The Incorporeal World and the Corporeal World
as Substantial Realities
God created human beings with two
components: the spirit self and the physical self. 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.
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.
How can an act of passionate love be consummated between an angel and a human being? All the emotions and sensations felt between a person and a spirit are exactly the same as those felt during contact between two earthly people. Undoubtedly, a sexual union between an angel and a person is possible.
We can understand this more clearly from the following evidence. There are reported cases of earthly people leading a married life with spirits. In the Bible we have the account of an angel who wrestled with Jacob and put his thigh out of joint.39(Gen. 32:25)RS|KJ|NI Three angels visited Abraham's family and ate a meal of veal, milk and curds.40(Gen. 18:8)RS|KJ|NI Moreover, two angels visited the house of Lot and ate the unleavened bread he served them. When the townspeople saw the angels, they were excited with lecherous desires for them and surrounded Lot's house, shouting, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them."41(Gen. 19:5)RS|KJ|NI
Exposition of the Divine Principle
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