Unification News for September 2002
Nature of God and Man; the Purpose of Life
Section 1• part 4
The earnest searching question asked by a 1960's pop hit, "What's it all about, Alfie?" reflects for the present time a question that has beset men and women of all time. What is life all about? What are we here to you? Is life, as Shakespeare’s Macbeth would have us believe, merely a walking shadow...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Or does it have as other poets and mystics suggest, some ultimate and sublime purpose?
For Divine Principle, as we shall see, the purpose of creation is three-fold yet one. In contrast to Macbeth, the Principle affirms there is a profound meaning in life and this meaning is connected to joy. Indeed, for the Divine Principle the very purpose of God creating the world was to produce and experience joy. God, humankind and the natural world all exist both for their own joy and to bring joy to others.
Let us think of how joy is experienced No one feels joy by himself, but only by having an object which complements or reflects his own character. If an artist merely conceives an ideal without expressing it, his joy is not fulfilled. But when his creative idea is perfectly expressed on his canvas, then he is likely to feel a joyful satisfaction . The painting serves as an object to stimulate such feelings.
On a deeper level, joy comes from love. When one has a full relationship of love, the highest joy is his. Romeo's rather exaggerated exclamation upon seeing the light in Juliet's window, "It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!" suggests the ecstatic heights truly-felt love can bring.
Divine Principle teaches that God's desire for love is not so different from that of his children. So long as God was alone and his essential self was unexpressed, the feeling of satisfaction or joy was not his. He needed an object and out of this need he created humankind. Projecting his whole nature into his work, God produced man to manifest his invisible nature in the form of a visible and tangible image. He thus created man as an expression of himself, as a being with whom he can have a relationship of love.
A specific analogy to the divine reality can be found in the human family. Because a child is the most perfect expression of his parents' nature, parents can have an abundant exchange of love with their children. In the same way, of all beings in the created world, many inwardly and outwardly expressed God most fully. Thus he is a being with whom God can have the fullest exchange of love. In the view of Divine Principle such was the hope of God when he undertook his creative endeavor. He intended to live with man forever in the highest joy through the perpetual exchange of love.
Three Great Blessings
Within the framework of this understanding, Divine Principle finds a clear expression of God's purposes in the following well-known passage from scripture:
Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it: and have dominion... Gen 1:28)
God is bestowing three blessings upon Adam and Eve: be fruitful, or unite with him; multiply, or unite with each other; have dominion, or unite with creation.
What precisely would it mean to "be fruitful", which is the first Blessing? A tree becomes fruitful when it becomes mature or when it blossoms and bears fruit. Similarly God's first Blessing to mankind is the blessing of individual perfection or maturity -- a state in which the individual become one with God in heart.
In the history of religious thought, man's relationship with his Creator has been characterized in several ways. The encounter between man and God is compared to a ruler and his subject, a master and his slave, a craftsman and his craft. In line with historic Christianity, however, Divine Principle affirms the validity of the most personal analogies; father and child, lover and beloved, bridegroom and bride. The intimacy possible with God not only allows man to reason with God, but also to live in joyous love with him.
Ultimately, each of us is meant to establish a vital rapport between himself and God, resulting in perpetual, ever-expanding joy. "When thou comest unto my heart, all that is within me dost joy!" writes Thomas A Kempis of his relationship with God. Such was God's hope: we were to be fruitful and joyful by uniting with him.
The promise of maturity may be described from another point of view also. That is, Divine Principle would assert that the goal of individual life is achieved by getting mind and body in tune with each other, centered on God. Unfortunately, rather than possessing such a personal integration, most of us know only too well the conflict the Apostle Paul describes:
"I can will what is right, but cannot do it...I do not the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do." Rom.7:19
The task of spiritual growth, then, is to bring an end to this inner division, finding an inward God-centered harmony and unity. In such a state we may say one's feelings parallel God's feelings, his thoughts reflect God's thoughts and both are expressed clearly in his physical deeds. Diagrammatically, we may say this state produces a four position foundation on the individual level.
Despite the promise of this ideal, it is clear that it has not yet been realized. Individuals by and large have not achieved a God-centered integration of personality. Falling short of the goal given us by Jesus, humanity has not become perfect ("You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is Perfect." Mt. 5:48) nor have we become God's temple ("Do you not know that you are God's temple and God's spirit dwells in you?" 1 Cor 6:19). Therefore, since mankind has not yet become fruitful, neither God's joy nor man's joy has been consummated.
The Loving Family
It has been said that there is no success in the world that can make up for failure in the home, Divine Principle would affirm this as true, based on misunderstanding of God's purpose for men and women, as expressed in the second Blessing. This Blessing is the experience of an ideal family, a family in which God's love dwells. In the view of Divine Principle a man and a woman were first to attain individual perfection and then become husband and wife, giving birth to children and forming a family. As the center of love, this family would be the fullest basis for the experience of love for man and God. Had there been no fall, we may imagine that Adam, Eve and their children would have formed the first God-centered four position foundation on the family level.
For Divine Principle, love is the beginning and the end, the nearest and the farthest, the deepest and the highest. "Many waters cannot quench love, either can floods drown it" writes the author of the Song of Solomon (8:7) and the Divine Principle would agree. It would also argue, for reasons we have already mentioned, that such love can be best cultivated in the God-centered family. While it is widely accepted today that one's early experiences with his family are profoundly influential in determining his future psychological health and wholeness, Divine principle points out that the diverse relations of the family also provide the natural ground for ongoing growth in the dynamics of love. Specifically, we may identify three basic expressions of love that develop progressively in the family: L passive, mutual and unconditional.
When, for example, a person is a child he experiences love passively as he receives love and care from his parents. In marriage he is called to know love in a different way, through the mutual exchange occurring between husband and wife. Finally, in becoming a parent, one is to experience unconditional love, expressed in his relations with his par children. For Divine Principle, the family was thus to be a multifaceted sphere through which each person would come to full maturity in his capacity for love. Also, since God's love is expressed primarily through human beings, the family was to be the basis for the fullest knowledge of God. In this way are family and marriage to be sacred.
Although traditional Christianity has considered marriage a sacrament through which one receives divine grace, marriage is generally not given the central position it is in Divine Principle. Mystical religion, Eastern and Western, commonly emphasizes the individual's experience and unity with God. Divine Principle proceeds to an even higher goal, transcending the individualism of the traditional mystic and embracing the potential of the family. The Principle points to the ideal of moving from I and my Father being one to I and my spouse being one, centered on God. The greater and higher goal is the loving unity of God and the family.
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