Unification News for June 2002

Divine Principle Study - Nature of God and Man; the Purpose of Life

Section 1 * Part 2

The eye is the lamp of the soul, the poet says, and thereby implies a fundamental truth about all humanity. Looking at ourselves we discover we are polar beings. We are both mind and body, internal character and its external form. The outer expresses the inner and the inner directs the outer. The quality of the soul is expressed in the clarity of the eye. Though our inward selves are invisible, our thought, emotion and will are reflected outwardly in our facial expressions and indeed in the whole body. To a considerable degree, each of us is what he does, because he embodies what he thinks. The outer man we see mirrors the inner man we don't.

As a man embodies an inner spirit, so does the rest of creation. Animals, for example, have internal instincts that direct their bodies. Squirrels provide for themselves in burying their nuts; spiders instinctually survive by building perfect spider webs; birds migrate across thousands of miles, seeming to know when to fly and where to go. Extraordinary new experiments reveal that even plants have emotions and memories. As everything visible is the expression of an invisible aim, we come to recognize that two dimensions, internal and external, character and form, characterize all things.

While it may seem obvious, Divine Principle reminds us of the importance of the internal dimension. A person's inward aspect gives him his value. No matter how handsome one may be, qualities of dishonesty or selfishness will severely compromise his stature in the eyes of God and his fellow man. On the other hand, even though a person's body may be crippled, noble internal qualities will gain him the admiration and love of all. Helen Keller, for example, despite being both deaf and blind, came to be both respected and loved throughout the world.

While Divine Principle recognizes that the polarity of internal character/external form permeates all the created universe, it nevertheless affirms that the ultimate inner/outer relationship is that existing between the Creator and His creation. The heart of all creation is God. He is reflected in all that we can see or hear or touch. He makes His presence known in the totality of creation which serves as His body, exemplifying His beauty and providing the outer form of His being. As St. Augustine wrote of his own experience:

And what is this God? I asked the earth and it answered, "I am not He".... I asked the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars and they answered: "Neither are we God whom you seek." And I said to all the things that throng about the gateways of the senses: "Tell me of my God, since you are not He. Tell me something of Him." And they cried out in a great voice: "He made us." My question was my gazing upon them, and their answer was their beauty.

Male and Female

Beyond the polarity of inner and outer, there is another fundamental polarity that is "perceived in the things that have been made." This is the polar relationship of masculinity and femininity. When God created man, He also created woman; they are a complementary pair. Also, within each man there are feminine qualities and within each woman there are masculine qualities. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist, thought of these qualities as the anima and animus. In the view of Father John Sanford, an Episcopalian priest and Jungian therapist, masculine qualities of personality (the animus) include active creativity, controlled aggressiveness and psychological firmness, while the feminine aspect of personality (the anima) comprises such qualities as understanding the capacity for relationship, patience and compassion. Each person contains both masculine and feminine potentials and, according to Sanford, "no one can approach wholeness without some development in both areas."

Of course, the complementarity of masculinity and femininity is not limited to the species Homo sapiens. Within the larger animal kingdom there are also male and female creatures--stallion and mare, buck and doe, rooster and hen. Also, plants generally reproduce through staminate and pistillate parts. The world is made so that most everything exists and comes to completion through the reciprocal relationship of masculinity and femininity.

In the inanimate world these complementary elements are often expressed in terms of positive and negative. For example, atoms are formed from protons and electrons, and each atom itself assumes a positive or negative valence. Electricity flows between positive and negative charges.

The masculine/feminine polarity is also recognized in Oriental philosophy, which understands the relations of all things in terms of yin and yang. Yang includes such masculine elements as man, mountains, daytime and sun. Yin includes such feminine elements as woman, valleys, nighttime and moon.

In the Image of God

Divine Principle teaches of an intimate relationship between cause and effect. Since people and all things are composed of two sets of dual characteristics, character and form, and masculinity and femininity, Divine Principle argues that God Himself, the Source of all things, must also possess both internal and external dimensions and the qualities of masculinity and femininity. Since God as the First Cause necessarily possesses internal character as well as external form, we can understand Him as a personal being who feels, thinks and wills. He is not merely the "Unmoved Mover" of Aristotle, but the God of Love of Jesus. Indeed, while for the author of the 23rd Psalm the Lord is a "shepherd" whose "goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life," for a modern Christian He is an Other who has brought "relief from tension and misery... (and) guidance that rescued me from intolerable situations. At rarer moments this Other gave a joy and fulfillment that made the whole business of life worthwhile" (Morton Kelsey).

Such is the personal, caring nature of the Creator.

Since--beyond the polarity of inner and outer--God also must possess both masculine and feminine characteristics, the metaphorical image of God as an old man with a long white beard can be only half the picture. If we try to symbolize God in this way, an accompanying grey-haired matron would also be necessary. God, an infinite spirit, is not just Heavenly Father, but Heavenly Mother also. In terms of the Biblical record, then, Adam alone does not provide a complete image of God: Adam and Eve together are God's image. Man and woman stand on a ladder of polarity which is connected to every level of creation--from humankind to animals, to plants, to the protons and electrons at the base of the realm of matter.

While it has recently become fashionable in some circles to interpret the differences between men and women purely in terms of cultural conditioning, Divine Principle would see such an interpretation as questionable. In a famous work by Switzerland's Professor Emil Bruner, Man in Revolt, for example, this scholar describes a biological difference between the sexes that is basic and deep-seated. Spiritually, he tells us, the man expresses the productive principle while the woman exemplifies the principle of bearing and nourishing. Man tends to turn more to the outside world while the woman concentrates more on the inner realm. The male often seeks the new and the female longs to preserve the old. While the man often likes to roam about, the woman prefers to make a home.

For Divine Principle, such distinctive orientations exist by divine design. Physically and psychologically, man and woman are to complete each other's inner nature and outer structure.

Divine polarity

While the male-female polarity is evident in human society, it has been less recognized in the divine realm. The feminine aspect of God particularly has not been emphasized in Western civilization. Although other faiths have assumed the feminine aspect of the Godhead (Hinduism, for example, in worshipping the goddess Shakti has long affirmed a feminine dimension of divinity; also the Greeks recognized Zeus and his wife Hera), traditional Judeo-Christian theology has seen God as masculine.

Significantly, in the view of some scholars, there are deficiencies in a society based on the worship of an exclusively male deity. The well-known psychotherapist Erich Fromm, for example, has argued that fatherly love characteristically sets up principles of appropriate behavior and establishes laws of correct action. If the child cannot live up to such demands, he may feel a lack of love and by self-accusation cut himself off from the father's love. The result is frustration and depression.

According to From, maternal love is by contrast unconditional and all-enveloping. It does not need to be acquired, but comes as a natural gift of physical birth. The mother loves her children simply because they are hers--not because they obey her commands and fulfill her wishes.

For Fromm, an understanding of God as both a guiding Father and Mother would lead to a more rounded and stable personality in its adherents. While Fromm's distinctions might be slightly too neat, it is clear that considering God as both Father and Mother broadens and clarifies what we need and seek in God. Each aspect by itself is incomplete and one-sided.

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