Hermeneutics and The Shape of the Future - Edited by Frank K. Flinn
Jonathan Wells: My argument is that Unification hermeneutics is legitimate and falls within the range of options of Christian hermeneutics in general. Unification christology may or may not be the best christology, but it is within the limits of Christian doctrine. That is the extent of my argument.
One crucial issue which I haven't mentioned is the question of Rev. Moon. Although it is actually a separate question, I would like to address it very briefly. Salvation cannot be accomplished apart from the work of Jesus of Nazareth. That seems to me to be essential to the Christian tradition and Christian orthodoxy. Unification affirms that claim in this sense: when Jesus appeared to Rev. Moon in 1936, the commission he received from Jesus was not "Take my place," but rather "Finish what I have started." When Buddhist members in Japan convert to the Unification Church they must first become believers in Jesus. It is fundamentally important to Divine Principle that the work of Rev. Moon comes on the foundation of Jesus Christ, and there is no other foundation on which it can come. For this reason we are constantly exhorted to establish and maintain unity with other Christians and the Christian tradition. The purpose is actually soteriological because there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ. The claim of Unification christology that there can be more than one incarnation of the logos is grounded on the notion that the logos is infinite and the physical Jesus was finite. However, further incarnations follow the first fruits and salvation must occur on the foundation of Jesus of Nazareth.
Durwood Foster: I really appreciate this earnest constructive statement by Jonathan Wells and am tempted to simply respond directly to his paper. On the other hand I do want to speak to a few things in his paper which relate to my own. W e were asked to deal with christology and hermeneutics. This gave us at least three subthemes, any one of which is formidable: a) the hermeneutical issue and then, as far as Christ directly is concerned, b) the person of Christ and c) the work of Christ. In my paper I have touched on all three of those points as I think Jonathan has in his paper.
To me the first of these themes is very important to the conference. I have gotten here a lot of insight and my consciousness has been raised (or depressed!) in some salient ways. I would call attention to Propositions 10 and 11 of my paper as pointing up one of the areas which I find myself struggling to think my way through. That effort has been complexified and enriched by what has happened here. Relating to what was said yesterday, I think I could take Proposition 10 in my paper and replace the words "the original Jesus" with the words "the biblical message" or "the biblical revelation." This is not to be identified with the reconstruction of biblical history that is accomplished by critical historiography. This was the point being made at a number of junctures yesterday and last evening with respect to Kapp Johnson's proposals. The principle that the scripture is its own interpreter means here that the revelatory deliverance of scripture is not crucially or essentially dependent upon what occurs outside of its own hermeneutical circle. It cannot be vitiated or undercut by some external hermeneutical framework.
There has been considerable consensus in modern theology to that effect particularly with respect to the figure of Jesus. I think one can also infer that from last evening's discussion vis-à-vis Genesis. But in Proposition 111 state the other side as well of an integral dialectic that obtains at this point. The original Jesus affirmed by faith (and here I could substitute for "Jesus" the biblical revelation "or" the essential biblical "message") cannot be separated from the work of critical historiography. While the Christ of faith does transcend the competence of critical historiography, nevertheless this Christ becomes partly immanent within the lineaments of that competence. I was saying last night, in a depressed mood, that it had not been clear to me in our discussion yesterday just how to make this concern with scientific criticism operative. I still believe deeply that the process of critical historiography does exercise control over what we do here. Although that may not be demonstrable at any particular point at the moment, I believe it has a long term cumulative effect. I am watching with real interest to see what happens down the pike some years from now as our Unification scholars continue their in-depth historical critical work.
Let me come to a point that I think maybe is the main one to be a failure in his paper and perhaps in Unification christological analysis up till now to appreciate what Christian orthodoxy is concerned with on the specific point of the eternal assumption and preservation of the hypostatic or personal union between the second person of the trinity or the logos and the specific human identity of Jesus. In Jonathan's analysis of the history of Christian thought he has apparently missed that point. It seems to me to be patently clear that while the Christian tradition, especially in our own time, does allow for the instantiation of the christic process in other instances than Jesus of Nazareth, nevertheless there is a very decisive sense in which Jesus remains for orthodoxy irremovably normative. Here I cite Paul Tillich who, other things being equal, might be rather suspect in this whole connection because he is not thought of as being particularly orthodox christologically. Nevertheless Tillich makes very clear that the personal identity of Jesus becomes indissolubly united with the power of the new being. The confession that "Jesus is Lord," which appears already in the New Testament means that the infinite logos is indissolubly united with the finite humanity of Jesus. Even the sixteenth and seventeenth century Calvinists, despite the so-called extra-Calvinisticum, in their analysis of this asserted very clearly that the finite human nature of Jesus, once the incarnate union occurs, is indissolubly bonded with the second person of the trinity. Other christic instantiations are conceivable and are very much affirmed in contemporary theology. Some theologians are hesitant, but a lot are doing this, including myself. Nevertheless Jesus remains primus inter pares, if you will, or the normative and decisive instantiation of the logos or the second person of the trinity. This has a status that exceeds and surpasses that which is envisaged in Divine Principle and in Unification christology.
Now, in my paper I did what Jonathan didn't do. I brought the Rev. Moon centrally into the scope of my analysis because I think that is the nitty gritty of our discussion. I lament here that we so far do not have what I call "the Unification New Testament." In biblical analogy Divine Principle comes up, so to speak, to the book of Malachi where we are looking forward to the New Testament. But the "gospel," the concrete saving figure of Rev. Moon, is still for Unificationism in the inchoate oral tradition. It hasn't yet crystallized into anything corresponding to the New Testament. W e really need that to carry through the kind of analysis that I incipiently have undertaken.
Donald Deffner: Two quick comments before a brief response to Jonathan's paper. First we are halfway through our conference now. Will we have time -- even today -- to break down into smaller groups so that some might be moved to speak who have not yet done so? Second, I know this is an advanced hermeneutics seminar, but will we here at this conference -- or who will -- translate what we are saying to the rank and file of our several churches? Indeed, do we all understand each other?
Now, to Jonathan, I have come to know and love you people of the Unification Church in the four conferences I have been to. And so what I say, I say out of concern for our continued progress in dialogue -- bringing us both closer to God's truth beyond where we are now. I agree on many of the points Jonathan made with respect to the nature of Christ (both God and man, etc.). But Forme -- and many classically-oriented Christians -- the point is not only Christ's nature but the issue of God's work of salvation in him being completed. Granted, the struggle is not over. As Durwood Foster aptly noted at the Virgin Islands conference: "... the whole creation still groans and travails." Especially in terms of what Herb and James Deotis said yesterday... this is where my theology still needs stretching. For me, it's not a "got it made" Christianity. I "follow after".... And we can still lose our faith by denying Christ. But I submit our salvation -- the atonement -- and God's plan in Christ was completed at Calvary and the empty tomb.
As I have noted in an earlier conference, Christ Jesus said of himself in Matthew 5:17-18: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.... For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished." In other words, all prophecy is to be accomplished. And it was: Hebrews 7:27 reads, "He is not like other high priests; he does not need to offer sacrifices every day -- for His own sins first, and then for the sins of the people. He offered one sacrifice once and for all [ONCE AND FOR ALL!] when He offered Himself." Again, Hebrews 9:11-12, "But Christ has already come as the High Priest of the good things that are already here.... He took His own blood and obtained eternal salvation for us."
I believe Christ is the LAST ADAM. Divine Principle refers to Christ as the second Adam. But Paul wrote in Corinthians 15:45, "So also it is written, '... the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.' " And then in verse 57 the denouement of the whole section clearly wraps up the last Adam as being Jesus Christ Himself: "But thanks be to God Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!" No one else. Not the "messiah" referred to in Lloyd Eby's paper. There is no need for a "Lord of the Second Advent" who again must "be born on earth in the flesh" in order to accomplish man's physical salvation. The once for all act of redemption through Jesus Christ's death on Calvary, His resurrection and ascension, has finished the work of salvation. So, for me the benefit of Christ's work is the crux of the issue. A closing codicil: again I have learned much in the conference you have planned for us. But I believe there is a limit to the progress we can make together if our dialogue is only going to consist in -- at least for some of us -- rational argument and logical debate. And, as Luther said, "Councils can err!" I also recall Durwood Foster's comment about the frustrations and limitations of theological students who are still coldly academic and dialectical -- but in whom faith and spirituality are missing. And what did our Lord say about "except one become as a little child...?" Not childish but childlike in faith.
Maybe we will leave here continuing to have a hundred and one different points of view. But since God is always calling us to his truth -- and not our own minds' devisings of it -- would we not progress even further here by sharing our faiths -- not just our systems of theology -- sharing our faiths with each other... and letting the Holy Spirit do that in us and between us which we are unable to do?
Frederick Sontag: Jonathan, it seems to me that you are involved in a work of apologetics by trying to show the points of similarity between Unification christology and the traditions. That is fine and I wouldn't deny it as important. I would do something different from what you do because I am not a "great council" man. I think all are Christian who answer the question of Jesus when he said, "Whom do you say that I am?" You answer that question, and that is all I ask. I don't like theological definitions and dogmas, but others do and that is fine, (laughter)
You gloss over what I call the novelties in the doctrine. My real question to you is why do you do that? These are the real issues. You say Jesus was supposed to fulfill all the three original blessings, not just the first one. That is a very considerable novelty. I haven't read every document in the history of Christianity, but I really cannot think of one which indicates that Jesus was supposed to marry and establish a family. There may be some, but I can't think of any. The other novelty which is quite interesting is that originally God did not intend Jesus to be crucified. There again I have trouble finding anything that comes close to that in biblical text. I am interested in novelties. I think these two are rather interesting suggestions, although I am less interested in the first than the second. What the second suggestion indicates is a certain kind of contingency and openness in God's nature. On the whole the tradition moves against speculation as to how much Jesus knew and so on. The traditional views all indicate that Jesus knew the whole story and kept it secret from the disciples because they weren't strong enough to take it.
The third novelty involves the question of whether the work was complete. That seems to me a moot point, because I think that traditional Christianity does believe in the necessity for a second coming and that the physical kingdom was not established by Jesus. Some doctrines of the 'church' often see it as being the establishment of the kingdom. I don't happen to believe in that. My own view of the nature of institutional churches is not such that I see them as the embodiment of God's kingdom. They don't seem to me to have acted in that way, but still it is a moot point. All I see indicates that the work of Jesus still remains to be completed, but the issue comes over how it will be completed. Here you depart from the tradition in that you assert it will not be Jesus who will return. That is a very clear statement, it seems to me. At any rate, these seem to me to be the real points of novelty. Aren't these what inform Unification christology? And isn't this what needs a great deal more explanation?
Frank Flinn: I have been trying to collect the christological models present and I see three on the table. First, there is Herb's kind of typological christic model. Yesterday he was arguing, as I understood it, on a model like analogia situationis, an analogy of situation. The relationship between the Baptist and Jesus and Rev. Moon, Herb suggested, needs to be seen in a much more complex way than a "Jesus-and-me" personal relation. Hence, Old Testament typical situations illumine the Baptist/Jesus situation as well as ours.
Then Durwood adds the notion of instantiation which is like a christianization of Eastern thought, while maintaining the exclusivity of the hypostatic union, the model of christic instantiation incorporates aspects of reincarnation or avatarism. Third, we have the Eastern modality in Divine Principle which, conversely to Durwood's model, could be seen as an orientalization of certain Christian aspects. It has always amazed me, by the way, that Christianity has always flirted with reincarnation and then wound up backing off from it. I've never really fathomed why that has happened that way. Anyway I see these three models operating. I am asking Durwood to respond to this and then Jonathan to face up to the need for "Moonology."
James Deotis Roberts: I will try to make my comments rather concise because I will have an opportunity later on to lay out some of my own perspectives. I have a tendency to see everything going on in theology in the North Atlantic community with a certain amount of suspicion. I have a real identity and affinity with what is going on theologically in the southern hemisphere and especially in the whole worldwide liberation movement. I see two things happening. O n the one hand, there is the contextualization of theology in various cultures and various religions and, on the other, there is the motif of liberation from oppression. By the latter I am concerned with what is often called the crimes of history. When I approach christology, the doctrine of God or anything else, even exegesis, those two things are always with me.
What I would like to ask Durwood and Jonathan is how they would handle this contemporary situation where no exclusive christological model is adequate to deal with some of the issues of the saving revelation of God on a grand worldwide scale. For example, Pannikar is attempting to develop a christic model out of interaction between Christianity and Hinduism. Then there are the Muslim nations where the impact of Christianity is not as great as it has been in Asia. You have a renaissance of very powerful major religions that are deeply rooted in the culture of the people. My questions are, how do you deal with the liberation of the oppressed with respect to Jesus as liberator and how do you develop a christic perspective that is inclusive rather than exclusive so that you can have some meaning applying the gospel on a worldwide scale?
Kapp Johnson: What about the monogenes theme and Mark 14:61 with Acts 1:11?
Durwood Foster: In some ways the questions from Frank and Deotis overlap. Kapp's question is really in the same ball park too. The theological enterprise of Unificationism as I have come to know it from these kinds of contacts is in a period of laborious gestation with respect to the issues that Frank and Deotis posed, that is to say, how to relate the decisive norm of Jesus as the Christ to the pluralism of God's redemptive action throughout history. In the general theological community we have become much more deeply and penitently aware of this, and under the impact of the holocaust, many have experienced an end of triumphalism in the Christian spirit. This is one of the frontier issues of decisive importance for the future of Christian theology and spirituality. I would say to Don that I also have always found it impossible to separate theology from piety or the personal religious life.
My own view of the main issue here converges with that of Schleiermacher. I have learned a very great deal from Schleiermacher theologically. One of his great hermeneutical principles which applies not only to his biblical work but to all of his work is the "principle of the middle," the Prinzip der Mitte. He always envisages the whole spectrum of theological discussion and struggle and then attempts dialectically to identify the center of it in a way that will do justice at least relatively to the wings and hold the whole thing together. As to the issue that you posed, Frank, it does seem to me that the second model you mentioned is in the middle. It is a model that does affirm, I would like to think, the whole Bible. One of the great virtues of Unificationism -- and here I agree with Tom Boslooper's paper -- is its insistence on working with and for the whole Bible. Its wholistic hermeneutics is very good. I try to work that way myself. Yet the upshot of the Bible and of Christian orthodoxy is that Jesus is Lord. As the incipient World Council of Churches said at the Jerusalem Conference in a way that even goes beyond historic orthodoxy, Jesus is God and savior. This concerns not simply the relation of the divine nature of Christ to the human nature of Christ, but is a question of the relation of the divine nature of Christ to the nature of God the Father or the parental God. I affirm in my paper, all too briefly no doubt but nevertheless I think quite clearly, that in God's saving outreach and down reach to creation there is a union of God's being with the specific person of Jesus Christ. The resurrection and the ascension in terms of the dynamics of biblical history, as Tillich clearly sees, play a very important role at this point. To me that is an affirmation on which things stand or fall. I find this being said by the community of Christian theologians generally.
At the same time there is an effort to find a way of affirming that the "christic process," that is, the liberating and whole making process which comes to normative enactment in Jesus as the Christ, is also anticipated fragmentarily throughout history, both in the pre-Christian and the post-Christian aeon. So that we can speak broadly of "christ figures." W e can call Martin Luther King, Jr., "a christ figure," and I do so unstintingly. I am quite prepared to call the Rev. Moon one in principle, though of course this is subject to an investigation and critical comparison of Rev. Moon with the Jesus-as-christ norm. And that I have undertaken in a very elementary way in my paper. I would deal further with that if I had the "Unification Ne w Testament." So I say, Frank, you have done a real service to describe that spectrum of models. I see the middle model as the one that is struggling to be born, and it has not been wholly and satisfactorily born yet. Whether it can be without all kinds of distortions is the question over which a lot of us in theology are holding our breath.
Let me pass very quickly to Deotis' issue which weighs very heavily on my spirit. I know Deotis has raised this one way or another a number of times and others have too. Here we need to reclaim and re-emphasize along with some of the hermeneutical principles that we have mentioned in this conference -- I'm thinking of the one yesterday that was walked about a good deal, scripture being its own interpreter -- the principle that Jesus Christ is king and lord of scripture, rex et dominus scripturae. This is a salient and powerful hermeneutical principle from the Christian tradition along with the third principle which Frank called the pneumatological principle, the principle that along with the biblical word as such there is the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, as it is called in a kind of technical phrase. Also there is the principle that "the letter (alone) killeth, the spirit giveth life." We can not rightly interpret the scripture apart from the illumination and the leading of the Spirit. The spelling out of the meaning of that pneumatological principle is attested in John 14 and 16 where we are promised that we shall be led forward into all the truth by the Spirit that is to come. In the dimensions of the total package we have received from our Christian heritage we do have a radical kind of force at work that opens us to the present and the future if we apply to the whole Bible the christological norm of Jesus Christ as king and lord of scripture. This is a virtue of Unification hermeneutics, as has been said by Thomas Boslooper and others.
We see in the figure of Christ the one who identified with the poor, the lonely, and the oppressed; and we can thus see that in some special and decisive way the christic process focuses and centers there. Hence this special concern for the oppressed becomes a hermeneutical principle. Whatever we say or do that does not in some way reflect it and appear in obedience to it is false or distorted. The pneumatological principle tells us that we are to be led beyond the first century or the first two or three centuries by the spirit of Christ who indwells the community of faith and who is radically opening us to the future as the domain from which God's realm is to manifest itself. So to me that does open us, Deotis, to the kind of thing you are asking for, at least in principle. Working out the details, of course, is a tremendous challenge indeed.
Jonathan Wells: I will try to touch on something from everybody. I would like to repeat my original statement about what I am doing in this paper. My goal is to establish that the Unification christology is a possible Christian position. Of course, there are questions of novelty which are extremely interesting. I am happy to talk about them, but my only claim in the paper is that those novelties do not contradict basic Christian doctrine. In fact, among the novelties we might bring up is the notion of Jesus as liberator. It could be argued that the Unification position is more congenial to liberation theology than some traditional Christian positions, but that is not what I am arguing here. Nor am I arguing that Divine Principle is the only possible Christian position. I am merely claiming that Unification christology cannot be excluded from the arena of Christian discussion.
As far as the hypostatic union goes, I point out that of course it can be argued that the hypostatic union ensures that the logos is so fundamentally united to the man Jesus, that the two can never be separated. The Divine Principle affirms that God and perfected humanity can never be separated. But the issue here is whether there can be another incarnation in addition to Jesus Christ, and I'm claiming that the hypostatic union does not and cannot exclude this possibility.
Frederick Sontag: I don't agree with Kapp either. "Only-begotten" does not refer to uniqueness but to begottenness: this is the only divine begetting that there is or ever will be.
Kapp Johnson: Bur isn't that unique though, isn't that the definition of unique?
Frederick Sontag: No. I am unique too, but I am not the only-begotten son of God.
Durwood Foster: May I have the floor for just a few minutes to footnote this particular point. I think it is an interesting one and a somewhat obscure one today in theology. Historically I don't think it is obscure. If you read a book like Reinhold Seeberg's History of Doctrine you will see that it was fully discussed. The orthodox view was that primordially the second person of the trinity, the logos, is eternal and, as it were, a mode of God's own most being from the very beginning without Jesus yet being in the picture. But in the center of history at the climactic moment of the incarnation the second person of the trinity in this conceptualization assumes to itself the specific human identity of Jesus and thenceforth and thereafter retains the union with that specific identity. Thus, Jonathan, you are partly right primordially. Eternally, from the beginning, the human nature of Jesus is not part of God, so to speak, but after the decisive union of the divine and human natures in the incarnation it is. Tillich puts the fusion at the point of the resurrection. This is a little bit heretical, but not as heretical as you are, Jonathan, if I may say so. The tradition switched from the moment of the resurrection to the moment of birth, as we all know, in the development of Ne w Testament chrisrology. In any event, it comes to be held that a kind of ontological synthesis of the divine and the human occurs in Jesus. This is, by the way, a point of contact between Christian orthodoxy and process theology, which has not been very much noticed. God in a sense takes on an increment in and through the hypostatic union with the historic human nature of Jesus as Christ within history. That, it seems to me, is very clearly the orthodox position.
Jonathan Wells: I agree with it and I affirm it. However, the divine nature is by its nature infinite, and human nature is finite. Despite the incarnation, the ontological unity or communkatio idiomatum, the divine infinity cannot be reduced to finite humanness. The thrust of my argument is that the logos cannot by its very nature be confined to a single finite incarnation.
I want to say a few more things about the work. Anyone who has studied the history of Christian doctrine knows that there are three or four major competing theories of the atonement because it has never been satisfactorily established just how Jesus completed his work. We have seen, yesterday and today, that there is considerable disagreement even here over whether Jesus completed his work. What is the point of liberation theology if the work is completed? Now, Unification does affirm that the foundation Jesus laid is a permanent, solid foundation, and there is no other; but whether the work is completed is, I think, a wide open question and always has been in Christian doctrine. Unification is well within Christian tradition when it takes the stance on the atonement that it does.
Now, my last point deals with the return of Jesus. Fred, you say that we claim that it will not be Jesus who returns. I disagree. Unification affirms that Jesus will return in a spiritual body. You are correct that Jesus will not return on the earth in the same sense that the Lord of the Second Advent will be on the earth. But Jesus will return in a spiritual body, and without that return there is no salvation. The whole question is not whether Jesus will return, but how he will, and there again the history of Christian doctrine presents us with several competing positions.
Andrew Wilson: I have two points. First, I think we need to appreciate what Jesus completed by his death and resurrection. He did the work of salvation if we understand rightly what salvation means. Divine Principle asserts that through the death and resurrection of Jesus we as Christians have rebirth, and as a result of that rebirth we become brothers and sisters under God as parent. Without that rebirth we are not brothers and sisters, we do not know God's parental love, we are under Satan's dominion. Divine Principle asserts that Christianity is a unique religion on a higher plane than Buddhism or other religions that have christic-type founders or avatar-type founders because of the grace of rebirth which we have through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
Second, in agreement with orthodox Christianity, Divine Principle asserts that the kingdom of God is not yet established in its fullness. However, it may already be anticipated in terms of the relationship between the work of Jesus and the work of the Lord of the Second Advent. Divine Principle describes this relationship by the typology of Moses and Joshua. Joshua was the person who finally brought the Israelites into the promised land after Moses died in the wilderness. Nevertheless, Moses is the person who has the priority in the tradition, because it was Moses' faith and Moses' foundation that made possible the Israelites' entry into Canaan. The reason that Joshua was more successful in the external sense was not due to himself but due to the people's response to him to make the foundation of substance, whereas they hadn't made such a response to Moses. Although Joshua is actually the liberator in the external sense in bringing the people into Canaan, it is to Moses that Joshua owes all his success, and therefore in the Jewish tradition very rightly Moses is given priority. I think there is a great similarity between that situation and the relationship between Jesus and the Lord of the Second Advent. It lies within God's power to bring about the final kingdom of God on earth in our time not because the Lord of the Second Advent is greater or has priority over Jesus, but because our response to him is more complete than the response of the disciples and the other people of Jesus' day. Jesus has priority who as the Son of God laid the foundation and created the condition of salvation so that the completion of the work can be possible today. This typology in Divine Principle is relevant to our discussion.
Henry Vander Goot: There are so many points that are all related to one another. I am just going to take one out of completed or incompleted work. You can only make a judgment on that depending on how you conceive the task of Jesus Christ. Now if you in a very novel way conceive the task as the fulfillment of the cultural mandate, which is what you are doing, then of course Jesus is a failure. Of course his work is incomplete, but I don't think that the task should be conceived in that way. Jesus is not sanctifier. Jesus Christ is redeemer and the mediator of reconciliation. Here I am with Don. In that aspect there is a once-for-all character about the work of Christ. And therefore the doctrine is sola gratia, sola scriptura. The problem seems to be that there isn't an adequate distinction being made between the Second and the Third Article. You have a continuum here; you are not distinguishing properly between the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.
Herbert Richardson: That is magnificent; either I learned all my theology from Henry, or he learned all his from me. (laughter) I wanted precisely to say something about the Holy Spirit. I want to use Jonathan's diagram, because it is so easy to show you what he has done. There is a trinitarian problem, a christological problem, and a pneumatological problem. Now you will notice that divine Father, the first term, will be put under pneumatology. The human Christ, i.e., Christ Jesus, is the second term that you put down underneath that. What you put down here is human, and this is a part of creation. So let's say "human-plus." It doesn't have to be all of us, it could be Mary, for example. Let us use Mary, because in theology there is a lot of discussion here.
Now what links God in heaven with the earth? It is the principle of hypostatic union. Well, that is what christology talks about, how heaven is related to earth. We can use the word avatar. Here we get an appearance of God on earth so we will just call that a theophany. Now if you think about this, in the Christian tradition there is a lot of awareness that the appearance of God on earth in Jesus Christ takes place again and again, not by another theophany or another incarnation in this sense, but by a christophany whereby God who appeared in Jesus Christ in a full way now appears again in a full way in the present time through the spiritual union of some part of the world today with Jesus Christ. This is what we call the doctrine of sacramental union. Here I am thinking of the Catholic Church teaching on the Eucharist. In the bread and wine which are here today we are sacramentally united with the human Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Now here is where Jonathan seems to have confused rather than clarified the issue. It is not clear but it seems that he is arguing that there can be all kinds of further theophanies and all kinds of further incarnations. I don't think that that is at all what Divine Principle teaches. I think that what Divine Principle is teaching is that there can be all kinds of further chrisrophanies and that that which makes Rev. Moon significant is that he is a fully adequate presentation in our time not of God on earth in this sense but of Jesus Christ on earth, who is himself the full presentation of God on earth. The problem of explaining Rev. Moon is not chrisrology but pneumatology. The interesting thing is that the whole issue is taken up under the filioque issue, right? Is the Spirit another manifestation of God on earth? Admittedly the issue wasn't totally settled, but in the West at least it was said that there can be no other theophany, no other incarnation. What you get, which is by the way just as good, are other full presentations of God on earth always mediated through Jesus Christ. I personally believe that this is the position of the Unification Church. The Principle again and again argues the solely-begotten character of Jesus as the single theophany of God and then wants to argue very strongly for the idea of further chrisrophanies, that is, presentations of Jesus in the world. For example, take the union when Jesus comes to talk with Moon. That union between the two is precisely a christophany. It isn't God who speaks to Moon, that is the interesting thing, it is Jesus who speaks to Moon. And I might say it is Jesus in his historical human form who says, complete my earthly ministry. It is the human Jesus who speaks to Moon. My feeling about your problem, Jonathan, is that you don't have an adequate distinction between the christophanic and theophanic sides in your doctrine of the Spirit. It is not developed adequately to account for what the church really wants to say.
Jonathan Wells: I disagree, Herb. I find your interpretation interesting, but I think mine more accurately represents Divine Principle.
Herbert Richardson: I would like to know what your compatriots in the church think.
Jonathan Wells: Show of hands, (laughter)
Durwood Foster: This is a very good exchange that we have just had. However, it isn't clear to me that Herb is right about Divine Principle, because it appears quite clearly there that Jesus is an ontologically distinct entity preserved in the kingdom of heaven -- waiting there, if you will -- and also in touch with us on earth, as Jonathan said. He has been in touch particularly with Rev. Moon. Thus it is clear that the persona of Jesus is construed as at least a relatively distinct persona in differentiation from which the Christ or the logos or the second person of the Trinity acts independently. From my point of view, too, independently as far as historic Christian confessions are concerned.
But I want to speak mainly to this question of the completeness of the work of Christ because that has come up here quite sanguinely and I did try to deal with this in my paper. I feel that you can't separate the person and the work ultimately. The Melanchthonian principle: to know Christ is to know his benefits, means that there is always reciprocity. Indeed the affirmation of the normativeness of Jesus as Lord implies clearly that the work of Christ is in some decisive ways complete, full, not needing to be continued or perfected.
I would have liked to listen in on the lifestyle discussion about what Unificationists do with Christmas and Easter and what they maybe have introduced in the place of Christmas and Easter which historically have been such great festival occasions for Christians. It is true that the New Testament and the Christian mainstream for the most part do not understand Christ's victory to be completed in every sense by his death, resurrection, and ascension. In decisive respects, however, his work is finished. Here I want to echo what Henry was saying a few minutes ago about John 19:30: Christ's sacrifice is a full, perfect, and sufficient oblation for the sins of the whole world. This had been categorically affirmed by the Christian community of faith. Nevertheless, to consummate God's reign he will come again. In the interim, of course, there is the work of the Spirit. Herb is absolutely right about this. Although my paper doesn't speak of this work in this specific context, it should be spoken of. I go on to say that the thought is granted even in most versions of realized eschatology, by C. H. Dodd for example, that something is still lacking. Herb was expressing this very poignantly yesterday. But in contrast to Unification theology, the lack is not seen by the tradition as a qualitative or intensive one. It does not pertain to Jesus' life per se. Rather it is quantitative or extensive.
Here I am going to add parenthetically that in the most recent expressions here by Andy and Jonathan the point has been skirted somewhat. It has been affirmed that Jesus laid a necessary foundation but it has not been brought to light in those statements that in Divine Principle this is only one third of the total foundation that needs to be laid. Divine Principle does acknowledge that Jesus did one-third of the work, but only one-third. Whereas the Christian tradition claims that Jesus' work was complete in its own order, according to its own species or genus, if you will, though this has not yet been fully extended through the world. What is lacking is the appropriation of Christ's saving work by the world at large in which, of course, the work of the Spirit also plays a decisive role. Accordingly, when the Christ returns it will not be to mount a fresh attempt or repair previous failure but to judge the quick and the dead and, if you will, to usher in the kingdom. That is the way it is often represented. Now it is also true in the welter of Christian imagery that is part of our heritage that we likewise have the notion of the battle of Armageddon. This does register a different note -- a terrific combat at the end with Satan. Yet note that in the imagery, the metaphors which, as Lonnie always reminds us, have more truth than the rest of the theology, the final battle is not fought by Christ. Christ has done his work, and Armageddon is fought by angels or by God. M y paper goes on to say finally that there is an irreducible variety in the kaleidoscope of Christian eschatology. But the prevailing view of the interim between the first and second advent is that of a grace period in which the covenant in Christ is offered to all creation for responsible appropriation. Again Herb's point about the Spirit comes in here, but in any case the christic process continues as the setting free and making whole of the world according to the paradigm normatively enacted -- already victoriously enacted -- in Jesus as the Christ. That is the deliverance of the main thrust of the tradition on this issue we are talking about.
Frederick Sontag: I just want to say a word in defense of the Unification graduate students and a word about Durwood's call for a Unification Ne w Testament. To say we don't have the Unification New Testament is not quite accurate, because Divine Principle claims to be neither. It claims to be 'the principle' for understanding God's action in relation to the world, a principle which clarifies both the Old and the New Testaments. Thus, it has a slightly different status. I also want to say that Unificationists are already ahead of the writers of the New Testament, because the record is fairly clear that the writers of the New Testament didn't know what was going on at the time. Things got a little clearer but only much later in the game. In that sense Divine Principle is much clearer. It has a sense of forecast which is different from the Old Testament. The Old Testament cannot be considered a scenario for Divine Principle. There is a phrase of Kierkegaard's which says that, although we understand in retrospect, we must live forward. This attempt to understand the present day is a very considerable claim. People have not been successful at it in the past. If you remember "Jesus Christ Superstar," just as the events of the crucifixion are about to unfold the disciples traipse around the stage singing a lament. Their lament is that things are going wrong. What they thought would happen is that they would retire and write the gospels. I really feel that the demand on the Unificationists to give an account of the scenario is too extreme. No one has really done it in the past. Jonathan can retire and write the gospels much later on, but the demand for it now is a little extreme.
Durwood Foster: My desideration was not a demand in any sense, but simply an observation that there is something more to come. Incidentally, in the same context, I did say that it is obvious that the Christian Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the Old Testament for the Unification movement, so that is another accurate way of speaking about it. But my point, which Fred seems to miss, was that, like the Old Testament, Divine Principle builds up to a predicted fulfillment, without then actually portraying that fulfillment concretely as, in the case of the Bible, the New Testament does.