitute the imitation of Socrates, who single-mindedly looked to the highest or most god-like part of the soul, and the imitation of the Christ, the God-Man, who single-mindedly obeyed the will of his Heavenly Father, for the imitation of Chiron, the centaur who instructed war-like Achilles, i.e., the Beast-Man.5 In place of virtue, which likens the soul to the Good, Machiavelli advances comfortable self-preservation for the individual. His presupposition for political and social teaching is undeniably solid; it is also unquestionably low, for it is grounded on the emancipation of the -- hopefully socially useful -- passions. The new Prince is recommended to mix virtue with vice; or even better, vice with a reputation for virtue.

Because of the revolting character of Machiavelli's teaching, it was both modified and mollified by subsequent thinkers who nonetheless agreed with him that the ancient political thinkers aimed too high.6 The ancients taught that the search for virtue requires the containment of the passions. The moderns teach the idealistic and Utopian belief that the right political order can emerge from the skillful emancipation of the passions. The emancipation takes various forms: glory (Machiavelli), power (Hobbes, Bacon), acquisitiveness (Locke, Smith), and recognition (Hegel). The passions are private and individual, yet the moderns maintain that the passions are what most characteristically belong to human beings in the "state of nature." This contention, in turn, narrows the scope of the concept of the "natural" human, for it gives weight to individuals and their "rights" as against social beings and their "obligations." Thus the natural sociability of humanity is brought into doubt. In the "state of nature," according to Hobbes, there is no justice nor injustice but a "war of every man against every man."7

From the presupposition of the natural lack of self-sufficiency in human beings, classical political theory could easily derive the origin of society on the basis of nature. The moderns could make no such derivation, given the presupposition of individualistic self-preservation and the war-like "state of nature." If society had no "natural" origin, then it had to evolve artificially or by convention. This artifice, the moderns named the "social contract." The social contract takes humans outside the state of nature and transforms them into the state of culture (Rousseau) or the state of civility (Hobbes). None asserted the artificiality of state and society more bluntly than Hobbes: "For by art is created that great leviathan called a commonwealth, or state, in Latin civitas, which is but an artificial man; though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defense it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints... 8

One of the consequences of the modern conception that society originates by art rather than by nature is that all social institutions -- including the intermediate institutions -- came to be seen through the spectacles of the social contract. Thus even marriage as a permanent bonding of man, woman and offspring was restricted to a contractualist interpretation. Kant, for example, defined marriage as a contract for the reciprocal use of the genitals.9 This contractual understanding of all social arrangements was never tar from commercialism -- always a preoccupation of the moderns. The modern concept of right itself is seen as an agreement between adults on the basis of a perceived "fair bargain." (Hence, it should come as no surprise that the rights of children, women and minorities -- in other words, those who could not enter into "fair bargains" -- have proven problematic and troublesome in all theories which hold to the contractual understanding of rights. The concept of rights, as taking precedence over obligations, was initially restricted to individual adult males who singly entered the primal social contract.)

The contractual understanding of social relationships in modernity overwhelmed the earlier conceptions as covenant and as sacrament. In biblical literature, marriage is regarded as a covenant entered into not by two individuals striking a fair bargain, but by two families who form an alliance through their representatives, the bride and bridegroom.11 Marriage in essence was trans-familial and trans-generational. The relational and trans-generational character of the matriarchal and patriarchal narratives in Genesis, for example, has been obscured by individualist and contractual narrowing of focus on individual figures like Abraham. A relational interpretation of the stories about Jacob and Esau would see their reconciliation as a partial inversion and mediation of the ruptured relation between Cain and Abel, i.e., as the restoration of the broken fraternal covenant involving not simply individuals but tribes and clans, shepherds and artisans. Though the fact is little recognized, the contractual interpretation of the Bible itself begins with the very moderns I have been citing. Hobbes, following the lead of his mentor Francis Bacon, was the first to systematically transform the biblical theory of covenant into a secular philosophy of compact or contract.12 This transformation narrowed the meaning of covenant to intra-individual agreements by humans exclusively. Gone was the symbolic power of covenant, which on the one hand, could include Israel's relation to the earth as well as express God's marital relation with the people (Isaiah 54: 3-6 -- "Your Maker is your husband... For the Lord has called you/Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit/Like a wife of youth when she is cast off"). The apparent magnification of the role of humankind, or should I say mankind, in the social contract theory led paradoxically to a radical narrowing of the horizon. A contract effects relations between humans; it suggests nothing of humanity's beholdenness to the earth and the heavens, nor indeed, to divinity itself.

The quarrel between the ancients and the moderns can be highlighted with a number of sharp statements. The ancients thought that human beings were social by nature; the moderns by convention. In ancient political theory the end of society was not the political per se, but human excellence or the likeness of the soul to God; in modern theory the focus shifts from ends to origins (animal passions), from final causes to efficient causes of the political order. In ancient theory duties, based on natural insufficiency of individuals, preceded rights; in the modern theory of the "state of nature" there are perfect rights but no perfect duties.13 In modern thought, justice does not consist in complying with standards apart from human will but in fulfilling contracts. Especially among the English-speaking contractualists there emerged the view that out of the satisfaction of private vices, notably acquisitiveness, there could emerge public good as if by some "invisible hand" of a commercial "providence."14

One of the chief consequences of the contract theory of human relationships is that intermediate institutions -- family, church, guild, etc. -- lost their theoretical undergirding. In classical political theory institutions were defined by their ends or purposes. Modern theory, taking its cue from modern natural science, defines institutions not from their ends but from their origins. Hence, the modern preoccupation with the "state of nature" as opposed to "natural law" and the narrowing of the origin of origins to the state of isolated individuals in nature. In Locke's case, the prepolitical individual is nothing more than a potential entrepreneur. All subsequent or "higher" institutions, particularly the family, do not have self-defined purposes but serve to protect the rights, especially property rights, which the individual does not forego upon entering the social contract.15 Modern socialist counters to the excessive individualism of contract theory did not and could not restore the intermediate institutions to their proper autonomy. Rather, the aims and purposes of smaller partnerships were swallowed up in an exclusive collectivism. Ironically, even the putative rights of individuals are also being consumed in late state corporate capitalism. In the market economy the interest in individuals is only as "consumers" who are pitted against the "mega-individual" of the bureaucratic corporation, which, as we have recently seen, becomes more an end in itself and can shirk even low-level patriotism with political impunity. The recent "mergers" of such renowned educational institutions as Harvard, MIT, and Washington University with transnational and transpolitical petrochemical corporations, which will get first dibs on patent rights, is a perfect illustration of the evisceration of an intermediate institution of its autonomy in late modernity.

Marriage and family, which suffered the added disillusionment of Freudian critique, could hardly have been expected to escape the constraining forceps of modernization. Either the family was viewed as a way station on the child's journey to full rights (Locke) or as the idyllic refuge of intimacy between a passionate pair (Rousseau).16 At worst, the family has been thought of as the primary instrument of oppression. One would have thought that the prevailing religious traditions could have ameliorated the tide of confusion created about the family in the modern contractualist view of human relations, but, as George Grant has noted, there exists an "intimate and yet ambiguous co-penetration between contractual liberalism and Protestantism in the minds of generations of our people" which has coincided with the confluence between "modern positive science and the positivist account of revelation in Calvinism."17

Indeed, the dominant driving destiny of calvinistic Protestantism was the private, inward opening of the unjustified individual before an infinite and transcendent deity. This positing of faith as individualistic inwardness opened up the possibility of sundering religion as the cumulative tradition of a faith community from faith as the personal orientation of the believer toward the divine. The positivist conception of religion as individual faith terminated in Alfred North Whitehead's famous definition of religion as "what the individual does with his own solitariness."18 Such a half-truth blunts the cutting edge of religion as concerned with public justice, peace and hope. For all its dynamism, modern faith could not be a mainstay for communal and corporate institutions like the family since it cut itself off from the dialectic with the cumulative religious tradition and, in fact, contributed to its demythologization and de-construction. Indeed it was the paragon of modern, subjectivized faith who wrote that " 'the individual' is the category through which, from a religious point of view, our age, our race and its history must pass."19 In full accord with this concept of faith as solitariness Kirkegaard could also proclaim that "erotic love and marriage are really only a deeper corroboration of self-love by becoming two in self-love... "20 Whatever the more basic disagreements between contractual positivism and subjectivizing existentialism, they both reveal themselves as the common, if feuding, offspring of Hobbes when it comes to the priority of the individual and the omission of the communal at the starting point of social philosophy.

To a certain extent the history of modernity has been the history of capital I's and capital We's, isolate egos and mass institutions, autobiographies and industrial revolutions. The small-case we's have come in for short shrift except as they illuminate the I and the We. Among these intermediate collectivities are marriage and family, whose real history lies hidden beneath "studies" of sexuality, economics, technology politics, etc. As Rosenstock-Heussy has said with great force, marriage is not an event of the everyday market-place but the telling moment in which speech becomes both revelation and destiny:

The bride speaking her decisive "Yes" or "No" before the altar uses speech in its old sense of revelation, because her answer establishes a new identity between two separate offspring of the race and may found a new race, a new nation. We are so dull that we rarely realize how much history lies hidden in marriage, and how the one word spoken by the bride makes all the difference between cattle-raising and a nation's good breeding.21

Part of the very crisis of modernity is that the speech of marriage has been muffled, if only because speech itself is no longer revelation.

New Religions, Marriage and the Family

Marriage and family are unique institutions. Governments vary radically and there has been no government that could be called truly universal. With a few variations which are comparatively insignificant, marriage and family are similar the world around and are truly concrete universals. The family is an intergenerational bridge between past and future and the nexus where past heritages are interwoven to be either a blessing or bane for the future. Besides being the link between past and future, marriage and family are the nodes between nature and nurture, biological generation and cultural generativity.

Given the unique aspects of marriage and family, it is somewhat of a wonder that the family does not receive much discussion in 20th century theology. In the two major theological treatises of our century -- Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics and Paul Tillich's Systematic Theology -- marriage and family are hardly mentioned and much less seen in relation to the Kingdom of God. Barth, in particular, makes an amazing assertion:

In the more limited sense particularly the idea of the family is of no interest at all for Christian theology. The families within the twelve tribes of Jacob are mentioned only infrequently and certainly play no substantial part in the outlook and presentation of the Old Testament.22

This type of theological reasoning comes from separating creation theology from redemption theology (redemption is the restoration of creation) and, frankly flies in the face of biblical evidence. Indeed, a substantial number of stories in the Book of Genesis are devoted to displaying the ruptures in familial and tribal relationships (Adam/Eve, Cain/Abel, Noah and his sons) as well as the progressive mending of those relationships (Isaac/Ishmael, Esau/Jacob, Joseph and his brothers). Likewise, key elements of the patriarchal and matriarchal narratives are acutely focused on getting spouses and having progeny. None other than Paul himself argued that the begetting of Isaac from the "dead" loins of Abraham and the "dead" womb of Sarah is a fore-sign of Jesus, raised from the dead (Romans 4:19-25). One can only ascribe this lacuna in contemporary theology to the unrecognized influence of contractualism, which left a wasteland between the autonomous individual and the corporate state.

In the wake of this vacuum there have been numerous attempts to revitalize the family idea in North America. These revitalization efforts can be broken down into three fundamental types: the family as commune, the "God-Flag-Family" movement characteristic of certain branches of fundamentalism, and sacramental renewal movements. The family commune type of movements attained notoriety beginning in the 1960s. Often they were indistinguishable from back-to-the-land crusades. In this they shared many features in common with the Utopian socialist movements in the 19th century such as New Harmony, Oneida, etc. Most of these groups disintegrated, some were perverted, and others, like the Lama Foundation in Taos, NM, underwent a monasticizing reformation in order to give the group a firmer order and continuity. The Lama reformation indicates the weakness in most efforts of this type. The attempt to inaugurate newness meant not only the rejection of the bourgeois ideal of the "nuclear" family but also the sloughing off of any notion of the family as the mediator and transformer of past heritage. Indeed, family commune members often took little thought of their offspring's future.23 The future-oriented "perfectionism" of 19th century Utopian socialist movements had by the 20th century been liberalized into present tense "maximizing of human potential." Here, an observation of H. Richard Niebuhr hits its mark: "In the course of succeeding generations the heritage of faith with which liberalism had started was used up. The liberal children of liberal fathers needed to operate with ever diminishing capital."24

In contrast, the "God-Flag-Family" type of movement attempts to "re-pastize" the present. Thus Jerry Falwell sees the family in typical 19th century imagery as a "haven" in a "hostile environment."25 This haven is characterized by well-defined roles: the man in the work force, the woman at home as the embodiment of "security and warmth." This notion of the family and home as a bastion of order and repose is a far cry even from the Puritan activist notion of the family as "a little church, and a little commonwealth."26 wherein family members were "fitted to greater matters in church and commonwealth." What is incongruous about Falwell's project is that he seeks a political activist role for a conception of the Christian family which is anything but political.

Of a different order is a movement like Worldwide Marriage Encounter. Marriage Encounter started as a marriage preparation program and was expanded to serve as a marriage renewal program in the Spanish Catholic Church. It quickly spread to other countries and has been adapted by several Protestant denominations.27 Marriage encounter both revitalizes and reinterprets the sacramental aspects of marriage for the general renewal of the church and society at large. It may be an adage that every sacrament has its day in the sun. In this time of decreasing enrollment among clerics and religious, the turn to the sacrament of marriage as the representation of the communio sanctorum for our time can be no accident.28 Groups of "encountered couples" now form an infrachurch in North America not dissimilar to the "base communities" burgeoning in Latin America. The power of a movement like Marriage Encounter is that the theological heritage of the past is not simply negated but is reinterpreted with a view toward the future. Unlike the family commune movement, it does not start with a tabula rasa. Unlike the "God-Flag-Family" movement, it is not simply preservationist in its stance but seeks a transforming renewal beyond the white picket fence of the nuclear bastion.

Unification: Marriage and Family as Eschaton

Before discussing marriage and family in Unification theology, I need to make a few comments about the character of Unification theology itself. First, I see Unification theology as a Korean indigenization of a specific type of North American Presbytenanism known as "federal theology." This theology stresses the unity of mankind through "federal headship" with Adam in the creation and fall and with Christ in the redemption through imputation of righteousness.29 Unification gives this notion a planetary eschatological meaning by stressing interracial and intercontinental marriages. (Here, I should note that "federal" is derived from the Latin foedus, covenant, treaty.) Secondly, in Unification theology relations rather than substances have primary place. This may relate to yin-yang notions in the East but it is also a metaphysical principle at the heart of all federal theology, particularly in the theology of Jonathan Edwards for whom the "consent of being to being" constitutes the primary datum of the created order.30

Thirdly, Unification theology is a two Article theology, despite the many subdivisions in Divine Principle, the bulk of the work is divided between a theology of creation and a theology of restoration. These two Articles define the redemptive process, which is seen not in content or substance terms but in relational terms with respect to both the spiritual and physical orders. Creation is both material and spiritual and likewise entails a dynamics of "give-and-take" action (Divine Principle, pp. 28-31). The Fall of humanity is not simply a solitary act of disobedience but a derailment of the dynamics of the creation process and a rupture of give-and-take relationships between the physical and the spiritual, between God and humanity, between women and men, between children and parents, and between humanity and nature. Restoration, consequently, is not just the return of creation to is original status but the recapitulation and restoration of the original dynamic of creative relationships. According to Divine Principle, Adam and Eve fell relationally on both the spiritual and physical levels. Christ, with the Spirit, restored creation on the spiritual level but not the physical. It is the function of the Lord of the Second Advent and his Bride to bring about the full restoration dynamics by bringing physical restoration into harmony with spiritual restoration (see Fig.)31

In the end, the Last Things (ta eschata) will be like the First Things (ta prota). But here we should note that, although Divine Principle speaks about all men coming to "live harmoniously in the garden as one family" (Divine Principle, p. 129), there is no simple nostalgia for paradise. Adam and Eve fell when they were immature, whereas the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth depends upon the full formation or maturation of the individual, growth through the family, and dominion over creation. The eschaton subsumes all the Alpha functions and brings them to completion in Omega time.

Marriage and family stand at the crossroads of Unification eschatology. The theologoumenon of the family is the Rome through which all the routes of Unification theology passes. As a theologoumenon, the idea of the family functions as a condensed symbol which operates on multiple levels. On the literal level, the family means the marriage of men and women and the raising of children, born without the effects of original sin but still liable to sin, in what the Unificationists call a "God-centered" way. On the moral or tropological level, the restoration of the family is seen as the catalyst for the restoration of all other social institutions to the "sovereignty of goodness" (Divine Principle, p. 122). This agrees with the Puritan idea of the family as a little commonwealth. On the allegorical or analogical level, marriage and family function as a kind of metasacrament. The Matching and Blessing ceremonies incorporate traditional aspects of baptism (salt, sprinkling with water), the eucharist (holy wine) and priesthood in as much as the Blessing amounts to ordination for bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth. On the anagogical level, the Three Blessings (Divine Principle, pp. 51-7) sketch out a kind of process eschatology for the realization of good character, good citizenship and good workmanship in the Kingdom of God.32 This process eschatology is anchored in a teaching which may be called the messiahship of the family.

The question arises, how does the Unification theology relate to traditional Christian theology of the marriage? There is no doubt that all biblically-based religions place great value on the family as a means to salvation. However, none of the main Christian traditions has given marriage and family an eschatological significance. The beatific vision is still conceived by most Christians who hold to the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth as a vision of the individual coram deo. For Unificationism, that vision is focused on God-centered families, which will become the catalysts for the unification of humanity on the tribal, national and world levels. A movement like Marriage Encounter can be viewed validly as something that is traditionally Christian in mode as well as content. The Unification theology of marriage and family falls, I think, within a biblically-based Christian mode but the messiahship of the family certainly is a different kind of content. We can see the continuities of mode and discontinuities of content, if we break down the above-mentioned tripartite Unification mythos of salvation history into its component parts.

Aside from the Confucian aspects of the principle of creation, the Unification treatment of the story of Adam and Eve (Divine Principle, pp. 64-91) may not be as "unorthodox" as some claim. The emphasis on the sexual aspects of the Fall, the paradoxical treatment of the role of the archangel (both literal and allegorical) may strike some as naive and, hence, in need of demythologizing, but traditionalists may always point to St. Augustine's grounding of original sin in concupiscence or carnal lust.33

With its treatment of Christ and the Holy Spirit, Unification without doubt runs into conflict with traditional Christianity, for it seems to challenge the once-for-allness of redemption in Christ. Furthermore, the claim that the Christ's mission was to raise up a God-centered family certainly challenges those wings of Christianity which staunchly defend Jesus' life-long celibacy. Here, some careful distinctions are in order. Divine Principle unequivocally states that Christ's and the Spirit's mission was indeed fulfilled as "spiritual True Parents" (Divine Principle, p. 127; italics added). For Unificationism the categories are not "once" vs. "twice" but complete vs. incomplete, and, granting the presupposition of a Kingdom of God on earth, one cane make an empirically valid argument that the physical restoration of creation is incomplete. Secondly, the early Christian arguments in favor of Jesus' non-married status were often tainted or at least tinged by the Neo-Platonic doctrine that the body is a prison (soma= sema). This can hardly be squared with a theology of creation that asserts the goodness of the entire created order, visible and invisible, material and spiritual. Little is known of thirty odd years of Jesus' earthly life, yet the argument from silence has been turned into an argument for anti-corporeal asceticism and celibacy.34 In the known stories of Jesus' dealing with women there certainly is no evidence of avoidance tactics.

When the Unification treatment of the roles of Rev. and Mrs. Moon come into play, the question of Rev. Moon's own messianic function most often comes up. That Rev. Moon sees himself as a central figure in the messianic Last Days is without doubt. But he does not claim to be divine, and Divine Principle asserts that the dual aspects of divine masculinity and feminity are not reflected individually but only through the True Parents. Still, the role of women in the Unification Church and the special place of Mrs. Moon have yet to be given full theological reflection.35 In the context of the content of traditional Christianity, the central motif of True Parents unqualifiedly strikes the discordant chord of "heresy." It is the point where Unification theology seems to depart from Christian content and bring in something entirely new. On the other hand, the theme of True Parents can be seen as a deallegorization and concrete embodiment of the motif of Bride and Bridegroom, which was ever the source of theological reflection in medieval treatises. Moreover, it resurrects echoes of Milton's visions of the eschatological meaning of marriage. In departing from Paradise, Adam and Eve shed a few "natural tears" but soon another vision holds them:

The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence was their guide.
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
(Paradise Lost XII. 346-9)

Whatever one's ultimate judgment of the Unification movement, the symbolic complex of True Parents, the God-centered family and the restoration of the original principle of creation provide the Unificationists with a motivation that can be acted on in the here and now. As Fr. Fichter has pointed out: "The God-centered family is not merely a nice slogan or a spiritual ideal suggested by church leaders. It is the essential core of community among the faithful of the church."36 The link between marriage and the Kingdom of God is something new in the Christian tradition. The restoration of the God-centered family as a type of the eschaton is a strategic metaphor calling for concrete action that links heaven and earth in the here and now. Whatever the Unification theology of marriage may mean, it is certainly one powerful answer to the raw contractualism that has infected the West.


This essay is a translation and amplification of my lecture "Die Ehe as eschatologischer Typ in der Vereinigungstheologie," delivered at the Forschungsinstitut fur Neuen Religionen, University of Marburg, Nov. 8, 1981.

1 Joseph H. Fichter, "Marriage, Family and Sun Myung Moon," in A Time for Consideration: A Scholarly Appraisal of the Unification Church, ed. M. Darrol Bryant and Herbert W. Richardson (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1978), p. 139, reprinted from America, 27 Oct., 1979.

2 Leo Strauss, On Tyranny, revised and enlarged (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1968), p. 110, n. 5.

3 Nicolo Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. A. Robert Caponigri (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1963), Chap. 15, pp. 84-85.

4 Machiavelli, Discourses, Bk. 1, Chap. 3 in The Prince and the Discourses, intro. Max Lerner (New York: Modern Library, 1950), p. 117.

5 Machiavelli, Prince, Chap. 18.

6 See Leo Strauss, What Is Political Philosophy? and Other Essays (Glencoe, 111.: Free Press, 1959), pp. 47ff.

7 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Michael Oakeshott (New York: Collier, 1967), Chap. 13, p. 101.

8 Ibid., p. 19.

9 See Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics, trans. Louis Infield (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1963), pp. 166-67.

10 Note that the very notion of contract restricts itself to individuals in its primary meaning and only secondarily includes social groups.

11 See O.J. Baab, "Marriage," in Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville: Abington, 1962), pp. 284-87.

12 See Hobbes, Chap. 14, pp. 104-12.

13 See Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1953), p. 184.

14 Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Canna (New York: Modern Library, 1937), p. 423.

15 See John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government (Indianapolis, Ind.: Library of Liberal Arts, 1952), Chap. 5, pp. 16-30.

16 Rousseau's Emile may well be the first idealization of romantic love and of the nuclear family model. See esp. Emile, trans. Barbara Foxley (New York: Everyman's Library, 1969), Bk. 5, "Sophy, or Woman," pp. 321-414.

17 George P. Grant, English-speaking Justice (Sackville, New Brunswick: Mount Allison Univ. Press, 1974), pp. 62-64.

18 Alfred North Whitehead, Religion in the Making (New York: New American Library, 1974), p. 16.

19 Soren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Kierkegaard (New York: Harper Torchbooks, p. 133.

20 Kierkegaard, Papirer VII A190, quoted in The Works of Love, trans. Howard and Edna Long (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962), p. 361, n. 44.

21 Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, Out of Revolution (Norwich, Vt.: Argo, 1969), p. 9.

22 Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, trans. G.W. Bromily and T.F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T and T Clark, 1961), vol. 3, sec. 4, p. 241.

23 See John A. Hostetler, Communitarian Societies (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974), Chap. 2, "The Family: An Experiment in Group Marriage," pp. 6-20.

24 H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1959), p. 194.

25 Jerry Falwell, Listen America! (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), p. 123. For a critique, see Clarissa W. Atkinson, "American Families and 'The American Family': Myths and Realities," Harvard Divinity Bulletin 12, no. 2, (Dec. 1981-Jan. 1982): 9-13.

26 William Gouge, Of Domestical! Duties (London, 1621), quoted in Atkinson, p. 12.

27 See Fr. Chuck Gallagher, S.J. The Marriage Encounter (Garden City, N.Y • Doubleday 1975).

28 See Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen, "Pastoral Letter on the Sacrament of Matrimony," Worldwide Family Spirit 9, no. 5: 13-24. This is without doubt the furthest reaching document on marriage and family to be issued by a Roman Catholic prelate in modern times.

29 See esp. George Downame, A Treatise on Justification (London, 1639), selected in Introduction to Puritan Theology, ed. Edward Hindson (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1976), pp. 198-217.

30 Jonathan Edwards, "The Beauty of the World," in Jonathan Edwards: Basic Writings, ed. Ola Elizabeth Winslow (New York: New American Library, 1966), pp. 251-53.

31 See my treatment of this schema as an Aristotelian mythos or "plot," in "The New Religions and the Second Naivete," in Ten Theologians Respond to the Unification Church, ed. Herbert Richardson (New York: Unif. Theo. Seminary, distr. Rose of Sharon, 1981), pp. 55-58.

32 See Franz Feige, "Die Betrachtung von 'innen'. Familie und Gesellschaft in der Vereinigungskirche," in Das Entstehen einer neuen Religion: Das Beispiel der Vereinigungskirche, ed. Gunter Kehrer (Munich: Kosel, 1981), 235-47.

33 Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion VIII. 23-7, in The Library of Christian Classics, vol. 7, ed. Albert Outler (Philadelphia: Westminster, n.d.), pp. 353-55.

34 See esp. William E. Phipps, Was Jesus Married?: The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), pp. 34-98.

35 See the discussion in Lifestyle: Conversations with Members of the Unification Church, ed. Richard Quebedeaux (New York: Unif. Theo. Seminary, distr. Rose of Sharon Press, 1982), pp. 113-24.

36 Fichter, p. 138. 

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