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

Family, Spiritual Values and World Government - Gene G. James

The Unification conception of the family is central to Unification thought. Even the Unificationist's conception of God can be interpreted as modeled on their ideal of the family. They believe that since mankind which is divided into male and female was created in the image of God, He too must contain dual characteristics. And just as husband and wife join to give birth to offspring, God's dual characteristics must combine to bring about the world. Considered apart from creation, God may be said to be one, unchanging and eternal. Considered as Creator, God is universal energy which is generated through the interaction of His dual characteristics. Since God is originally one, and then divides and unites again in creating the universe, He may be said to be the four position foundation of all that exists.

Just as God is the four position foundation of all being, the family should be the four position foundation of human society. In an ideal family husband and wife come together with love for God and one another. Children are then born who are loved by God and their parents, and who in turn love God, their parents and one another. In such a family all activities would be undertaken for the glorification of God, the husband and wife would never feel romantic attraction for others, there would be no jealousy or rivalry, and each would place the good of others above his or her own good. Were society as a whole composed of such families, an ideal society would exist.

God intended for Adam and Eve to establish an ideal family. He bestowed three great blessings on them: to be fruitful, to multiply, and to have dominion over creation. To enjoy the first blessing they had to perfect themselves, dedicating their minds and bodies to God; to enjoy the second they had to give birth to children who loved God, their parents, and one another, and who would perfect themselves also; to enjoy the third they had to develop their knowledge of creation and become its caretaker. Had Adam and Eve established such a family, and they and all their descendants enjoyed these blessings, there would never have been any crime, murder, racial hatred, religious persecution, economic rivalry or warfare. Science and technology would have been used to aid human beings in perfecting themselves and ruling nature, never as a means of destruction. The Kingdom of God on earth would have existed. Because man's body was not created to be eternal, death would still have occurred; but men having perfected themselves as spiritual beings would have joined God to live eternally in the Kingdom of God in heaven.

However, Adam and Eve fell before they established an ideal family. Lucifer, who had been created to serve man, was jealous of God's love for Adam and Eve and enticed Eve into a sexual act. Eve, feeling alienated from God and Adam, then entered into a sexual relationship with Adam thereby thwarting God's plan for them to establish a family only after they had perfected themselves and could help their children reach perfection also.

Lucifer's sins in bringing about the fall were: (a) failure to take God's point of view which would have made him realize God did not love him less because He also loved Adam and Eve, (b) jealousy of the love Adam and Eve received, (c) disruption of the divine order of dominion by dominating Eve rather than serving her as God had intended, (d) causing Eve to feel the same estrangement from God and Adam which he felt. Eve's sins were to: (a) engage in an act of unprincipled love -- love not based on the desire to fulfill God's purpose in placing man on earth, (b) causing Adam to fall by engaging in a sexual act with him, and (c) failing to convey to her children the perfection she lost. Adam's sins were similar to Eve's -- engaging in an act of unprincipled love, failing to perfect himself and failing to convey perfection to his children.

Adam's and Eve's disregard of God's will constituted the spiritual tall. Their illicit sexual act, which produced children who would not be brought up in an ideal family, constituted the physical fall. Because of their actions, all their descendants inherited tendencies toward egoism, selfishness and sexual lust which causes them to disregard God's will and the good of others. Man lost the ability to communicate directly with God which he had enjoyed before the fall. God's will, which is the absolute standard by which we should order our actions, was no longer apparent to man. Men no longer realized that "there cannot be any purpose of the individual apart from the purpose of the whole, nor any purpose of the whole that does not include the purpose of the individual."1 They became alienated from God, nature and each other.

Instead of founding an ideal family centered on God which could serve as the four position foundation for the development of the Kingdom of God on earth, Adam and Eve's action brought about a family centered on Satan. God created the universe so that He could feel joy in beholding its perfection. However, the universe will not be perfected until man is perfected and the ideal family established. God's hope in creating the universe was that the love He felt for man would be returned. Only when man responds to God's love in the appropriate fashion, entering into a "give and take" relationship with Him, will God's will be fulfilled.

Unificationists believe give and take action to be a fundamental attribute of both God and all created things. God's creative activity is the product of give and take action between His dual characteristics. Both the organic and inorganic realms exhibit give and take actions. For example, animal and plant co-existence is made possible by the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. And animal reproduction occurs because of give and take action between male and female. These types of give and take action occur automatically. But give and take action between human beings requires choice.

Men are created free and only if they make the right choices will the proper give and take relationships between them and God and between them and other men be established. "God created man so that man could reach his perfection only by accomplishing his portion of responsibility."2 Whenever man fulfills his responsibilities he becomes beautiful in the sight of God. "In the relationship between God and man, God gives love as the subject, while man returns beauty as the object. Between man and woman, man is the subject, giving love, while woman is the object, returning beauty."3

As the foregoing passage suggests, different people have different responsibilities, giving rise to different types of beauty. "Between men, the beauty which a junior returns in response to the love of a senior is called 'loyalty'; the beauty which children return in response to the love of their parents is called 'filial piety'; the beauty which a wife returns in response to the love of her husband is called 'virtue'."4

Some men such as Abraham, Isaac, Moses, John the Baptist and Jesus have been singled out for special responsibilities. It is their task to pay indemnity for man's failure to live up to God's standards and to set up the conditions necessary for man to be restored to the state he enjoyed before the fall. Restoration must take place first at the individual level, then at the family, national and finally worldwide levels.

The first of the individuals chosen to play a central role in the restoration was Cain. Because he was the first born of Eve's illicit love, he was not as close to God as his brother Abel. "The Archangel fell because he failed to receive God's love through Adam, who was closer to God, as the mediator. The archangel intended to take Adam's position... Consequently... Cain, who was in the position of the archangel, should have taken the position to receive God's love through Abel, who was in the position of Adam, as the mediator... "5 But instead of serving Abel as he should have, Cain murdered him. Since that time mankind, seen from the perspective of restoration, can be divided into two types: Cain-type and Abel-type individuals. Abel-type individuals are closer to God than other people, having been chosen by Him to serve as mediators for the rest of mankind. They are recognized by their gentle characters and by the message they bring. If they are to fulfill God's will, Cain-type individuals must find an Abel-type individual and "obey him in complete surrender."6

Societies and nations may also be divided into Cain and Abe types. In each historical age, God designates a central nation which plays the leading role in the restoration. These were Israel in the biblical period and Charlemagne's empire in the middle ages. They are the United States and Korea in the modern era. Although the ultimate goal of each central individual and nation is the same, their missions are different. The task during the 2000 years from Adam to Abraham was to restore communication with God through sacrifices and offerings, thereby reestablishing a foundation for the ideal family. The task during the 2000 years from Abraham to Jesus was for the Jewish people to accept and obey the Law of the Old Testament so as to establish a foundation on the national level. The duty of people living during the 2000 year period from Jesus to the Lord of the Second Advent is to believe in Jesus and to take his word to all peoples of the world, thereby establishing the foundation for the restoration on a worldwide basis. The duty of people during the final days after the coming of the Lord of the Second Advent is to follow his teachings and to help unify mankind so as to at last bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. Restoration will then be complete and God's purpose in creation totally fulfilled.

How do we know the last days are at hand? According to Unificationists we know this because: (1) the ability of man to communicate with God is increasing. Many people capable of spiritual communication are being born. (2) More people than ever before are seeking to perfect themselves, centering their lives on God. (3) Man's desire for freedom has grown to such an extent that he is willing to risk his life to obtain it. "This may be seen in the liberation of slaves, liberation of minority groups and liberation of the minor powers [from colonial regimes], together with the demand for human dignity, equality between the sexes and equality among all people."7 (4) People are more than ever feeling a sense of kinship and oneness with one another. "Nations, too, are moving toward one worldwide structure of sovereignty, starting from the League of Nations, through the United Nations and reaching today for world government."8 (5) We are more and more coming to realize the common economic interests of all people. "The world is now on the threshold of forming one common market."9 (6) Science and technology required for man to assume his rightful dominion over nature have reached extremely high levels of development.

None of this is occurring without struggle. Although it is a mistake to think that God would send natural calamities during the last days, because Satan is resisting the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth, social and political conflicts are inevitable. Thus the modern period has been, and will continue to be, an era of struggle and wars. "Today is the Last Days because it is the time of intersection, when... God and... Satan are confronting each other in the final battle."10

The mission of the Lord of the Second Advent is to "restore the foundation to receive the Messiah substantially, starting from family level, and gradually broadening it to tribal level, racial level, national level, world level and then to the cosmic level."11 However, since Satan is resisting the coming of the Kingdom of God, the last days will also be a time of false prophets. How then can we recognize the Lord of the Second Advent?

First, he will teach that men should perfect themselves by seeking salvation through Jesus. "If and when fallen man unites with Jesus in a perfect give and take relationship, he will be able to restore his original nature, thus entering again into a give and take relationship with God and becoming one with Him."12 It is because Jesus is the means or mediator by which fallen man receives salvation that he is called the way, the truth and the life.

Second, he will provide an interpretation of the Bible which will enable perfected men to agree about its message. This will allow one to see new truth that was not apparent before. In order for people to be receptive to this new truth, they must not be overly attached to conventional teachings. They must realize that the Bible is not a textbook to be read literally, that its most important truths are only revealed in parables and symbols. Since "inner truth" revealed through prayer, meditation and reflection on the Bible was not intended to conflict with "outer truth," discovered by our senses, the new truth proclaimed by the Lord of the Second Advent will also be compatible with the basic findings of science.

Third, because religious truth and scientific truth were not in tended to conflict, the Lord of the Second Advent will work to unify the religious and scientific traditions which have hitherto been separate.

Fourth, he will preach economic reform, helping to bring about a worldwide economic system in which there is no wasteful competition, unjust distribution or excessive consumption.

Fifth, he will unify the world's religions by accomplishing the mission of Christianity which has always been "to restore the one great world family which God... intended at the creation."13 In fulfilling this mission he will also become the central figure which all other religions await.

How will the Lord of the Second Advent achieve these goals? As noted above, he will begin at the family level, gradually broadening his mission to the national and world levels. The first step in this process of restoring man to his original position will be the perfection of the individual through the establishment of the ideal family. Prior to the Lord of the Second Advent, all people have been born in sin. They have inherited tendencies toward egoism and self-centeredness which cause them to: (a) disregard God's will, (b) fail to develop loving relationships with their parents, children, brothers and sisters, (c) engage in illicit sex and (d) attempt to dominate their fellow man. The Lord of the Second Advent will abolish man's sinful nature by establishing an ideal family in which people are brought up with the proper attitudes toward God, self and others. They will then be able to understand the Bible correctly, communicate with God through meditation and prayer, and transform society to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. Since the family is the primary unit through which these transformations will take place, its crucial role in Unification thought is apparent.

What will the ideal family be like? How will it be organized? How will decisions be made? What will be the rights and duties of its members? How will it be related to the larger society? How, exactly, will its establishment lead to the Kingdom of God on earth? At this point a number of issues arise which need further elaboration in Unification thought. Most of these involve the proper relationships between freedom and authority.

Respect for authority plays a key role in Unification thought. According to Unificationists Lucifer fell because he tried to overthrow God's order of dominion. Although he had been created to serve man, he dominated him instead. Cain fell for the same reason. He should have served Abel who was closer to God, but he rebelled against God murdering Abel. Since that time Cain-type individuals can obtain salvation only by finding an Abel-type person and submitting to his will. The story of Abraham and Isaac provides an extreme example of the type of obedience required. Abraham's faith in God was so great that he was willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac. And Isaac's loyalty to his father was so strong that he was willing to do whatever his father asked him. It was because of this loyalty that "Isaac... inherited the divine mission from his father Abraham, by obeying him in complete surrender..."14

The Unification accounts of the fall and Abraham's and Isaac's roles in establishing a foundation for the ideal family presuppose a preordained order of dominion. Some individuals were intended from creation to obey others. Thus children have an obligation of filial piety toward their parents, and juniors one of respect toward their seniors. And although Divine Principle does not state the idea explicitly, it seems reasonable to conclude as the Outline of the Principle, Level 4 does that "Eve was supposed to be under Adam's dominion... "15 It also seems reasonable to conclude that in an ideal family, the father would exercise absolute authority over both his wife and children. However, this is difficult to reconcile with the statements that one of the signs of the last days is that "men have come to pursue the original value of individuality endowed at the creation"16 and that this may be seen in the "demand for human dignity, equality between the sexes and equality among all people."17 At what point do children become adults in their own right, owing their parents love and respect but no longer under their authority? Are women to be equal partners in marriage or are they to be under the dominion of their husbands? Divine Principle does not speak with an unequivocal voice.

Given the Asian background of Divine Principle, it is natural for people trained in the social sciences to look for one of the sources of its teaching in oriental culture. The dominant influence on oriental ideas of the family and society has been Confucianism. The heart of Confucian thinking about the family and society is the doctrine of the five basic obligations of man. These are filial piety, respect for one's elders, devotion to one's spouse, loyalty to the emperor and trust between friends. The most fundamental of these obligations is filial piety.

The Classic of Filial Piety, written sometime during the 4th or 3rd century B.C., and used for centuries in Chinese schools states: "Of all the actions of man there is none greater that filial piety. In filial piety there is nothing greater than the reverential awe of one's father."18 It also states that "The relation between father and son is rooted in the nature of Heaven and is the principle of the relation between the ruler and the minister."19 The Analects similarly states "Filial piety and brotherly respect are the root of humanity"20 And the Tongmong Sonsup, a book on the history of China and Korea, taught in the Korean schools in recent years, states: "You should serve those who are twice your age as you serve your father. You should serve those who are ten years your senior as you serve your elder brothers. You should follow those who are five years your senior."21 It also recommends that: "The husband should not speak of inside affairs while he is out. The wife should not speak of outside affairs while she stays at home."22

Choi Jae-Seuk, a sociologist at the Korean National University, writing on the traditional Korean family, says: "Filial piety is the guiding principle in the life of Koreans.... Parental instructions are considered as absolute, demanding strict obedience. Even though a son believes what he asserts is right, he should not disobey the wishes of his parents. Even though his parents cannot perform their roles properly, it is the son's moral obligation... to serve his parents with all sincerity."23 He also says: "The status of women in Korean families is very low. It is thought an ideal husband-wife relationship that the husband commands his wife well and the wife obeys her husband."24 In fact, "the wife should devotedly serve not only her husband but her parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law."25 Women are also expected to not marry again if their husbands die.

Choi Jae-Seuk further states that "the Korean people... regard society as a huge family and carry their patterns of conduct in family life to social life... "26 And Song Chan-Shik, a historian also writing on the traditional Korean family, says: "It was stressed that the state, too, should be governed on the basis official piety. The overriding principle for governing the state was loyalty. Loyalty... was... an expanded form official piety."27

The Neo-Confucian view of the family and its relation to the state, which has governed Korean thought, is quite different from the one which has dominated recent western thought. In fact, modern democratic theory which began with John Locke is based on an explicit rejection of this type of theory. Thus Locke states at the beginning of The Second Treatise of Government that his purpose is "to set down what I take to be political power; that the power of a magistrate over a subject may be distinguished from that of a father over his children, a master over his servants, a husband over his wife, and a lord over his slave."28

According to Locke the authority which parents have over their children is only a temporary authority to govern them for their own good until they reach the age of reason. It is grounded in the fact that the parents are responsible for the children's existence and have an obligation to care for them. It ceases when the children no longer need their parents' assistance. Filial obligation rests on the gratitude children owe their parents. It too is limited. When the child becomes an adult he owes his parents respect and assistance, but not obedience. Indeed, if the parent becomes childlike in his or her old age, then the obligation of the child to the parent is similar to that of the parent to the child during childhood.

Political authority is based on an abstract and general contract between subject and sovereign. But parental authority is concrete and particular, grounded in obligation to specific people. It does not rest on respect for principles such as the duty to abide by the constitution, but on obligation to determinate individuals. Filial piety is similar, growing out of past indebtedness to specific people rather than being the result of assuming an office or role which may be voluntarily terminated. It follows that the kind of loyalty one owes one's parents or friends is quite unlike the loyalty one owes the state. Indeed, to be loyal to the state, one must agree to subordinate loyalty to one's friends and relatives whenever it conflicts with loyalty to the state. The primary obligation of Richard Nixon's aides, e.g., was not to him as a person, but to the Constitution of the United States.

But, if this is true, can the values upon which the family is based, even if it is a family centered on God, be generalized to society as a whole? Are the duties and obligations we acquire from our relations with our parents and friends appropriate for governing urban societies in which most of our interactions with others must be brief and impersonal? What role, e.g., should respect for elders play in government? Should we look upon government leaders as wise parents who know better than all the rest of us what should be done for our own good? Should loyalty to government leaders be placed above all other duties?

Affirmative answers to the last two questions commit one to a basically totalitarian view, for as Divine Principle rightly points out: "Totalitarianism is a political ideology which denies the dignity of man's individuality and the freedoms of speech, publication, meeting and association, together with the basic human rights regarding the state and the parliamentary system... it insists that any individual or group should exist for the benefit... of the whole nation or state.... The guiding principle of totalitarianism does not put any authority on the majority but on one man, the ruler. The will of the ruler... becomes the ideology of the whole nation or state: 29

Although family values are not an appropriate basis for civil government, they can provide an adequate foundation for church government. This is because the church is a voluntary association which one may leave whenever he or she chooses. This isn't true of civil government. Only government which rests on the consent of the governed is legitimate; but whether or not one consents, there is no way for individuals to avoid government. This is especially true today when governments are based on force as much as, or more than, they rest on consent.

If family values cannot replace democratic values, might they not supplement them? Would not people who grew up in an ideal family, also be ideal citizens who would unfailingly respect the rights of their fellow citizens? According to Divine Principle, if men were to live in a society based on the ideal family, then because they "have a vertical relationship with God, the horizontal relationship among them is automatically established... "30

What, then, if all members of society were products of ideal, God-centered families? Would not government necessarily reflect this? "Naturally, as history draws near its consummation, the will of the people inclines to be Christian-like, and the democratic government following the will of the people is also forced to be changed into that of Christianity Thus, when the Messiah comes again... he will be able to set up God's sovereignty on the earth by the will of the people... "31 How will the Messiah bring this about? What will his relationship to the people be at the second coming? If democratic values are to be maintained it cannot be one of direct political rule modeled on the parent-child relation. If his role is to be that of "true parent," it cannot be political at all. People must follow him because they believe in him and his teachings. They must choose to follow him. Moreover, if the Kingdom of God on earth is to come about, all people must follow him. There has never been a religious leader all people followed and there have never been teachings which were not interpreted differently by different people. As Divine Principle points out regarding the Bible: "Differences of interpretation have produced many denominations."32 Will there ever be one man all will follow? And will there ever be teachings all will accept? I doubt there will ever be. This means that I am skeptical regarding the possibility of the Kingdom of God being realized on earth. But it does not mean that I am unmoved by the vision of Divine Principle. The goal of uniting all people in brotherly love is one of the highest man can undertake. It also provides a standard by which all religions may be judged. If one applies this standard to the Unification Church, one cannot fail to be struck by the radical difference between its many projects to unite people of different races, nationalities and faiths, and the practices of other churches. As the Preface to Divine Principle states: "Although they teach and believe that all men are descendants of the same parents, many Christians do not like to sit with brothers and sisters of different skin color. This is a representative example of today's Christianity, which is deprived of the life force needed to practice the word of Christ."33

Although I am skeptical that the Kingdom of God will ever be brought about on earth, I am certain that if it ever does exist it will be characterized by the kind of brotherly love preached and practiced by the Unification Church. Only if people love one another in this way will mankind ever be one family.


1 Divine Principle, 5th ed. (New York: Holy Spirit Assn. for the Unit, of World Christianity, 1977), p. 42.

2 Ibid p55.

3 Ibid, p. 48.

4 Ibid p. 49.

5 Ibid p. 244.

6 Ibid p. 250.

7 Ibid p. 121.

8 Ibid p. 128.

9 Ibid, p. 129.

10 Ibid, p. 126.

11 Ibid p. 369.

12 Ibid. p. 30.

13 Ibid. p. 123.

14 Ibid. p. 276.

15 Outline of the Principle, Level 4 (New York: Holy Spirit Assn. for the Unif. of World Christianity, 1980), p. 53.

16 Divine Principle, p. 121.

17 Ibid.

18 The Classic of Filial Piety, selections in James W. Dye and William H. Forthman, eds., Religions of the World (New York: Appleton Century Crofts, 1967), p. 292.

19 The Classic of Filial Piety, selections in Wing-Tsit Chan, et al., The Great Asian Religions (London: Collier Macmillan, 1969), p. 125.

20 Analects, selections in Chan, p. 106.

21 Quoted by Han Sang-Bok, "Village Conventions in Korea," in Korean Society ed. Chun Shin-Yong (Seoul: International Cultural Foundation, 1976), p. 106.

22 Ibid.

23 Choi Jae-Seuk, "Family System," in Shin-Yong, p. 20.

24 Ibid. p. 21.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid. p. 15.

27 Song Chan-Shik, "Genealogical Records," in Shin-Yong, p. 39.

28 John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government, ed. Thomas P. Peardon (New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1956), pp. 3-4.

29 Divine Principle, p. 484.

30 Ibid. p. 470.

31 Ibid. pp. 441-42.

32 Ibid. p. 132.

33 Ibid. p. 7. 

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