Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
5. The Physical World And The Spiritual World
Previous chapters have discussed the dual aspects of the creation, its internal character and external form, and positive and negative elements. The internal character is invisible to the physical senses and yet it is responsible for the behavior of the external reality that is observed, directly or indirectly, by humans. The implication of this is that the invisible inner world of creation is causal and therefore more important than the world known to human senses. Yet little is known about the internal, spiritual, dimension of reality. This is due, in part, to the fact that it is a realm intangible to the five senses of the body and beyond the reach of scientific instruments; consequently its study has remained the province of religion, which is the object of considerable skepticism in the modern, scientific world. Nevertheless, science itself recognizes the existence of invisible, causal forces that are only known through the impact they have on the observable world.
The realm of invisible, causal reality need not remain shrouded in mystery. Indeed, there is an urgent need for humanity to develop a comprehensive understanding of human life's inner dimensions in order to put human existence on earth into proper perspective and order. Rampant materialism, which threatens the cultural foundations of society, will continue unchecked unless men and women learn to balance the concerns of their transient existence on earth with the everlasting values of eternal existence in the spiritual world.
This chapter explains the existence of the spiritual world and its relationship to the physical world, in particular the pivotal role of human beings who are endowed with spiritual nature and created to be the center of harmony between the physical and spiritual worlds. It answers the questions: what is the nature of the spiritual world? How does it relate to the physical world? How do human beings mediate between the two worlds? How does the human spirit grow? Where does an individual's spirit go at death? What are hell, paradise and heaven?
The Physical World and the Spiritual World
The physical world, which is known to human beings through their five physical senses, is complemented by an invisible spiritual world, or simply spirit world. This is not a world of fantasy or imagination but a completely real environment for the human spirit. The spirit world is a separate realm of existence, but it interfaces with the physical world.
The reality of the spirit world can best be understood by recognizing the reality of intangible forces in life, such as the power of love to influence people through the invisible bonds of family, friendship, nationality, race and religion. It is fair to say that most peoples' lives are governed by invisible influences stemming from belief, relationship, tradition and culture. The world of humanity's physical environment is shaped by these internal forces because the activities of the body are directed by the mind. The realm of mind and spirit is causal to the world of body.
Because humanity is presently distant from God, resulting in a dysfunctional relationship between the spiritual and physical parts of human beings, there are few people who are truly conscious of the spirit world and how it operates. Yet it is the place where all humanity is destined to live for eternity after passing from the physical world, upon the death of the body.
The Physical Person and the Spiritual Person
So far, this text has spoken of human dual characteristics of mind and body only, but the concept of mind and body needs elaboration into a more comprehensive and accurate description of the internal and invisible nature of a human being and how it relates to the external and visible person. Human beings have two parts: the spirit person and the physical person, or simply the spirit and the body.
The physical person is created at conception and continues to live until physical death; the spirit person begins its autonomous existence at the birth of a baby. It exists forever, first connected to the physical person, and then, once the body dies, in the spiritual world. The spirit world is not remote during life on earth, but it is unknown to most people because of their undeveloped spiritual senses. In fact, human beings live in two worlds' but the spirit world's subject role vis-a-vis the body is often hidden. An awareness and proper understanding of this reality is important in the shaping of one's physical life to serve the larger purpose of eternal spiritual existence.
The spirit person has both a spirit mind and a spirit body, which responds to the desires of the spirit mind. The spirit person is completely substantial in the sense that it appears as a distinct shape (visible to the spiritual eyes of others) and functions much like the physical person, though without the limitations of time and space. The physical person has a physical mind, which operates through the brain and central nervous system, and a physical body, which responds to the desires of the physical mind.
The spirit mind is the core of the spirit person, controlling the eternal life, love and ideals of individuals. Through it, human existence gains value as emotion, intellect and will pursue, respectively, beauty, truth and goodness. It is the place in humans where God can dwell. The physical mind is similar to an animal's mind, manifesting rudimentary intellect and instinctive desires for nourishment and exercise, self-protection and comfort, and for reproduction - thereby maintaining life.
The human mind, then, essentially is an invisible, spiritual aspect of humans that is subject over the physical person and provides direction and purpose to human existence. In an individual who is alive physically, the physical mind interacts with the spirit mind to create the human mind, the causal aspect of a human being. The union of spirit mind and physical mind centered on giving true love and returning joy to God is the original mind. The original mind is the voice of God in human beings.
In an ideal state, the strong desires of the physical person are naturally subordinate to even stronger desires of the spirit person, and they are harmonized through the perfection of the mind-body relationship. But when people are separated from God through the violation of His principles, the desires of their minds are dominated by those of their bodies in an inversion of the first blessing. These disordered human desires create the type of chaos and suffering seen in the world today where rampant physical lusts are pursued at the cost of spiritual values.
The conscience exists to guide people towards a proper relationship between spirit and body. The conscience guides according to what one believes to be true, but the conscience is subordinate to the original mind and is to be educated by it. The conscience seeks to direct humans towards fulfillment of their true purpose as beings of absolute value, guiding them according to their levels of maturity. Only a perfected mind can fully comprehend absolute values of beauty, truth and goodness and thus direct humanity in a life of perfect oneness with God. In the fallen world relative standards prevail, hence the diversity in moral codes and ethical systems. It is the role of religion to educate the human mind to develop ever more accurate and profound understanding of absolute values, going beyond the limitations of relative standards. In this way religious truth serves as the basis for the true working of conscience. The more the original mind dominates human thinking and behavior, the closer the conscience comes to directing people according to absolute standards of beauty, truth and goodness.
The Mission of the Body
The physical world was created by God to sustain physical bodies. But the body has a limited life span, during which it must accomplish two vital functions: it must support the spirit's growth from infancy to full maturity; and through human reproduction it must enable the multiplication of spirit men and women. In performing these functions, the body enables human beings to realize their fundamental purpose and desire: to experience joy through the fulfillment of the three blessings. To accomplish its mission, the body itself is designed to experience physical joy, or pleasure.
Once the 'mission' of the body has been accomplished, it dies and returns to earth, where it disintegrates into its basic elements, never again to exist as a whole. When the body dies, the spirit departs from it and continues its life in the spiritual world in its eternal, discarnate state. The spirit is fully equipped for life in the spiritual world, having attributes that enable it to interact with other spirit persons and the spiritual counterpart to nature, as well as men and women on earth. Paralleling the five senses of the body, the spirit body has sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, with which it can know and enjoy the spiritual world.
There are a few people on earth who have their spiritual senses finely developed and in tune with their bodily senses, such that they are able to perceive and interact with the spiritual world at will. Some of these men and women are deeply religious, while others find themselves in possession of these abilities but do not attribute any particular significance to them. A third group uses its access to the spiritual world for selfish purposes, in negative forms of witchcraft, voodoo and the like.
Growth of the Spirit
Men and women grow to maturity through the interaction between the spirit and body, each of which takes in elements for growth from the other as well as from sources outside the human being. For the body, growth is achieved by taking in external elements from sunlight, air, food and drink as well as internal elements from the spirit. For the spirit, growth comes from receiving internal elements from God's love and truth as well as external elements from the body. The fundamental objective of spiritual growth is the perfection of parental love on the foundation of three stages in the maturation of love within the family (children's, sibling and conjugal love), as described in the previous chapter.
In the growing process, the body provides the spirit with vitality elements, the capacity to respond to instructions of the mind. Doing good deeds generates good vitality elements, whereas doing wrong produces evil vitality elements. The spirit needs good vitality elements for growth. People feel good when they do good, but, conversely, feel bad when they disobey God, because the spirit recognizes the quality of vitality elements it receives and reacts favorably to good and unfavorably to bad elements. In the same way that an unhealthy diet damages the body, bad vitality elements damage the spirit. Thus the spirit of a person who has lived an evil life is literally ugly. The spirit gives energy to the body as spirit elements. When inspired by love and truth, the spirit generates spirit elements that energize the body to do good.
Vitality and spirit elements are exchanged between body and spirit such that the internal character and external activities of a person always go hand in hand. A good life is built on good deeds, inspired by love and truth. Love and truth originate with God, and are given to human beings as the life element. In an ideal world they would naturally flow to individuals at one in heart with God. In the human state of disobedience and separation from God, however, religion exists to facilitate the flow of life elements. The essence of a religious life is the pursuit of love and truth. But God's love and truth can flow to men and women only to the extent that they share them with others through the dissemination of truth and the performance of good deeds. Receiving has to be reciprocated by giving, or the flow of love and truth is blocked and growth of the spirit is stunted. Through a life of service to others, balanced by study, contemplation, meditation and prayer, a man or woman of God grows in spiritual maturity. The greater the love and truth received from God, the greater the virtue of that person's words and deeds and the greater the stimulation of the spirit, enabling it to increase its capacity to receive yet more of God's life element.
On the other hand, insofar as the spirit is itself distant from God's love and truth, it is deprived of life elements and thereby prevented from growing. Consequently, the physical body is deprived of spirit elements. This is the spiritual equivalent of starvation. Worse than starving the body, though, is giving it poison. The spiritual equivalent of poison is evil spirit elements, passed to the body when the spirit has relations with evil spirits and is influenced by falsehood and hatred.
Ignorance or denial of God, or the hypocritical profession of God by one without faith, does not prevent the interaction of vitality and spirit elements, but it severely limits the scope for human growth. The life element, which comes from God, is the source of life and subject, over the spirit and vitality elements. It operates whether or not individuals recognize its existence, but ignorance of God prevents people from using it to maximum effect. This condition can be illustrated by the example of pre-industrial people living in ignorance of electricity and consequently existing without any of the benefits of that great energy source: they got shocked by static and lightning but lacked electric lighting and household appliances. Ignorance of God is, ultimately, devastating because it condemns humans to existence in a state of partial completion wherein they can never fulfill their true purpose or achieve complete relationships.
In the original creation of God, the human body and spirit would have grown to maturity in parallel, within the same time period, so that there would exist a perfect balance between them. In the world as it is, however, there is generally a huge discrepancy between the physical and spiritual development of human beings. Given the necessary physical elements, all bodies grow to completion, but spirits, distant from God, are not able to reach maturity. This discordance between spirit and body is responsible for the evils of humankind. In a person with a mature body but immature spirit the natural order of creation, in which the desires of the mind take the subject position over the desires of the body, is reversed: the body, which is ignorant of God and therefore gives the goals of physical well-being priority over spiritual goals, initiates actions that are destructive to the spirit. (When one speaks of the body usurping the subject role of the mind, in fact one is describing a reversal of priorities in the mind itself, such that the needs of the physical being are placed above the needs of the spiritual being, contrary to the order of God's creation.) In this state, people lose their value as human beings, since it is the spirit that makes humans unique and central in creation.
A spiritually sensitive person can distinguish the level of spiritual maturity in another person, and even ordinary people can normally sense the changes in character and attitudes that accompany changes in the levels of the vitality and spirit elements given and received between the spirit and body. An insincere smile cannot disguise a low spirit for long, while the goodness of even the most humble person will sooner or later shine through, irrespective of external circumstances.
Hell, Paradise and Heaven
The true beauty (or ugliness) of a person's spirit is determined by his or her relationship with God and truthfulness in word and deed. This quality is reflected directly in spiritual appearance: higher spirits are brighter than lower spirits. Love is the source of spiritual light and warmth. Wherever human beings make a base for God's love to be present, by creating four position foundations centered on God, there is spiritual light and warmth.
The spiritual level at which a person begins life in the spiritual world after departing from the body is determined by the level achieved while on earth. Upon the death of the body, there is no magical transformation of character whereby certain chosen individuals are absolved of their responsibilities and elevated to heaven while others are damned to lives of eternal misery in hell. Spirits exist at all levels of growth. Hell is where evil spirits are found, people who have led lives of selfishness, oppressing others. Above hell are various spiritual realms for people who have had faith in God, or who have led conscientious lives, in spheres grouped according to religion and culture. Thus faithful Christians can go to Paradise, faithful Muslims to the Garden. In these realms there are also gradations of spiritual level, differentiated according to the goodness of character and righteousness of deeds. The highest realm is heaven where spirits enjoy the direct dominion of God's love.
Since the body is needed to provide vitality elements for growth of the spirit, the growing process to spiritual maturity is to be carried out on earth. Men and women who do not reach the completion stage on earth have to continue their efforts to grow as disembodied spirits. This is unimaginably more difficult than growing while on earth, since on earth an individual has a body to give vitality elements to his spirit directly. Once detached from his or her body, a person can gain the benefit of vitality elements only indirectly, by serving men and women still on earth. This will be explained further in Chapter 9.
In the ideal world of God's creation, there is no hell, and everyone enjoys life in the beautiful realm of heaven after reaching oneness with God. Heavenly life would be achieved on earth and then continued in the spirit world after the body dies. There would be no need to fear death (as so many do today because of their distance from God and ignorance of the spiritual world) because the end of life on earth would be the beginning of a more beautiful and joyful existence in the spirit world. At birth, a child enters a vastly greater and more resplendent world than its mother's womb. Likewise, when physical death frees a spirit from the body, the spirit person enters a world of much greater diversity and beauty than the physical world. However, this spirit world can be enjoyed only to the extent the spirit person is mature in love, in the same way that the physical world can be fully enjoyed only by men and women whose bodies are whole and mature.
To gain an accurate perspective on life, human beings need to understand the invisible spiritual world, which is the world they were created to live in forever. Life on earth is preparation for eternal life in the spiritual world. Because the body is a microcosm of the physical world and the spirit a microcosm of the spiritual world, humans stand at the center of creation. Without harmony between spirit and body there cannot be harmony between the spiritual and physical worlds. The growth of the spirit and body to full maturity creates that harmony, and once the three blessings have been completed the mission of the body is accomplished. Whatever is left unaccomplished of this earthly purpose must be completed while in the spiritual world after the body dies. People on earth and in the spirit world exist at various levels of maturity.
In the world that God originally created, all men and women were to achieve the perfection of their spiritual beings while on earth. Why then are people spiritually incomplete and immature?
Why is the history of humankind so filled with evil of all sorts hatred, enmity, aggression, oppression, violence and wars - instead of love, as intended by God?
Clearly something has gone seriously wrong. The world as it is does not resemble the world of God's ideal. Free will is not exercised responsibly and people do anything to satisfy their selfish desires, in the process destroying the beauty and goodness of God's creation.
The first part of this book has laid out a scenario for a good, God-centered world, free from the evils that now bedevil humankind. The ideal described is not a fantasy, but rather the world that God intended when He made the creation. It can and must be realized in time because God's will for His creation is absolute. The second part, which follows, explains why there is such a huge discrepancy between the world of God's ideal and the reality that exists today. Although the human fall is accepted by the three monotheistic religions, it needs to be understood in the light of what has been presented here so far, in particular the importance of human responsibility. Once this is clear, a basis exists for understanding God's work to restore fallen humanity, which is explained in the third part.
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