Building A World Of True Love - An Introduction to the Divine Principle
Building A World Of True Love - An Introduction to the Divine Principle
Part 2: Why Does Evil Exist?
The Fall of Man
Since God is a being of infinite love, goodness and power, the question naturally arises: why does evil exist? If we look at ourselves, it is apparent that we live with two conflicting desires: one which tells us to lift other people up and care for them, and another which tells us to take care of our own comforts first, regardless of everyone else. Where does this conflict originate? Did God, after creating a beautiful and ecologically balanced system of life, somehow slip and design His highest creation with an inherent contradiction, like a cup with a hole in it? Of course not.
There is no historic record of events that explains how evil came into this world. However, the Bible offers a significant insight in the book of Genesis, where the story is told of the first human ancestors, whom the Bible calls Adam and Eve, committing the first sin. The story is shrouded in symbolism, however, and therefore lacks clarity to what precisely Adam and Eve did. Certainly, the sin of the first human ancestors had awesome consequences, as all their descendants have been affected by it. Different scriptural texts offer variations of the fall theme. The Principle presents a profound explanation of the root cause of evil, which has been embedded in symbols in all the great religions. The Genesis story, on which the Principle explanation focuses, is perhaps the most widely known and profoundly revelatory.
What Happened in the Garden of Eden?
As told in the story of the fall of man, there was a Garden of Eden, and in the center of the garden there were two trees: a tree of life, and a tree of knowledge bearing a forbidden fruit. In this garden lived Adam, Eve, and a serpent who spoke to them and tricked them.
God gave the two people a commandment: do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, or you will die that day. Then a serpent appeared and tempted Eve into eating the fruit despite God's order, and Eve, in turn shared the fruit with Adam. At that point the man and woman felt fear and guilt; they covered their sexual parts and hid from God. God then blocked their way to the tree of life and sent them out of the garden.
Is this story is to be taken literally or symbolically? To interpret the Genesis story, the Principle employs the following criteria: 1) common sense based on our general knowledge of history and the human experience; 2) the Bible as a whole; and 3) the Principle of Creation (as introduced in Part One).
Based on these criteria, we concluded that the story is full of symbols. If they are interpreted correctly, we discover that the story portrays an actual event in the lives of our first human ancestors. They acted in a way to corrupt themselves and degrade their spiritual natures. Furthermore, these events are repeated in the lives of ordinary people every day.
The fruit which the first human ancestors ate could not have been a literal fruit. As Jesus explained: "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." (Matt. 15:11) Moreover, the death that resulted from eating the fruit was not physical death (Adam and Eve continued to live after the fall) but spiritual death, meaning the separation between man and God. Eating a literal fruit cannot cause spiritual death.
One common explanation is that the fruit itself is not important, but it was Adam and Eve's act of disobedience which was the root cause of all the historical evil and sins of humankind. However, this analysis does not explain why Adam and Eve would disobey God over a mere piece of fruit. We cannot believe that God would implant in them a desire to rebel against Him, or to destroy themselves for the sake of a piece of fruit. Therefore, the fruit that Adam and Eve ate must signify something far more important to man's happiness than a tasty apple or pear.
Sex and Original Sin
After Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they suddenly covered the sexual parts of their bodies in shame. Why would they do this? The Bible, in Job 31:33, says: "I have concealed my transgressions like Adam by hiding my iniquity in my bosom." This verse, stating that Adam concealed his transgression, and the account of Adam and Eve covering their sexual parts after the fall, indicate that the sin of Adam and Eve involved a sexual act. If Adam and Eve had sinned with their mouths by eating a literal fruit, they would have covered their mouths in shame. Furthermore, the Bible records that the fall of the angels likewise involved a sexual transgression (Jude 6,7).
What then must be the meaning of the fruit of the tree of knowledge? A fruit is that part of a tree that bears the seeds for reproduction. If the sin of the first human ancestors was sexual in nature -- the result of the serpent (a symbol for the archangel Lucifer) tempting Eve to "eat the fruit" and Eve likewise offering the fruit to Adam -- then the fruit must symbolize the love of Eve (and the sexual aspect of it).
Does this mean that sex is evil? No. As explained in Part One, God clearly intended for Adam and Eve to fulfill the second blessing (to multiply). But God's commandment not to "eat the fruit" meant that they were not supposed to enter into a marriage relationship until their personalities had matured and they had become a perfected man and woman. Then, and only then, would they have been capable of loving each other and giving the love of true parents to their offspring, beginning a cycle of goodness, beauty and peace that was to repeat itself forever.
By engaging in a sexual relationship prematurely, Adam and Eve let selfish love, centered on their physical bodies, take the place of selfless love, centered on their spirits and God's Word. Thus, they fell. As a result, Adam and Eve could not give birth to and raise good, sinless children. Instead they gave birth to children who inherited from them the selfish nature they acquired through their relationship with the angel, Lucifer.
The Motivation of the Fall
Then with what motive and by what process did Adam, Eve and the archangel fall in the Garden of Eden? God did not create Lucifer as an evil being. God does not create evil. Lucifer and the other angels were created as good beings. Unlike human beings, they were to live in the spirit world only, not in the physical world. Therefore, angelic beings have a spiritual body but not a physical body. God created them in a servant position to man, who lives in both worlds and therefore has a potential and responsibility greater than that of the angels.
The archangel Lucifer was placed in the Garden of Eden to serve and guide the young Adam and Eve. But as the latter grew older and more mature, Lucifer began to realize that they were receiving more love from God than he was and therefore felt the desire for more love. Since Adam and Eve were God's children, they were meant to receive God's fullest and deepest love. Lucifer's situation may be compared to that of a child who is displaced by a newborn baby. Until the new infant arrived, the older sibling was the sole recipient of his parents' love. Now, all of a sudden, his parents' attention is focusing on the newborn.
What was the wicked serpent contemplating at that time? He thought, "I shall go and kill Adam and wed his wife, and I shall be king over the whole world." Talmud, Abot de Rabbi Nathan
Contrary to what Lucifer believed, God did not love him any less than before the creation of Adam and Eve. But because he had the ability to compare, Lucifer felt a lack of love. He tried to make up for this by coming closer to Eve. Lucifer saw Eve as very beautiful, and he was stimulated by an impulse of love towards her. From her side, Eve, who was immature and therefore susceptible to Lucifer's temptation, was attracted to the angel because of his wisdom and the attention she was receiving from him. The more Eve responded, the more the archangel was stimulated.
Even though Lucifer knew his intent was self-serving and against the will of God, his desire for more love led him to intensify his relationship with Eve. A vicious cycle ensued. Eventually it drove him to defy God and Heavenly law completely by engaging in a sexual relationship with Eve. Eve, though feeling anxiety and confusion, willfully had this sexual relationship. This was possible only because Eve, prior to the fall, could interact with the spirit world as readily as with the physical world through her spiritual senses. It was a completely real experience. In her union with Lucifer, Eve received his selfish and guilt-laden spiritual elements.
When Eve felt fear, guilt and shame for what she had done, she went to her intended spouse, Adam, who was still pure. Adam could have saved Eve and restored her back to God; but Eve did not confess to Adam what she had done. Instead, Eve, who had acquired Lucifer's selfish nature by uniting with him, tempted Adam and induced him to have a sexual relationship with her against God's commandment. Adam, though also feeling anxiety and confusion, willingly had this sexual relationship with Eve.
Thus, Adam and Eve consummated their relationship prematurely and with the wrong motivation. As a result, Adam acquired from Eve the same selfish, ungodly nature that Lucifer had passed on to Eve. Lucifer, for his part, was degraded and became Satan, the being who finds perverse joy in opposing God and destroying all that is good. The conclusion is that the fall was an illicit sexual relationship, an unprincipled act of love between the archangel and Eve, and a premature act of love between Eve and Adam.
Results of the Fall
Because of Eve's unprincipled relationship with Lucifer and her premature relationship with Adam, the first mother and father of humankind established a lineage based not on the selfless love of God, but on the corrupted, selfish love of Satan. For this reason, Jesus said that the fallen people are of their "father, the devil" (John 8:44). Adam and Eve acquired an inclination toward selfishness which they passed on to their children like a hereditary disease. The consequences were tragic: Abel could not share God's blessing with his elder brother, and Cain's jealousy led to the first murder in human history. This was the beginning of a cycle of hatred and violence that has continued to this day.
The fall of man was actually the distortion and destruction of true love. True love for the sake of others was meant to be the very center of human life, the essence of the kingdom of Heaven on earth. Instead, selfish love has become the way of human life and has created a kingdom of hell on earth.
O Children of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their clothing in order to expose their private parts. Qur'an 7.25-26
Sexual relations were to be the most beautiful and holy expression of love between a husband and wife. This love should be eternal. Many people think that love is sex and thereby reduce both to a purely physical affair, whereas sexuality is meant to be the fulfillment of love within marriage. Today love has been so distorted that many people indulge in sex as a casual recreation. Because of the misuse of sexual intimacy, celibacy has been practiced in various religions as a means to come closer to God.
The degradation of sexuality has always been a tragic phenomenon, but the problem has perhaps never been so acute as in our modern age. While parents, teachers and religious leaders may strive to instill the value of sexual abstinence in young people, they have to contend with the formidable influence of the commercial entertainment industry, which often relies on sexual themes and images in order to attract a wider audience. Adultery, promiscuity and prostitution, with its accompanying disease and exploitation, lead to untold misery and human alienation. They cannot be eliminated by passing laws against them, nor can other sexual abuses. They are the results of the original sin and cannot be rooted out unless the fall itself is discovered and corrected.
After the fall, God grieved. After all of His effort to create a beautiful and perfect world for His children, He lost everything when His children abandoned Him. He could no longer hope that Adam and Eve would soon become perfected, fully reciprocating His love. Instead, He watched as His precious children lived with corrupted hearts, orphans insensible to their parentage and ignorant of their own purpose. Humanity descended into a world of violence and oppression. This beautiful earth, which God created out of love as a home for His sons and daughters, was defiled and polluted.
The most tragic irony is that in order to preserve human freedom and responsibility, and to maintain the absoluteness of the Principle ideal of true love, God could not intervene in the fall.
Since the fall, all human beings are born with a selfish fallen nature in addition to their good original nature.
The first aspect of this fallen nature is that we have a tendency to see things from our own, self-centered perspectives rather than from God's point of view. This resembles Lucifer's failure to see Adam from God's viewpoint. So many prophets and righteous people in history were persecuted and even killed because their contemporaries failed to see them from God's perspective.
When a man grasps at things, Mara (Satan) stands beside him. Sutta Nipata 1103
Second, fallen people will perform actions that violate the responsibility of their proper position. When Lucifer felt less love from God, he left his position as servant and sought an illicit relationship with Eve. When a man is dissatisfied with his marriage, he will seek to have an affair with another man's wife.
Third, fallen people will not hesitate to undermine or attack others in order to gain more power and higher positions themselves, and will use any means to achieve their goals. This resembles Lucifer, who, after refusing to serve Adam and Eve, reversed the hierarchy by making them serve his interests. This is the root of violence and murder.
Finally, people acting out of fallen nature will try to induce others to sin, in order to justify themselves. Fallen people feel a false sense of security when they observe others acting as they do, and ridicule anyone who would strive to a higher standard of righteousness.
Every religion teaches people to overcome fallen nature, through precepts of humility, self-denial and unselfish service. Philosophy does the same, by teaching people to control their passions and work for the larger purpose, as dictated by reason. But the human struggle to defeat the fallen nature will have no end until the problem of the original sin is solved and humanity can be restored to a pure, God-centered lineage. For this, the world has long awaited the Messiah, a new Adam who, with a new Eve, can establish the position of True Parents and a family of perfect love.
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