Contemplating Unification Thought

by Dr. Jennifer P. Tanabe


Theory of the Original Image - Part II

In this article I will review the main points of the Theory of the Original Image. These are divided into three sections: the Divine Image, the Divine Character, and the Structure of the Original Image.

The Divine Image refers to the attributes of the Original Image, which includes the dual characteristics of "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" and of Yang and Yin, and also the Individual Images. While those who have studied Divine Principle may already be familiar with these dual characteristics, when we take a philosophical perspective there are several important implications.

"Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" have been translated as "internal character" and "external form" in "Divine Principle", and God's "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" are the cause of the internal, invisible aspect and the external, visible aspect of created beings, respectively. While this makes sense to religious people who believe that God created human beings with both a physical body and a spiritual aspect or soul, to philosophers this immediately sounds like dualism. This is not the dualism between a good God and an evil Satan, but the dualism between spirit and matter, both within God and in the created world. For if God is divided into two distinct, heterogeneous aspects then God is a dualistic being. But if God is pure spirit then how can God relate to the visible material world? And if spirit and matter are distinct, heterogeneous aspects of the created world, then how can they relate to each other? In terms familiar to modern science, how do mind and brain relate?

The Unification Thought solution to these problems is quite simple: the dual characteristics of the Original Image do not imply dualism; rather, "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" in the Original Image are not separated, but exist as a union, in oneness. "They are essentially one and the same absolute attribute, from which is engendered the difference of "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang". When this absolute attribute is manifested in the created world through creation, it becomes two different elements" ("Essentials of Unification Thought", p.9). As Dr. Matczak puts it in his book entitled "Unificationism", "the proper term for Unificationism is very special. Its new position can be called "unionism" rather than monism, rejecting "separatism" rather than dualism."

Matter and spirit

Western philosophy following Aristotle has not been able to solve the problem of how spirit and matter relate. This understanding in the theory of the Original Image that "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" are one in God, but are different attributes which become different aspects of created beings while retaining their common base, does provide a solution. Thus, the position held by Unification Thought is indeed special. It does not reject Western philosophy, but is not bound by its limitations.

The second set of dual characteristics in the Original Image are Yang and Yin. These attributes are secondary, while "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" are primary. In other words, both the "Sung Sang" and the "Hyung Sang" manifest Yang and Yin characteristics. According to Unification Thought, the reason for the existence of the attributes of Yang and Yin in addition to "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" is to manifest change, harmony, and beauty.

"Divine Principle" notes that the dual characteristics of "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" are similar to Western philosophy and Yang and Yin are similar to Oriental philosophy, and that Unificationism brings them together. However, the reality of this is much clearer when we take the philosophical perspective.

When we study Western and Oriental philosophies together, as at UTS, it becomes apparent that they are fundamentally different, in starting point, goal, and method of proceeding to the goal. Perhaps it can help us understand each other better if we recognize that the Western approach seeks to understand the world in terms, such as spirit and matter, good and evil, that are essentially different, with no basis for relationship, a duality of co-existence at best, with superiority of one over the other; whereas the Oriental approach seeks understanding in terms of attributes that are complementary and essential to each other, such as light and dark, high and low, and which provide the basis of change, harmony and beauty.

As one UTS student (American with a Japanese wife) commented: Japanese see a goal as the "means" to the end, which is harmony among the participants in the project. Westerners, on the other hand, see a goal as the "end" and that there are many possible means to achieve it, and what is important is finding the right way to accomplish the goal. Unification Thought does not judge one approach to be right and the other wrong, but shows how each has its place in the Original Image, and also in creation.

Universal image

The dual characteristics of "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" and Yang and Yin in the Original Image together are known as the "Universal Image," since these attributes appear universally in all created beings. [The exact nature of their appearance will be discussed in later articles on Ontology and The Theory of Original Human Nature.] In addition to these universal characteristics are individual characteristics of created beings. The attribute of God that is causal to the particular individual attributes of created beings is called the "Individual Image." God envisioned the form and nature of each created being before actually creating them. And on the level of human beings at least, this Individual Image is unique for each human being. Thus, Unification Thought maintains that human individuality comes from God's Individual Image for each person. This provides a basis for human rights and respect for the value of each individual person.

When we come to look at the Divine Character of the Original Image we find that there are three aspects: Heart, Logos and creativity. The previous article already discussed the nature of God's heart, or "Shim Jung", and its role in creation. Here, we see that heart is the most fundamental, core aspect of God's nature or character. Both God's Logos and creativity are based on heart. Logos, which is formed through the relationship between God's "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" centered on heart, is known in Unification Thought as reason-law. This is because the elements of "Sung Sang" and "Hyung Sang" that play the most important roles in the formation of Logos are reason and law respectively. Since Logos is formed based on heart, this means that the purpose of the universe is to actualize God's love. Thus, the universe is governed by the law of love.

Creativity is the ability to create, which is obviously an ability of God, the creator of the universe! Again, the most important point is that God's creativity is based on heart. The implication of this is that human creativity should also be based on heart, and not reason as most scientists until now have believed.

Original image

Finally, we come to the structure of the Original Image. Here, Unification Thought makes the distinction between God and the Original Image. God, a being who transcends time and space, does not have "structure," but the Original Image, which is our image of God, can be described as if it had structure. And so we can gain a certain understanding of God, although it is limited by our concepts of spatio-temporal existence.

This structure of the Original Image is familiar to those who know Divine Principle. However, there are some terminological differences. Unification Thought, in its most recent expression, refers to "Four-Position Bases" and "Give and Receive Action" instead of Divine Principle's "Four-Position Foundations" and "Give and Take Action." Most people I have spoken with agree that "receive" is an improvement over "take." It is hard to imagine receiving something that is not being given, but it is easy to take it!

Unification Thought describes the structure of the Original Image in terms of four types of four-position bases: there are "inner" and "outer" bases, and each of these has a "developmental" and an "identity-maintaining" form. And, inner and outer bases can be combined to produce the "two-stage structures" of the Original Image itself (identity-maintaining bases) and of creation (developmental bases). The Inner Identity-Maintaining Base refers to the structure of God's "Sung Sang" and shows its absolute, unchanging character. The Outer Identity-Maintaining Base refers to the structure of the whole Original Image, again showing its absolute, eternal, unchanging quality. The Inner Developmental Base refers to the formation of the Logos, or plan, within God's mind at the time of creation. And, the Outer Developmental Base refers to actual creation, the formation of a new being, through the give and receive action within the Original Image.

Now all this sounds very complicated, and if you look at the diagram on page 31 of "Essentials of Unification Thought" it will not become clearer! Imagine my delight, then, on receiving my topic for the lecture test in Dr. Lee's 21-day workshop: the two-stage structure of creation! Nevertheless, I can say that this part of the Theory of Original Image is important as the basis for many other points in Unification Thought, and is worth the effort it takes to come to terms with it.

When I received this lecture topic my initial reaction was one of dismay that I had received such a factual, structured, even boring topic, with no chance for creativity, personal testimony or interesting examples. However, when I prayed on how to present it, I realized that this topic refers to how God thinks and creates, it explains God's mind. That is truly an exciting topic! So, my final comment on the Theory of the Original Image is that it does what Stephen Hawking in his best-selling book, "A Brief History of Time", concludes "would be the ultimate triumph of human reason," it explains why we and the universe exist, it explains "the mind of God."


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