Unification Sermons and Talks
The Unification Understanding of the Solution of Evil
by Anthony J. Guerra
This is based on a paper given at the 40th IRF Congress, held in Seoul, April 27-May 2, 1994, on "The Reality of Evil and the Response of the World's Religions."
As with other world scriptures, the Divine Principle contains a number of striking, paradoxical and even radical statements. Take, for instance, the chapter entitled "The Fall of Man." In one statement it seems to affirm the revolutionary's call to insurrection:
"As man's volition for the restoration of freedom is cultivated, he naturally seeks to create the social circumstances in which he can realize freedom. Social revolution is unavoidable when the circumstances of the age cannot satisfy the desires of the men belonging to the age. The French Revolution in the 18th century is a representative example. Revolution will continue until the freedom of the original nature of creation is restored completely" (DP p95).
Then, in another statement, it seems to propagate a conservative, loyalist view of citizenship obedient to the governing authorities: "Any act that is performed apart from one's own position and limit, out of an unrighteous desire, is without exception a manifestation of this original nature of the fall.... Human society was thrown out of order by those who left their positions and reversed their dominions" (DP p91).
Similarly, Jesus in the New Testament has been characterized contrarily by some as a militant and by others as a pacifist. Compare, for instance, Matthew 10:34, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth: I have not come to bring peace, but a sword" (cf. Mark 11:15-16) with Matthew 26:52, "Then Jesus said to him, `Put your sword back into its place: for all who take the sword will perish by the sword'" (cf. Matt 5:39). Although one may ask any question of a text, including scriptural texts, it is often less productive when such questions are tangential to the central concerns of the text under consideration.
The religious world view finds the political perspective a partial one in that it does not perceive the fundamental reason for human misery and suffering. From the religious perspective, everyone is spiritually ill and in need of a path to perfection, achieving unity with God and self-realization. Unlike nationalistic or racist ideologies, a world religion provides a perspective which finds all humanity with the same basic need: salvation, enlightenment, etc. Such world religions often developed from particularistic origins and confronted hostile communities informed by tribal religious traditions. Thus, Mohammed's prophetic religion transformed the independent city states into larger coalitions, giving rise to wider comprehensive regional civilizations.
Beyond the expanded social and political collectives a world religion may generate, its world view seeks to offer an explanation of the human condition, human nature, pertinent to every person. It is this universalist world view that allows a world religion its global evangelical reach. Although a given world religion may be dominant in one area, it may appeal to individuals in any part of the globe as, for example, Buddhism in America. For Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Unificationism, the symbols of Adam and Eve are the vehicles by which these traditions articulate their understanding of the human condition. Although recent scientific theories about the origin of the human, specifically the "Mitochondrial Eve" hypothesis (see James Shreeve's "Argument Over a Woman" in Discover, Aug. '90, pp51-70), would seem to affirm the possibility of a common ancestor for all human descendants, the religious significance of Adam and Eve cannot be exhausted by understanding an Eve and/or Adam as the progenitor(s) of the human race, for their story is meant to reveal something about the potential as well as the experienced frustration of all humankind. However ambiguous the merits of the scientific rationale for affirming the monogenesis of the human, the ethical imperative for the position is unmistakable. The affirmation of common human ancestors makes preposterous racism, ultra-nationalism and other insidious and socially divisive ideologies. We should want overwhelmingly conclusive scientific evidence to abandon the notion of monogenesis, given its highly salutary social and ethical implications.
As with Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Unification discussion of the origin of evil, the human fall, is set within a wider revelatory/theological framework. This larger context is the Creation, Fall, Salvation History, and Eschaton, wherein the Fall is the decisive moment which separates humanity from God and God's purpose of creation. The Fall necessitates a providence of salvation in order to prepare for a final culminating moment in which the original purpose of creation is to be achieved. The fundamental theological affirmation is that God is an absolute being whose purpose of creation, although temporarily frustrated as a result of humankind's failure to fulfill its portion of responsibility, shall ultimately be consummated. The fall is, indeed, the cause of the long-suffering and painful history of humanity. Further, God, God-self is also suffering-a divine passion caused essentially by the deep disappointment in not being able to share divine life and love with God's children. I shall return to this motif of the suffering God because it is central to Unification spirituality as well as theology.
The selfish, malicious and violent ways of humankind are clearly recognizable across the span of recorded history and are known particularly by children and women of the world. It may indeed be a cliche that the fundamental problem of humanity is the failure of love but it is also a profound theological dilemma. If, as the main Western religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam affirm, God is the all- good, omnipotent Creator, then the problem of human sinfulness appears to call into question one or the other of these divine attributes. The traditional recourse to free will in response to this problem is less than satisfying because it is not clear how something desired or decided upon by a created being should be contrary to the will of its Creator and in effect contrary to its own endowed nature. The founder of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, confronted this question as he read the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, which is known to Jews, Christians and, in a somewhat modified form, to Muslims.
In the context of the Genesis narrative, the abstract question just mentioned becomes: how is it that Adam and Eve, without a sinful heritage, came to disobey God's commandment? What is the nature and process of the fall of humankind? Partly as a reaction against the Marcionite dualistic conception of an evil Creator God, the early Christians stressed that Adam and Eve were good, perfect beings. This understanding enhanced the problem of how to account for the wrongful act attributed to the first human ancestors which was to have such historical consequences. Only the early Christian theologian Irenaeus stands as an exception, proposing that Adam and Eve were created as infants and developed through natural stages to adulthood. According to Irenaeus, Jesus (who was the antitype of Adam) and Mary (that of Eve) also had to be born and grow through stages of natural human growth. The view is consonant with the Unificationists' notion of restoration as a reversal course necessitating "Adam" and "Eve" type figures to tread the path of the original ancestors, indemnifying the mistakes of the original ancestors. We will return to speak further on the "process" of the fall as well as restoration, but let us turn now to the nature of the original fallen act.
The Biblical text is not overly subtle in indicating that the original sin was a sexual act. As in several modern languages, ancient Semitic tongues used the expression "picking" or "eating fruit" to refer to sexual intercourse, as is also the case with the expression "to know" a woman or man. The Genesis narrative indicates that before the fall, Adam and Eve were "naked and unashamed" but after falling they "became aware of their nakedness" and "covered the lower parts of their body." Accordingly, the Genesis account narrates that Eve is to be punished by experiencing "pain in childbearing." Interestingly, modern biblical criticism confirms the sexual nature of the fall, adducing a number of extra-biblical parallels such as the Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh, wherein the man Enkidu is seduced by a prostitute. Following this act, Enkidu is forced to leave his wilderness paradise and puts on clothing for the first time. (See Andrew Wilson's "The Sexual Interpretation of the Human Fall" in my Unification Theology in Comparative Perspectives pp51-70, Barrytown, UTS, 1988.)
Although Gnosticism may be perfectly content with a sexual interpretation of the fall, as it seeks to deny the material world as entirely evil, for Judaism, Christianity and especially Unificationism, it presents a paradox: God is understood to have ordained marriage as a blessing to humankind as well as the procreation of children. How then can the sexual relationship of the first human parents be the cause of the human fall? Rev. Moon's teachings emphasize that God is the being of love, and the motivation for creation is to complete God's love by allowing God to have reciprocal relationships with God's children. It is this divine love motive that explains God's own desires. Love allows for the possibility of pain as well as happiness. In the book Blessing and Ideal Family, Rev. Moon states the following: "God is an absolute being; however, He needs to have a being which can become His object of love. God's object of love is man and woman" (p7). God's own fulfillment of love, according to Unificationism, awaits the uniting of man and woman in true love: "Male was created for the sake of female, and female was created for the sake of male. God cannot dwell in places where one insists on his own being. But God dwells where one values the other" (p35). Such love takes time to develop and the prohibition on sexual relationship between Adam and Eve was to assure the proper development of unselfish emotions, which were to accompany their physical intimacy, and also guarantee that they would be capable of fulfilling their parental responsibilities to their offspring: "If Adam and Eve had reached perfection without falling, they would have become perfect not only individually but also on a universal and historical level and they would have been able to start a new family centering on God's love. From this family, a society, tribe, nation and world would have been realized in which God could have dwelt" (Blessing and Ideal Family p21).
The significance of Adam and Eve and this first family becomes clear in Unification Theology. It is the equivalent of the incarnation in Christianity coupled with a federal theology (see Herbert W. Richardson's "A Brief Outline of Unification Theology" in M. Darrol Bryant's A Time for Consideration: A Scholarly Appraisal of the Unification Church, New York, Edwin Mellen Press, 1978, pp133-140). Adam and Eve should have formed their union centered on God and assumed the position of true parents reflective of God's loving heart towards humankind.
Given the Unification understanding that the original sin prevented the establishment of a true family, it follows that the central efforts of Rev. Moon and his movement have been devoted to the restoration of a God-centered, perfected family. Indeed, Rev. Moon teaches that God shall only be liberated from God's own suffering, disappointment and frustration-as a result of humankind's failure to achieve the purpose of creation-with the establishment of this family. Thus, the Unificationist attitude in prayer is first and foremost to comfort the suffering heart of God, believing that however deep the pain and suffering of humanity, God's sorrow remains greater still. Although Unificationists' prayer services may often be experienced as highly affective, including intense weeping, self-pity is explicitly eschewed. We learn from the official biography of Rev. Moon that even when he was imprisoned in a communist concentration camp, he prayed with the intention of relieving God's sorrow rather than pleading that his own burden be lifted. Unification spirituality seeks to reorient the center of emotional concern from the self towards the other and to ground this concern in divine love: "The most important subject is how we can reform our self-centered love, transforming it into a love for others. God absolutely does not have self-centered love. His love is only centered on others. If love is not for the sake of others, not matter what kind of love it is, it is not true love" (Blessing and Ideal Family, p88). Rev. Moon's construal of the fall of humankind shapes not only his understanding of his own mission but also his reading of the ministry of Jesus. If, as the apostle Paul said, Jesus is the last Adam (I Cor. 15:45), then he should have accomplished that which God willed Adam to have achieved. Accordingly, Jesus, as the second Adam, should have married a woman who would fulfill the role of second Eve. Following this pattern of a restoration course reversing the Adamic family fall, Rev. Moon teaches that representative Cain and Abel figures should have united in love, reversing the hate-filled history of the first siblings of the old Adamic family. Thus, John the Baptist and the official Jewish leadership should have united together and cooperated with Jesus. The failure to do so prevented Jesus from restoring the position of the first true husband and parent. Instead, Jesus undertook a secondary, alternative course in enduring the crucifixion, and provided a partial salvation, necessitating the return of the Lord of the Second Advent.
It should certainly be unsurprising that a central topic of Rev. Moon's spiritual guidance is marriage and family. He encourages individuals to transform the self-concern in approaching marriage so as to embrace the divine intention: "For what reason do we marry? It is in order to fulfill the ideal of creation, i.e., to realize the purpose of creation. Then, what purpose is this purpose of creation? Before it is the purpose of Adam, it is the purpose of God" (B&IFp51). Accordingly, Unificationists refer to the true marriage ceremony as the "Blessing", because it represents God's original intention to provide the opportunity for Adam and Eve to realize the divine intention for true love. Self-sacrifice is essential: "You must believe that marriage is not for your sake, but for your partner.... If you have understood the basic principle that people are to live for the sake of others, you should know that you will get married for the sake of your spouse" (B&IF p56). Single members of the church are discouraged from pursuing romantic love marriages and instead are matched by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. Adam and Eve's disobedience is restored by obediently following the advice of True Parents as to marriage partner. This creates a condition for centering the marriage relationship beyond self-concern and making room for agape-sacrificial true love. Marriage is not an egoistic opportunity for self- gratification but the opportunity to exercise unselfish love and recover our original identity as children reflecting the love of Parent God. Rev. Moon's spiritual guidance concerning the sexual relationship again challenges conventional wisdom. A recurrent motif in Rev. Moon's sermons is that the wife is the "owner" of the husband's sexual organ and the husband the wife's: "The sexual organs enable man and woman's bodies to unite and provide a path through which mind and body can unite completely centering on love. The sexual organ of man is not for the sake of man, and the sexual organ of woman is not for the sake of woman. You were not born for the sake of yourself" (B&IF p36). Rev. Moon clearly seeks to sacralize the sexual relationship within the marital union: "Where is God's holy of holies? It is where love dwelt before the fall-the sexual organs of man and woman. This is the holy of holies of heaven" (p43).
This intention to resacralize marriage grows out of Rev. Moon's understanding of his own mission and the providential significance of his acts. Because Jesus was not able to restore the old Adamic family by virtue of the failure of those surrounding him, the Lord of the Second Advent should establish the true family which will become God's mediator for dispensing blessing on the rest of humanity. Thus, Rev. Moon understood, apparently from a very early stage in his ministry, that his own marriage would have messianic significance. For Unificationists, the marriage of Rev. Moon and Hak Ja Han in 1960 represents an eschatological moment in which God's purpose that should have been fulfilled at the beginning of human history by Adam and Eve is at last realized, thus making available in human history the God- centered love of True Parents.
Soon after their Blessing in sacred matrimony-their Holy Wedding ceremony-Rev. and Mrs. Moon initiated and officiated at the first of what was to be a continuing series of mass marriages. Each successive marriage has seen an increase in the number of participating couples; at the last such marriage in the summer of 1992, there were 30,000 couples in attendance. Rev. Moon provides a rationale for such mass marriages which refers back to the old Adamic family and the mission of Jesus: "If the Blessing event had happened in the Garden of Eden, it would have been the big cosmic event. However, due to the human ancestors' fall, in order to indemnify the failure to accomplish the heavenly standard in the Garden of Eden, we are holding the mass wedding ceremony. Jesus should have held such a marriage ceremony on the level of all the Israelites, at the least. However, no one was even concerned about Jesus' marriage (Blessing and Ideal Family, [B&IF] p223).
Rev. Moon has also given a twofold dispensational explanation of the main mass wedding ceremonies, pointing backwards to the primordial history to be restored and forwards to the present and immediate providential missions of the participants. The first such mass marriage of the 36 couples in 1961 represented the restoration of the historical ancestors. The 36 couples consist of three groups of 12 couples, based on their previous marital status, and stand as the closest disciples of the True Parents, similar to the position of Jesus' 12 apostles. Likewise, the next blessing group is the 72 couples representing the restored Cain and Abel or the children of the first ancestors, who stand in the position of Jesus' 70 disciples (B&IF p415). A third mass marriage consisted of 120 couples, symbolizing the restoration of all nations of the world as well as the disciples of the post-resurrection Jesus (p416).
Successive Blessings of 430, 777, 1800, 8000 (2000 + 6000) and, as already mentioned, 30,000 couples were presided over by Rev. and Mrs. Moon. The participants in the 430 Couples Blessing as well as the earlier mass weddings were exclusively Korean. (A separate, much smaller mass wedding of 43 couples including Japanese as well as Westerners was held shortly after the 430 Couples Blessing. Except for Korea, the movement was very young and tiny in all countries in the 1960s when these first several mass marriages took place.) The 430 Couples Blessing was understood as a national-level condition to indemnify Korea, whose legendary history is said to be 4300 years long. The 777 Couples Blessing involved people from several Eastern as well as Western nations and was explicitly conceived of as marking the moment when the Blessing was made available to all humankind. Indeed, in this as well as in all later Blessings, there was a significant emphasis on international and interracial marriages encouraged by Rev. and Mrs. Moon as an important condition for unifying the world community. (Indeed, one of the most significant factors in the widespread persecution of the Unification Church has been the disgruntlement of parents whose children married partners of an unacceptable race or nationality.) The 1800 Couples Blessing that followed continued this focus on the Unificationists' worldwide providential mission. Many participants from this Blessing were sent as foreign missionaries to initiate the Unification Church in countries around the globe. Each Blessing group (36, 72, 120, 430, etc.) has a sense of common purpose which results in the formation of Blessing Associations that not only provide spiritual support for individual couples in need but also promote the shared providential mission allowing individuals and families to transcend private concern, often making heroic sacrifices for humanity and God.
In Unificationism, marriage is the central sacrament and encompasses both a personal spiritual dimension as well as a universal providential significance. In Unificationism, the Blessing in marriage reverses the primordial fall of the first ancestors and creates a new history of families united in a spiritual and social quest to reform world society. For Unificationists, the Blessing offers both deep personal meaning as well as a sense of historical and even cosmic significance to marriage and family.
In a religious world view, one is looking for a comprehensive vision which is internally logical, consistent and, perhaps most importantly, which elevates human life and offers a perspective enabling an individual and society to feel that life is meaningful. Moreover, such a religious world view empowers those embracing it to transform their lives and the world around them, generating new culture and civilizations. Intellectually, a religious world view cannot transcend the hermeneutical circle-its first premise, as is the case with all human thought including skepticism, is not rationally deduced-and cannot be proven: it is a generative presupposition. The difference between philosophical schools and religious movements is that the latter have the capacity radically to transform society as well as individuals. Stoicism had its moments of prominence, as in the time of Marcus Aurelius, but it was the mystery religions and, later, Christianity, which moved the masses as well as the most influential and wealthy of the Roman Empire. In our present time, a plethora of new religions have emerged to satisfy a felt need for a new spiritual vision. For believers, Unificationism has the depth of spirituality and breadth of intellectual vision to generate the future global civilization.
This paper will be part of an upcoming book Evil and the Response of the World's Religions to be published by Paragon House in 1996; first published in Dialogue & Alliance, c. IRF 1995.
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