The Words of Young Oon Kim

My Successful Search for God -- Part II -- My Encounter with Father: His Teaching and Person

Young Oon Kim
May 1988
First missionary to the United States and Professor of Theology at the Unification Theological Seminary

Father teaching the Principle in the early days.

I found several elements in Father's teachings to be striking. Let me start with the concept of God illuminated in the Principle. Men of faith have found God and described Him as Creator, Sovereign, Infinite Spirit, Cosmic Intelligence, Omnipotent and Omniscient Lord, Absolute and Final Judge, Cosmic Law and the Heavenly Way, Fighter Against Evil and Injustice, the Wholly Other who is totally transcendent, Being and Ground of Being, Loving Father, and Merciful Redeemer; these are the traditional views of God.

Against this background, the Principle offered me a much more advanced and inclusive view of God -- very personal, yet not anthropomorphic. The Unificationist God is a God of dynamic, infinite love, deeply longing for passionate human response and absolute loyalty. God is not just our Heavenly Father God is our Father-Mother Creator, a combination of both masculine and feminine principles in perfect balance. Yet God is also a transcendent Being, the infinite Spirit of cosmic energy, a radiant glow beyond description. He nevertheless finds His temple in the human soul. While Father-Mother God hears our every sound and knows our every move, He remains all-powerful. God has an enduring and passionate love for everything He created. Consequently He is pleased and rejoices when His children wholeheartedly respond to His loving care and carry out His will. This Almighty God possesses the most sensitive of parental hearts.

God, Satan, and Jesus

God is not like a gaseous vapor or a hazy, insubstantial, formless something. Out of His perfect love and immense wisdom, we were born as humans to evolve into His perfect children. God created us so that He could experience ultimate joy through loving give and take with a true man and woman, without whom He would remain lonely and unfulfilled. He wanted to participate fully in human life, to feel the full range of our experiences. Hence, He created man to be His child, companion, and body. This explanation of the purpose of creation is so rational yet beautiful that it is unusually persuasive and touching by comparison with other views. It is exceptional in that it relates God and man in the most personal, intimate, and interdependent ways. Thus, in researching the truth in the Principle, I had an eye-opening experience, finding a very advanced and most inclusive concept of God, illuminating God's reality and His providential activity in our present age.

Secondly, the Principle reveals clearly the reality and nature of Satan. In this materialistic age, many do not recognize the existence of Satan. However, Father has specific knowledge about him -- his origin, his nature, his purpose, and his tricks and schemes, as well as his final destiny. Knowing this, Father is able to subjugate Satan. Thus the cause of the cosmic tragedy for God and man is revealed, and its resolution is made possible. This, I realized, was very crucial information.

Thirdly, the Principle resolves the age-old controversies of Christology. The incarnation, the divinity of Jesus, and the virgin birth have always been theological mysteries, which no one could explain clearly. According to Father, the first human couple violated God's commandment, resulting in a historical disaster. In order to remedy the situation, another human being must take up the task of restoration. As the Jews taught, the Messiah will be a man chosen by God -- one born like any other human being. There is no need for a virgin birth.

Jesus was born as the second Adam.

As he matured, he divested himself of human self-centeredness and gradually developed the divine heart and nature.

His incarnation of the highest qualities of God involved a process of growth. When he entered the spirit world, he discarded his physical nature and became more fully divine. However, God alone is eternally infinite; Jesus is finite and dependent on God.

The Holy Spirit refers to the various manifestations of the divine energy of love. Many saints and countless good spirits of human ancestors and angels serve as carriers of divine messages and the energy of God's love. The Holy Spirit is not a third person of the Godhead, but rather refers to God's redemptive activity in diverse forms. We must worship one true, living God, the source of life and all existence, who is essentially love and wisdom itself. Jesus served as God's supreme representative, never claiming to be equal with God. He and the Holy Spirit in multiple forms assist God by carrying out God's will. The Trinity may refer to their three functions, but there are not three Gods.

Members of the Berkeley, California, church center on Ashby Street with Dr. Young Oon Kim in April 1970.

The Ultimate Goal of History

Fourth is the distinctive doctrine of the Second Advent. The expectation of the second advent of Christ has been virtually forgotten by mainstream Christianity. Only among fundamentalists and very conservative evangelicals is there still a belief in Jesus' coming on the clouds. But in our theology, the dispensation of the Second Advent is absolutely indispensable in fulfilling the mission of Jesus. For this task, another person, who is the incarnation of divine truth as Jesus is, must be sent to attain God's ultimate goal. He and Jesus will finally accomplish God's consistent desire -- to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and in the spirit world, glorifying God together.

Fifth is the unique aspect of our doctrine of salvation. The traditional Christian position is that the crucified Jesus has already paid for all the sins of the world. Through belief in Christ, one's personal sins are washed away. Through baptism and through partaking of the Lord's Supper, one becomes united with him and God; faithful Christians are promised heaven; and the sinful conditions in this world are somehow expected to improve gradually through social, political, and economic channels. However, Jesus himself required just two things: that his hearers listen deeply to his words and, most importantly, actually join him in building the Kingdom of God. Father's requirements are the same: to study his teachings and join him in taking responsibility to create the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Father teaches us that the realization of the purpose of creation -- the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth -- is the ultimate goal of history. Individual salvation and happiness here and hereafter are inextricably related to this larger providence, magnifying one's view of the purpose of his life.

Father also teaches that the historical failures of the central figures during the course of divine providence have to be remedied by God's appointed liberator. Father discovered where and how the central figures in Old Testament history failed in their missions and saw how to repair these failures by applying the law of indemnity. Thus he was able to restore each stage of the providential history. This indemnity and restoration of the providential course is quite unique and unprecedented. For his accomplishments, Father has received the endorsement of Jesus and the founders of all other great religions. Most significantly, he has secured the absolute approval of God Himself, together with Satan's confession and acknowledgment. Therefore, studying the Principle and cooperating with a grateful heart in Father's work will qualify us to be accepted into the new world, which is now at hand.

Father's Profound Insight

It is not easy for church leaders to know how to nurture the spiritual life of their flocks. With Father, every person can find the powerful, loving God. Through his deep insight, Father can immediately recognize what type of work a follower can do well, and advise accordingly. Those of us who follow Rev. Moon call him Father because he has fulfilled the role of the third Adam, becoming the embodiment of God. An American lady I knew once asked of God in prayer, "What is Mr. Moon's mission?" The immediate answer was, "He is the third Adam." Because Adam fell and Jesus was crucified before God could bless either of them in marriage with a bride, a third Adam had to appear and marry with God's blessed bride, so that they could together become the True Parents of mankind, God's embodiment.

Time and again Father emphasizes the heart of God: "You must approach God with an open heart and listen with your heart when God speaks." Of course, other religions and theologies greatly value the devotional life, the loving heart, the feeling of utter dependence on God, the spiritual ecstasy, the joyful affection for God, enthusiastic witnessing, and sympathetic identification with Jesus' suffering, with which Father completely agrees. But he goes far beyond.

In his deeper spiritual exploration, he discovered Heavenly Father's profound hahn (age-old hidden grief, unresolved pain, and restrained indignation) and what caused it. The cunning, rebellious archangel stole from God Adam and Eve, who were to have been the most intimate, direct objects of His eternal love. Father once said that when he finally discovered the reality of God's anguish, he wailed for three days and then vowed to uproot its cause and heal God's hahn. Such a course could never be commonplace, smooth, or easy. Now Father, through his humble service to all his adversaries, has won Satan's voluntary surrender. Through acts of indemnity he has been restoring to God all that Satan had taken from Him.

Once anyone truly grasps Heavenly Father's hahn, he cannot remain still.

With a feeling of terrible urgency and determination, he must awaken and enlighten other people to join the cosmic battle. The purpose of salvation is not merely to obtain divine forgiveness of personal sins and to go to heaven. For Father the true purpose is to relieve God's grief, liberate His power, and restore His cosmic sovereignty, which will bring about peace on earth and love and joy to all people. In undertaking the task of cosmic restoration and fulfilling it victoriously, Father truly has demonstrated his immense faith and personality. No one can deny that Almighty God is the source of his power and wisdom.

Transcending Ordinary Faith

To me, the Principle is the most reasonable, convincing, and truly biblical theology I have ever encountered. As we can see in the profundity of his teachings, Father's own spirituality is very distinctive. He has had a long, intense spiritual battle and search, which are reflected in his teachings. From early childhood, he developed a deep prayer life and asked God questions that only spiritually mature adult would think of. Although Father's parents attended a Presbyterian church, his spiritual search from the very beginning transcended any denominational faith.

As a spiritually sensitive youth, he searched for solutions to one great religious problem after another until he had unlocked the hidden secrets about history and the spirit world. After fierce battles with spirit beings, he was able to boldly point out Satan's hidden motives and rebellious actions. Through these struggles, Father was deeply touched by the depths of God's heart and His age- old grief and anguish, as well as by the ultimate divine ideal and goal for humanity.

Ever since I met Rev. Young Do Lee, I longed to meet someone who possessed his powerful spirituality. When I shook hands with Father for the first time, he was wearing ordinary overalls, but I perceived that here was a man of deep prayer, as were his followers. They were very few in number, but most of them were sensitive and open to communication with the spirit world.

After greeting me, the first thing Father said to me was, "You have been praying a lot, haven't you? I'm not sure whether you have a special ancestor or you yourself are special, but you are a very special person." I was surprised. But spiritually, I felt I had come home at last, and I sensed that he meant I had a special mission to perform.

Dr. Young Oon Kim

All Our Doubts Vanished

In the early days, the members lived in their own homes. A quite common experience for us was that when we were at home we would have doubts about Father and his work, but as soon as we were back in the church and saw him again, all our doubts quickly disappeared, just as thick fog evaporates when the sun rises. He is such a bright spiritual light that in his presence all doubts and negative thoughts simply vanish. Father would stay up until 2 am, sometimes even 3 am. We were all exhausted, but if someone urged him to go to bed, he would say, "You must remember that even at this hour there are people praying to God. Our devotion must at least match theirs." This is still his creed and lifestyle. Soon I realized that his concern, his prayer, and his goal of life were very high and broad, transcending those of other Christian leaders.

Even when his group of followers was small, Father was quite optimistic. He was absolutely convinced that a multitude would join us and that he would soon be known throughout the whole world. When he talked to a few hundred people on Sundays, he spoke very loudly, as if addressing a huge crowd.

From the very beginning, I noticed how serious he was about God. Once he felt something had to be done for God, he never hesitated. He did it, and inspired us to do it, at all costs. The word "compromise" wasn't in his vocabulary. He felt he was always standing face-to-face with God, but he could also sense how Satan was just waiting for the slightest chance to overpower him and frustrate his work. Repeatedly, he would tell us, "We are in the midst of the battle between God and Satan." He would never be caught off-guard. Spiritually, his muscles were always flexed for action, and his mind was constantly alert.

But this seriousness never made him too stern or stone-faced. He loved to sing and loved to hear singing. He would always ask us to sing, even though our singing was terrible at that time. And he was always ready to laugh. He used to tell me, "We must experience the whole wide range of human emotions, from sorrow to joy, from indignation to tenderheartedness, from unyielding resolve to open-mindedness.

I remember in the early days there was a preschool boy staying at the center. He was the only son of a widow and was a partial deaf-mute. His name was Samuel. Most of the time he was silent, sitting alone and unnoticed. But in the evenings, when Father came home, Father would sit cross-legged on the floor and call Samuel to join him. Together they would sing cheerfully and pretend to dance. The boy would be all smiles, arms moving and feet dancing. With Father he could fully express his joy. By spending time with him, Father was showing this little boy how to feel important and happy.

Another incident involved two sisters in their mid-fifties (20 years older than Father was at that time) who visited Father one day. They had come from far away and were not known to any of us. After asking Father some questions and listening to his answers, one of the women broke into song to express her feelings. Father promptly responded in song. It was like an opera, where the main content of the story is expressed through singing. Yet it was also like a sudden encounter of lovers -- very personal, very deep, and very intimate -- the spontaneous meeting of hearts. It lasted for about an hour. These two had come a long way to meet Father, and their meeting became a moment of total pleasure, yet utterly pure.

Let me give you one more story. Father once told me that when he was a young student in Japan, he pulled a pushcart through the fashionable Ginza Street in Tokyo in order to feel the burden and humiliation of the menial laborers and the underprivileged ones. That taught me a great deal about God, who is the comforter and lover of people in every walk of life. This also shows how Father expanded the scope of his life experience in order to know and empathize with people of every walk of life -- in both humiliated and exalted positions. Thus, he can truly be the loving father of all human beings.

A Strong Sense of Urgency

I never heard from him meaningless, silly jokes, wit, or humor. He seemed to believe, and actually told me, that every word he utters is recorded somewhere, either by angels or by Satan, and that he is responsible for every word he speaks. Nowadays, he makes his audience laugh and feel relaxed when he speaks, but in the early days when he spoke to us as a group, the atmosphere was always serious and even tense, without any humor or relaxed moments. He always showed great dignity and authority. We felt awestruck and overpowered. But at the same time Father evoked our deep trust and great respect.

Coming into his presence, we found our hearts uplifted and our willpower magnified. Even physically, we felt deeply refreshed and infused with amazing energy. I have been with him in every mood. I have seen him crying many, many times. I have seen him joyful. I have been with him in his lonely hours. And I have seen him angry, like a thunderstorm or fire. On every occasion, he seems to reflect the feelings of God.

Father has always possessed a strong sense of urgency. There is so much to be done, and it has to be done fast and effectively. Everything is a matter of life and death, so Father doesn't let anyone or anything pull him down. Never have I found such qualities in other Christian leaders in the same intensity and combination. For instance, Rev. Young Do Lee, who inspired me so much in my youth, was constantly seeking. He was very spiritual and he had many spiritual experiences, but he was always waiting for something from God. His message urged Korean Christians to repent; I realized his mission was to cleanse the Korean church, to prepare for Father's coming with the new dispensation. By contrast, Father had found what he wanted. He knew what to do from the outset. He was sure of his destination and goal. Father's messianic role was clear to him from the beginning; thus, he leads us with complete confidence and marches in the vanguard to the fulfillment of God's providential will.

In the early days, even though he must have had deep apprehension, Father was always cheerful, full of hope, and eagerly awaiting dedicated and capable workers to join him. In those days he just longed for people. With his immense vision and superhuman task, he was the loneliest man in the world. In public prayers, he often broke down in tears. Back then, even over 30 years ago, I could see there were many hardships ahead of him. Yet when such trials came one after another, I saw how he triumphed over them. This has happened time and again for three decades.

70 Years of Sweat and Blood

He was imprisoned six times, first for five months in Korea by the Japanese occupation authorities, who tortured him most severely. He was twice imprisoned by the Pyongyang communists and almost died from their cruel treatment. He was sent to the Hung Nam forced labor camp for two years and eight months and saw many of his fellow prisoners die from the inhuman work conditions. But he survived because of his strong faith and willpower combined with God's special protection. In Seoul he was imprisoned for three months, and finally, in Danbury, Connecticut, he was held for 13 months. Thus more than five years of his precious life were passed in prison. He has poured out his blood, sweat, and tears, struggling for nearly 70 years of long- suffering persecution, sacrifice, and service to friends and adversaries alike. The latter half of his eventful life I have myself witnessed. Despite so many calamities, he is still well, because God has chosen him and is with him. I know that from this year, 1988, God's providence centered on Father will be increasingly manifested to the world, and I only pray that the people of this earth will be awakened quickly.

To be here today, I am greatly indebted to, first of all, Heavenly Father. No human person came to evangelize me; God Himself called me and revealed to me His deep, lonely heart. I am also eternally indebted to Swedenborg, Rev. Young Do Lee, and our beloved Jesus. All of them led me to Father. Every day I feel that the greatest privilege of my life is to be Father's contemporary and eyewitness -- to be born in this crucial time in God's providential history, and to walk on the same ground with such a person sent from heaven. To Heavenly Father and to this great man, who have given me the highest truth and everlasting blessings, which I will not be able to repay even for eons of time: Thank you.

Chronology of Dr. Young Oon Kim's Life

1915 Born in Seoul, Korea

1938-1942 Student at Kwansei Gakuin University Theological School, Japan

1942-1945 Teacher at a Methodist women's Bible college, Pyongyang

1946-1947 Teacher at a Catholic girl's high school, Seoul

1947-1954 Professor of Religion at Ehwa Women's University, Seoul

1953 Met Father

1959 Arrived in U.S. as the first Unification Church missionary to America

1959-1962 Founded the Unification Church in America by establishing five church centers in Oregon and seven in California

1961-1965 Director of the San Francisco church 1965-1972 Director of the Washington DC church

1968 Became an American citizen

1973 Established the Theological Research Committee

1975-1988 Professor of Systematic Theology, Unification Theology, and World Religions at the Unification Theological Seminary

Books Dr. Kim Has Written

1961 The Divine Principle

1969 Divine Principle and its Application

1972 For God's Sake

1975 Unification Theology and Christian Thought 1976 World Religions (three volumes)

1980 Unification Theology

1982 An Introduction to Theology

1983 The Types of Modern Theology

1986 Christian Traditions in America (edited by Dr. Kim) 

Table of Contents

Tparents Home

Moon Family Page

Unification Library