Unification News for November 2000
DP Volume 5 * Part 2
The famed Jewish scholar Martin Buber once described the goal of life by reference to Hasidic legend:
"When God created man, he set the mark of his image upon man's brow and embedded it in man's nature, and however faint God's mark may become, it can never be entirely wiped out. According to Hasidic legend, when the Baalshem (the founder of Hasidic Judaism) conjured up the demon Sammael, he showed him this mark on the forehead of his disciples, and when the master bade the conquered demon be gone, the latter prayed, 'Sons of the living God, permit me to remain a little while to look at the mark of the image of God on your faces.' God's real commandment to man is to realize this image."
If the death caused by the Fall is spiritual, then the transformation of that death must also be spiritual. Resurrection does not thus refer to the revival of decomposed bodies, but to resuscitation of inert spirits. It is the process of restoring the image of God within.
One may ask how this process can best take place. To lead man to new life, God gives us His Word. The Law, the Books of Wisdom, and the histories of the Old Testament are given us to teach us and guide us. Likewise, the ethical teachings and the incomparable
life of Jesus given in the New Testament are given to lead us to new life.
In addition, in various scriptures (Jn 16:13, for example) we are promised yet a further revelation of God's truth with the return of Christ. The Lord gives His word in order that man might be resurrected.
As we learned in the fourth volume of the Home Study Course, both purification and growth take place through God's Word. The Word is a two-edged sword; not only does it effect judgment it also brings new life. Reflecting this power, Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John: "…he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." (Jn 5:25)
Resurrection, then, begins from the point of hearing the Word. It is not a matter for the future, but for the present. As Paul Tillich has noted, "Resurrection happens now, or it does not happen at all."
Dynamics Of Resurrection
Resurrection may be thought of in terms other than just life and death. Since it involves restoring fallen man's nature tot he standard originally created by God, for example, the process of restoration may also be thought of as restoration. From another point of view, resurrection is re-creation—God's re-creating that which was broken and lost.
However one conceives this process, Divine Principle affirms that there are definite principles according to which it proceeds. First of all, the saying "God helps those who help themselves" is more than a well-worn moralism. God's will is not accomplished unilaterally; the purpose of creation is fulfilled only when His efforts are complemented by ours. We need to do our part by understanding and following the Word.
Secondly, although resurrection is a spiritual process, it cannot occur apart from the physical body. As we learned in the Principle of Creation, each person's spirit self is created to grow and attain maturity only through its relationship with the physical self.
Consistent with this principle, resurrection also occurs in conjunction with one's physical self—thus while one is living on earth. The body is like soil in which the spirit may grow.
Finally, Divine Principle notes that resurrection is a historically cumulative process, advancing in accordance with the accomplishments of each age. An analogy may be found in the realm of science.
Today science is highly developed on the basis of the continuous research and discoveries of men and women throughout history. Generally speaking, the present generation has benefited greatly from scientific advancement, even though we had very little to do with it. We benefit simply because we live in a scientific age.
This is also true in the spiritual realm. Since the earliest times in man's history, God's servants have been laying foundations for the ever-higher spiritual advancement of humankind. As we will discuss more fully later, we of the present day stand on foundations laid by the prophets and saints of prior generations.
It is not our task, for example, to discover as Isaiah did that the Lord did not seek sacrifices and burnt offerings from His children, but rather justice, love and compassion (Is 1:11-17).
Because of such previous developments, we start at an advanced level. Not only are higher spiritual attainments therefore within our grasp; we are also contributing to the spiritual conditions inheritable by those yet to come.
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