Man has lived through all the centuries without knowing in what manner human history started and where its goal lies. We remain ignorant of the problems concerning the consummation of human history.
Many Christians believe literally what is written in the Bible, in which it is stated that in the Last Days the heavens will be kindled and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire (II Peter 3:12); that the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29); and that with the archangel’s call and with the sound of the trumpet of God, the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:16-17).
It is one of the most important problems for Christians to decide whether everything will be realized literally, as the Bible says, or whether it has been stated in symbolic terms, as has proven to be the case in many parts of the Bible. In order to solve this problem, we should first answer certain questions about God’s purpose for creating all things, the significance of the human fall, and the purpose of the providence of salvation.
As has been discussed in the “Principle of Creation”, God’s purpose in creating man was to feel joy upon seeing His goal realized. Therefore, the purpose of man’s life is to return joy to God. In what manner, then, can man return joy to God and manifest perfectly the original value of his existence?
All creation was created to be the object of God’s joy. However, man, as has been clarified in the “Principle of Creation”, was created to be the substantial object to God, returning joy to Him through the action of his own free will. Therefore, man cannot become the object of God’s joy unless he knows God’s will and lives according to it by his own effort. Consequently, man was created in such a way that he could know God’s will and live by it forever, experiencing God’s heart-and-zeal as his own. We may call this status of man the “perfection of individuality”. Adam, Eve, and many prophets and saints have been able to communicate with God directly because man was created to enjoy such capabilities.
The relationship between God and a man of perfected individuality can be compared to that between our mind and body. Our body, as the temple of our mind, obeys the command of our mind and acts upon it. Since God abides in the mind of a man of perfected individuality, such a man will become God’s temple and live according to God’s will. A man of perfected individuality becomes one body in unity with God, just as our mind does with our body. Therefore, I Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you?” and John 14:20 says, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.”. The man who has attained one body with God, having His spirit dwell in him by perfecting his individuality and thus forming a temple of God, comes to have deity and can by no means commit sin; naturally, he cannot fall. A man of perfected individuality is a man of perfect goodness.
If a man of perfect goodness should fall, this would mean that goodness itself has the potentiality of ruin. This is impossible. Moreover, if a man created by the omnipotent God should fall after his perfection, we would have to deny God’s omnipotence. Therefore, a man of perfected individuality could never fall, because, being the object of joy to God, who is the eternal subject of absoluteness, man should likewise possess absoluteness and perpetuity.
If Adam and Eve of perfected individuality, incapable of sin, had established a home and society without sin by multiplying children of goodness according to God’s blessing (Gen. 1:28), this would have been the Kingdom of Heaven, which would have been realized as a huge family centered on the same parents. The Kingdom of Heaven is in the form of a man of perfected individuality. Just as the members of a man’s body work in a horizontal relationship with one another according to the vertical command of the brain, so society should be organized so that men may live in a horizontal relationship with one another according to the vertical command of God. In such a society, people could not perform any act which would hurt their neighbors, because the whole society would experience the same feeling toward those in trouble as God would feel in His grief over them.
Regardless of how pure and sinless the men of this society might be, if they had to live in an undeveloped civilization similar to that of primitive people, this would not be the kind of Kingdom of Heaven both God and man have long awaited. Since God blessed man to be the dominator of all things (Gen. 1:28), men of perfected individuality should have subdued the natural world through highly developed science, and established an extremely pleasant social environment on earth. This would be the place where the ideal of creation would be realized. It would be nothing other than the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
When perfected man, after having lived in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, goes to the spirit world, the Kingdom of Heaven will be realized in the spirit world. Therefore, God’s purpose of creation is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
As stated in the “Principle of Creation”, man fell while he was in his immaturity and still in the period of growth. Questions as to why the growth period was necessary for man and why the first human ancestors fell during their immaturity were answered in that chapter.
Man, due to his fall, could not become the temple of God; instead, he became the dwelling place of Satan and became one body with him. Naturally, man came to have an evil nature in place of deity. So it has come about that men of evil nature have established evil homes, societies, and an evil world, by multiplying children of evil. This is the Hell on earth in which fallen men have been living. Men in Hell have not been able to establish good horizontal relationships with each other because their vertical relationship with God was cut off. Accordingly, they came to indulge themselves in acts which injure their neighbors, because they could not experience the pains and troubles of their neighbors as their own.
Men who live in Hell on earth transmigrate into Hell in the spirit world after they leave their physical bodies. In this manner, man established the world of Satan’s sovereignty instead of the world of God’s sovereignty. Thus we call Satan the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31) or the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4).
This sinful world brings man sorrow and causes God to grieve (Gen 6:6). Would God, then, leave this world of grief as it is? If the world of goodness, which God created for the utmost joy, is to continue forever as a world of sin full of grief due to the human fall, God should be called a God of failure and inability. Therefore, God will save this world of sin by all means.
To what extent should God save this world? First, God must save it to such an extent that man can be restored to the position he had reached before the fall of the first human ancestors. God must do this by completely driving out the evil power of Satan from this world of sin (Acts 26:18). Then, God must develop His providence to such an extent that He can dominate the world directly through the fulfillment of the good purpose of creation (Acts 3:21).
To save a sick man is to restore him to the status he had before the sickness occurred. To save a drowning man is to restore him to the state he was in before he began to drown. Likewise, to save a man fallen in sin means to restore him to the original sinless position which he enjoyed in the beginning. Therefore, God’s “providence of salvation” is the “providence of restoration” (Acts 1:6, Matt. 17:11).
The human fall, is of course, the result of man’s own error. However, God, too, is responsible for the results, as the Creator. If God had not created man, the fall would not have occurred. Therefore, God has felt compelled to restore the result of man’s error to its original status before the fall. God is the everlasting subject. Therefore, the life of man, who was created as His eternal object of joy, should also have eternity. According to the principle of creation, God created man for eternity. Even though man fell, God cannot annihilate him, because this would nullify the principle of creation. Therefore, God must save man and restore him to his original position in creation. God promised to realize His three great blessings after the creation of man (Gen. 1:28). He says in Isaiah 46:11, “I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”. According to His own words, God has been working to fulfill His promise by developing the providence of restoring these blessings, long lost due to Satan. When Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 5:48, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect”, he meant that they should be restored to the position of the original man of creation. Seen from the principle of creation, the original man of creation should be as perfect as God, having eternal deity because of his oneness with God.
2. THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION What is the purpose of the providence of restoration? It is to realize the Heavenly Kingdom, God’s eternal object of goodness, which was His original purpose of creation. In the beginning, God created men on earth and intended to realize the Kingdom of heaven on earth centering on them. However, He could not fulfill His will because of the human fall. Therefore, the primary purpose of the providence of restoration can only be to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Jesus, who came in order to fulfill the purpose of the providence of restoration, told his disciples to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matt. 6:10), and warned his people to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matt. 4:17), because the purpose of the providence of restoration is to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
We have previously clarified that God’s providence of salvation is the providence of restoration. Therefore, human history is the period of the providence through which God intends to save fallen men and have them restore the original world of goodness. Let us now study, from various standpoints, the fact that human history is the history of the providence of restoration.
Firstly, we will consider human history from the standpoint of the history of the development of cultural spheres. In all ages and countries, even evil men have had in common the original mind’s desire to follow goodness by repelling evil. Therefore, all entertain the identical fundamental purpose of pursuing and realizing goodness, though it is true that they have created a history of struggle through constant conflicts which arise from differences, according to time and place, in their respective standards of goodness and its attainment.
Why, then, does the original mind of man direct itself irresistibly toward goodness? This is because God, the subject of goodness, created man as His substantial object in order to realize the purpose of goodness. Therefore, man’s original mind seeks goodness, even though fallen men have been unable to lead good lives, due to Satan’s work. The goal of the history which is woven by such men should be to attain the world of goodness. However hard the original mind of man may struggle to attain goodness, man fails to find real goodness in this world under the rule of Satan. Therefore, man has come to find his subject of goodness in the world transcendent of time and space. What has been born out of this inevitable demand of man is religion. Man, who fell into ignorance of God due to the fall, has always tried to meet God by constantly pursuing goodness through religion. Even though individuals, races or nations of a certain religion may have perished, religion itself has survived up to the present. Let us now study these historical facts, centering on the history of the rise and fall of nations.
When we examine the history of China, we find that each age of Ch’un Ch’iu was followed by a unified age of Ch’in; while the age of Ch’ien Han, Shin, Hou Han, San Kuo, Si Tsin, Tung Tsin and Nan Pei Ch’ao were followed by the unified age of Sui and T’ang; and the ages of the Five Dynasties (Pei Sung, Nan Sung, Yuan, Ming and Ch’ing) were following by today’s Republic of China. Through all these ages China has seen the rise and fall of many nations and with this many changes in political power, but the three Far Eastern religions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Sun-Kyo are still in full force.
When we study the history of India, we see that the Mauryas empire was followed by that of Andhra, which was followed in turn by those of Gupta, Barudanah, Sahman, Razuni, Maghal, and today’s India. Though the nation suffered many changes through all these ages, Hinduism survived. Again, when we observe the history of the Middle East, we see that the Empire of Saracen was followed by East and West Karif, which in turn was followed by Seljuk Turkey and Osman Turkey, with their political powers ever changing. Nevertheless, the religion of Islam has continued to exist.
Further, let us examine the main current of Western history. The leadership of the Western world was held in turn by Greece, Rome, Gaul, Spain and Portugal. Then, temporarily held by France and the Netherlands, it was taken by Britain, and is currently divided between the United States and the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Christianity has continued to flourish. Even in the Soviet Union, under the tyranny established on the foundation of materialism, Christianity has survived.
By examining the rise and fall of nations from this standpoint, we can also see that those powers which persecuted religion all perished while those that protected and fostered religion prospered. We have witnessed in history that the central role has moved from one nation to another, in each case shifting to a country that elevated religion more than did the previous one. Thus, the history of religion teaches us that the day will come, without fail, when the world of communism, which persecutes religion, will perish.
Many religions have existed in human history. Among them, the religions with the greatest influence inevitably formed cultural spheres, 21 to 26 in number. However, with the flow of history, the inferior has either been absorbed into the superior, or has united with it by degrees. In recent years, there have emerged from the rise and fall of nations four great cultural spheres–East Asia (Confucianism, Buddhism), Hinduism, Islam (Mohammedanism), and Christianity. They are now being formed into a worldwide cultural sphere, centering on Christianity. Therefore, we may perceive from this historical trend that Christianity has, as its ultimate mission, the accomplishment of the purpose of all religions that have directed their course toward the goal of goodness. The history of the development of cultural spheres shows us a trend toward forming a worldwide cultural sphere, centering on one religion, through the unification of numerous religions. This is proof that human history is leading toward the restoration of one unified world.
The second way we can understand that human history is the history of the providence of restoration is by examining the common trend of religion and science. It was already stated in the “General Introduction” that religion and science, working respectively to overcome the two aspects of human ignorance since the fall, should be unified today. Religion and science, which have developed individually without mutual connection, are now forced to meet at one place after having progressed respectively toward the same goal. This tells us clearly that human history has followed the providential course of restoring the original world of creation. Had it not been for the fall, the intellectual capacity of man would have developed to the utmost degree in spirit (internal truth), thus naturally encouraging a corresponding degree of external development through science. Science then would have advanced very quickly, bringing about today’s level of scientific development in the days of our early human ancestors.
However, due to the fall, man fell into ignorance without being able to attain a highly developed society. Since then, he has striven to restore the ideal world of scientific development which was purposed in the beginning, by overcoming his ignorance by means of science. Today’s highly developed scientific world is being restored externally to the stage directly prior to the transition into the ideal world.
The third way we can perceive that human history is the history of the providence of restoration is from the trend of the history of struggles. Battles over wealth, land and people have accompanied the development of human society throughout history, up to the present moment. This struggle has widened its scope, expanding from the family to the tribe, and on to the societal, national, and finally to the worldwide level. The two worlds of democracy and communism are now confronted with a final ideological war. At the close of the sinful history of mankind, nations will have passed through the historical stage in which people thought they could derive happiness from the wealth, land and people they had plundered. After World War I we saw the defeated nations forced to release their colonies, but after World War II the victorious nations voluntarily released their colonies and set them free. The great powers of today have allowed minor powers, often even smaller and weaker than a city within the great powers, to become member states of the United Nations. The great powers have made them brother nations not only by supplying them with food, but also by giving them rights and duties equal to those of the great powers. What, then, will the final struggle be like? It will be a struggle between ideologies. However, the struggle between the two worlds of democracy and communism will never cease unless the ultimate truth appears, which can overcome completely the materialistic view of history that threatens the world today. When this ultimate truth that can solve the problems of religion and science as one unified theme appears, the communist ideology, which has hitherto attempted to develop by sc