Unification Theology In Comparative Perspectives - Edited by Anthony J. Guerra - 1988

Applications of Afterlife Concepts and Imagery in Community Life: The New Testament and the Unification Church1 - by Whitney Shiner

A community's understanding of the afterlife has a direct bearing on its approach to a number of social situations and relationships in which death or the dead play a role. This paper will discuss ways that concepts and images of the afterlife are applied in specific situations in two different but historically related religious communities, the early Christian church as it is reflected in the New Testament and the present-day Unification movement. As the Unification movement recognizes the Bible as scripture, there is necessarily some overlapping of concepts and imagery in the two communities, but the eschatological understandings of the two groups, while related, are quite distinct and are reflected throughout their use of afterlife imagery and language.

Three aspects of community life will be taken up in turn: consolation of community members for the death of friends and relatives, moral exhortation, and the definition of the relationship between the members of the community and the dead. The understanding of the afterlife plays a role in other situations as well, but these three are representative enough to illustrate how the belief in the afterlife concretely affects people's lives in the two communities and how the larger understanding of the dealings of God with humanity directs the conception of the afterlife in both groups.

Both the early Christian church and the Unification movement are eschatological communities. Members of both communities believe that they are living in the "last days," when God is acting, or will act in the immediate future, to radically alter the nature of existence, and the consciousness of living at the eschatological moment is a dominant organizing factor for both thought and behavior in the lives of community members. Beliefs about the afterlife in the early Christian community were inextricably linked to eschatological beliefs, since for the most part the resurrection of the dead was understood as taking place at the eschaton and was linked to other events such as the return of Christ, the destruction or recreation of the world, the last judgment, and the eschatological tribulations. The intermediate state of the dead between death and resurrection seems to be only a minor concern.

The eschatology of the New Testament can be described by and large as apocalyptic in character. While there is no scholarly consensus on the definition of apocalyptic literature or worldview, apocalyptic eschatology is generally recognized as including such features as a radical separation between an old and new age, a predetermined plan of God for history which is rapidly drawing to a close, a decisive intervention by God or his designated representative to destroy or transform the world, future rewards and punishments that will vindicate the elect of God, and a period of suffering for the elect which will precede the end.2 Early Christianity inherited this apocalyptic view of history from its Jewish environment, understood Jesus as the divine representative ushering in the new age, and reinterpreted the historical scenario so that the end of the age was separated from the initial appearance of Jesus, the Messiah, and postponed to the time of his second coming.

Throughout most of the history of the Christian church, there have been both apocalyptic and non-apocalyptic strains of thought, and this paper does not intend to portray the apocalyptic view as the only true Christian view. Within modern biblical scholarship and theology there has been a great debate over how the apocalyptic language of the New Testament is to be understood today. Within traditional Christian churches, New Testament afterlife imagery has often been reinterpreted in a non-apocalyptic framework, or the apocalyptic framework has been de-emphasized. Nevertheless, for most of the New Testament church, afterlife and apocalyptic were closely intermeshed.

In the Divine Principle, the apocalyptic aspects of New Testament thought are generally interpreted as symbolic of God's activity at the eschaton. For example, the destruction of the world envisaged by some apocalyptic passages such as 2 Peter 3.12 is interpreted as symbolic of the passing of the old moral order dominated by evil, which will be replaced by a new moral order centered on God and God's purpose (Divine Principle, 114). The return of the Son of Man on the clouds (Mark 13.26) is understood as symbolic of God's providing a new Messiah to make possible once again the moral transition to the world of God's ideal (Divine Principle, 512-14). The temporal aspect of apocalyptic eschatology is retained -- the eschaton is still seen as an event in history -- but the apocalyptic scenario of physical transformation is demythologized.

The apocalyptic vision of the New Testament is understood in Unification theology in terms of a restorationist eschatology. Restotationist understandings of eschatology can be traced back to the New Testament (e.g., the Adam/Christ typology of Paul in Romans 5), but in the New Testament restorationist thinking is clearly subordinated to the apocalyptic vision. In Unification theology it is the dominant category for salvation (Divine Principle, 103-4). Salvation is understood as the restoration of the true moral order envisaged by God and intended by God as the outcome of creation. Salvation means the restoration of the individual's ability to participate in true relationships of love and society's ability to order itself according to such relationships. In the Unificationist account of history, such a society never existed and such an individual has only existed in Christ, but the potential for the natural development of such individuals and societies existed in the beginning and was lost, and it is this potential which can only be restored through the Messiah and the act of God.

In Unificationism, a continuation of life after death is understood as a natural part of the order of creation (Divine Principle, 61, 168). Physical death is not a disorder of the creation but, like birth, a means of passing into a new realm of existence. Immortality, then, is not the result of a special intervention by God; it is rather a part of the natural structure of God's creation within which God's redemptive activity takes place. Resurrection is understood not as a resuscitation or transformation of the physical body, but, as in those passages in the New Testament where life and death refer to the spiritual state of an individual (e.g., Luke 9-30; John 5.24), the new life granted through the resurrection is understood as a restoration of true relationship with God and the resulting infusion of spiritual vitality from God (Divine Principle, 165-72). The spirit of an individual which continues to exist after the death of the physical body is understood as having a bodily form and to be molded by the activity of the person during his or her physical life (Divine Principle, 60-63).


The concept of the afterlife is often used to help people to come to terms with their own impending death or the death of those they love. This is certainly true in the Christian tradition, though in some other traditions the existence of an afterlife is not seen as a comforting idea. Lucian, the second century Greek satirist, sees the excessive grief exhibited by his contemporaries at the death of their loved ones as arising from the pagan belief in a rather unpleasant afterlife in Hades,3 and the Epicureans denied the existence of an afterlife in order to reduce anxiety and grief associated with death.4

An example of early Christian consolation material is found in Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians 4.13-18:5

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.6

In this passage, Paul makes several points concerning the Christian attitude toward death. First, Christians should not grieve "as others do who have no hope." Second, the death and resurrection of Jesus guarantees the Christian's resurrection. Third, the living will not precede the dead into God's kingdom, but both will enter the kingdom at the coming of Christ. Fourth, the future life includes constant companionship with Jesus. When this passage is compared with approximately contemporary consolation material from Greek and Roman culture, several striking features can be noted.7 The standard consolation format includes a section on the happy state of the deceased in the afterworld, but that is only one of several means of consolation, and generally only a small fraction of a consoling letter or oration is concerned with the afterlife. The bulk of the standard consolation argument is concerned more directly with the sense of loss experienced by the survivors and how that loss can be overcome.8 Because of the early Christian belief in the imminence of the return of Christ and the accompanying resurrection, the loss of a loved one would be understood as a temporary situation and may not have placed such a great role in the psychology of mourning as it did in pagan culture. Several centuries later, however, when the imminence of Christ's return must have become more doubtful, the bishop Cyprian, while a severe plague was ravaging his congregation, forbade mourning on the basis of the Christian hope in a joyful afterlife.9 A similar prohibition of mourning is attributed to the Egyptian priests of Isis in Heliodorus's romance, Aetheopica,10 but given the setting of that novel long ago in a strange and foreign land, it is hardly certain that the prohibition has any basis in fact. The Stoics' prohibition of mourning was well known in the Greco-Roman world, though it was generally rejected as overly severe, but their prohibition was based on their understanding of human virtue rather than their conception of the afterlife.11

The second unusual aspect of Paul's consolation in 1 Thessalonians is the severe restriction of the community to which it applies. In general, the Greek and Roman consolation material was written for those who had lost relatives or friends. The family unit was the most important social structure, and loss of parents or children induced the most severe grief. Paul's consolation in 1 Thessalonians, in contrast, has no force whatsoever in relation to the death of those outside what was then a very tiny Christian community. Since the relatives of many if not most Christians at the time would have been outside the Christian community, it is striking that there is no mention of non-Christian relatives. Admittedly, the passage is concerned with the community's grief over the recent death of one of its own members and Paul's immediate concern is to provide consolation for that situation, but the corollary to his statement of consolation seems to be that there is no hope for those outside the community. It is quite apparent that there has been a radical restructuring of communal ties so that the church rather than the family has become the primary social unit.12

The Unificationist attitude toward death is best exemplified by Rev. Moon's reaction to the death of his son early in 1984. Heung Jin Moon, the second son of Rev. and Mrs. Moon, died from injuries received in an automobile accident at the age of seventeen. Members of the Unification Church understand that his death, while certainly unintentional, was, nevertheless, a sacrifice freely given for the continued progress of the process of world restoration.13 When members of the Unification Church gathered to pay their last respects to Heung Jin Nim, Rev. Moon made the following short statement:

In the secular world, death signifies the end of life. However, in our world, death is like a rebirth or a new birth into another world. Particularly those who gave their life for the purpose of the Kingdom of Heaven and for the sake of the movement are special heroes.

For that reason, we must not make those occasions gloomy or sad or feel discouraged. Instead we shall rejoice in the victory of the spirit in which that life was given for the mission.

If we here on earth become very mournful and gloomy it is like pulling the person who is going up to the heavens down to the ground.

Heung Jin Nim entered the spirit world; if he sees us mourning and sorrowful, he will not be happy and comforted. Instead he just will not understand why we are sad.

Therefore, this kind of occasion we no longer will call a funeral.... Again, this is a new birth from the second universal mother's womb (i.e., the physical world) into another world, just like when a baby emerges from its first mother's womb.

A funeral is actually comparable to a wedding, when men and women get married. It's not a sorrowful occasion at all. It's like an insect coming out of its cocoon, getting rid of the shackle and becoming a new body and a new existence, a new entity.

In our way of life and tradition, spirit world and physical world are one, and by our living up to that kind of ideal, we bring the two worlds together into one.14

While Rev. Moon made a point of not outwardly mourning for the death of his son, his attitude is not so much that we should feel no sense of personal loss when someone we love passes from the physical into the spiritual world15 but rather that we should not focus our attention upon that loss. Instead, our attention should be focused on the well-being of others, especially the well-being of the deceased. The departed spirit is comforted if we rejoice in his or her good fortune; he or she is confused and concerned if we mourn. Furthermore, an attitude of mourning would seem to belie the value of the sacrifice made by Heung Jin Nim. If his death is noble, he should be honored rather than mourned.

One can also see Rev. Moon's concern to make use of the death for the purposes of restoration. According to Unification theology, there should have been no separation between the physical and spiritual realms in the ideal of God's creation (Divine Principle, 62, 169). As people living in the physical realm also have a spiritual body with the capacity to communicate with those living in the spiritual world, death would not have caused separation. The distortion of the ideal through human sinfulness, however, has caused a separation between the two realms, and part of the process of restoration is to reunite the two. Living as if the two realms were united helps to restore the harmonious interaction between those who inhabit the two worlds.

The ceremony honoring Heung Jin Nim was called a Seunghwa (ascension and harmony) ceremony. It consisted of eulogies for the deceased, the offering of flowers and incense before his casket, and the singing of hymns celebrating the joy of God's kingdom.16

Moral Exhortation

Immortality language and concepts are commonly used in moral exhortation. The concept of rewards and punishments resulting from obedience and disobedience to God was an important part of the Old Testament understanding of the relationship between God and Israel. In the apocalyptic forms of Judaism which developed in the second century BCE, the rewards and punishments associated with obedience and disobedience were transferred to the afterlife, as in Daniel 12.2:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt.

The concept of rewards and punishments in the afterlife was elaborated into a formal scene of judgment where the deceased's fate was determined by God or some figure appointed by God for that purpose. This imagery of the judgment was a central part of the apocalyptic worldview underlying much New Testament moral exhortation. It is explicitly described in Matthew 25.31-46:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink.'... Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink.'... And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

The various Jewish and Christian apocalyptic works written at this time present quite varied views of the judgment in terms of its timing, the person of the judge or judges, and the process involved.17 In the New Testament, the twelve disciples are sometimes given a role as judges (Matthew 19-28; Luke 22.30), sometimes Jesus plays the role of the judge (John 5.22, 27; Acts 17.31; Romans 2.16), sometimes all the saints share the role of the judge (1 Corinthians 6.2). Again, the judgment is sometimes portrayed as a more internal phenomenon rather than an actual court scene (John 12.48).

The exact form in which the judgment is imagined is clearly less important than the fact of judgment, and the idea of judgment lies behind a great deal of moral exhortation in the New Testament. Lists of virtues and vices can be incorporated into a judgment scene, as in the example from Matthew above, or a vice list can be followed by a warning of judgment: "Those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5.19-21; cf. 1 Corinthians 6.91). The two ways of moral action and consequent judgment can also be concentrated on the single characteristic of faith and endurance (Hebrews 10.32-39) or of preparedness (Matthew 24.45-5 1; 15.2-13), or the threat of judgment can be held up to those who are misbehaving (Jude 5-7, 13-15).

Within the Unification Church, the eternal consequences of one's behavior on earth are frequently mentioned in the context of moral exhortation. These are two typical examples from Rev. Moon's sermons of the use of the concept of the spiritual world in moral exhortation:

When you go to the spirit world, that world works like this: The person who has lots of love toward his own parents, toward his own brothers and sisters, husband or wife, and children, that is, the person who experiences a deep sense of love in family life will have much, much freedom to maneuver. He can go horizontally in all directions, everywhere without any limitation. In contrast, a person who has no experience of love is narrow-minded. He isolates himself in spirit world and has no freedom at all.18

Unless you become the embodiment of the love of God then in spirit world you have no right to even look at nature or to enjoy food. In hell in the spirit world you will have no right to eat and even though you hear of certain places that are very beautiful and glorious, you will not be free to go there....

The love you will receive in heaven will be as much as the love you have felt for this world, humanity and God while on earth. You will not be able to receive even one iota more or less. This is the law of cause and effect and God's justice is absolutely carried out in that respect. The higher realms of spirit world are reserved for those who gave their lives in service to others. Those who live here on earth with a self-centered way of life, regardless of their positions as noted religious leaders, will end up in the lowest realms of hell.19

While the promise of reward in the afterlife for proper behavior on earth has a function similar to that in the examples of mortal exhortation from the New Testament, a number of distinctions can be made. The two ways of life and their consequences are clearly presented as a continuum rather than an either/or. Rather than a simple division between elect and damned, each individual's position in the spiritual world closely reflects that person's behavior and character. Even the most saintly person can strive to improve his or her future situation in the spiritual world by loving and serving more. Concentrating too much on one's future position, however, is actually counterproductive, since it reflects a basically self-centered motivation, as pointed out in the following quotation:

You can tell God, 'Father, you don't have to send me to Heaven; that's not what I'm here for. I may go to hell, but I will be satisfied as long as mankind and You are liberated.' Will such a person be sent to hell? Never. That is the standard of the true Moonie.20

Another distinction between New Testament and Unificationist moral exhortation is that the two ways of moral action are almost never presented as lists of virtues and vices in Unification exhortation. While Rev. Moon will often condemn a specific vice, he seldom, if ever, lists virtues and vices to delineate the life of good and evil. Spiritual consequences for present activity are almost always presented in terms of the extent to which the individual fulfills the heart of love which is God's ideal of creation.

Finally, it should be noted that the apocalyptic time framework has disappeared. One enters the spiritual realm immediately after death, and one's state in the spiritual world is a natural result of one's character. There is no mythical judgment scene and no active intervention by God (Divine Principle, 63). Rev. Moon can on occasion use a modified judgment imagery, with the individual's ancestry testing the quality of his or her family love, for example,21 but the point in that case is not so much the judgment scene but the fact that our situation depends on the judgments of other individuals concerning the quality of our love.

The restorationist theology of the Unification Church does allow for the eventual salvation of spiritual persons after death, but as it is understood to be very difficult to change without a physical body and restoration of oneself in the spiritual world is understood to take thousands of years,22 the prospect of eventual restoration does not undermine the use of afterlife categories for moral exhortation.

Relationship With The Dead

Finally, the communities' views are expressed in their relationship to deceased persons, whether the recently deceased or more remote ancestors: what do they understand as their responsibility to such people, and what, if anything, can they expect from the world of the dead?

In the New Testament, this is not at all a central concern, and apart from the special position of the risen Jesus within the church, there are only a few isolated statements regarding the church's relationship to the dead. A probable concern with the salvation of the dead is apparent in 1 Peter 3.18-20, where the spirit of Christ is said to have preached "to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey," and 4.6, which states that "the gospel was preached even to the dead."23 In 1 Corinthians 15.29, Paul speaks of people "being baptized on behalf of the dead." We have no other information on what the rite he refers to might be, but if the baptism for the dead is in any way parallel to the baptism of the living, there appears to have been an idea current among some early Christians that the living could intervene to assist in the salvation of the dead.24

In Hebrews 11.39-40, the conviction is expressed that the righteous people of pre-Christian Israel will be included in salvation. Since apocalyptic generally seems to have conceived of resurrection and judgment as applying to people from all of history, it is somewhat surprising that references to past saints being included in salvation do not occur more often than they do. A concern for a future relationship with deceased Christians was illustrated in the Pauline consolation material quoted above (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18). There appears to be no expectation of the dead interacting with living Christians (other than the special case of Jesus), though on certain occasions the dead do testify to Jesus (the transfiguration, Mark 9-2-13 and parallels; Matthew 27.52-53). Generally, apocalyptic literature centers speculation about the afterlife on the separation of the righteous and the unrighteous and the meting out of rewards and punishments. In the light of these apocalyptic concerns, the New Testament's general lack of interest in the salvation of the dead is not surprising.

The restorationist viewpoint of the Unification movement, on the other hand, necessitates a mechanism for the restoration of the dead so that they, too, can come to reflect the heart and love of God and enter into true relationship with God. As the Unification movement takes responsibility for the restoration of the original ideal of creation, the restoration of deceased persons in the spiritual world is understood to be part of the task of the movement:

The destiny of the entire spirit world and humanity rests on your shoulders. If you become idle and weak, the consequences will affect not only you but the rest of the world and the entire spirit world.25

Certain conditions fulfilled by the movement are understood to reduce the barriers between individuals in the spiritual world which result from the divisions between cultures and religions that those individuals experienced on earth.26 It is more common in Unification piety, however, to think of the restoration of the spiritual world as one of the results of the restoration of humanity on the earthly plane. According to the Divine Principle, "The primary purpose of the providence of salvation must first be realized on the earth" (Divine Principle, 63), and, "The Kingdom of God in heaven can be realized only after the realization of the Kingdom of God on earth" (Divine Principle, 62).

The restoration of individuals in the spiritual realm is accomplished through their cooperation with individuals in the earthly realm to advance the course of restoration (Divine Principle, 181-87). When individuals on earth fulfill their responsibility and establish characters reflecting the love of God and fulfill ideal relationships, they assist those cooperating with them in the spiritual realm to benefit equally (Divine Principle, 185). The cooperation of spiritual persons with persons on earth is most often conceived of as an influence on the thoughts and emotions of the person or persons with which they are interacting. The person on earth does not have to be aware of the presence of these spiritual persons or be consciously trying to assist them, and the extent to which the intention of giving such assistance to spiritual persons plays a role in the motivation of Unificationists varies widely. Individuals are understood to have special responsibility for the restoration of their ancestors in the spiritual world.27

A corollary of this mechanism for the salvation of individuals in the spiritual world is the belief that the movement and members of the movement can expect help from deceased persons in the fulfillment of their tasks. The unification of Christianity and of all world religions is expected to take place through the influence of spiritual persons (Divine Principle, 188-91)- Many spiritual persons are believed to be assisting each member in the accomplishment of his or her tasks for the restoration of the world.28

Thus while the afterlife is, for the most part, a future reality in New Testament writings, in the Unification movement there is much more consciousness of being part of a cosmic drama which includes not only the earthly realm but also the world inhabited by persons of the past. The two worlds interact quite closely, and the individual's responsibility extends beyond the world which he or she inhabits to include also the persons living in the other realm.


1. This paper was originally presented at the conference, "God: The Contemporary Discussion," held in Seoul, Korea, August 9-15, 1984, in the section entitled "Death and Immortality in the Religions of the World."

2. For an overview of Jewish apocalyptic, see D.S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964). The current scholarly discussion of apocalyptic is well represented in Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East, ed. David Hellholm (Tubingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1983).

3. Lucian, On Funerals, 1-15.

4. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, 10.125.

5. On the nature of this passage as a consolation, see Abraham J. Malherbe, "Exhortation in First Thessalonians," Novum Testamentum 25 (1983) 254-56.

6. All biblical quotations are from the Revised Standard Version.

7. On Greco-Roman consolation, see R. Kassel, Untersuchungen zur griechischen und roischen Konsolationsliteratur (Munich, 1958) and Robert C. Gregg, Consolation Philosophy, Patristic Monograph Series, No. 3 (Cambridge, MA: Philadelphia Patristic Foundation, 1975).

8. Ps-Menandet, Concerning Epideictic, 419-21 Spengel; Ps-Dionysius of Halicarnassus, On Epideictic Speeches, 283; Gregg. 58.

9. Cyprian, De Mortalitate, 20.

10. Heliodorus, Aethiopica, 1.11.49-50; in Moses Hadas's translation Heliodorus: An Ethiopian Romance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1957) 172.

11. For the Stoic attitude toward grief, Diogenes Laertius, 7.110-18; Cicero, De Finibus, 3.9.32.

12. For examples of social restructuring which includes the redefinition of the family, Mark 3-20f, 31-35 and 10.28-31, and the discussion of those passages in Howard Clark Kee, Community of the New Age (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977) 109-10.

13. Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, "In God and True Parents We Never Die," Today's World 4 (Jan/Feb 1984) 25.

14. Angelika Selle, "Belvedere Ceremony," Today's World A (Jan/Feb 1984) 33-34.

15. Sun Myung Moon, "Day of Victory of Love," Today's World A (Jan/Feb 1984), 27.

16. "The World Seunghwa Ceremony of Heung Jin Nim Moon," Today's World A (Jan/Feb 1984) 35, 37; [Chung Hwan Kwak}, The Tradition, Book One (New York: HSA-UWC, 1985) 204-10.

17. On the judgment in Jewish apocalyptic, Russell, 379-85. For comparative studies, Brandon, The Judgment of the Dead (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967); Gwyn Griffiths, The Divine Tribunal (Swansea: University of Swansea, 1975).

18. Sun Myung Moon, "The Kingdom of God on Earth and the Ideal Family," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 1 Jan 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 9.

19. Sun Myung Moon, "The Spirit World and the Physical World," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 6 Feb 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 18.

20. Sun Myung Moon, "Emergency Time Period," trans. Sang Kil Han, 12 Dec. 1982 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1982) 8.

21. Sun Myung Moon, "Ideal Family and Ideal World," trans. Sang Kil Han, 6 June 1982 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1982) 11.

22. "The Spirit World and the Physical World," 22-23.

23. There is some dispute whether these passages actually refer to the dead. Since Friedrich Spitta, Christi Predigt an die Getster Gbttingen: Vanderhoeck and Ruprecht, 1890), 3.18-20 has often been interpreted as referring to the fallen angels rather than the dead. A concise outline of both positions is found in C.E.B. Cranfield, "The Interpretation of I Peter iii. 19 and iv.6," Expository Times 69 (1957-58) 370. The force of both passages together makes the dead appear to the be the most natural understanding.

24. This understanding of the passage is also disputed, e.g., K.C. Thompson, "1 Corinthians 15,29 and Baptism for the Dead," in F.C. Cross, ed., Studia Evangelica, vol. 2, part 1, Texte und Untersuchungen, 87 (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 1964) 647-59, but the reading of baptism on behalf of the dead is accepted by most scholars. Hans Conzelmann, / Corinthians, trans. James W. Leitch, Hermeneia (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975) 275-77.

25. Sun Myung Moon "Who Am I," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 23 Jan 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 10.

26. "Who Am I," 11.

27. Sun Myung Moon, "Our Family and the Dispensation -- Part I," trans. Sang Kil Ham, 1 March 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 9; "Our Newborn Selves," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 1 Nov 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 14; "The Resurrection of Jesus and Ourselves," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 10 April 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 15.

28. Sun Myung Moon, "23rd Anniversary of the Unification Church and the History of God's Dispensation," trans. Bo Hi Pak, 1 May 1977 (New York: HSA-UWC, 1977) 9. 

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