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The Divine Principle and True Understanding of God’s Word
By John Everett
In the 20th century there emerged a prolific religious leader named Reverend Sun Myung Moon who founded the Unification church in 1954. Over a lifetime of tireless and heartfelt service to others, he left behind a large corpus of religious teachings. As with many great leaders, he was often a subject of controversy during his life. His writings were said by Christians to be heretical, as they allegedly contradicted the teachings in the Bible; many people are afraid of change and will denounce something new. This paper will dissect Reverend Moon’s teachings in his book Exposition of the Divine Principle, especially the second chapter “The Human Fall,” and will determine whether or not these teachings are sound doctrine or are indeed heretical. And furthermore, what greater ramifications would such soundness or heresy imply?
I do not wish to be misunderstood, so I shall offer a full disclaimer upfront. My motivation for bringing up such a discussion is this: to live a good life, one must know goodness and truth. To be healthy, you must believe that vegetables are good for you and cigarettes are bad. Therefore to be spiritually healthy, you must know what God wishes for you. Reverend Moon wrote the Divine Principle with the intention of making the reader spiritually healthy, didn’t he? It is in the interest of these spiritual teachings and their effects on us, then, that I launch this discussion. In order to discuss these teachings, however, we must first call upon a law that will serve as the foundation of said discussion. There is an undeniable truth that must be made clear before any discussion on God’s word can be valid. It is this:
The Scripture Is the Inerrant Word of God
In Divine Principle, Reverend Sun Myung Moon quoted the Bible extensively, because he understood that it is the word of God. In Chapter 1, section 1.1 alone, he directly quoted scripture three times and alluded to it an additional three times; he went on to quote scripture many dozens of times more in his book. Therefore it is clear that the Bible is true, for there would be no reason to support your doctrine with false scripture. Furthermore, it must be the case that the Bible is not only true but also authoritative—this is why Jesus answered disciples and opponents alike by quoting scripture, saying “It is written…” (Matt. 4:4, 4:7, 4:10, 21:13, 26:24, 26:31). Reverend Moon wrote that Jesus was a man who fully realized God’s Principle of Creation and attained perfection. If that is true, then it means that Jesus knew God’s will and therefore knew that the scripture is the word of God.
The Bible must also be entirely true, for God, being omnipotent, is able to edit the Bible and change its verses to match the truth by any means necessary. Likewise, being omniscient, He knew how to set history in motion in the exact way required to produce a perfect scripture. Since the Bible exists as it does, it must be the case that scripture is perfect. It would not be good for some scripture to be Truth given by God and some scripture to be a lie given by God. A perfect, loving God, who is almighty (Gen. 35:11, Matt. 19:26) and all-knowing (1 John 3:20) would not allow falsehood to enter his doctrine (Numbers 23:19). It is a scripture that lives and endures forever (1 Peter 1:25), and cannot be changed or done away with.
Understanding that the Bible is true and holy is vital for discussing its contents. If the Bible is not the word of God then its true meaning is whatever we want it to be. Furthermore, if the Bible is not the word of God then there is no way for imperfect humans to know what is actually the word of God. If, on the other hand, we rely on what God is telling us instead of what we want to believe, then the Bible is a powerful tool. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). With the Bible as your weapon, you are empowered both to resist all false doctrine and also to affirm sound doctrine, making said doctrine even stronger. With that having been firmly established, let us now apply the holy Word to the teachings of the Reverend Moon. The first topic to discuss is:
The Marriage of Adam and Eve
Eve was created to be Adam’s wife from the start. As such, she is referred to as his wife both before the fall of man and after, in Genesis 2:24, 2:25, 3:8, 3:12, 3:17, 3:20, and 3:21. Adam is referred to as her husband before eating the forbidden fruit in 3:6 and after in 3:16. It was therefore an unfortunate accident for Reverend Moon to write, “If Adam and Eve had attained perfection and united as husband and wife…” and “…should have joined in loving oneness as husband and wife.” There is no “should.” They most undoubtedly were husband and wife from the beginning. It is in their footsteps that couples now marry. “7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh” (Mark 10:7–8).
Were it otherwise, it would have meant that God created Adam and Eve to live in sin together in the garden—that is, to live together before marriage. Is that something a perfect, loving God would do? We learn about God by reading scripture, and by reading that Adam and Eve were created as husband and wife, we learn about what kind of a God God is. Therefore it is very important to understand what the Bible really says—otherwise you can have the wrong idea about who God really is. I am quite happy to say that although I used to read through scripture without much thought, studying the Divine Principle has compelled me to study scripture in-depth. This is certainly good news, yes?
The Location of the Garden of Eden
Regarding the garden of Eden, Reverend Moon wrote:
“The Garden of Eden does not refer to a specific geographical location where Adam and Eve were created, but includes the entire earth. If the Garden of Eden were limited to the small region of the globe where they were created, how could humanity be confined to such a small place and still fulfill God’s blessing to multiply and fill the earth?” (Divine Principle, Eschatology 2.3)
We can answer this question—and indeed any such question—with the Bible. The Bible does not say that Adam was confined to the garden. It says in Genesis 2:15 that God “put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it,” but it does not say that God forced him to be there. Adam, being a good creation, lived in the garden voluntarily, because, as Reverend Moon wrote, “Free actions generated by free will bring about only good results.” Or in other words: if your motivations are good you will only want to do good, so your free will can only have good results. Therefore, Adam wanted to live there because it was the best place to be, not because he was confined. He couldn’t have been confined, as God told him in Genesis 1:28 to “fill the earth and subdue it.” So obviously mankind wasn’t meant to remain in that location for every moment of eternity. But was the garden a literal place? Yes. How do I know this? Because the Bible, which we previously established as the true word of God, says it was. Genesis 2:10-14 reads:
“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 11The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; […] 13And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 14And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.”
Ethiopia is an actual place in Africa, Assyria is an actual place in the Middle East, Euphrates likewise is an actual river, and so on. The other names are lost to time but we can make guesses as to their modern equivalents (e.g. Havilah is most likely in modern day Saudi Arabia). The Euphrates is not a symbolic river—it is an actual river that runs through modern-day Iraq. The Bible was clearly saying that Eden was a place somewhere in the Middle East. To say that Eden was symbolic of the whole planet, a condition, or a way of life is incorrect for several reasons.
If the garden is a condition of perfection rather than a place, then it would have fallen as soon as Adam and Eve fell. They ate of the fruit in Genesis 3:6 and then they covered themselves in 3:7, realizing that they had fallen, and yet 3:8 says that God was “walking in the garden in the cool of the day….” After God spoke to Adam, He “sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he came…” in 3:23. He then “placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims…” in 3:24. If the garden is a perfect world rather than a place, and it still existed even after the sin, then that means that sin can exist in a perfect world and therefore God’s plan is imperfect. It also means that Adam’s actions did not cause the fall because he was still in the garden (a perfect condition) until God cast him out. This means that despite Adam’s sin he was still living in a perfect condition. He was therefore both sinful and perfect. This is clearly a contradiction. And if God cast Adam and Eve out of the perfect condition then placed Cherubims at the “east” side of Eden, then what does this mean? What is the “east?” Is it the gate to perfection and we can only get there by following Buddha’s eight-fold path or something similar? Or are we to understand that the world is still perfect but somehow we are not living in it? To consider another possibility, if the garden of Eden includes the whole Earth, then that would mean that Adam and Eve were kicked off the planet. Are we to understand that humans originated elsewhere and that the Earth is an alien world? No. Any such explanation makes no sense.
And why wasn’t the whole world good before Adam was created? Gen. 2:15 says that “God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden…” This means that Adam was not there originally, that he was created outside the garden. Once again, if the garden were a physical place then this would be no problem at all. It simply means that God physically moved him there. But if the garden is symbolic, what does this say? It says that God created Adam outside of goodness, that God created Adam as a failure and then elevated him to goodness by placing him inside the “garden.” It must be the case then that God set up Adam for failure; knowing that Adam was originally imperfect and expecting him to behave perfectly once in the garden—to resist Eve’s temptation. We must then conclude that either God wanted us to fall, or that He is incompetent.
Furthermore, it is written in Gen. 2:9 that God placed “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Note that He created these two trees after creating Adam (2:7) and before creating Eve (2:22). If the garden is a geographical location, then it makes perfect sense that trees, being physical objects, could be placed at its geographical center. If the garden is symbolic, though, this raises a terrible question. If the trees symbolize perfected Adam and perfected Eve, and the trees existed even after the fall, then why were Adam and Eve cast out? Besides, wouldn’t a good garden be centered on God himself? Why would God center the garden on humans, especially since they were not created in perfection and maturity? Rev. Moon said that the tree of knowledge of good and evil symbolized a perfected Eve, and the fruit her love; but if she wasn’t perfect then the tree didn’t exist, and couldn’t have borne any fruit, so Eve could not have eaten of it. If the tree of life symbolized perfected Adam then it too did not exist and thus Adam could not have eaten of its fruit. There would have been no reason for God to block him from eating it. And why would a loving God want to stop Adam from becoming perfect anyway? This is contradiction upon contradictions.
Just so you know, I am not writing these things to attack Rev. Moon and his followers or to say that I am superior. I am merely exposing the truth because I want everyone to believe the truth. It does no one any good to have an inaccurate view of God or His plan. But I don’t just want to have the truth for myself. As I have received love from God (vertically), I want also to share it with others (horizontally). I am sorry if I have upset you by writing such things but I am doing it out of love. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells me to preach the word and “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” I hope that I am succeeding.
Adam and Eve Were Created as Adults
The events of Adam’s life before the fruit were as follows:
- The Lord caused a mist to water the ground (Genesis 2:6))
- Adam was created from the dust of the ground ( 2:7)
- Was placed into the eastward garden as soon as it was planted (2:8, 15)
- Received instruction on the consumption of fruit (2:16–17)
- Named the animals (2:19–20)
- Was put into a deep sleep whereupon a rib was taken (2:21)
- The other human was brought to him (2:22) and he called her woman (2:23)
- Declared the unity and tradition of marriage (2:24)
- Was naked with his wife and was not ashamed (2:25)
Sun Myung Moon believed that Adam and Eve were created as children and grew into adults while living in the garden of Eden. This is not quite accurate. To demonstrate why, let us start with Eve. It is said that Eve was made from a rib taken out of Adam (2:21). Because his rib was inside her ribcage, it must be that they were near the same size. If Adam was a child, Eve would have been created as a child so that the rib would fit. If Adam were created as an adult, likewise, Eve would also have to be created as an adult so that his rib wouldn’t be too big inside her ribcage. They were either both children or both adults when Eve was created. So was Adam an adult?
When Eve was brought to him he said in 2:23–24, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The Hebrew word used by Adam is “מֵאִ֖ישׁ” which refers to a grown male and “אִשָּׁ֔ה” likewise refers to a grown female. It must be the case that they were adults at this point. Eve was created as an adult as a counterpart to the man Adam. His declaration as to the tradition and unity of marriage is profound and thus could only have come from an intelligent, mature adult. To say that a man will leave his parents and cling to his wife was an abstract concept since Adam was the first man—he had no parents. How could he have imagined the concept of a child growing up and leaving home unless he was endowed with the full intellectual and imaginative faculties of an adult? This sentence also shows that Adam was aware of his ability to multiply, as he knew that he would/could one day sire children. He thus demonstrated the understanding and prognostication of someone who is not a child.
Actually, every action that Adam took showed maturity. After God placed him in the garden, He brought forth the animals for Adam to name. The Bible mentions that Adam needed a helper and that God would make him one (2:18). (How wonderful it is that God realized this necessity and acted on it before Adam even knew that he would be lonely! You see what I mean about how the Bible teaches you what sort of God He is?) God then brought forth all the animals of the field and sky for Adam to name, but no suitable helper was found (2:20) and so God chose to make another human (2:21). This shows that Adam had the intellectual capacity to need companionship more complex than that afforded by an animal. It also shows that he had the maturity to give animals proper names—I could not imagine a child being a proper taxonomist. And how long did this process take? Would it have taken Adam many years, from birth to adulthood, to name the animals? Answer this bearing in mind that back then, before Linnaeus’ binomial nomenclature, there would be no need to differentiate between different subspecies of moth or different breeds of dog. In fact, all 200+ breeds of modern dog are derived from the common wolf. Adam only had to name a creature “wolf” and then move on to the next creature (The perfect garden of Eden contained no Chihuahuas). I can well imagine that the entire animal kingdom back then could have been named in a day or two. But this is a minor concern.
Before Adam named the animals and before Eve was created, God commanded him to not eat of the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (2:17). How could Adam understand the abstract concept of death, being in a heretofore perfect, deathless world, unless he was an adult? Every action points to a full-grown man being made out of the dust and being endowed by God with sense, reason, and intellect. Not a child who lacks the comprehension to know the significance of death, family, disobedience, and paradise. Everything happens in the account so quickly. Adam is created, placed in the garden, given the animals, introduced to his wife, and kicked out of the garden. How do I know that they lived in the garden a very short time before being kicked out? Because Adam didn’t name the woman “Eve” until verse 3:20 after he ate of the fruit. If Adam and Eve had been growing up together, then what did he call her that whole time? “Female,” or “Hey you!” is not a good name for your companion. And don’t say that Adam was slow to give her a specific name because he couldn’t think of one—he named the animals! There was no shortage of name-giving and yet Adam didn’t give Eve a specific name until after the fall. This can only be because they were there such a short time and not for many, many years. That short timeframe would also explain why Eve wasn’t alarmed when the serpent spoke to her. You and I know that snakes can’t talk; Eve would have too, had she been in the garden for many years.
Most of what is written in this chapter of the Divine Principle unfortunately hinges upon the tragic assumption that Adam was immature. Rev. Moon wrote that Adam “must have hoped to become a man who would realize God’s ideal of creation by growing to perfection without falling.” But now we know Adam was already a grown man who was created by God with goodness and intelligence. The fact that he fell does not signify that he was immature. On the contrary, it signifies that God made him so mature and great that he possessed the capability even to fall. Animals haven’t the capacity to sin, for God made them not great as He made man.
The idea behind Rev. Moon’s interpretation of the fall is that Eve ate of the fruit, symbolizing love, before she was mature and ready to experience it. Regrettably, that entire interpretation is undone when we see that Eve was created as a mature being from the very beginning. If she was not supposed to bear “fruit” yet, then God wouldn’t have told her “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). And do not say that Eve was supposed to multiply only after being fruitful, because God did not intend these blessings to be done in order only after Adam and Eve had reached “perfection.” If that were the case, God would not have made a covenant with Noah and his descendants reaffirming these commandments. But God did, and He reaffirmed dominion over the animals (9:2) with Noah, even more so than in the Adamic covenant; saying that now they would dread humans and be a suitable source of food (9:3). Did Noah’s children have to wait to eat dinner until after they were fruitful and multiplied? Of course not. They had dominion, the third blessing, right away. The Noachic covenant shows that we are meant to have all three right away. If the fall means that Adam and Eve did not have dominion, then we would not be at the top of the food chain, nor would we be superior to the animals. Why did the Old Testament command us to sacrifice animals (Leviticus 23:19) if we did not have dominion over them? If we were equal to the animals, killing them would be murder as it would with a human (Exodus 20:13). If we did not have dominion then why did God have Adam name the animals? It is overwhelmingly clear that we do have God-given dominion over the animals even though we are not perfect, so the three blessings were not meant to be completed in order. They were general blessings by God. God’s providence is not conditional.
Before we move on, please allow me to share something personal. Whenever I voice concerns with the content of the Divine Principle, I am told something like, “Whether you believe or not, that is OK. But please just listen and pray about it, and let God speak to you.” I do appreciate the warmth of such a response, but I want more than to just be spoken to. I also want to share what God speaks because it is very important. The way in which you view God and His creation will have a dramatic impact on how you try to serve Him. And if you have the wrong idea, then your ability to do good is limited. That is why I press on arguing these things. If you believe that 100 + 100 = 199, you might not think that your life is impacted by it. But what if you are in a boat that leaks because its builder added incorrectly and cut the planks too short? What if the boat sank because 199 is not really 200? Would you swim over to the captain and lovingly offer him a glass of water? That would be silly. Having an accurate grasp of reality is very important, because all the good intentions in the world by themselves can’t produce something good.
The Fruit as a Symbol for Fornication
Unfortunately, the misunderstanding concerning Adam and Eve did not stop with their maturity or marriage. No, even their actions were misunderstood. Here is a passage concerning the forbidden fruit:
“There are those who believe that God made the fruit… and commanded Adam and Eve not to eat it in order to test their obedience to Him. We may ask: would the God of love test humans so mercilessly by a means that could cause their death? Adam and Eve knew they would die the moment they ate the fruit, for God had told them so. Yet still they ate it. Adam and Eve did not lack for food. They would not have risked their lives and disobeyed God only to obtain some delicacy. Therefore, we can surmise that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil could not have been an ordinary fruit. Rather, it must have been something so extraordinarily stimulating that even the fear of death did not deter them from grasping it. ” (The Human Fall, 1.1)
Rev. Moon couldn’t believe that Adam and Eve would behave irrationally—even though every human being who has ever lived has behaved irrationally—so it seems that he found a different series of events more to his liking. His reasoning was that because there were other fruits to eat, Eve must have partaken of something much more tempting. He reached the conclusion that Satan must have had sex with Eve, and defended this by quoting Jude 1:6–7.
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
He then concluded, “From this passage we can infer that the angel fell as a result of an illicit sexual relationship.” Sadly, this is a not an appropriate inference to make. The two actions are listed separately. The previous verse, Jude 1:5, reads, “I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” The Israelites’ sin certainly wasn’t fornication; it was disbelief. There are three examples of sin in this passage in Jude: one of disbelief from the Israelites (1:5), one of rebellion from the angels (1:6), and one of lust from the Sodomites (1:7). These three verses spell out how the Lord destroyed three different groups of followers who sinned; and I have the strong suspicion that Rev. Moon knew this, but unfortunately he cherry-picked verses out of context to make it seem that the demons committed exactly the same sin as the Sodomites. 2 Peter 2 gives several other examples, mentioning the denial of the false prophets (2:3) and the sinful world of Noah (2:5), among others. Thus there are in total five different sins here, which means that this interpretation of fornication is invalid. Even if this interpretation were the case, and Satan was cast out because he fornicated with Eve, then what did the other millions of demons do to be cast out with him? Did they gang-bang Eve or take turns?
With this false belief having been set up, Rev. Moon went on to say that Satan tempted Eve with sex in the garden. This is an incredible feat, as angels are incapable of having sex. Regarding a question of marriage in the afterlife, Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 “For in the resurrection [people] neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Angels do not marry, nor do they have the capacity to procreate. There is not a single verse in the Bible even suggesting that angels have sexual organs. There are some folks who believe angels interbred with humans in Noah’s time; and that the angels are referred to as “sons of God” (Gen. 6:2). This is not true, since God never calls angels His sons (Hebrews 1:5). That verse refers to men, who are corporeal beings.
Not only that, but why would Satan want to be close to a human, even for immoral purposes? Satan hates humans; he is repulsed by us. For man is made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27) and for Satan to have sex with a human would involve admiring God’s handiwork. Satan could not simultaneously oppose God and be intimate with a being created in His likeness. There is not a single instance in the Bible of Satan tempting anyone with sex. That is to say—he does tempt us sexually; but with each other, not with him.
When defending the claim that the forbidden fruit was a symbol for illicit love and that humans are offspring of this sexual affair, Rev. Moon alluded to John 8:44 wherein Jesus says, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do….” This is unfortunately a misinterpretation, as Jesus was speaking at that time to the Pharisees specifically. Everyone who sins is of the devil, not by lineage or genetic heredity, but in fashion. This is why 1 John 3:10 says “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord and serves Him is of the Lord; a child of God. You do not receive a new body when you become a child of God; you still have the same DNA. Therefore, we are not children of God or of the devil by genes. Jesus also called the Pharisees “children of Hell” (Matt. 23:15), “the weeds” (Matt. 13:38), and a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 12:34). This is figurative language—spoken language is often so. What is funny is that Rev. Moon would so strictly interpret Jesus’ conversation after telling us not to strictly interpret the fruit. In other words, he said we shouldn’t take the Bible literally, and defended that claim by taking the Bible literally.
In fact, there is not a single account of history in the Bible that was symbolic. When the Bible says that Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, was that symbolic? When the Bible says that Cyrus allowed the Jews many religious freedoms, was that symbolic? When the Bible says that Jesus lived during the reign of Tiberius, was that a symbol? No, and yet we should believe that the historical account in Genesis was any different? There is no reason at all to believe it was a symbol, except that doing so is convenient to one’s beliefs. Let’s talk a bit more about symbols.
If the forbidden fruit is a symbol, then what are the other fruit symbols of? God told Adam and Eve that they could eat the fruit of every tree except the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:16–17) and said that every animal too would eat the fruit of plants along with humans (1:29–30). If the forbidden fruit symbolizes the love of Eve, then what do the other fruits signify? Rev. Moon said that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil symbolizes perfected Eve, so if she ate fruit from that tree, does that mean that she was perfect? She gave the same fruit to Adam, so that means she was perfect even after having committed fornication. And now we run into the same contradiction as before, where one exists as both a saint and sinner, and the garden is centered on both perfection and imperfection, on both good and evil. Or do you mean to say that she could eat that fruit while imperfect because it doesn’t belong specifically to that tree? Then why specify? A tree that does not exist can bear no fruit. If the truth was that Adam and Eve partook of something they weren’t ready for yet, but they were meant to righteously partake of it later, then the scriptures would have reflected that. God does not want to confuse us or deceive us.
Rev. Moon wrote that some evidence of fornication is manifested in the account that Adam and Eve covered their genitals with leaves, so therefore they were ashamed of those parts specifically because they used those parts to have sex. It is my most solemn duty to proclaim that this is not only a flawed assumption but it also misses the point. For one thing, if Eve had sex with the devil, then why wasn’t she ashamed until after having sex with Adam? Genesis 3:6 says that Eve “took of the fruit thereof, and did eat,” AND THEN “gave also unto her husband with her;” AND THEN “he did eat.” AND THEN “7the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (3:7). If Eve ate a piece of fruit and she was Adam’s helper, then it makes perfect sense that her eyes wouldn’t be opened until Adam, who had seniority–who knew better–, also ate of it. But if Eve had sex and wanted to hide her shame by then having sex with Adam, it makes no sense at all. Why didn’t she become ashamed and cover herself after having sex the first time? Also, what was Adam’s sin? Having sex with your wife isn’t a sin. See, this too relies on the false belief that Adam and Eve weren’t married yet (I remind you, the Bible says nine times in Genesis that they were married).
And if the sin of sex was counted to Eve’s charge, then why does the Bible say that “by one man sin entered into the world” (Romans 5:12) instead of “by one woman,” or “by a man and a woman?” Eve was his help-meet and the fruit would not have been laid to her charge had Adam not sinned. But if she had had sex with the devil, that would have been an entirely different story, because that would have perverted her physical union with Adam. The fruit did not. You see, Eve wasn’t there when the beasts of the field were created. She wasn’t there when the garden and the two trees were created (Remember that Adam was created in Gen. 2:8 and the trees in 2:9, but Eve was not until 2:22). She wasn’t there to witness God’s creation as Adam was. Eating of the fruit would not have been a serious offense if not for her husband’s complicity. Adam and Eve made up one flesh and at the moment Eve sinned, the whole body had not yet transgressed.
If they covered themselves because they were ashamed of using their genitals sinfully, then why do we wear clothes even without committing the same sin? Why do children wear clothes and have a sense of modesty even though they’re not old enough to have committed fornication yet? If it were true that Adam and Eve covered themselves out of shame for fornication, then we wouldn’t be modest until committing that same sin ourselves.
The point is that they were ashamed of themselves. To think that they covered their genitals just because of a physical action is terribly superficial. We are created in God’s image—we have a body, mind, and spirit; as we are modeled after Elohim (אֱלֹהִ֑ים), the Holy Trinity. (The great significance of the word Elohim is that it is plural—in Hebrew, plural signifies three (Elohim), dual signifies two (Eloah), and singular signifies one (El). Because of this peculiarity of the Hebrew language, the true plural meaning of Elohim is lost on other languages—in English it is rendered simply as God.)
See, we close ourselves off emotionally and mentally as well as physically. Why do people hide their true feelings from each other? Why do we hesitate to say, “I love you?” Is that the way God designed us? Or is it because we are ashamed of ourselves that we hide ourselves? The shame extends to the whole person. It is not God’s desire for us to be diffident. If the shame was associated with genitals only, then why do most cultures cover breasts and torsos as well? Why do we not wear thick lipstick and masks to hide our lying mouths? This misinterpretation makes absolutely no sense, and it is also a grave misunderstanding of human nature.
It is also a grave misunderstanding to say that sex had to have been the cause of man’s fall because it is such a strong desire. Sex is actually not the strongest temptation. A 2004 poll by TNS found that 30% of men and 66% of women don’t think about sex more than once per day; many don’t think about sex for several days at a time. How many times did you think about sex while reading the first six pages of this essay? Not many, I’ll bet. Sure, men can go wrong with women, but men can go wrong with wine as well. When Satan tempted Jesus while He was fasting in the desert, sex was never used as a temptation precisely because it’s not as strong as other temptations. Satan instead tempted Jesus first with food and sustenance (Matt. 4:3) while He was extremely hungry, second with invincibility (4:6), and third with supreme political power (4:8–9). Power and wisdom (as well as immortality) are what Satan tempted Eve with, telling her, “Ye shall not surely die…. Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4–5). It is not difficult at all to see that Eve should fall for something so seemingly grand. We don’t need another explanation. It makes no sense at all to say “They would not have risked their lives and disobeyed God only to obtain some delicacy.” Yes they would have, and yes they did. Is there anyone among us who can say they never did something without thinking it through and came to regret it afterwards? Is there anyone who can say they never committed an action and then later asked themselves, “What was I thinking?”
Now to answer the other question Rev. Moon asked, “Would the God of love test humans so mercilessly by a means that could cause their death?” The answer to this is no, because it wasn’t merciless. Adam and Eve could have easily taken of the fruit of the Tree of Life after the fall, but God prevented them. He intentionally blocked off their access to it with a flaming sword so that their deaths would be guaranteed. The forbidden fruit didn’t kill them physically that day (although they did become dead in the flesh (Romans 8:10), and so in that way they did die in the day they ate of the fruit). They died spiritually when they chose to disobey God. And that is where God’s mercy came in. After Adam and Eve fell, they were in a state of separation from God: broken, fallen, imperfect, and miserable. God is good, so He must be equal parts just and merciful; for both of those qualities are good. God kept them away from eternal life so that they would not be in an eternal state of brokenness and separation. Hell is eternal separation from God, whereas Heaven is eternal fellowship with Him. If God had let Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of Life, they would have lived forever physically, but their existence would have been Hell on Earth. Think—for Adam to eternally till the soil by the sweat of his brow (3:19), for Eve to eternally bear children in pain and to be ruled over by her husband (3:16). Does that seem like mercy to you? Or is God merciful precisely because He killed them? When God killed everyone on Earth during Noah’s flood He mercifully ended their streak of sin; each one of them would have gone on sinning for hundreds of years more, only getting worse with time. Think about that for a while.
When denying that the fruit was a literal fruit, a supporter of Rev. Moon will always ask something along the lines of, “Would you put poison out in the open and tell your child not to eat it, and then let him eat it anyway and die? No. A loving parent wouldn’t allow his child to die even if that child disobeys.” This question is irrelevant first because I don’t live in the garden of Eden, and second because it doesn’t matter what I as a human would do. God is not limited by a small human brain. Read Isaiah 55:8–9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” God is not weak and ignorant as humans are. It is not true that God is just like us, and it is not true that the situation He put Adam and Eve in is the same situation we face with our children.
Sin brings about death. God does not cause this (James 1:13); He is not to blame for evil or evil acts. We choose to die when we partake in sin. It is no great problem to imagine God allowing for a temptation that would lead to death. Through God there is life, and through sin there is death. The choice is exceedingly simple—it has always been simple. But it is a choice that God allowed in order that His great plan should be fulfilled. Yes, do not believe that anything has ever happened without being a part of God’s will (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 33:11, Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 21:30, Isaiah 14:27, Isaiah 40:21-22, Isaiah 46:10, Isaiah 55:11, Lamentations 3:37, Matthew 6:10, Acts 2:23, Ephesians 1:11, James 4:13–15). Satan could not so much as inconvenience God’s servant Job without receiving permission from the Lord first (Job 1:12). God is not weak or impotent and He does nothing by accident. What He allows to happen, is what must happen for His perfect plan to be made manifest. Just because we humans don’t understand it, or don’t like to hear that answer, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. I repeat: Just because you don’t like an answer doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Consider the ultimatum: either God has a perfect, undisturbed plan that we have a hard time accepting, or else He is a failure as a God and Planner. I know this must be difficult for you to believe, but try to have an open mind.
If everything that happens is not God’s will, then there was no reason for the fall to happen unless God is stupid, apathetic, evil, or impotent. Rev. Moon wrote that it was not God’s will for Adam and Eve to fall, but that God had to let it happen or else risk violating His own Principle of Creation (The Human Fall, 6.1). But why did His Principle of Creation allow for this dilemma to occur? If He knew that Lucifer was going to fall, then why did He create the universe under the exact circumstances that allowed this to happen? If God wasn’t willing to forgo creating Lucifer, He could have at least prevented Lucifer’s fall. See, He could have postponed the creation of Adam and Eve until after helping Lucifer to mature and become too good to fall. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, as Rev. Moon believes (The Human Fall, 6), then there was no reason for Him to create this angel or, at least, no reason to create him exactly as He did, knowing that this angel would rebel and ruin the creation. Here’s another alternative: Why didn’t God just change Lucifer into a human, put him in the garden, and make Eve out of his rib? Lucifer could not have seduced Eve if she was already his wife. Even excluding these possibilities, God could have created a different, better angel to begin with. Rev. Moon wrote that God created the Universe and all its beings out of love, but he never explained why God created those specific beings. God created the angel Michael, who didn’t fall. Surely He could have created Good-Lucifer, who wouldn’t fall; or just create someone else. If God can love Lucifer enough to create him, surely He can love Mr. X or Mr. Y enough to create them instead. If you insist that God could not have carried out any of these alternatives, then why do you call that person “God?” A god who is bound by chains is not God. And Rev. Moon’s god either has a flawed Principle or a flawed character.
The Motivation Behind the Fall Was Not Love
“The force which is stronger than the force of the Principle is none other than the power of love. While human beings are in the state of immaturity, it is possible that the power of unprincipled love can induce them to fall.” (The Human Fall 3.1)
Rev. Moon believed that because true freedom can only produce acts that please God, then it was not freedom that caused the fall. Instead, he believed that unprincipled love (which is actually hatred; love by its definition is principled; since God is love (1 John 4:16)) overwhelmed freedom and caused our progenitors to sin. If this were true, it would mean that we have no free will because even if we want to do good, as soon as we are confronted with something we love, we will gladly throw away everything and betray God for the sake of it. In the end, this means that Adam and Eve were innocent because Satan caused them to deviate from God’s principle with love—it was not their fault. Rev. Moon unintentionally believed that somehow, they were innocent victims of their sin. If they had “reached perfection,” as Rev. Moon wrote, then “No person, no power in the universe could ever break that bond of love. At this point, Adam and Eve would never fall.” I will happily give credit where credit is due and say it’s correct that true freedom is godly (2 Cor. 3:17), but that is true freedom—liberty, which is freedom from sin, freedom from Earthly affairs, freedom from the flesh. The freedom to sin is freedom, but actually committing sin is not true freedom, because sinning places the sinner in slavery unto sin (2 Peter 2:19). That is why we are cautioned in Galatians 5:13 to “use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” In other words, don’t use your freedom to enter the slavery of sin. It is possible to use your freedom in order to sell yourself into slavery, and that is what Adam and Eve did. What they learned is that it’s a lot easier to get yourself into slavery than it is to get out of it.
“Many Christians to this day have thought that this was the fruit of an actual tree. But would God, the loving Parent of humanity, make a fruit which could cause the Fall to look so attractive? Would He place it where His children could reach it so easily? Furthermore, Jesus said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” How, then, can a food which one eats cause one to fall?” (The Human Fall 1.1)
As I said before, Rev. Moon’s method of doctrinal exposition was often to rewrite the scripture so that it fit his beliefs. Whether by simple misunderstanding or by malice, I can’t say. But either way the result is the same. Here he quoted Matthew 15:11 and used it in an entirely incorrect context. In this same passage, Jesus said “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matt. 15:19–20). To eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. These verses are obviously talking about the Jewish law concerning food and cleanliness, and have nothing at all to do with the forbidden fruit. The Jewish tradition is explained well by the Pulpit Commentary:
The rabbis taught that certain meats of themselves polluted the soul, made it abominable in God’s sight. This was a perversion of the law respecting clean and unclean food. The pollution or guilt arose, not from the nature of the meat, but from the eating of it in contravention of a positive command. It was the disobedience, not the food, which affected the soul.
What caused Adam and Eve to fall was the disobedience behind eating the fruit, which came from their hearts, not the act of eating food itself. Now, this specific fruit did have special properties—namely that it imbued its consumer with the innate knowledge of good and evil and that is why God forbade eating it—but the existence of the fruit itself was not in any way sinful. God would not put evil fruit in a good garden, after all. It was eating this fruit that was sinful. Thus it is true that Adam fell because he ate the fruit, but not because of the act of mastication; rather, because God told him not to and he disobeyed. Jesus did not say, “No food whatsoever can possibly defile you.” What He said was, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man.”
For another thing, it seems from this discussion that Rev. Moon didn’t completely understand the point of the tree being there. Its purpose was to allow for the choice of sin, for without that choice Adam and Eve would not have truly been free. If there were no temptation, they would not have been free. Freedom means nothing without the freedom to choose between good or evil—otherwise you are a slave. If you can only choose good you are not choosing out of pure heart and love, but because there is no other choice. Is a prisoner in solitary confinement a good man just because he’s alone and therefore can’t do evil to others?
God in His mercy made the decision as simple as possible. The sole action He prohibited was taking of a certain fruit and if Adam had made the one single choice not to eat it, he would have been safe. This is mirrored by the decision we face with salvation by Jesus. The one prohibition we have is hatred; the one commandment we have is love. If we choose Jesus, we are saved. The choice is extremely simple. Jesus is the new Tree of Life (this is indeed a metaphor—we’ll talk more on that later) and if we choose Him we are choosing life. If we choose ourselves we are choosing death.
“But would God, the loving Parent of humanity, make a fruit which could cause the Fall to look so attractive? Would He place it where His children could reach it so easily?”
Well, God is not the “Parent”; He is the Father. But the answer to this question is yes, He would. The Bible says that He did. Consider this: the first thing that Satan said to Eve was a question doubting the veracity of God’s word: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Satan knew perfectly well what God’s word was, but his method of attack was to raise a simple, seemingly innocent question. He did this with the purpose of making Eve re-think God’s word. And that was all Satan needed to get a foothold. He used Eve’s second-thinking as an opportunity to reinterpret God’s word, in an effort to deceive the woman and get her to carry out his wishes instead of God’s. He essentially told her, “This is what the Bible really says. Now eat the fruit.” It pains me to ask this, but how are Rev. Moon’s questions here any different? God said that He created a tree whose fruit was desirable to Eve, and Rev. Moon asked questions to make you doubt it. If you think that the fruit was a symbol of love or sex, contrary to God’s word, then Satan has succeeded in deceiving you. God’s word is not a question; it is an answer. Of course, the great genius of Satan’s question and false answer is that it contained an element of truth. Satan told Eve, “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5) and after they ate, God said to Himself, “the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil” (3:22). Satan was partially correct, so his lie was not only easy to believe but it also appeared justified after the fact. And there are many multitudes of things in the Divine Principle that are true.
But to be fair to the good reverend, I will answer the questions with that selfsame Word. Yes, God would make fruit that is tempting. If sin were unattractive then we would not resist it out of character, but out of convenience. But by resisting that which is pleasing to the flesh and overcoming trials and hardships we build experience and hope (Romans 5:3–4). If you are not tempted to steal money because you are already rich, this does not make you virtuous. Resisting something you actually want, out of deference to God, is virtuous (James 1:12). As for the second question (Would He place it where they could easily reach it?), the answer is again yes. If Eve wanted to eat the fruit and tried really hard but failed to reach it, would that have been counted to her as righteousness? If you want to steal someone’s car but you can’t break into it, does that make you a saint? I must stress again that Eve’s sin came from her heart, not her hand. Every evil act originates as an evil thought or desire in the heart, and then is acted upon afterwards. If God had placed the fruit 100 feet in the air, that would not have made reaching for it any less sinful. God made the decision simple so that it would be perfectly clear what Eve’s and Adam’s intentions were.
Notice too that the tree of life was in the center of the garden along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It would have been just as easy to walk a few meters over and pluck fruit off of the tree of life instead. This illustrates our own choice—to choose ourselves, which is a simple choice, or to choose God, which is just as simple a choice. We face the same decision as Eve all day, every day.
As a postscript, I’ll explain for your benefit why it is that God didn’t want Adam and Eve to know good and evil. The reason is that a perfect relationship with God involves complete reliance on Him. The Israelites often worshipped pagan gods such as Baal for small matters and only called upon the Lord when they thought they needed it, if at all. God wants us to rely on Him and Him alone. If we did not know good from evil then we would be always reliant on God for guidance. He would guide our paths and lead us only to goodness. That is perfection. Because God is our Heavenly Father, the perfect relationship is one of filial piety and divine providence. It is not that God wants us to be uneducated and ignorant. It is that He does not want us to be egocentric and self-serving. When they ate of the fruit, it wasn’t just that they were eschewing God’s guidance by giving themselves the knowledge of good and evil, but also that they were eschewing His guidance by doing what He asked them not to, and in so doing chose themselves to be their own gods. The eating of the fruit therefore had multiple layers of significance to it. (I learned these things by studying God’s word in earnest without trying to change it.)
Adam as the Tree of Life
“Burdened by the original sin, fallen people cannot complete the ideal of creation and become trees of life by their own efforts alone. For this ideal to be achieved, a man who has completed the ideal of creation must come to the earth as a tree of life…. the children of even the most devout Christian parents still inherit sin, which must be redeemed. Even the most faithful saints have not been rid of the original sin, and thus cannot help but transmit it to their children.” (The Human Fall 1.1.1)
This, tragically, is a fatal misunderstanding of God’s word. It is not true that salvation will automatically cleanse your future children of the sin nature. The reason for this is not that Jesus’ salvation was somehow incomplete and it’s not good enough. Indeed, salvation is immeasurably great! The reason for the inheritance is twofold: first, that we are made from the dust which is cursed for Adam’s sake (Gen. 3:17), and therefore are equally cursed as Adam’s descendants. This curse cannot be lifted as long as the Earth as we know it still exists; this is why the Earth must one day be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10) and recreated (3:13). The only person ever born of a womb who was without sin was Jesus, because He lacked a human father. Remember that sin entered into the world because of a man (Rom. 5:12) and thus every father passes down his sin nature from father to child. But Jesus, being immaculately conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit instead of by a human father, was made in purity to be holy and perfect. Jesus did not receive the Adamic curse because the curse was not transmitted from His father.
The second reason we cannot sire children free of sin is the curse of the law. Paul explained in Romans 5:13 that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.” But, “through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Rom. 3:20 NIV) and “moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (5:20). We are not made free by the law. On the contrary we are bound by the law. When Jesus carried out His plan to be crucified, he carried the curse of the law on our behalf (Galatians 3:13). It was Jesus’ plan from the very start to be crucified (Acts 2:23) so that He would free us from the law, for it is written that love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom. 13:10), that Jesus is love (1 John 4:16), and that no greater love is there than sacrifice (John 15:13). We must as individuals make the decision to accept grace through Christ Jesus, “For I through the Law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” (Gal. 2:19) Then we are made free. Every person must after birth choose to accept grace in the consciousness of their sin, and for that reason no child of a Christian father, no matter how devout, may be born without sin nature. Again I say that the Bible already contains all the answers. Just because you don’t understand the answers or don’t want to believe them doesn’t make them any less true. Choosing not to believe in gravity won’t save you from a fall.
There is another, far more dire consequence of the belief that perfected Adam is the tree of life. The Bible states that Adam would eat of the fruit and live forever. If we take this literally then it means that God wanted a world without death and He provided the tool necessary for Adam and Eve to become immortal. If the tree is symbolic, however, then it is very troubling. How was Adam supposed to live forever? And don’t tell me that Adam was immortal until eating of the forbidden fruit. God specifically said, “and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and live forever:” (Gen. 3:22). God then put up a flaming sword to block access to the tree of life, meaning that Adam and Eve would remain mortal. If the trees are literal, then it means that Adam’s and Eve’s bodies would have been kept healthy and perfect by the restorative power of the fruit of the tree of life. If the trees were symbolic, however, then how were the two to become immortal? Is it the case that a perfect world involved death and grief? Or is it instead the case that the trees were literal? The answer ought to be clear by now.
Christ Jesus Is Not Just the Son of God; He Is God
Since Adam was not the Tree of Life, he was not the first Jesus. (Jesus is the last Adam, however—more on that later.) Adam was only a man but Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. God is three Persons in one, for it is written, “The Lord (Hebrew: Yahweh) our God (Hebrew: Elohim) is one Lord” (Deut. 6:4). In other words, “Our God, who is three Persons, is one God.” He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus, God the Son, is the living Word of God. John wrote in John 1:
“1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … 3 All things were made by Him… 4In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. … 14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
To be perfectly frank, to say that Jesus is not God is a lie from Satan. Satan wants us to be forever in bondage and separated from God, so it is quite fortuitous to him that so many would reject Jesus’ divinity. With every other issue I can be patient. (After all, how big a difference does it make if someone falsely believes Satan fell because he was jealous of Adam?) But on this issue I have no patience and offer no hesitation to fight. This is the single most important issue in all of existence. If you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing (John 6:40, 8:24, 14:6, 1 John 2:23). Therefore it is imperative that I set things straight.
Jesus was sent to die for our sins, and that was His true and original purpose (Matthew 26:53-54, John 17:4, 18:37, 19:30, 19:36, Acts 2:23, Hebrews 12:2). His salvation was not a secondary course of action, nor was it a failure or even a partial success. It was a full success, and the entire reason He came to Earth. The belief that the Son of God was supposed to have sex with a woman and sire sinless children is disgusting and preposterous. Salvation is complete and as such there is no need for Sun Myung Moon to be the Lord of the Second Advent. Having a second messiah wouldn’t help anyway, as it is through Jesus, and Jesus alone, that we come unto the Father (John 14:6). Not by any other means (Mark 13:22, Acts 4:12, 1 John 5:11–12). There are not multiple ways to godliness. Jesus is the Way. Speaking of a second messiah, it’s tragic that anyone would treat Messianic status so lightly. Rev. Moon said that there must be a female messiah to serve as a counterpart, that a person born of man can be elevated to godhood. This is wrong for more reasons than I care to list.
Besides, Jesus said in Matt. 24:5 that “many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ’; and shall deceive many.” He told the disciples in that same chapter what things must happen for the second coming to occur. Those things have not happened yet, therefore the second coming has not happened yet. Neither Sun Myung Moon nor anyone else is the Lord of the Second Advent. Since Rev. Moon believed that the “tree of life” was an ordinary person, he was led to make a false conclusion about the true Messiah. He said,
“The relationship between God and Jesus may be thought of as
analogous to the relationship between the mind and body. Because the body is the
substantial object partner to the mind, resembles the mind and acts in oneness with
the mind, it may be understood to be the mind’s second self; but it is not the mind itself.”
He is correct in saying that the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is analogous to the relationship between the mind and body. After all, we are made in God’s image, having three parts. As for God, the Father is the Mind, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit, and Jesus, being in the flesh, is God’s Body. There are the three parts; mind, body, and spirit. But it is childish to say that Jesus is not God simply because He is God’s body. If someone were to hit you, would you say “Ow, you just hit my body, which is my substantial object partner but isn’t actually me?” When you eat food are you nourishing someone else’s body or a different organism that exists independent of your soul? No! You are your body and you are your mind and you are your spirit, and they are you! Philippians 2:6–7 says that Jesus is in the form of God but became a man. Also, recall the verse Deuteronomy 6:4 which states “The Lord our God (Elohim) is one Lord.” Elohim (אֱלֹהִ֑ים) is the Holy Trinity. If Jesus is not God then who is the second Person of the Trinity? Those who have the Son have the Father also (1 John 2:23). Jesus told His disciples to baptize everyone “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 28:19) He put those Three all together for a reason. Jesus told the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58) Jesus said that He is God on multiple other occasions too (Mark 2:28, John 6:51, 8:19, 8:24, 8:28, 10:30, 10:33, 17:5). Hebrews makes it quite clear that God was made flesh in order to be a choice sacrifice for the people and that even the angels worship Jesus (Hebrews 1:6, 2:14, 2:17). Because it is a sin to worship any other god besides Yahweh, it must be the case that Jesus is God.
It is said that Reverend Moon studied the Bible so much that his copy nearly fell apart. It was covered with annotations, dog-ears, and worn-out pages. If this is the case, then how could he have written that Jesus is not God? It saddens me to think that this noble man, who wanted to make the world a perfect place, was searching so eagerly for the truth but ignored the Truth that was right in front of his face. Did he actually read it? Or was he just searching through scripture looking for verses to justify his beliefs? In the Divine Principle, some misinterpretations of scripture can easily be excused as goofy mistakes, but “Christology” has to be an intentional blasphemy. There’s no way to accidentally ignore the sixteen verses in the previous paragraph, or the dozens of other similar verses throughout the Bible. It had to have been an intentional misunderstanding. You see, the true answers are already in the Bible. They’re there; you just have to read scripture AND accept it. Speaking of which:
The Bible Is Not Just a Book of Symbols
I have saved this section until now because I did not want to argue for scripture based on the logical fallacy appeal to authority throughout this essay. I have used other means to confirm the literal truth of scripture. It was by using scriptural evidence and logic that I proved the account in Genesis was literal—not by writing “It’s literal because that’s how I want to interpret it,” or, “It is because I say so.” It’s literal because a symbolic interpretation makes no sense scripturally, logically, or anything “-ly.” But now that I have written on the literature of the Genesis account specifically, I will now turn toward the overarching literature of the whole scripture.
Reverend Moon’s religion (one can politely call it that) is based on either mislabeling scripture as symbolic, or ignoring it. This involved Rev. Moon reading a passage in the Bible, choosing to reject it because it didn’t fit in to his beliefs, and then creating an interpretation that says the exact opposite as the original, or cherry picking verses out of context, outright ignoring verses, or failing to study the Hebrew language, customs, history, and so on. The Divine Principle contains many truths, and when Rev. Moon accepted scripture as the truth, what he had to say about it was usually golden. Aside from those truths, the book is so full of lies that anyone with a basic understanding of God’s Word or simple logic should be able to refute it, but people let their hearts overcome their brains. And the worst part of all: most of this paper has been written on “The Human Fall,” one chapter of the Divine Principle. Imagine how many volumes I could write on the rest of the book! Anyway, onto the nature of scripture.
There is no reason not to take the Bible literally, except in a very few special cases. The Bible must be literal, for “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). How can you correct someone with scripture that doesn’t actually say what it means? You can’t correct one figure with another, for a figure can be anything your imagination fancies. The words of the prophets are given by the Spirit and are not up to each person’s interpretation (2 Pet. 1:20). Just because different persons interpret scripture different ways doesn’t mean that they should. The Bible says that scripture is meant to be taken as it is.
But don’t misunderstand me. There is a difference between speech and history. When Jesus said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), He was speaking figuratively about His body. But the full verse reads, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Isn’t that verse literal? Jesus literally said those words. The Bible literally quotes His figurative speech. The same can be said for any such verse in the Bible. When King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 10:11 that “the mouth of a righteous man is a well of life” he was writing figuratively, but Proverbs 1:1 says “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.” And these were, indeed, literally the proverbs of Solomon.
Do you understand what I mean? In the case when a person is speaking or writing from his own mind, figures abound just as surely as they do when you or I speak and write from our own minds. But the book of Genesis was not written from Moses’ own mind. He was recounting historical events. He was not writing a letter as King Solomon was. For if he were, the Bible would surely say he was writing from his own mind, as it does in the two previous examples. The Bible says that Jesus was speaking in figures. It says that Solomon was writing proverbs. The Book of Genesis then would say “The fables of Moses” or something similar to demarcate figurative speech. The fact that it does not leaves only one option: the story of the garden of Eden ought to be taken literally.
I hope that you can extrapolate this to the rest of the Bible. What does it mean for the Bible to be taken literally? It doesn’t mean that a history book cannot use figures of speech. When Exodus says that the Lord hardened the pharaoh’s heart, does that mean that He calcified the pharaoh’s heart or gave him arteriosclerosis to make it physically hard? Of course not. But figures of speech do not nullify the meaning of the verse. The Bible was meant to be read by humans, and humans understand figures of speech. But what about multiple layers of meaning? Can a passage in the Bible have meaning allegorical as well as literal? Of course! When Adam and Eve did something they weren’t supposed to do, then hid from God, and then pointed fingers to lay blame on someone else, that’s symbolic for you and I. All humans point fingers when something bad happens. We should see ourselves symbolized by Adam and Eve. But that doesn’t mean Adam and Eve were only symbolic beings. They actually, literally existed. The serpent who tempted them was obviously a real serpent. Of course he was inhabited by Satan—no one would ever say it was just a snake. Snakes can’t talk. But being inhabited by Satan doesn’t make the serpent any less real. That would be a false dichotomy. Even when the Bible can be taken symbolically, it must be firmly rooted in the literal. Otherwise the Bible is whatever you want it to be. You could easily use it to justify any sinful thing you support—and indeed, most persons do.
I hope you get the point that I’m driving at here. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Bible is symbolic. I could easily write a book claiming that the account in Genesis is symbolic, but that doesn’t mean that it is. I could write a book claiming anything. No one has greater authority on God’s word than God Himself. And God did not give us the Bible so that we could change or ignore it. Besides, what makes you think that the Divine Principle is meant to be taken literally? What would you think if I wrote a book where I discounted everything Rev. Moon ever wrote by claiming it’s symbolic, and then replacing it with what I think he really meant? My guess is that you would be just as frustrated studying that book as I have been studying the Divine Principle.
The number one lesson to be learned from this whole debacle can be found in one of my favorite verses, Proverbs 3:5. It reads, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” If there is something in the Bible that you don’t like, you are faced with a choice. You can either choose God and ask Him for wisdom (James 1:5), or you can choose yourself and believe whatever you want. If you do the latter you will undoubtedly find favor with yourself, for it is written, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes” (Pro. 21:2). The choice here is the same choice that Adam and Eve faced. You can either choose God or choose yourself. Saint Augustine once wrote, “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” It is a tragedy that Reverend Moon believed himself. There is much good that he did in service to others throughout his lifetime, but imagine how much more good he would have done had he not led his followers to a grievous, eternal death. What does he tell them now, down there in that furnace? Hell can never be taken back. Once you’re there, you’re there to stay forever in sorrow (Daniel 12:2, Matt. 13:50, 25:46). In the intro to this paper, I wrote that living a good life means knowing what goodness is. It’s important to know that vegetables are good for you. But it is equally important to reject the deleterious: It is not OK for someone to say that cigarettes are good for you, and thus destroy the health of persons who otherwise would never smoke. Please make the right decision while there’s still time.
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This essay was difficult to give to you as I am rather fond of CARP and I know that your faith is precious to you. To destroy your faith is not my intent—rather, I wish to instead turn your faith to the one true God, the true Heavenly Father of those who call on His name. I do love being a part of CARP. Over the past six months of involvement I have felt such warmth and kindness. But it could be better. You want what’s best for others? Good. But imagine how much better you could do for others if you did not support false doctrine. CARP and her sister organizations are dedicated to helping persons realize their value and potential. This is good. You’re all about helping others and improving their lives. This too is good. But to spread false teachings is evil. That is a harsh thing to say, but it needs to be said. Having a warped view of God does no good to anyone. And that is the real challenge with debating against the Divine Principle. Correcting factual errors is well and good, but changing a false perspective is the most important thing—otherwise more errors will just take their place.
The attitude needs to be changed, or else all the fact-checking in the world shall be to no avail. Chief among these is the attitude that God is imperfect like humans—that He is weak, desperate to make change in the world but unable to; that He needs us and relies on us, that He cannot restore perfection unless we help Him. It’s difficult to behave in a godly way, but it’s much easier to try to drag God down to our level instead, and this is what Moon and many others have done (Rom. 1:23). This attitude about God will warp all other views about the world unless it changes. The view, for example, that there needs to be a second messiah (namely, Rev. Moon) stems from this. Unification holds that the Word of God must have three testaments; that just as the Old Testament was amended by the New, so too must the New be amended by the Divine Principle. 1 Cor. 15:45 makes it clear that Jesus is the last Adam however, meaning that no one, not even Rev. Moon, can come after Him as the third Adam. Furthermore, such a belief fails to allow for an understanding of why the OT was amended by the New—Hebrews 7 explains how Jesus amended the Bible and why it can never be amended again. Once again, all the answers are in the Bible; you just have to read it!
So to facilitate a much-needed attitude adjustment, let me start with this: The Bible is already perfect. The Bible doesn’t need to be rewritten; it needs to be reread. You see, love doesn’t mean believing whatever you want because you think it sounds better. And there are many tenets of Unification that sound better to human ears. But love doesn’t mean giving everyone what they want or what you want. Love means serving the Lord. Once you learn to trust in Him and you mature in His Word, then you’ll begin to understand why these attractive things are actually evil. But if you choose not to understand this, then you have a religion of convenience.
Reading and understanding the Bible is of utmost importance. Beware of falsehoods that creep in unannounced. We accept as fact that Satan’s angelic name is Lucifer, yet the Bible does not say so. In Isaiah 14 the children of Israel are told to bring a lamentation up against the king of Babylon, which hyperbolically calls him the Morning Star (14:12). The translation often given is Lucifer, Latin for Bearer of Light, and although the lamentation refers to the king himself, it is often thought (falsely) to refer to Satan since their sins were similar. It is for this reason that we think Satan’s original name was Lucifer. It could be, but it could just as easily be Bob or George. Now think: if this mistake, inconsequential as it may be, can enter our minds uncontested, how many more falsehoods can abound? Do you falsely believe that Jesus was born on December 25th? Be careful. Do not let any source other than a correct understanding of God’s word guide your beliefs. And I stress correct. Just because the Bible is interpreted many ways, that doesn’t mean it is meant to be (2 Pet. 1:20). I don’t care what I believe; I don’t care what you believe. I care only about what is true. I’m tired of hearing the words, “This must be difficult for you as a Christian to believe.” Nothing is difficult for me to believe. Either it’s true and I believe it, or it’s false and I don’t. As soon as I discover that something I believe is false, I immediately stop believing it, and I expect the same of everyone else. If you have been clicking the links, you’ll see that every verse or passage of scripture I cite is linked to. Bible Hub offers many different translations, as well as commentaries and the original Hebrew/Greek. I also provided a link to the Divine Principle. I am not afraid of scrutiny—in fact, I demand it.
I could go on for quite a long while further, but I’ve already spent almost 14,000 words on this, so I’ll wrap it up. I hope that God will use this paper to speak through me to your heart. The Bible has survived thousands of years of heresy and still remains triumphant. It survived Gnosticism, it survived Islam, and Mormonism, and Christian Science. I do not mean to say this in a snarky and arrogant manner, of course. I mean that for someone to come along and ask, “Is this what the Bible really says,” is nothing new. That’s what the serpent did in the garden 6,000 years ago. As King Solomon wrote, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NIV). The only thing I can do is to serve the Lord; I hope you will join me. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.