An Introduction to Life and Teaching of Sun Myung Moon
1. Truth that Gives Life
A Critical Moment in History
The 20th century had been the most intense period humankind has ever known. On the one hand, our century has witnessed the first footsteps on the moon, the birth of the robot and the development of nuclear power. The arrival of the computer and the mass media enables us to access a wealth of data and gain information on worldwide events almost instantaneously. We can now produce a vast array of consumer goods and services.
On the other hand, millions of people still live in abject poverty, struggling each day to find the basic necessities of life. In addition, rapid industrial expansion during this century has caused immeasurable damage to our environment, and the devastation caused by two world wars and the many other regional and international conflicts has been unprecedented.
The question we have to ask ourselves as we enter the new millennium is: Have we as individuals, despite the technological progress and other external developments, become better and happier people? Have we become more loving, caring and responsible individuals? The answer, unfortunately, is no. Technology has not improved the social well-being of our families and communities. Even though our knowledge of the physical world has increased, our knowledge of life's spiritual dimension has changed little. The hatred that separates people, nations and races is the same as it has always been.
Where can we look for hope? Government institutions certainly do not have the answers nor can we expect them to. Nor will the ultimate solution be found in a scientific research institute or laboratory. The established religious institutions, for all their vigor and long-standing dedication, have been unable to prevent this crisis from developing. They will be hard-pressed to reverse it.
The Problems Are Not New
A deeper analysis of the problems in our society reveals that they are not new. In fact, the failures of our modern lifestyles are the result of a deeper origin, which can be traced back to the beginnings of humankind.
There is a contradiction in human beings that is as old as history: we all strive for joy and happiness in life yet continue to indulge in attitudes and behaviors that lead to unhappiness or utter misery for ourselves and others. Why is it that human beings have always longed for peace, and yet have caused so much conflict and suffering? Are love and hatred, good and evil destined to coexist, as some believe, so that lasting peace and harmony can never be achieved?
These and many other difficult questions touch on the very essence of our being and the origin of our existence. We need a deeper understanding of the most fundamental questions of life. We also need a true and absolute standard of love and goodness to overcome the scourge of evil and selfishness that has plagued humanity throughout history.
Such answers can come only from God, yet God always works through chosen individuals on earth. Following pages explores the ways God has worked through one individual, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, to bring humanity back to our original home, a world of peace, happiness and freedom.
Who is Reverend Moon?
Nearly everyone has read or heard something about the founder of the Unification Church, Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Some media reports have portrayed Rev. Moon as someone who is primarily a businessman or politician. Others have recognized him to be an extraordinarily dedicated religious leader. Who is Rev. Moon? Our answer begins with an account of his upbringing, an encounter he had with Jesus on a Korean mountainside.
Sun Myung Moon was born on January 6, 1920 into a family of farmers that had tilled the land for centuries. As a boy he studied at a Confucianist school and was fascinated by the natural world. Around 1930, his parents became fervent Christian-Presbyterians, and the young Mr. Moon became a Sunday School teacher. At that time, Japan ruled Korea and only allowed the Shinto religion to be practiced. The intolerance of the militant Imperial Japanese was only a small part of the contempt they held for the Koreans, a race they believed to be inferior. The Korean people were subjected to 40 years of humiliation and cruelty as part of Japan's Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. As a member of an oppressed race, he learned to hate injustice, whether among his own people or at the hands of the Japanese rulers.
Jesus Christ Appears
On Easter morning in 1935, Jesus appeared to the 16-years-old Moon as he was praying in the Korean mountains. In that vision, Jesus asked him to continue the work that he begun on earth nearly 2,000 years before. Jesus asked him to complete the task of establishing God's Kingdom on earth and bringing His peace to humankind.
The young Korean was stunned by this encounter, and especially by the request that had been made of him, and at first he refused. However, after deep reflection, meditation and prayer, he finally pledged his life to that overwhelming mission.
After personally accepting Jesus' call, the young man set out to discover its very meaning. If Jesus called him to complete his mission, it meant that Jesus' mission was incomplete. Was not salvation through the cross all that man needs? What was it that Jesus had left undone on earth? If sin is not completely solved, then what is the actual root of sin? Why must it be solved on earth?
Sun Myung Moon studied the Bible and many other religious teachings in order to unravel these mysteries of life and human history. During this time, he went into ever deeper communion with God and entered the vast battlefield of the spirit and flesh. Through denying his personal desires he overcame temptations of knowledge, wealth and physical pleasure, He came to understand God's own suffering and His longing to be reunited with His children, as well as the difficult steps that humankind would have to take in order to return to God and establish true peace on earth.
By 1945, he had organized the teaching which cane to be known as the Divine (or Unification) Principle. The Divine Principle, the fundamental teaching of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church, is outlined in the following pages.
Harmony, precision and order are characteristic of the vast cosmos. For millions of years, the cycles of life, nature and the universe have repeated themselves with remarkable consistency. It cannot be that this marvelous universe was formed as the result of an accident. Everything which exists, even the smallest particle or cell, has some meaning and purpose. For example, every part of the human body has a distinct, individual function and interacts with other parts to achieve the higher purpose of sustaining life. There must be an origin of universal purpose and design, a first cause, which gave purpose to everything and maintains harmony in the universe. We call this first cause, God.
How can we know anything about the first cause if it is invisible and intangible, and therefore not accessible to the probing of science? According to the scriptures of many religions, we can understand God's character by examining His handiwork, the world around us.
"Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible nature, namely, His eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made." Romans 1:20
"The power of spiritual forces in the universe-how active It is everywhere! Invisible to the eyes and impalpable to the senses, it is inherent in all things." Confucius, Doctrine of the Mean 16
Indeed, just as an artist's personality is revealed in his or her paintings and a person's character is revealed in his or her behavior, so too God's own personality is reflected in the things which God created. This follows from the inter-relationship between cause and effect. Could a chaotic cause create a harmonious universe? Could a heartless God create a world which has great beauty in it? This would defy all logic. Therefore, we can learn about the cause, God, by studying the effect, the creation.
The Parenthood of God
What universal attributes can be found in the created world? For one thing, all entities have the attributes of male and female or, in the mineral realm, of positive and negative. We see men and women, male and female animals, staminate and pistillate plant life exemplifying this pair system. The world is made in such a way that everything exists and multiplies through the reciprocal relationship between male and female, positive and negative. What does this tell us about God? It tells us that God, who is the cause, embodies not only the essence of masculine nature in His divine personality, but the essence of feminine nature as well.
There is a second duality which all created entities share: everything has an internal character as well as an external form. We see that on every level of existence, consciousness, reason and law shape the behavior of energy. In particular, human beings have a body that consists of cells, and a unique human mind, which enables us to think and feel in a distinctly human way.
Since everything God created has an internal character and external form, He Himself must have internal and external aspects. The external aspect of God is prime energy, which is the cause of all physical energy in the universe and thus is the cause of all matter. God has used prime energy to create, develop and sustain the cosmos. The design and purpose inherent in the creation manifest the internal aspect of God.
To understand the internal aspect of God, we must look at ourselves, since we, as God's children, resemble Him the most.
The main attributes of the human character are emotion, intellect and will. We value the beauty of nature; we are delighted at the arrival of a newborn baby; we like to express our own creativity. We aspire to become knowledgeable and wise. Our conscience urges us to do good and reject evil; all parents want their children to be better than themselves. We have the capacity for selfless love and the impulse to pursue truth and goodness.
From where could these common qualities and aspirations have come if not from our Creator? God is the source of the values we all cherish: love, truth, beauty and goodness. Thus, God's power is always guided by reason and lawfulness, above all by love. Heart is the essence of God's being. Heart is the impulse to love, and it seeks an object to love. God feels joy when He can give and receive love with His beloved. God loves each one of us individually, and rejoices when we return His love and multiply it by loving others.
The Purpose of Life: Perfection of Love
According to the Bible, God gave the first humans three blessings: "Be fruitful and multiply... and have dominion" (Gen. 1:28). The first blessing, to be fruitful, gives us the privilege and responsibility to participate in the creation of our own character.
A tree is fruitful when it becomes mature and bears fruit. Similarly, a "fruitful" individual is someone who is spiritually, intellectually and emotionally mature and bears the fruit of love, wisdom and goodness. Such an individual personifies God's own nature and heart, and naturally lives and acts in accordance with God's will.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is who bears much fruit." John 15:5
Although humanity has fallen into spiritual mediocrity, God has never given up on us. With His help and through our own effort we will eventually achieve our full potential and experience the boundless joy and happiness for which all men and women have longed throughout history.
The second blessing of God to the first humans was to multiply. This was to be done on the foundation of individual maturity. God wanted Adam and Eve (our first ancestors) to multiply, not only descendants, but also goodness and love. He never intended for us to multiply selfishness and corruption. This means God wants to see a true, spiritually mature man marry a true, spiritually mature woman and the two together raise sinless children. Through their parents, the children are to experience God as a reality, and grow up to become mature (perfected) men and women.
In a true family, God's love blossoms on all levels: from parents to their children (parental love), between husband and wife (conjugal love), from the children towards their parents (filial love), and among the children (brotherly and sisterly love). Each member lives for the others and the whole family lives for other families in the society. Thus from a true family a harmonious and peaceful society, nation and world can be generated.
We can recognize that the strength of society lies in the strength of its families. If we cannot build healthy families, we cannot build a healthy society. If a society denies the sanctity of the traditional family - its basic unit - and becomes increasingly beset by divorce, free sex and homosexuality, that society will inevitably decline. This is because the prime victims of permissiveness and dysfunctional families are the children, and they are the ones who will decide the future of our communities, nations and world.
The third blessing, to "have dominion," is fulfilled naturally by mature, God-centered individuals interacting with nature. God created a wonderful environment for us to live in so that we could enjoy life to the fullest. The beauty of nature is a telling expression of God's boundless love for humankind. However, God intended our interaction with the creation to be based upon love and appreciation, and not upon selfishness, neglect and exploitation. We will solve environmental problems when we free ourselves from selfishness and our societies from corruption.
How Does Spiritual Growth Come About?
The fact that it took billions of years for the entire cosmos to be created indicates that a time period is necessary for everything to come into existence. A flowering plant starts as a seed and reaches its completion when it has grown to its full size and produced flowers and seeds for the next generation. Humans also need a certain time period in which to grow physically and spiritually. But unlike the rest of creation, we must take some responsibility for our own growth. We are meant to become co-creators with God, through the part we play in creating ourselves.
"First the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." Mark 4:28
Just as the physical world is the environment for our physical self, the spiritual world is the environment for our spiritual self. But whereas our sojourn on this earth is temporary, our life in the spirit world is eternal. Existing in both the physical and spirit worlds, each of us consists of both a spiritual self and a physical self. The spiritual self is in the subject position and gives purpose and direction to the physical self.
The physical self is composed of a physical body (made up of cells) and a physical mind (which manifests itself, for example, in the desire for food and sleep). In the same way, a person's spiritual self has both a spiritual body and a spiritual mind. As the spiritual form is identical with that of the physical body, people can be recognized by their spiritual appearance. This explains why some people who have contact with the spirit world are able to identify friends and relatives who are deceased.
"This world is like a vestibule before the world to come; prepare yourself in the vestibule that you may enter the hall." Mishnah, Abot 4:21
The spiritual mind is the core of a person's being, containing heart, emotion, intellect and will. Through the spiritual mind God is able to communicate with us, inspire us and guide us in our growth. Spiritual growth is not automatic; the spiritual self needs the physical self for its growth. The physical self is the womb for the spirit. Each time a person acts in accordance with God's will and the principles of love and service, the spirit receives vitality from the body, experiences true joy and is able to receive more of God's love and truth and thus grow. Then, when the spiritual self has fully matured and achieved the purpose of life, its attachment to the body is no longer necessary. It can continue to live freely and eternally in the spiritual world after physical death.
God is a being of infinite love, goodness and power, yet evil exists. Reverend Moon struggled for many years to discover the cause of evil. If we look at ourselves, it is apparent that we contain two conflicting desires: one which tells us to lift other people up and care for them, and one which tells us to take care of our own comforts first, regardless of everyone else. Where does this conflict come from? Did God, after creating a beautiful and ecologically balanced system of life, somehow err and design His highest creation with an inherent contradiction, like a cup with a hole in it? Of course not.
"If there were, in the heavens or in the earth, other gods beside God, there would have been confusion in both!" Qur'an 21.21
There is no record of events that explains how evil came into this world. The Bible tells of Adam and Eve committing the first sin. But the story is shrouded in symbolism, and lacks clarity as to precisely what Adam and Eve did. Certainly, the sin of the first human ancestors had awesome consequences, as all their descendants have been affected by it. Reverend Moon discovered how the first human ancestors lost their relationship with God and how, consequently, their descendants were separated from God.
The Misuse of Love
As told in the Bible 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 and Eve. God gave them 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, and they covered their lower parts and hid from God. He then blocked their way to the tree of life and sent them out of the garden.
After Adam and Eve sinned, they suddenly covered the sexual parts of their bodies in shame (Gen. 3:7). Why did they cover their sexual parts? If Adam and Eve had sinned with their mouths by eating a literal fruit, they would have covered their mouths in shame. The Bible, in Job 31:33, says: "I have concealed my transgressions like Adam by hiding my iniquity in my bosom." These verses indicate that the sin of Adam and Eve - eating the fruit - was committed with their sexual parts. This means that it involved a sexual act.
Who participated in this sexual act? A serpent spoke to Eve and tricked her. Was the serpent a real snake or is it a symbol of something else? Having intelligence and the ability to communicate with humans, it must have been a spiritual creature, not an animal. It is traditionally understood that the serpent was the archangel Lucifer, who fell from heaven and became Satan (Jude 6-7; Isa. 14:12). Reverend Moon elucidated that the original sin was first, an unprincipled act of love between Lucifer and Eve, and second, a premature act of love between Eve and Adam.
Humanity's Inherent Disease
Through the fall, Adam and Eve, the first human ancestors, lost their purity and acquired an inclination toward selfishness which they passed on like a hereditary disease to their children. 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 original 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 and 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. Sexual relations were to be the most beautiful and holy expression of the eternal love between a husband and wife. Sadly many people think that love is sex and thereby reduce both to a purely physical act. Whereas sexuality can be truly fulfilled only through the sacred relationship of marriage, today love has been so distorted that sex has become 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 in human society, but the problem has perhaps never been so acute as in our modern age. Today, 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 sell its wares.
The mystery of why God did not intervene to prevent the fall is connected with the principle of human freedom. God has given humankind the gift of freedom so that we can respond to Him in love. Freedom brings with it responsibility. God gave human beings a portion of responsibility which is ours alone to fulfill.
Some people think that God controls human history. But, in fact, progress in human history is dependent upon us fulfilling our portion of responsibility. God's grace is forever beckoning; God's heart longs to save all His children. But as it is we who fell away from God, there is a certain foundation which is ours alone to lay. The record of the Bible reveals that history has purpose and direction. The purpose driving history is to reverse the sin of the original family, and thus create the foundation to receive the Messiah. The goal of history is to purify human love, making possible God's ideal world of joy. To do this, God sends the Messiah, who is to solve the sin of the original family and establish the model of true love. Careful preparation is needed if the Messiah is to find a receptive environment in which to accomplish his task. The direction of history is to prepare a foundation for the Messiah. We call this hidden dimension of history "the providence of restoration."
The Providence of Restoration
God wanted to send the Messiah in Adam's family. To lay a foundation, He had Adam's two sons, Cain and Abel, make offerings (as a foundation of faith in God). He desired that Cain respect and love his younger brother Abel. This would restore the proper order of love which was lost when the archangel Lucifer, the elder, came through the fall to dominate Adam, the younger. Cain and Abel would have established a substantial foundation of love in their family. Their foundation could then have been extended to Eve and eventually to Adam. But in what was the first murder in human history, Cain killed Abel, imitating Lucifer's destruction of Adam.
It was many generations before God again found a righteous man whose family could be entrusted with the task of reversing the failure in Adam's family. This man was Noah. He established a foundation of faith by obeying God's order to build the ark. However, Noah's second son, Ham, instead of being loyal to his exemplary father, showed a judgmental attitude and a feeling of shame towards him. Because of this disunity, God's providence to send the Messiah was again postponed.
After 400 years, God called Abraham to separate from his fallen environment, the city of Ur, and become a wanderer in the wilderness. Abraham demonstrated absolute faith by obeying God's order to sacrifice his son Isaac. Isaac himself reversed the failure of Ham by completely uniting with his father and willingly offering his life as a sacrifice.
Jacob, Isaac's younger son, worked with his mother, Rebekah, and achieved reconciliation with his elder brother Esau, even though the latter had sworn to kill him. With this victory, God renamed Jacob "Israel" and raised the chosen people from Jacob's lineage. By bringing an end to the resentment of Esau (who, as the elder, was in the position of Cain), Jacob set the pattern for the subjugation of Satan and the restoration of God's dominion of love. God thereby chose the descendants of Jacob, who came to constitute a lineage embodying, to a relative degree, the heavenly tradition of self-sacrifice and life for the sake of others.
God then began His dispensation to establish the national foundation for the Messiah. God guided the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He gave them the law and sent numerous prophets to guide them. He revealed to Israel that one day He would send the Messiah who would inaugurate a new age of peace and justice. Israel began to long for the Messiah to come.
Preparation to Receive the Messiah
Jesus Christ came upon the 2,000 year Israelite history to establish the kingdom of Heaven on earth. Furthermore, God had carefully prepared for the worldwide expansion of Jesus' ministry. Prior to Jesus, the great empire of Rome was established, with an extensive network of trade routes. The Roman Empire expanded far and wide, touching most other advanced civilizations.
God also prepared the world internally for the coming of the Messiah. In India, Gautama Buddha rejected worldly comfort and sought the true way of life. From his example and teaching developed Buddhism, which became one of the most influential religions in the Orient. At the same time in China, Confucius appeared, teaching a highly developed ethical humanism. Concurrently, in Greece, the great classical philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle strove to establish a standard of human ethics.
In these and other ways, God set the stage for the establishment of His kingdom on earth, about which Jesus so often spoke. Beginning with Israel, God's kingdom could have spread throughout the world. Jesus was to resolve on earth the sin of man and create ideal families in which God's love could dwell. Through such families Jesus could have established a world of true love. The three blessings promised in the Garden of Eden would have been realized. God's purpose has never changed.
However, prophets also foretold that without the Israelites' faith, the Messiah would be forced to endure suffering and misery (Isa. 53). To prevent this outcome, God sent John the Baptist, who came to "make straight the way for the Lord." John lived an ascetic, exemplary lifestyle and was respected throughout Israel. John testified to Jesus at the Jordan River. However, he failed to follow Jesus, and later even doubted that Jesus was the Messiah (Matt. 11, John 1). Jesus' plea from the beginning of his ministry was for people to "believe in him whom God had sent."
"And when he saw the city he wept over it, saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But they are hid from your eyes."" Luke 19:41-42
Jesus did everything he could to convince the people that he was the son of God. Nevertheless, they refused to believe in him. Of course, if the people had understood who Jesus was, they never would have persecuted or rejected him. As the apostle Paul said, "None of the rulers of this age understood this [the importance of Jesus]; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory" (1 Cor. 2:8). Reverend Moon's discovery of this biblical truth came with hours of tears. No one has wept more for the suffering of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Salvation through the Cross
When it became clear that the people would not accept him as the Messiah, Jesus knew there was no other way left to bring salvation than by sacrificing his life on the cross. Even unto death, he loved and forgave the people who had rejected him. In this extraordinary act of sacrificial love, Jesus unleashed God's power of resurrection. Ascending to the right hand of God, he created a realm of spiritual salvation for all who follow him.
Jesus' life and his supreme sacrifice are a testimony to the power of true, sacrificial love. Until Jesus came, the popular belief was that injustice should be punished or avenged in kind an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Jesus showed, however, that God is not a God of vengeance, but that He is our parent who loves His children despite their sins. Yet humankind must still await the Lord of the Second Advent, who comes to eliminate sin altogether and finally establish God's kingdom on the earth.
Christ's Return and the Achievement of Lasting World Peace
Following Jesus' death and resurrection, God began to work through the Christians as the second Israel, to prepare for the second coming of the Messiah. For the next four centuries, Christians suffered, as had the Israelites in Egypt. Many were boiled in oil, fed to lions or burned alive. Despite this severe persecution, the Christians did not abandon their faith. On the contrary, their faith deepened and they became dedicated believers committed to spreading Jesus' teachings.
For 2,000 years Christianity went through a historical course parallel to the 2,000 year history of biblical Israel. Today the cycle is complete and Christian history has reached its consummation. But Christian civilization is now collapsing. Why? Many Christians believe that the present time is the time of the second coming of Christ, when God will act decisively once again. Will the second coming be on the clouds? Clearly not.
Because Adam and Eve did not fulfill God's ideal, and because Jesus was prevented from bringing God's kingdom on earth (as a result of being rejected by his contemporaries), the Messiah will come again as the physical third Adam to complete Jesus' task. Since the Messiah is to be the example of perfected individuality- thereby fulfilling the first blessing - he must be born on earth, as were Adam and Jesus. To fulfill the second blessing, he must marry, and establish an ideal family with his bride. He must also, in a practical way, guide humanity in overcoming the conflicts between nations, races, religions and cultures, finally bringing about a world of lasting peace.
The third Adam will come to speak clearly and plainly of the truth, liberating all men from suffering and ignorance and realizing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. His fundamental motivation, however, is to liberate the suffering heart of God.
The Divine Principle teaches that the Lord of the Second Advent was born around 1920 in Korea. But as with Jesus 2,000 years ago, he can expect to meet persecution and misunderstanding. In fact, Jesus himself warned of this when he asked: "When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"