the Spirit Watch
Unification Theology And The Cross of Christ
The Structure of Unification Theology
by Bryce Pettit, Centers For Apologetic Research
The Principle of Creation
The UC employs a standard theological motif for interpreting the Bible, namely, Creation-Fall-Restoration. Added to this are emphases on spiritism as a guiding motif for hermeneutics and an extreme dispensationalism. Like many before him, Rev. Moon claims to have discovered a heretofore unknown "secret key" to unlocking the mysteries of the Bible and revealing its "true" message.
Divine Principle (hereafter, "DP") states it this way.
With the fullness of time, God has sent His messenger to resolve the fundamental questions of life and the universe. His name is Sun Myung Moon. For many decades, he wandered in a vast spiritual world in search of the ultimate truth. On this path, he endured suffering unimagined by anyone in human history. God alone will remember it. Knowing that no one can find the ultimate truth to save mankind without going through the bitterest of trials, he fought alone against myriads of Satanic forces, both in the physical and spiritual worlds, and finally triumphed over them all. In this way he came in contact with many saints in Paradise and with Jesus, and thus brought into light all the heavenly secrets through his communion with God (13).
Unification theology is primarily an explanation of this ultimate truth.
The essence of this truth they call "Heart," and is defined in Outline of
the Principle, Level 4 (hereafter, L4):
Heart (Shimjung, in Korean) is the essence of God's personality-the essence of his Sung Sang [internal character]. Heart is the most vital part of his nature, such that all other attributes in him are what they are and do what they do solely because of this attribute. Heart is the impulse to love and to be united in love with the object of its love. For this reason, Heart is said to be the source of love, and at the same time is the chief motive behind love (14).
Evangelical theology would consider this understanding in light of John 17:24, where Jesus says he existed in a relationship of love to the Father "before the creation of the world." The Johannine emphasis on the love of God and Jesus' own statement that believers would be known as his disciples because of love (Jn. 13:34-35) provides hope that a common ground exists between us for meaningful dialogue (15)
A further explanation of Heart demonstrates that we have issues of disagreement still to be worked through on this point.
This nature of Heart is God's motive for making the Creation. That is, God, whose essence is Heart, feels joy when he can love an object that he created. If there is no object, God cannot satisfy his impulse to express care and love, which springs limitlessly from within himself. God made the Creation to be the object which he could love (16).
The result of such an interaction of God with mankind is to bring joy to each other. On earth this would be accomplished by Adam and Eve establishing what is called the Four Position Foundation. In this idea a husband and wife lives in a loving relationship with God and produce children. God, the parents, and the child make up a Four Position Foundation. This ideal for family life would be multiplied throughout the earth, fulfilling God's
intentions and bringing him joy.
The way the Four Position Foundation would be accomplished is through the Three Blessings. These are to be fruitful (mature), multiply and fill the earth (marriage and family), and have dominion over the earth and rule it (a kind of cosmic lordship). This would bring the Kingdom of Heaven on
In evangelical theology, the Triune God is self-sufficient from all eternity, the three Persons of the Godhead existing in love and sharing the same glory (Ex. 3:14; Jn. 17:5, 24). Rev. Moon approached the Bible with an eye to discovering what he believed would be God's point of view when Scripture was written, leading him to the notion that God is not receiving joy and is in need of comforting because of the Fall. UC theologian Jonathan Wells explains it this way,
Now, by Rev. Moon's own account and the account of the early Church members, the way that Rev. Moon derived the Divine Principle from the Bible was not by mixing together various elements. At an early age he began "crying." In fact, the early Church is known as the "crying Church," because even after it got started the Church services were just drenched in tears. Rev. Moon and the members cried not just out of repentance, but out of concern for mankind. And not even just that, but out of a concern for God. So the hermeneutical approach that Rev. Moon used was to read the Bible in order to learn how to comfort God.
There is a close affinity between our two theologies on the point of the Fall as a tragic event unwanted by God and disastrous to the human family - unlike the view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), which teaches that the Fall was both necessary and good because this event allows us the opportunity to earn a promotion to godhood. Evangelicals believe God did in fact create the human race for love and fellowship, but we strongly disagree with any notion that makes creation on these terms necessary to the nature of God. Creation is an expression of God's love, but not a reflection of any need to fulfill the desire to love this already existed among the Persons of the Triune Godhead.
In Unification theology. something tragic happened before Adam and Eve could grow to maturity, be married by God and establish heavenly families throughout the world based on the Four Position Foundation. A
kind of love entered the world that was different from God's love, an utterly selfish love that was Satan-inspired.
When God created Adam and Eve, Lucifer (who became Satan) believed God's love for them somehow diminished the love he was receiving, so in jealousy he tried to "tempt Eve to submit to him, in order that he might enjoy the same position in human society that he did in the angelic world" (19). When Eve submitted to his advances they committed fornication by means of their spirit bodies in the spirit world. This caused a spiritual fall to come to the human race. Adam could have restored Eve, but she was in fear once she realized her sin and she physically seduced Adam in an attempt to rid herself of this fear. This constitutes the physical fall of the race. The result of the spiritual and physical fall is explained this way:
According to "The Principles of the Creation," God was to accomplish the purpose of man's creation through love. Thus, love is the source of man's joy, life, and happiness. However, because the first ancestors disobeyed the rules of heaven, and fell, love itself was corrupted, and Satan has dominated man and has made him suffer (20).
Much ink has been spilled discussing this view of the Fall as a sexual event. It is clear that Rev. Moon and the UC want to emphasize the sexual aspect as much as possible, even stating that Christian doctrine has always taught that adultery is the greatest of all sins (21). Adultery is a serious and destructive sin, both spiritually and physically, but the Christian Church has never maintained that it is the worst sin that one can commit. Rejecting God (and suffering eternal death) is patently more serious than any other sin (cf. Matt. 10:28, 16:26).
Although the Unificationist understanding of the Fall seems strange to many hearers, the explanation of the two aspects of the Fall are important. L4 says,
Although Eve and the archangel united in actual fornication by means of Eve's spirit body and the archangel's body (a spirit body), no children can actually be born of a relationship between a human being and an angel. Nonetheless, Eve inherited satanic "love," so when Eve and Adam had their relationships, which could, of course, produce children, their relationships were motivated by satanic "love," and their children were born of that "love." Thus, all people are the "children" of Satan (22).
Original sin is therefore a tainted blood lineage going back to Eve's illicit sexual liaison with Satan in the spirit world and her premature seduction of Adam. This means that all love now experienced on earth is a result of satanic jealousy and pride and is not based on God's Heart expressed in the purpose of creation. No one since the Fall has been free of original sin except Jesus Christ (23).
We would agree that the sickness of sin is indeed in the heart, and would want to emphasize that the heart is exceedingly deceitful, wicked, and beyond
our comprehension in its evil machinations (24) Jeremiah speaks repeatedly of the stubbornness of the heart toward the things of God (25). The thoughts of the heart are described by Scripture as evil (26). The imaginations of the heart are also evil (27). Our hearts love evil (28). We are separated from the love of God and the things of God (29).
The nature of sin due to the Fall required a cure that human beings were unable to provide for themselves. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross was the necessary price to buy back the heart of a wayward people. No one argues that the cross was desirable, only necessary. We weep at the idea of the precious Son of God dying in agony and shame, but without his sacrifice we would be without a cure for the snakebite of sin (30).
Salvation Is Restoration
In Eden, Adam and Eve lost the opportunity to perfect themselves, be married under God, have sinless children, and establish the ideal family, nation, and world. Salvation in the UC means restoring these conditions under a new Adam, called the Messiah (31). Who is the Messiah, and what would be his purpose in coming to earth? In Unification theology Jesus Christ was the Messiah, and salvation (physical as well as spiritual) was his purpose:
Thus, the Messiah must stand before God as the origin of all ideal individuals and must establish the ideal family, which is the family that fulfills the Purpose of the Creation and is the place where God's love can dwell. He must then also establish the ideal nation and world, thereby realizing the originally intended Kingdom of Heaven on earth, fulfilling the Purpose of the Creation. This is the purpose for which the Messiah comes (32).
The issue of a married Messiah is discussed by Unificationist Whitney Shiner this way:
It can be clearly deduced from the Bible that Jesus should have married. Paul said that Jesus came as the second Adam, and therefore as second Adam He should fulfill the purpose of the first Adam, and God's commandment to the first Adam was to be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion (33).
Evangelicals have a number of problems with this idea that the altar rather than the cross, was God's will for the Messiah. One thing that disturbs us is the type of biblical interpretation exemplified by the preceding quotation. First Corinthians 15:45 says matter-of-factly that Jesus Christ is the last Adam, not the second Adam. Any standard Greek lexicon will demonstrate that eschatos, "last," refers to the last one in a line, meaning that no one, including Rev. Moon, can be a third Adam or new Messiah. The Bible consistently presents Jesus Christ as the Creator of all things. Because of his sinless life and perfect sacrifice, he is presented as being superior to angels, the Old Testament covenant, and in fact, he is said to have the supremacy over all things (34).
But Jesus was rejected by his people and could not bring physical and spiritual salvation, according to Unification theology. When did he learn of the secondary plan? Although L4 fails to point out a specific time, saying it was when the people "came to the point of completely disbelieving Jesus and abandoning him.," Rev. Moon states it occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration (35). Yet the Synoptic Gospels all say,
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day raised to life (36).
This occurred six days before the events on the Mount of Transfiguration! (37) As we intend to show, Jesus was conscious of the cross from the earliest days of his ministry.
The same objection holds for the defense offered by Unificationist Patricia Zulkosky:
Well, I can say that Jesus spoke many, many times of being a bridegroom and we thought that they were parables. Even changing the water into wine, Jesus said to His mother, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." Some would interpret it as being, "My time hasn't come yet for marriage-don't get me involved in these kinds of things. " But there are many passages where He talks about the parable of the bridegroom, or the wedding feast, that get interpreted symbolically, but mightn't they also be interpreted literally, that Jesus did in fact come to take a bride and was referring to the time of His own banquet. His own wedding feast? It's a possibility (38).
The problem with this argument is that the first wedding parable (Matt. 22:1-4 and Luke 14:16-24) comes after, according to Unification theology. Jesus is told by Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration that he will not get married and that he must take the way of the cross and only accomplish spiritual salvation with his ministry. A marriage motif is almost completely lacking in Jesus' early teaching ministry, and where it does come up (Mark 2:18-22), it contains an allusion to his death! Evangelicals do not simply "think" Matthew 22 is a parable, but 22:1 says, "Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying . . . "
Similarly, the reference in John 2:4 about Jesus' proper "time" is clearly linked in John and the Synoptic Gospels with his death (39). The only Old Testament prophecy the UC ever points to for evidence of a married Messiah is Isaiah 9:6 and the reference to him as an "Everlasting Father." (40). Unification hermeneutics are simply too self-serving from an Evangelical standpoint (41). If the UC wants to have open dialogue with us, then we want to see a greater attention to the detail of Scripture than these previous arguments employ.
13) DP, p. 16. UC theologian Young Oon Kim once said about the doctrine of Creation, "It should now be clear to the reader the real purpose of the coming of Jesus, which indeed has been a mystery kept in the bosom of God until the present time." Young Oon Kim, The Divine Principle (San Francisco: Holv Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianitv, 1963), 61. As we will show later, the failure of John the Baptist emerged as the "heavenlv secret" the UC claims Rev. Moon discovered. The doctrine of the Purpose of Creation remains a focal point of their theology, however.
14) L4. 9.
15) See ibid., 23-24.
17) DP, 31- 46.
18) Bryant and Foster, Hermeneutics, 56. Rev. Moon goes so far as to sav, "We
are in a position to save and liberate Jesus Christ and end his anguish. We can be in a position to liberate even God." Sun Myung Moon, "Jesus and the Second
Coming," in God's Warning To The World, trans. by Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak (New York: the Rose of Sharon Press, 1985), 152. This essay will be referred to a number
of times because it was written bv Rev. Moon as a special message to the world. It is therefore important for gauging where the theology of the UC was heading in 1985.
19) DP, 78.
20) L4, 63 64.
21) DP, 7.
22) L4, 56.
23) DP, 12.
24) Gen. 8:21; Ps. 36:1-4; Prov. 4:14-17, Jer. 17:9; Matt. 15:7-19; 23:25-28;
Mk. 7:20 23; Rom. 1:18-32; Gal. 5:19-21; Heb. 3:12-13.
25) Jer. 3:17; 4:14; 7:14; 9:14: 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12.
26) Ps. 140:1-2; Prov. 6:12-14; 15:26; Is. 32:6-7; Matt. 15:19.
27) Gen. 6:5; Prov. 6:16-19; Ezek. 8:12; Rom. 1:21.
28) Ps. 52:3; Prov - 2:12-15; 10:23; Jer. 14:10; 2 Thess. 2:11-12.
29) Is. 59:1-15; 64:6-7: Hos. 5:4-7; Eph. 2:12-13; 4:17-19; Col. 1:21-12.
30) Cf. Jn. 3:14-15; 12:32-33.
31) L4, 76.
32) Ibid., 78.
33) Quebedeaux and Sawatsky, Dialogue, 171.
34) Col. 1:15-23; Heb. 1:1-14; 10:1-18.
35) L4, 81. Sun Myung Moon, "The New Future of Christianity," in The New Future Of Christianity, trans. by Mr. Bo Hi Pak (Washington: The Unification Church International, 1974), 105. The Mount of Transfiguration is still the most popular answer for this question, based on my experience in Korea. It was present in the church's
early teachings as Young Oon Kim shows in Divine Principles, 60-61. She continued to support this idea in her Unification Theology and Christian Thought (New
York: Golden Gate Publishers. 1975), 88. Often Unificationists reverse the time
sequence and quote Jesus' teaching about the necessity of his death (Matt. 16:2 1, etc.) as if' the Transfiguration had already taken place.
36) Matt. 16:21; cf. Mk. 8:31 and Lk. 9:22.
37) Matt. 17: 1: Mk. 9:2: Lk. 9:28.
38) Quebedeaux and Sawatsky, Dialogue, 132-133.
39) Jn. 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1; Matt. 16:18; Mk. 14:35, 41; Lk. 9:51.
40) Rev. Patrick Hickey, "The Purpose of the Messiah," a video lecture, Unification Church ot' America (ca. 1984).
41) For a discussion of the hermeneutics of DP, see William Lionel O'Byrne, Jr., "A Comparative Study of the Hermeneutics of Sun Myung Moon and Contemporary Evangelicalism as Represented by James Oliver Buswel1, Jr." ( Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1978); Bryant and Foster, Hermeneutics, 44-78; and Frank K. Flinn, Hermeneutics and Horizons: The Shape of the Future, Conference Series No. II (New York: The Rose of Sharon Press, 1982).