Five of the Many Ways in Which the Principle View of the Fall Is Nonsensical
The Divine Principle explanation for the fall is not just wrong but entirely nonsensical.
1. The Principle interpretation is biblically nonsensical. When God gives the commandment to be fruitful we must assume that God knows the meaning of the words he is using. From a botanical standpoint, an organism can only be fruitful after sexual reproduction has taken place. If God were to use the phrase “be fruitful” in the context of a commandment to not have sex until after attaining perfection then God would be demonstrating a fundamental ignorance of basic botany.
Eve says the Tree of Knowledge is “in the middle of the garden.” If she herself were the tree, why would she speak of the tree as being located in the middle of the garden?
Divine Principle says that Lucifer seduced Eve and Eve then seduced Adam. However, the Bible says (Gen 3:6) that Adam was with Eve at the time she first tasted the fruit. Adam then tasted the fruit immediately afterwards. This makes nonsense of the Principle’s claim that Eve repented after “eating the fruit” with Lucifer and then later had sex with Adam from a desire to return to her original place.
2. The Principle interpretation is historically nonsensical. Even if the Divine Principle account were a solid interpretation of the Genesis story the latter would still be only a story and not an actual historical event. Let’s look at the two explanations that Unificationists give of how the story came to be: 1) it is an ancient oral tradition that has been passed down from Adam and Eve’s family; 2) it is a revelation received directly from God at a later date.
It is impossible for an ancient oral tradition to have been preserved from the time of Adam and Eve for the simple reason that any original ancestors would have had to have lived at least 125,000 years ago, and probably over 400,000 years ago. We know that because control of fire by early humans was already prevalent 125,000 years ago and seems to have existed for several hundred thousand years before that. Control of fire is not something that animals are capable of, not even the most intelligent animals. In fact even today most educated people would not be able to successfully create and control fire if they were dropped alone into a remote wilderness. Could you? Unless you have been in the armed forces, or at least the Scouts, you probably could not. The control of fire is a complex set of behaviors that has to be learned. If there were such a thing as the human spirit then it would have to go back at least to the time when humans first learned to control fire. Can you imagine an oral history remaining intact for 125,000 years in the absence of any sort of writing? It is preposterous. And then, who decided to pass it on in a symbolic form? Perhaps Adam and Eve decided that the whole tale was too shameful to be explained clearly and yet realized that it would some day be needed by Divine Principle lecturers and so they cleverly disguised it with symbols. Not likely is it?
Neither is the Genesis account a revelation. If God were going to give the Divine Principle story by revelation in symbolic form he would surely get the order of events correct, make the symbols clear, and not mistakes about basic botany that could be spotted by an intelligent ten year old. And why would God talk about himself walking in the garden as if he were a human? Moreover, according to the documentary hypothesis (look that up!), Bible scholars have found that the Genesis story was not originally a single story but two, three, or more earlier stories that have been somewhat haphazardly edited together. This is why, for instance, Genesis repeats the story of creation of man in Genesis 1: 26-28 and then in Genesis 2: 5. Notice how there are no plants in Genesis 2: 5 despite the fact that God has already created them in Genesis 1: 11. Why would God give mutually contradictory revelations and then leave it to a tribe of uneducated ancient Israelites to create a coherent narrative out of the parts?
3. The Principle interpretation is nonsense from the standpoint of science. There are literally millions of pieces of evidence that creatures evolved gradually over hundreds of millions of years. Why all the dinosaur bones? There never were such people as Adam and Eve. That is a fact, not an opinion.
Would it make any sense for God to create all the different life forms by evolution and then cap it off by creating Adam and Eve as special creations? Why not use special creation for all the animals if that were the case? But let’s say that God did use special creation for humans only, then why did he also create so many transitional forms between the ape and man? Why Australopithecus? Why the Neanderthals? Why the Denisovans? Why would God create humans as special creations and then leave a long trail of evidence to make it seem as if they had evolved? And if God was just practicing when he made the earlier hominins, as some Divine Principle lecturers say, then why does Unification Thought declare that God already had the perfect image of Adam and Eve in mind before he began the creation?
Then there is this whole problem of angels. How exactly did they help God create the world? What do they do today? Do they help the True Children with their homework? Have you ever seen one? How do they get on with the pixies and the fairies? Why do spiritualists disagree on basic facts such as what sex the angels are and whether or not they really have wings? Are you so sure about these angels?
4. The Principle interpretation is nonsense from the standpoint of psychology. Would you make the whole success of your global master plan contingent on the ability of a sixteen-year-old girl to outsmart the brilliant archangel who co-created the universe? That’s what the Divine Principle God, Hananim, did.
Apparently, Hananim didn’t think through the relationships he was setting up at all carefully, and he didn’t even have any back-up plan. He just figured that he could leave a really hot teen-age girl alone with a very lonely male caretaker, who had no other sexual or romantic outlet, and that nothing could possibly go wrong. Even the worst parents in today’s world tend to be at least a little bit careful whom they leave their children with. But not Hananim, apparently. Not only did Hananim skip Botany but he flunked Common Sense 101 too.
Remember, all Eve had to go with was the commandment. The punishment for failure was the creation of hell, plus tens of thousands of years of suffering for the whole human race. And yet Divine Principle mocks Christians for saying that God threatened his children with death. The punishment in Divine Principle is far worse than the mere death of an individual. By its own standards, doesn’t the Principle deserve far greater mockery?
5. The Principle interpretation is nonsense from the standpoint of theology. The glaring problem here is that it does not explain how sin comes into the world or how it is passed from generation to generation. In the Unification Church there are as many different explanations for how sin is transmitted as there are members who are willing to venture a suggestion. Some people think sin is passed on socially. Others think it has something to do with the sung sang of the blood. Some think it is more of a legal predicament resulting from Satan’s claim over humankind – a bit like if you accidentally sign up with AOL and then find it impossible to cancel your membership. And then there are those who think it is connected with being deprived of the life element from God. Moon was never able to clearly explain it in spite of having over sixty years and tens of thousands of hours of sermonizing during which to do so. He left it up to the members because he didn’t actually have an answer. It’s like a criminal who gives a different account of his actions every time he is questioned; then, when he is put up for trial and asked which version is the truth, he shrugs his shoulders and suggests that the jury pick whichever story they find most believable.
If sin is simply passed on socially then why do we need a wine ceremony (with those special ingredients!) to change the lineage? Why did infertile couples always have to adopt from other blessed couples? Why did we have a True Family? Why all that sex in the early days of the movement? Clearly the view that sin is merely passed on socially cannot be considered an orthodox Unificationist position.
The notion of sin as a legal predicament certainly has some roots in Christian theology, where Christ is our advocate and God is our judge, and where Christ takes our punishment upon himself. But sin cannot only be a legal formality. There is certainly an element of inner corruption, of falling short of the glory, of concupiscence, too. Take away the devil and all his works and we are still sinners, from a Christian standpoint. There must be more to it.
What about deprivation of the life element inhibiting our spiritual growth? That sort of leaves it up to God. We are like an engine that doesn’t have enough gas. Hananim has the gas but he won’t put enough in the tank, or he can’t because Satan won’t let him, or something. How do we get to the point where Hananim is going to allow us enough gas? We go to the blessing but our gas allowance remains the same as before; perhaps it goes down a little. If we can’t get the gas how can we be blamed for not going the extra miles?
Most Unificationists would deny that sin is a material thing like a disease that is passed down from generation to generation. They would reject the notion that we ought to be able to identify it substantially in the blood, even if we had a really good microscope. Some would say that sin is a collection of “evil elements” that stained Eve’s spirit in some way. But are fear and jealousy transferable from one object to another in the same way that energy is? Is there a conservation of depravity that works like the conservation of momentum? Perhaps we can imagine ways that these emotions could have been transferred between individuals, but how do they then get into the “blood” and affect future generations?
I think the most common belief among Unificationists who even attempt to make sense of their own teachings is that sin is a corruption of some invisible inner essence (sung sang) of the blood, or the DNA — a spiritual condition that has a material effect in terms of our failure to unite mind and body. But, how did this come about? Can we really believe that it was somehow passed from Lucifer to Eve through his sperm, which was entirely spiritual, and then passed to Adam through Eve’s kisses or whatever, and then passed to the children through the blood? How did it go from the Luciferian sperm to the human blood? No answer. Perhaps we can think of a drop of ink spreading in a container of pure water. No, that is an analogy not an explanation. There is no real explanation, just a bunch of vague mumbo jumbo that every Divine Principle lecturer is free to make up as he goes along. Really, how does any of this work? What is the mechanism? It is not that the Unification Church has a poor explanation for sin: it has no explanation whatsoever. And yet its Messiah has already come and gone, and the removal of sin was supposed to be his main mission.
Graham C. Lester