Orthodox -- Unification Dialogue -- Constantine N. Tsirpanlis Editor 1981

The Role of Jesus in Man's Salvation According To Unification Thought and Christian Tradition - Sebastian Matczak

I have to mention at the outset that this topic is extremely broad, involving many essential issues and at the same time many secondary ones. Yet this subject is the central concern for Christianity and consequently crucial for any proposed unification of religions. Now if this topic is to be treated correctly, it has to be treated in its entirety. We cannot take just one part of the problem, but we have to treat all the parts. Only in this way can we put the Unification position regarding the doctrine of salvation in the right perspective.

Nonetheless, this whole subject has to have some limits because it is really far too broad a topic. Thus I would like to impose certain limits. First of all, my approach will be philosophical-theological. What does this mean? It means that one must look for the logical consistency among the teachings of the Christian Churches and the logical consistency of the Unification position. This philosophical approach is also a theological approach. What does this imply? I'm interested in the accepted theology of the Churches today rather than a history of how these positions developed in history or how they are derived from an analysis of the Biblical text. Besides this, I would like to limit my discussion to substantial questions, stressing the Unification position rather than that of other Churches. In this way we can focus on the essentials.

At the very beginning, let me note that the terminology of Unification is quite new. In many instances the Unification position does not use the technical theological terminology familiar to Christian churches, Catholic or Protestant. It has its own terminology. This newness has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, it can be very easily misunderstood. Consequently, the Unification position has to be read very, very carefully in order to grasp its true meaning and not distort it.

In my approach to the problem let me divide the topic into certain specific areas. First of all, we must consider and compare these to the Unification position. Secondly, we have to speak about original sin. Without original sin, which is the cause of the need for salvation, the whole problem of man's restoration disappears. We have to include also the question of Jesus Christ who is the central means of obtaining salvation. Finally, we must treat the problem of eschatology, namely, the Second Coming of Christ.

First of all, let us look at the meaning of salvation. All Christians agree about the need for salvation but the different kinds of theology do not place their emphasis upon the same points. For instance, in the Orthodox Church, as I see it, the main emphasis is put on the attainment of individual salvation. And this attainment is connected with Jesus' participation in God's Divine nature and our union with Christ. However, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize justification. Justification here means the transition of man from the state of a child of satan to the state of a child of God. Protestants and Catholics agree on stressing becoming justified in their doctrines of salvation. Now, if we look at Unificationism, the stress there is put on the Second Coming of Christ. Therefore, Unificationists use the term restoration rather than salvation, not justification but restoration. In spite of this difference of emphasis between the older Christian Churches and Unificationism, they agree in emphasizing the importance of original sin. All of these Churches describe original sin as the cause of the human need for salvation. Secondly, all of them treat the question of Jesus, His role and its significance in man's salvation. And finally, all these Churches speak about the final salvation of man and consequently treat in one way or another the Second Coming of Christ.

Now let us look at original sin, the first question. This sin creates the whole problem of man's salvation, justification, or restoration. Original sin includes two main things: first, how did sin happen to come about? And second, what were the effects of the fall of our first parents? So first we have to speak about the occurrence of the primal sin, how it happened. On this matter we have one problem, the most important fact of the fall. Generally speaking, the fall has been accepted by Christians and it is accepted also by the Unification Church. At the same time, as we know, the fact of the fall has been rejected by some Christians as well as other religious groups like the Gnostics and Manichees. For them, sin originates in man's physical body, a body which was created by evil spirits. This notion does not have too much resemblance to the traditional Christian understanding of original sin. Yet in this class, we can include also Origen who believed that the original sin was committed in man's pre-existent state. Sin originated before and not after man began his earthly existence. Then, of course, we could mention rationalists like Lessing and Kant who argued that original sin is just poeticalfiction. However, for Unificationism and for traditional Christianity, original sin is a fact. It is not a kind of fiction, and not just a matter of man being imprisoned in a body, and not the result of something which took place in a pre-existent state. Sin began with an act by the first human couple.

What are the most characteristic features of the Unificationist idea of the fall? The Unification position is that the fall of our first parents occurred when they were in a state of immaturity. In other words, before reaching perfection they were tempted and at that time they committed the first sin. This is one important item in the Unification position. The second is that the serpent tempted man. This serpent is a symbolic expression of our real seducer. The true seducer is not an ordinary serpent, but the archangel Lucifer. And this temptation carried out by the archangel is the result of his jealousy in regard to man. Eve succumbed to the archangel's temptation, a temptation involving sexual passion. Consequently, the original sin was the sin of adultery. Then Adam succumbed to Eve also, in the sin of illicit love and sexuality.

The next point is that the decision of Adam and Eve affects the condition of their children. Adam fell as the head of the entire human family. In Unificationism it is not too clear how Adam's family is included in the fall, but it is included somehow.

Now we can speak about the fitness of this position to Christian teachings. First, what about the immaturity of our first parents? Generally speaking, this idea seems rather distinctive to Unificationism. Yet, the immaturity of man's first parents was accepted by some Fathers of the Church and early scholastics. For example, this was the teaching of Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Peter Lombard, Hugh of Saint Victor, Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure and theologians of the Franciscan school. These men assert that the first parents were not mature, not fully developed morally or physically, when they committed the first sin. The special value to this position is that it explains how Adam and Eve could possibly sin, as well as giving a reason for the sin of the archangel.

Second, what was the serpent in the Garden of Eden? Unificationists treat the serpent as a symbolic figure. This interpretation that the serpent is symbolic is accepted by many Christians, so that is not something new or exclusive to the Unification position. Most theologians teach that the serpent is a symbol, the symbol of Lucifer the archangel.

Now, was the archangel the tempter of our first parents and was this temptation due to his jealousy? Such a thesis is defended in the Christian Churches by several prominent theologians, one of whom is Tertullian. Tertullian taught that original sin came about because of temptation by an archangel and that temptation was due to his envy of man. The same position was taken by Saint Irenaeus and several other Fathers of the early Church.

Now, if we go to the next item, namely that Adam and Eve succumbed to the sin of sexuality, this position has been accepted by many Christian theologians and Churches. Other Churches, however, assert that the primal sin was caused by disobedience and pride. All Churches do not ascribe original sin to pride, but all of them attribute it to disobedience. However, this disobedience is not denied by the Unification position. It also affirms that the fall of all mankind was due to Adam's fall. Such an assertion is very common among Christians. Adam is the head of the human family and consequently his sin descends on all subsequent humans. The problem here is that it is not only Adam but it seems that somehow his whole family was actually involved in this sin. This view is maintained by some Christians, but it is not clearly explained, so that I think it has to be better clarified by Unificationists.

Are the angels superior or inferior to Adam and all men? Unificationists maintain the superiority of man, but this is not the conventional Christian teaching. Most would say that angels possess a higher status than humans. Nevertheless, Saint Paul clearly agrees with the Unification position in many places. For instance, if the angels are to be judged by the Saints, as Paul states, then angels must be somehow subordinate to man. (1 Cor. 6:13) In any case, this difference between Christians and Unificationists is not an irreconcilable one, it seems to me, particularly when one takes into account the Unificationist reason for exalting man above the angels.

As to the question of the trees in Eden, Unificationists describe the tree of knowledge as a symbol of Eve, as Adam is symbolized by the tree of life. These two trees indicate God's ideal for masculine and feminine nature. Such a view is defended by some theologians, too, so that it is not a completely new position.

What, then, should we conclude about the Unification position? With regard to the occurrence of the original sin, Unificationism does not agree with all the Christian Churches. But it agrees with the opinion of some theologians and of some Christian Churches. Furthermore, it resembles the teaching of Judaism, making it much easier to reconcile the position of Unificationists with Jewish teaching by accepting what the former says about the nature of the original sin.

Unificationism also explains very well why the fall could take place. If Adam and Eve, the first parents, had been mature and highly intelligent people, how could they have fallen? Unificationists resolve this difficulty by claiming the first couple were immature when they were tempted. This explanation sounds quite reasonable to me. Equally reasonable, it seems, is the idea that the archangel tempted Adam out of jealousy. Angels are spiritual beings but that does not mean that they are unable to feel envy. However, this does not imply that angels are inferior to men at least as far as their intellect is concerned. In any case, jealousy provides a more convincing explanation of the fall than does pride. If we ascribe everything simply to pride, we have a problem. I think that to insist on Lucifer's jealousy helps us to understand the possibility of Adam's fall.

Now as for the sin of sexuality, Unificationist teaching does not exclude disobedience. Since it does not exclude disobedience it could be accepted by Christians generally, as similar views have been accepted by many Christian theologians in the past.

What is the result of the fall? Unificationists explain the consequences quite succinctly. After the fall, Adam and the whole human race generated by him became satan-oriented. Yet man ought to try and, in fact, he does try, to return to God. God provides the possibility of restoration. Man, however, has to share responsibility in order to be saved. Restoration results from cooperation between God and men, we are told.

What does this mean? What value does such an idea possess? The value of the Unificationist position will become clearer if we take into account discussions which have gone on about the nature of man's sinfulness. One opinion maintains that as the result of Adam's original sin, every man's body is inhabited by a demon. The evil spirit which possessed the first couple passes from one generation to the next through the act of sexual union. Other Churches maintain that original sin is a kind of morbid, unhealthy quality which adheres to man's soul. This can be removed by the Sacrament of baptism. If not removed, original sin passes from parents to their children. Many Christian theologians are of this opinion, but for our purpose the most important are the Catholic and Reformed. You have already heard what the Eastern Orthodox doctrine is.

If we take the Protestant position and specifically that of Luther, it is as follows: at the beginning, the human soul became substantially corrupted by original sin. Man was so completely corrupted, so totally depraved, that he resembles a devil. This was also the opinion of Saint Augustine and others. Later, however, Luther, Calvin and Zwingli modified their views somewhat. The Reformers maintained that original sin consists of concupiscence. What is this concupiscence? It is hereditary corruption diffused over all parts of every man. Negatively, as a result of concupiscence, men are absolutely incapable of thinking or doing anything morally right. Positively speaking, original sin consists of man's native inclination toward sinning. This concupiscence remains even after baptism, but after baptism its evils in God's eyes are not imputed to man because of the saving merit and righteousness of Jesus. Later Protestants often stated that original sin consists of disorderly sensuality which necessitates that men commit sin. By contrast, Catholics declare that original sin consists of the privation of sanctifying grace and supernatural gifts which man possessed in Eden.

What is the view of Unificationism? Unificationism avoids discussion, at least direct discussion, of these conflicting opinions. Its basic teaching, it seems to me, could be reconciled with any of them. However, I think that it is more oriented toward the Catholic or Orthodox position. Why? Because it accepts man's responsibility for returning to God. Furthermore, Unificationism's concept of the fallen satan centered life could be described in Catholic terms as deprivation of sanctifying grace and man's original supernatural gifts. At the same time, there are some elements in Unificationism which could easily be reconciled with Protestant doctrine. It says that man has established rapport with the devil, that man is often dominated by satan. Unificationists also incline somehow toward the position of Reformation Protestant Churches, especially when they say that a sexual relationship with a fallen angel has produced by generation evil children. What does "evil children" mean? Unification teaches that circumcision is a sign of man's polluted blood. In addition, a sexual interpretation is given to the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet, Unificationism clearly points out that Adam and Eve after the original sin occupy a middle position. Whether they commit good or commit bad actions depends on their free will. If this be so, man is not completely depraved in his essential faculties. Thus Unificationism strongly insists on the importance of man's personal responsibility. We must carry out our own measure of responsibility, it says. From this perspective, we can reconcile Unificationism with Catholic doctrine, rather than the very different teaching of the Protestant Reformers. In general, there is a tendency in Unificationism to unite all the religions and especially all Christians, as its concept of the fall and original sin might suggest.

Now let us consider the meaning of restoration. As we said earlier, restoration, according to Christianity in general, refers to salvation or justification. Justification is connected with attaining everlasting individual happiness after death. Unificationism insists on something quite different, namely, the kingdom of God on earth. This kingdom on earth does not, however, exclude the reality of an afterlife. Why stress a kingdom of heaven on this earth? This becomes clear when we understand the purpose of creation. The purpose of creation is described as three blessings -- individual perfection, multiplication, and dominion over the world. Through original sin, man lost these three blessings. But God is still the supreme governor of the world, its rightful ruler. God therefore could not permit that the devil would take over His supremacy and destroy the true purpose of man in creation. Thus, God provides everything, so that His purpose can be realized by man. By providing this, God guarantees that man shall become king of this earth, that he will truly dominate creation, as this was God's original purpose for man. Since the general goal of creation has still to be achieved, the kingdom of God has to be established on this earth.

Nothing less is the final purpose of restoration which includes man's personal salvation. Man has to become again a true child of God which means being a child of God in a kingdom of heaven on this earth. Now this kingdom of God can only be achieved through Christ. Without the Messiah, God's terrestrial reign cannot be attained. But before we tackle the problem of Christ, we have to evaluate briefly the Unificationist understanding of restoration.

First of all, we should note that the Unificationist position, namely, that salvation has to consist of the restoration of the kingdom of God on this earth, is not against the Christian position. It is clearly stated in the Bible that there will be a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1). If this new earth means that the kingdom of God will somehow be established on this earth, then Unificationism presents a much clearer and better explanation than many other Christian Churches.

The next thing to be noted is that Unificationism speaks here about individual salvation. Personal immortality is not excluded in the Unificationist position, so it agrees with what Christian Churches point out very emphatically. Unificationists add that the devil will ultimately be saved in the final restoration. Now this idea has often been disputed, yet it has been advanced by some early Christians like Origen, for instance. Furthermore, the value of putting emphasis on the kingdom of God on earth is quite important, because it opens the door to unite Christianity with Judaism. This could therefore be of great ecumenical significance.

How can we achieve restoration? The Christian position in general is very clear here. We need the promised Messiah in order to realize the kingdom of God. In fact, this Messiah is Jesus who is both God and man. His Crucifixion provided means of salvation by which God could restore His world, Christians maintain.

What is the Unification position? Unificationists insist, like all Christians, on the need for indemnity or reparation. Without going into detail about the various stages of indemnity, let me merely say that Unificationism combines this requirement of indemnity with Jesus and his work as the Messiah. Only the Christ is able to establish God's kingdom by providing the satisfaction which God requires. Why is Jesus so important? Because Jesus, Divine Principle clearly points out in many places, is a perfect man. Jesus is without original sin. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the ideal man. Hence Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is also the second Adam. God prepared the way for His coming, a preparation connected with Abraham, with Jacob, with Moses, with John the Baptist.

Yet this preparation was always somehow frustrated by man's free will, by man's wrong use of his freedom, to speak more precisely. Frustration occurred even at the time of Jesus and in the case of Jesus Himself. Why? Because Jesus was Crucified and was killed by man's free will.

Then what did Jesus accomplish? Unificationism is very clear on this matter: Jesus accomplished the spiritual restoration of man. Due to Jesus, man is born again. Because of Jesus, new life is infused in us by believing in Him. Due to Jesus, we are spiritually reborn, but we are not reborn in the body, in the flesh. Such a physical rebirth will occur in the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus removed original sin, or rather, original sin can be removed through the Messiah, through Jesus, by our believing in Him. Believing in Christ can restore the fallen nature of man. There are clear statements to this effect in Divine Principle. Then how can we achieve restoration of our fallen nature, or a spiritual rebirth? By believing in Christ. But another thing is required: the fulfillment of our responsibility. And this fulfillment of our mission depends upon our free will. We attain Heaven or hell depending on the whole of our lives.

According to Unificationism, restoration contains two actions: the activity of God in giving us rebirth and the cooperation of man. If man fails to cooperate, he will not be reborn. So it is with spiritual restoration. As for bodily restoration, the kingdom of God on this earth, we have to wait until the Second Coming. Only then will there be realization of the kingdom of God on this earth. In other words, through the Second Advent of Christ there will take place the physical restoration of mankind.

Unificationism adds here another extremely important thing for Christianity -- the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual rebirth. It affirms the reality of the Holy Spirit and maintains that this Spirit affects man's spiritual restoration. By the Holy Spirit, and not only by Christ, we are spiritually reborn. Consequently, our true parents consist of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, both of them. That is what Unificationism points out very emphatically.

So what is the value of the Unificationist position? The Unification viewpoint, as I have described it here in these few sentences, can be reconciled or does agree with that upheld in the Christian Churches and I would say even with the Jewish position. It can be reconciled with Christian teaching because Unificationism does not enter into detailed discussion of the matters about which Christian Churches differ among themselves. Unificationists try to avoid such specific, debatable opinions. In this way Unificationism forms a common platform on which all Churches can be united. Thus Unificationism omits discussion about how Jesus Christ can be God and man. Unification does not deny that belief, but does not enter into any discussion about how various Christian views can be reconciled. It leaves open such questions of interpretation; I think that is a very wise approach if the purpose of Unificationism is to unite the Churches.

In the second place, Unificationism correctly points out the difference between spiritual and physical restoration. In this way Unificationists can unite with Jews, because traditionally the synagogues have insisted on the need for earthly restoration in the messianic age. Physical restoration has not yet occurred, Unificationists admit. But it will occur later. So that Jews and Christians together actually await the Second Coming of Christ and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth.

This position of Unificationism is acceptable to the Roman Catholic Church in regard to free will. Man is not deprived of his essential nature. He is still capable and even has to do something by his own will in order to reach salvation. At the same time, the Unificationist interpretation agrees to a certain extent with the beliefs of the Reformation Churches, because they admit that in spite of man's depraved nature he is still able to believe in Jesus Christ. Now, if he can believe in Jesus, then he has the power to perform some acts of free will which will somehow merit him salvation.

Let me repeat briefly my main points in respect to the concept of spiritual restoration. Unification theology insists on the free will of man and its importance in achieving salvation. It insists too on our believing in Jesus Christ. Because Unificationism does not enter into any detailed explanation of how Jesus is both God and man, it avoids many problems and forms the basis for cooperation with Judaism. Maybe the Unification position, I would say, is quite valuable also in speaking about the frustration of Jesus' mission in the sense that he did not restore the kingdom of God on this earth. As for its teaching about the Holy Spirit, Unificationism rightly stresses the role of the Holy Spirit in man's salvation. By doing so, Unificationists open the door to a quite interesting explanation of the Holy Trinity. Although somewhat different from the traditional view, this explanation is quite a good one.

We come now to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. What do we say about the Second Advent? Christianity at large declares that Jesus will come as the final judge. And Christianity at large asserts that there will be a new earth and new heaven. Theologians discuss among themselves whether or not there will occur the total destruction of the earth. Some say "yes," others say "no." Most theologians agree that there will be some kind of restoration of the world when the messianic age arrives. For example, Saint Augustine states that this earth will be somehow altered but not totally destroyed. However, there is no general agreement among Christians and different Churches about such matters. Christianity on the whole (at least Roman Catholic doctrine) believes in the physical resurrection, resurrection of the body, and an earthly kingdom of God.

Now what is the Unification position with regard to the Second Coming? First of all, Unificationism teaches very emphatically the fact of the Second Coming. Then, who is the Lord of the Second Advent? This is, as I see it and maybe I am completely wrong, rather an open question, an open question because it is not clearly stated that Jesus is the Lord of the Second Advent, but it is clearly emphasized that it is the Christ who will be the Lord of the Second Coming. Reading Divine Principle quite attentively I did not find a passage saying that Jesus and the coming Christ are the same. Why is this question so crucial? Because belief in the coming Christ provides a basis that Christian Churches can unite on, and Unificationism shows how Christianity can unite with Judaism because Jews expect a coming Messiah who will establish the kingdom of God on this earth. Faith in the coming Christ could open the door for a reconciliation of Judaism with Christianity.

Unificationism also points out very emphatically and very correctly the problem of the Second Coming. What does it mean to believe in a new earth and new heaven? This is a theological problem which is open for very serious discussion. One troublesome point in the Unification view is its teaching that the Second Advent will take place in a particular place on this earth. This is a very risky notion, because if it does not occur as predicted, then what? We have to admire the author of Divine Principle for being so eager to have the Second Coming in his particular part of the earth. We have to congratulate him and be proud of his great respect for the doctrine of the Second Advent. His early followers also deserve praise for wanting the Messiah to come from this particular country. There is nothing wrong in such devotion. But it is a little bit risky to maintain such a position. Besides, I think this is a secondary matter for the problem of salvation. Whether the Second Coming takes place in one part of the earth or in another part, this is unimportant. The primary thing is that the Second Advent has to occur and will occur.

From the standpoint of historic Christianity, whether Catholic, Orthodox or Reformation Protestant, there are certain weaknesses in Unification theology. Most importantly there are gaps in its explanation. One of these concerns the person of Jesus. Is he God as well as man? What does it mean for man to be oriented toward God or toward satan? Some additional points also appear unclear. Is the fall finally due to Adam or Eve or both? Could Cain and Abel, especially Cain, have done something to reverse the effects of the fall? What God expected of the family of fallen Adam is not too clear in the sources, at least to me. If we accept the kingdom of God on the earth why can we not accept the resurrection of the flesh? It seems illogical to insist upon the establishment of a physical kingdom of God and yet also teach that man's immortality is only spiritual. Then, as I stated earlier, many Christians find it difficult to limit the Second Coming of Jesus to a very specific spot on the earth.

But what are good points of Unification teaching? First of all, Unificationism treats man as a whole, both body and soul, with earthly responsibilities and an immortal destiny. Unificationists are both this-worldly and other-worldly. Man must work for the kingdom of God on earth and the supernatural goal of dwelling with God forever, they insist. That is a point in their favor.

This Unificationist position reminds me of the theology of Saint Augustine who also treats man as a whole. Augustine does not divide man artificially into natural man and supernatural man, but takes him as the whole. So also with Unificationism. Now there are concepts in Unificationism which I have mentioned in various parts of this lecture which may be unacceptable to some Christian Churches. But they are quite acceptable to other Christian Churches. We must recognize that some of the teachings which we consider objectionable are agreed to or tolerated by some Christians and some Churches.

Admittedly there are gaps in the Unification theology, but these gaps serve the main purpose of Unificationism. It exists mainly to unify Christians and to unite all religions. If one goes too far with specific explanations of theological problems, he alienates certain Churches. That is not the way to bring about religious unity. Perhaps by avoiding specific explanations we can find a basis common to all the Churches. Once we are united, then we can discuss among ourselves all our differences in the spirit of amiability and charity. This is the purpose, as I see it, of the Unification Church, and such an approach is extremely timely, since we live in an age of ecumenism.

Furthermore, the Unification position is valuable in that it keeps doors open to Judaism. For example, the role of the Messiah is emphasized very strongly, but his work is connected to the kingdom of God on earth, although not excluding the kingdom of God in heaven. This is a distinctly Jewish aspect to Unificationism and could lead to greater Jewish-Christian cooperation, it would seem.

Some Unificationist ideas appear more valuable than others, one could say. Let me comment on the very interesting way in which the doctrine of damnation is treated. First of all it is an optimistic presentation. Unificationists do not believe that anyone is predestined to everlasting damnation. Because they interpret God's purpose for fallen mankind in terms of restoration, they deny the notion of eternal reprobation.

Does, then, Unificationism teach any kind of predestination? Divine Principle explains predestination in this way. God wants man to be saved. That is His predetermined will. God provides 95% of what is needed for salvation and 5% is retained for man's free will. Man has to decide by his free will whether or not to follow God. This is only 5% of the total requirement for salvation, but for man this 5% is 100%, because it is a heavy task to make a decision of total dedication to God and complete separation from satan. Unificationists believe in predestination without denying each man's portion of responsibility. They insist that if man does not fulfill his share toward his salvation or for the providence of God's salvation of all mankind, God will provide other means to carry out His purpose. When we fail, God chooses other men to fulfill our role. Hence, God's will will be absolutely realized; God's will cannot be not fulfilled. Now I think this explanation goes as far as one can with the problem of predestination, reprobation, the free will of men and foreknowledge of God.

Unificationism is strongly optimistic. God loves the whole world. All men are predestined, therefore, to be saved. Consequently, Unificationists accept the doctrine of apocatastasis (universal restoration).

Another valuable thing is that Divine Principle ventures to explain what would have happened if Jesus had not been crucified. Theologians, especially Christian theologians, usually omit this question. They just assume that Jesus really came for crucifixion and do not speak too much about the fact that his death was finally determined by man's free will. As Unificationism points out very well, God permitted that Jesus be crucified, but God did not predestine Christ to be crucified. If this were not so, then Jesus would not have possessed free will. How, then, should we explain the Crucifixion? Unificationism thinks about the possibility of Jesus not being crucified. What would have happened? The solution is apparent: the kingdom of God would have come on earth. However we differ over these speculations, we might agree that raising such questions is very healthy for theology.

In closing, I would like to mention one last thing. To understand correctly the Unification position, we have to be very careful with the sources. If we read them quickly and superficially, we risk misinterpreting them. We are not limited to the terms which Unification sources use. Yet we have to understand their meaning in order to relate them to our terms. Once one grasps their meaning, it is possible to see the resemblance between Unificationism and other forms of Christianity, whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Protestant. In this presentation I have attempted to offer such a comparison. 

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