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.
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.