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God Myth #7: 

It is not possible to understand God or to know him personally.

Throughout history, people have anguished over the fundamental questions of human life and the universe without arriving at satisfying answers. This is because no one has understood the root principle by which humanity and the universe were originally created. To approach this topic properly, it is not enough to examine resultant reality. The fundamental question is that of the causal reality. Problems concerning human life and the universe cannot be solved without first understanding the nature of God.


The Dual Characteristics of God
and the Created Universe

How can we know the divine nature of the invisible God? One way to fathom His deity is by observing the universe which He created. Thus, St. Paul said:

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. So they are without excuse. -Rom. 1:20RS|KJ|NI

Just as a work of art displays the invisible nature of its maker in a concrete form, everything in the created universe is a substantial manifestation of some quality of the Creator's invisible, divine nature. As such, each stands in a relationship to God. Just as we can come to know the character of an artist through his works, so we can understand the nature of God by observing the diverse things of creation.

Let us begin by pointing out the common elements which are found universally throughout the natural world. Every entity possesses dual characteristics of yang (masculinity) and yin (femininity) and comes into existence only when these characteristics have formed reciprocal relationships, both within the entity and between it and other entities.

For example, subatomic particles, the basic building blocks of all matter, possess either a positive charge, a negative charge or a neutral charge formed by the neutralization of positive and negative constituents. When particles join with each other through the reciprocal relationships of their dual characteristics, they form an atom. Atoms, in turn, display either a positive or a negative valence. When the dual characteristics within one atom enter into reciprocal relationships with those in another atom, they form a molecule. Molecules formed in this manner engage in further reciprocal relationships between their dual characteristics to eventually become nourishment fit for consumption by plants and animals.

Plants propagate by means of stamen and pistil. Animals multiply and maintain their species through the relationship between males and females. According to the Bible, after God created Adam, He saw that it was not good for the man to live alone.1(Gen. 2:18)RS|KJ|NI Only after God created Eve as Adam's female counterpart did He declare that His creations were "very good."2(Gen. 1.31)RS|KJ|NI

Even though atoms become positive or negative ions after ionization, each still consists of a positive nucleus and negative electrons in stable unity. Similarly, each animal, whether male or female, maintains its life through the reciprocal relationships of yang and yin elements within itself. The same holds true for every plant. In people, a feminine nature is found latent in men and a masculine nature is found latent in women.

Moreover, every creation exists with correlative aspects: inside and outside, internal and external, front and rear, right and left, up and down, high and low, strong and weak, rising and falling, long and short, wide and narrow, east and west, north and south, etc. The reason for this is that everything is created to exist through the reciprocal relationships of dual characteristics. Thus, we can understand that everything requires for its existence a reciprocal relationship between the dual characteristics of yang and yin.

However, there is another pair of dual characteristics in reciprocal relationship which are even more fundamental to existence than the dual characteristics of yang and yin. Every entity possesses both an outer form and an inner quality. The visible outer form resembles the invisible inner quality. The inner quality, though invisible, possesses a certain structure which is manifested visibly in the particular outer form. The inner quality is called internal nature, and the outer form or shape is called external form. Since internal nature and external form refer to corresponding inner and outer aspects of the same entity, the external form may also be understood as a second internal nature. Therefore, the internal nature and external form together constitute dual characteristics.

Let us take human beings as an example. A human being is composed of an outer form, the body, and an inner quality, the mind. The body is a visible reflection of the invisible mind. Because the mind possesses a certain structure, the body which reflects it also takes on a particular appearance. This is the idea behind a person's character and destiny being perceived through examining his outward appearance by such methods as physiognomy or palm reading. Here, mind is the internal nature and body is the external form. Mind and body are two correlative aspects of a human being; hence, the body may be understood as a second mind. Together, they constitute the dual characteristics of a human being. Similarly, all beings exist through the reciprocal relationships between their dual characteristics of internal nature and external form.

What is the relationship between internal nature and external form? The internal nature is intangible and causal, and stands in the position of a subject partner to the external form; the external form is tangible, resultant, and stands in the position of an object partner to the internal nature. The mutual relationships between these two aspects of an entity include: internal and external, cause and result, subject partner and object partner, vertical and horizontal. Let us again use the example of a human being, whose mind and body are his internal nature and external form, respectively. The body resembles the mind and moves according to its commands in such a way as to sustain life and pursue the mind's purposes. Mind and body thus have a mutual relationship of internal and external, cause and result, subject partner and object partner, vertical and horizontal.

Similarly, all created beings, regardless of their level of complexity, possess an intangible internal nature, which corresponds to the human mind, and a tangible external form, which corresponds to the human body. Within each being, the internal nature, which is causal and subject, commands the external form. This relationship allows the individual being to exist and function purposefully as a creation of God. Animals live and move because their bodies are directed by an internal faculty corresponding to the human mind, which endows them with a certain purpose. Plants maintain their organic functions by virtue of their internal nature, which also operates like the human mind in some respects.

The human mind imparts to every person a natural inclination to join with others in harmony. Likewise, positive ions and negative ions come together to form particular molecules, because within every one of them exists a rudimentary internal nature that guides them toward that end. Electrons assemble around nuclei to form atoms because they possess an attribute of internal nature which directs them toward that purpose. According to modern science, all particles that constitute atoms are made up of energy. For energy to form particles, it, too, must possess an internal nature which directs it to assume specific forms.

Probing deeper still, we search for the Ultimate Cause which brought this energy, with its elements of internal nature and external form, into existence. This being would be the First Cause of all the myriad things in the universe. As the First Cause, it must also possess the dual characteristics of internal nature and external form, which stand in the position of subject partner to the internal natures and external forms of all beings. We call this First Cause of the universe God, and we call God's internal nature and external form the original internal nature and original external form. As St. Paul indicated, by investigating characteristics that are universally present in the diverse things of creation, we can come to know the nature of God: God is the First Cause of the entire universe and its subject partner, having the harmonious dual characteristics of original internal nature and original external form.

We have already mentioned that entities require for their existence the reciprocal relationship between the dual characteristics of yang and yin. It is only natural to surmise that God, the First Cause of all things, also exists based on the reciprocal relationship between His dual characteristics of yang and yin. The verse "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them"3(Gen. 1:27)RS|KJ|NI supports the idea that God, as the subject partner, has dual characteristics of yang and yin in perfect harmony.

What is the relationship between the dual characteristics of internal nature and external form and the dual characteristics of yang and yin? God's original internal nature and original external form each contain the mutual relationship of original yang and original yin. Therefore, original yang and original yin are attributes of original internal nature and original external form. The relationship between yang and yin is similar to that which exists between internal nature and external form. Yang and yin thus have the following mutual relationships: internal and external, cause and result, subject partner and object partner, vertical and horizontal. For this reason, it is written in Genesis that God took a rib from the man, Adam, and created a woman, Eve, to be his helper.4(Gen. 2.22)RS|KJ|NI In this case, the yang and yin of God were manifested in masculinity and femininity.

A human being attains perfection when he centers his life on his mind; likewise, the creation becomes complete only when God stands as its center. Hence, the universe is a perfect organic body that moves only according to God's purpose of creation. As one organic body, the universe should exist in a relationship of internal nature and external form, with God as the internal nature and the created universe as the external form. For this reason it is written in the Bible that human beings, who are the center of the universe, are created in the image of God.5(Gen. 1.27)RS|KJ|NI Because God exists as the subject partner having the qualities of internal nature and masculinity, He created the universe as His object partner with the qualities of external form and femininity. All of this is supported by the Bible verse which states, "man . . . is the image and glory of God."6(I Cor. 11.7)RS|KJ|NIIn recognition of God's position as the internal and masculine subject partner, we call Him "Our Father."

In summary, God is the Subject in whom the dual characteristics of original internal nature and original external form are in harmony. At the same time, God is the harmonious union of masculinity and femininity, which manifest the qualities of original internal nature and original external form, respectively. In relation to the universe, God is the subject partner having the qualities of internal nature and masculinity.

The Relationship between God and the Universe

We have learned that every creation is God's substantial object partner, formed in His likeness as a discrete projection of His dual characteristics. God exists as the incorporeal subject partner to all beings. Human beings are object partners embodied at the level of image, and the rest of creation are object partners embodied at the level of symbol. These object partners are called individual embodiments of truth, in image and symbol.

Individual embodiments of truth are discrete manifestations of the dual characteristics of God. Therefore, they can be distinguished broadly into two classes: those of yang qualities which resemble the original internal nature and masculinity of God, and those of yin qualities which resemble the original external form and femininity of God. Although individual embodiments of truth belong to either of these two classes, since they are all substantial object partners to God - resembling His original internal nature and original external form - they each possess within themselves both internal nature and external form, and likewise both yang and yin.

In light of our understanding of the dual characteristics, the relationship between God and the universe can be summarized thus: The universe as a whole is a substantial object partner to God. It is composed of individual embodiments of truth, each a unique manifestation of the dual characteristics of God at either the level of image or of symbol, as governed by the Principle of Creation. The myriad qualities of God, in their duality, are apportioned into diverse human beings, each an incarnate object partner at the level of image. These qualities are also apportioned into all the diverse things of creation, each an embodied object partner at the level of symbol. The relationship between God and the universe is similar to that between internal nature and external form. It is a mutual relationship like that between dual characteristics: internal and external, cause and result, vertical and horizontal, subject partner and object partner, and so forth.

Finally, from the viewpoint of the Principle of Creation, let us investigate the metaphysical concept at the root of East Asian philosophy which is based on the Book of Changes (I Ching). There, the origin of the universe is the Great Ultimate (Ultimate Void). >From the Great Ultimate arose yang and yin, from yang and yin came forth the Five Agents - metal, wood, water, fire and earth - and from the Five Agents all things came into existence.7 Yang and yin together are called the Way (Tao), or as the Book of Changes states, "One yang and one yin: this is the Way."8 The Way is traditionally defined as the Word. To put all this together, from the Great Ultimate arose yang and yin, or the Word, and all things came into being based on the Word. Accordingly, the Great Ultimate is the First Cause of all existing beings, the integral nucleus and harmonious subject partner of yang and yin.

It is written in the Gospel of John that "the Word was with God, and the Word was God,"9(John 1:1-3)RS|KJ|NIand that all things were made through the Word. Comparing this to the metaphysics rooted in the Book of Changes, we can surmise that the Great Ultimate, as the harmonious source of yang and yin or the Word, is none other than God who, as we have seen, is the harmonious subject partner of dual characteristics. According to the Principle of Creation, the fact that everything created through the Word has dual characteristics shows that the Word itself consists of dual characteristics. Consequently, the claim made in the Book of Changes that yang and yin together are the Word is valid.

However, this East Asian metaphysics observes the universe exclusively from the viewpoint of yang and yin while failing to recognize that all things also possess internal nature and external form. Therefore, although it reveals that the Great Ultimate is the subject partner of harmonious yang and yin, it fails to show that the Great Ultimate is also the subject partner of harmonious original internal nature and original external form. Hence, it does not comprehend that the Great Ultimate is a God with personality.

The universe was created after the pattern of a human being, who is in the image of God's dual characteristics. Therefore, the structure of the universe and every entity in it resembles that of a human being, which consists most fundamentally of mind and body.  Corresponding to the human mind and body, the universe consists of the incorporeal world and the corporeal world, both of which are real and substantial. The incorporeal world is so called because we cannot perceive it through our five physical senses. Yet we can perceive it through our five spiritual senses. Those who have had spiritual experiences testify that the incorporeal world appears as real as the world in which we live. The incorporeal and corporeal worlds together form the cosmos.

The body cannot act apart from its relationship with the mind; a person cannot perform true actions apart from a relationship with God. Likewise, the corporeal world cannot manifest its true value apart from a relationship with the incorporeal world. Furthermore, just as we cannot discern a person's character without fathoming his mind, and we cannot understand the fundamental meaning of human life without understanding God, so we cannot completely understand the nature and structure of the corporeal world without understanding the nature and structure of the incorporeal world. The incorporeal world, or spirit world, is in the position of subject partner, and the corporeal world, or physical world, is in the position of object partner. The latter is like a shadow of the former.24(Heb. 8:5)RS|KJ|NI When we shed our physical bodies after our life in the physical world, we enter the spirit world as spirits and live there for eternity.

The Position of Human Beings in the Cosmos

The position of human beings in the cosmos has three aspects. First, God created human beings to be the rulers of the universe.25(Gen. 1:28)RS|KJ|NI The universe does not of itself have internal sensibility toward God. Hence, God does not govern the universe directly. Rather, God endowed human beings with sensibilities to all things in the universe and gave them the mandate to rule over the universe directly. God created the human body with elements from the physical world - such as water, clay and air - to allow us to perceive and govern it. To make it possible for us to perceive and govern the spirit world, God created our spirits with the same spiritual elements that compose the spirit world. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Moses and Elijah, who had died hundreds of years earlier, appeared before Jesus and ministered to him.26(Matt. 17:3)RS|KJ|NI These were actually the spirits of Moses and Elijah, yet Jesus was able to converse with them and was glorified before them. Human beings, composed of flesh which can dominate the physical world and spirit which can dominate the spiritual world, likewise have the potential to rule both worlds.

Second, God created human beings to be the mediator and the center of harmony of the cosmos. When a person's flesh and spirit unite through give and take action and become God's substantial object partner, the physical and spiritual worlds can also begin give and take action with that person as their center. They thus achieve harmonious integration to construct a cosmos that is responsive to God. Like the air that enables two tuning forks to resonate with each other, a true person acts as the mediator and center of harmony between the two worlds. The ability to communicate between the two worlds also may be likened to a radio or television which transforms invisible waves into perceptible images and sounds. Thus, a person can accurately convey the realities of the spirit world to the physical world.

Third, God created human beings to encapsulate in a substantial form the essences of everything in the cosmos. God created the universe by projecting and developing the pre-existent prototype of the human internal nature and external form into countless substantial forms. The human spirit encapsulates all of the elements found in the spirit world, since God created the spirit world as the unfolding of the spirit's internal nature and external form. The human body encapsulates all the elements of the physical world, since God created the material realm as the unfolding of the body's internal nature and external form. Accordingly, since human beings contain within themselves the essences of all things in the cosmos, each person is a microcosm.

However, due to the human Fall, the universe has lost its master. St. Paul wrote, "the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God"27(Rom. 8:19)RS|KJ|NI - that is, people who have been restored to the original state. Tragically, with the Fall of human beings, who should have served as the center of universal harmony, the give and take between the physical and spiritual worlds was severed. The two worlds have been rendered utterly unable to achieve integration and harmony. Since they remain divided, Paul continued, "the whole creation has been groaning in travail."28(Rom. 8:22)RS|KJ|NI

Jesus came as the new Adam, perfect in flesh and spirit. He was the microcosm of the cosmos. This is why it is written, "God has put all things in subjection under his feet."29(I Cor. 15:27)RS|KJ|NIJesus is our Savior. He came into the world to open the way for fallen people to become perfect as he was perfect, by moving our hearts to believe in him and become one with him.

The Reciprocal Relationship between
the Physical Self and the Spirit Self

The Structure and Functions of the Physical Self

The physical self consists of the dual characteristics of the physical mind (subject partner) and the physical body (object partner). The physical mind directs the physical body to maintain the functions necessary for its survival, protection and reproduction. Instinct, for example, is an aspect of an animal's physical mind. For the physical self to grow in good health, it must have proper nourishment. It must absorb air and sunlight, which are intangible, yang types of nourishment, and must eat and drink food and water, which are tangible, yin types of nourishment. The body has give and take with this nourishment through its digestive and circulatory systems.

Good or evil in the conduct of the physical self is the main determinant of whether the spirit self becomes good or evil. This is because the physical self provides a certain element, which we call the vitality element, to the spirit self. In our everyday experience, our mind rejoices when our physical self performs good deeds but feels anxiety after evil conduct. This is because vitality elements, which can be good or evil according to the deeds of the physical self, are infused into our spirit self.

The Structure and Functions of the Spirit Self

Our spirit self, or spirit, is a substantial yet incorporeal reality which can be apprehended only through the spiritual senses. It is the subject partner to our physical self. Our spirit can communicate directly with God and is meant to govern the incorporeal world, including the angels. In appearance our spirit self matches our physical self. After we shed the physical self, we enter the spirit world and live there for eternity. The reason we desire an eternal life is because our innermost self is the spirit self which has an eternal nature. Our spirit self consists of the dual characteristics of spirit mind (subject partner) and spirit body (object partner). The spirit mind is the center of the spirit self, and it is where God dwells.

The spirit grows through give and take action between two types of nourishment: life elements of a yang type that come from God, and vitality elements of a yin type that come from the physical self. The spirit self not only receives vitality elements from the physical self; it also returns an element to the physical self which we call the living spirit element. When people receive grace from a heavenly spirit, they undergo many positive changes in their physical self; they feel infinite joy and new strength welling up in them which can even drive away illness. Such phenomena occur because the physical self receives living spirit elements from the spirit self.

The spirit can grow only while it abides in the flesh. Thus, the relationship between the physical self and the spirit self is similar to that between a tree and its fruit. When the physical mind obeys the spirit mind and the physical self acts according to the good purpose of the spirit mind, the physical self receives living spirit elements from the spirit self and becomes wholesome. In return, the physical self provides good vitality elements to the spirit self, which enable the spirit self to grow properly in the direction of goodness.

Truth illuminates the innermost desires of the spirit mind. A person must first comprehend his spirit mind's deepest desire through the truth and then put this knowledge into action to fulfill his responsibility. Only then do the living spirit elements and vitality elements reciprocate within him, enabling him to progress toward goodness. The living spirit element and the vitality element have the relationship of internal nature and external form. Because all people have living spirit elements ever active within themselves, even an evil person's original mind inclines toward goodness. However, unless he actually leads a life of goodness, the living spirit elements cannot engage in proper give and take with the vitality elements, nor can they be infused into his physical self to make it wholesome.

It can be inferred from the above that the spirit self can attain perfection only during a person's earthly life. The spirit mind guides the spirit self as it grows in the soil of the physical self. The growth of the spirit self toward perfection progresses through the three orderly stages ordained by the Principle of Creation. A spirit in the formation stage of life is called a form spirit; in the growth stage, a life spirit; and in the completion stage, a divine spirit.

A spirit fully matures as a divine spirit when the person's spirit self and physical self unite through perfect give and take action centered on God and form the four position foundation. A divine spirit can accurately feel and perceive every reality in the spirit world. As these spiritual realities resonate through the body and manifest themselves as physiological phenomena, they can be recognized through the five physical senses. People of divine spirit, who thus resonate with the spirit world, build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. When they shed their physical bodies, they will make a smooth transition into the Kingdom of Heaven in the spirit world. For this reason, the Kingdom of Heaven in heaven will be realized only after the Kingdom of Heaven on earth has been established.

All the sensibilities of a spirit are cultivated through the reciprocal relationship with the physical self during earthly life. Therefore, only when a person reaches perfection and is totally immersed in the love of God while on earth can he fully delight in the love of God as a spirit after his death. All the qualities of the spirit self are developed while it abides in the physical self: Sinful conduct during earthly life aggravates evil and ugliness in the spirit of a fallen person, while the redemption of sins granted during earthly life opens the way for his spirit to become good. This was the reason Jesus had to come to the earth in the flesh to save sinful humanity. We must lead a good life while we are on the earth. Jesus gave the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven to Peter, who remained on the earth,30(Matt. 16:19)RS|KJ|NI and said, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,"31(Matt. 18:18)RS|KJ|NI because the primary objective of the providence of restoration must be carried out on the earth.

It is not God who decides whether a person's spirit enters heaven or hell upon his death; it is decided by the spirit himself. Humans are created so that once they reach perfection they will fully breathe the love of God. Those who committed sinful deeds while on earth become crippled spirits who are incapable of fully breathing in the love of God. They find it agonizing to stand before God, the center of true love. Of their own will, they choose to dwell in hell, far removed from the love of God.

Since the human spirit can grow only in the soil of the physical self, the multiplication of human spirits takes place at the same time that the multiplication of physical selves occurs: during earthly life.

The Spirit Mind, the Physical Mind and Their Relationship in the Human Mind

The human mind consists of the spirit mind and physical mind. The relationship between these two minds is like that between internal nature and external form. When they become one through give and take action with God as their center, they form a united functioning entity which guides the spirit self and physical self to become harmonious and progress toward the purpose of creation. This united entity is the mind of a human being.

The conscience is that faculty of the human mind which, by virtue of its inborn nature, always directs us toward what we think is good. However, due to the Fall, human beings have become ignorant of God and thus ignorant of the absolute standard of goodness. For this reason, we are unable to set the proper standard of judgment for our conscience. As the standard of goodness varies, the standard of our conscience also fluctuates; this causes frequent contention even among those who advocate a conscientious life.

The original mind is that faculty of the human mind which pursues absolute goodness. It relates to the conscience as internal nature to external form. A person's conscience directs him to pursue goodness according to the standard which he has set up in ignorance, even though it may differ from the original standard. However, the original mind, being sensitive to the proper direction, repels this faulty standard and works to correct the conscience.

As long as our spirit mind and physical mind are under the bondage of Satan, the functioning entity they form through their give and take action is called the evil mind. The evil mind continually drives people to do evil. Our original mind and conscience direct us to repel the evil mind. They guide us in desperate efforts to reject evil desires and cling to goodness by breaking our ties with Satan and turning to face God.

 

Excerpt from:

Exposition of the Divine Principle

The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity

4 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

Copyright H.S.A.-U.W.C., 1996

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

 

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