The Divine Principle Home Study Course

                               Volume 5

      Human History and Man's Transformation from Death to Life.

"i thank you God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly
spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am
alive again today and this is the sun's birthday.)" e.e cummings. It
may be said that the story of religion is the story of life and death.
Certainly the joyful and triumphant verse above reflects this theme
for the twentieth century, and other literature reflects it for all
time. The Bible records that in the beginnings of human life of our
first ancestors were told that they should not eat of the forbidden
fruit for "in the day you eat of it you shall die." While through
their wayward act, we may assume, some kind of death made its grim
appearance, in the saving work of God death is overcome and life is

Within the Christian faith, this is most clearly portrayed in the
Gospel of John, where Jesus is characterized as the harbinger of life.
Releasing humanity from the deathly Genesis curse, Jesus proclaims: I
came that they may have life, and have abundantly (Jn 10:10).
Webster's tells us that the passing from death to life is
resurrection. From having "died" to being "alive again today" then,
such a person as e.e cummings has in some way been resurrected. The
process of resurrection has many facets, and in this section of the
Divine Principle we will examine them. 

We will enter the controversy over the physical versus the spiritual
interpretation of resurrection. up-dating some antiquated thoughts on
the matter. We will examine humanity's ascendence toward true life as
both a historical process affecting all people and as a particularly
real hope for individuals today. Finally, we will look at some issues
related to resurrection, such as reincarnation and religious
unification and offer some unusual suggestions as to how resurrection
may affect us, even after death. 

                        Inner Death, Inner Life

Traditionally we are told that three days after his crucifixion Jesus
rose and conquered death. Through his victory all those who follow him
can themselves inherit eternal life. Accordingly, the traditional
teaching of the Christian Church -- and the firm belief within
fundamentalist circles today -- is that all those believers who have
previously passed away will, with the return of the Lord, be redeemed
from the dead. Early in his ministry, for example, Paul settled a
burning issue of order among the eager Christians by declaring who it
was that would be the first to meet Jesus. According to Paul, with the
Second Coming of Jesus "the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thess.
4:16). Perhaps taking its cue from such affirmations as these, the
Nicene Creed, recited even today in most Catholic masses and many
Protestant services embodies a belief in the resurrection of the


                       A Spiritual Understanding

If we think of the process of resurrection as actually being physical
however, we are involved in immediate problems. Are we to believe, for
example, that with the advent of Christ, long-buried and decomposed
bodies are to be reconstructed? Such notions do little to enhance the
credibility of religious faith.  Modern scholars, somewhat embarrassed
by such a materialistic connection of eternal life, have thus tried
either to substitute for it the Greek view of the immortality of the
soul or explain that the doctrine of the bodily resurrection is a
symbolic way of insisting that God cares for the total human
personality. Divine Principle's view of resurrection reflects a
spiritual understanding of the meaning of life and death. Luke tells
us the story of a young disciple who comes to Jesus to pledge his
active loyalty but who requests to first return home to attend his
father's funeral. Jesus' reply is apparently paradoxical: Leave the
dead to bury their own dead; but as for you go and proclaim the
kingdom of God (Lk 9:60). 

In these words of Jesus we find two different concepts of death. The
person to be buried is physically dead while those who are doing the
burying are, ar least in Jesus' view, dead in a spiritual sense. The
concept of spiritual death is ancient within the Hebrew tradition.
Ezekiel, for example, compared the return of the exiles from Babylon
to a resurrection from the dead (Ezek 37: 1-14). The Psalmist writes
not infrequently of such things as being "brought up" from Sheol and
"restored to life" (Ps. 30:3) and of the hope that having been in the
"depths of the earth" the Lord will "revive" him again (Ps 71:20).
Reflecting a parallel idea, the New Testament author of the book of
Revelation writes scornfully to the Church at Sardis: "I know your
works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead" (Rev. 3:1).
Also in support of this view of inward resurrection, the Gospel of
John reports Jesus teaching his disciples that  "He who believes in
me, though he die, yet shall he live" (Jn 11:25). Here we are told
that whoever is connected to God's dominion through Christ is alive,
regardless of whether his physical body is functional or not. In
John's view, life is essentially a spiritual quality, not a physical
state, and one acquires it through his relationship with Jesus. 

For all these Biblical writers death also is a spiritual state, a
state of the heart. It is characterized by feelings of despair, lack
of love and separation from God, the Source of life. By contrast, one
who possesses spiritual life is empowered by his relationship with God
to feel hope and express love. He is a person who is reconciled with
God and with himself and who can share the life he has found with
others in meed. In the words of Paul Tilich, he is a new being.
" the power of the New Being to create life out of
death, here and now, today and tomorrow... Out of disintegration and
death something is born of eternal significance?" 

Belief In Physical Resurrection


Against the spiritual interpretation of resurrection is the remarkable
phenomenon reported on the twenty-secenth chapter of Matthew. Here we
read of events occurring immediately following Jesus' death on the
cross. Among other dramatic happenings, we are told "The tombs also
were opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were
raised, and coming out of the tombs after (Jesus) resurrection they
went into the holy city and appeared to many" (Mt. 27:52). Certainly
if such an event actually transpired it would led strong support to a
belief in physical resurrection. However, if all this had actually
taken place, what happened to the risen saints? Should we not read of
their subsequent exploits, perhaps in such places as the Book of Acts
or the Letters of Paul? Should they not have been able to dissuade
their fellow Jews from persecuting God's new work? It is perhaps
because of such obvious problems with the story that so few people
today take Matthew's account literally. 

Divine Principle assumes that since resurrection does not involve
bringing corpses back to life, there were in fact no physical bodies
that arose from the grave at the time of the crucifixion. Rather, the
spirit selves of the deceased saints were seen at that time, such as
Moses and Elijah were seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.
It must be recalled here that in addition to a physical body, each
person possesses a corresponding spiritual form that he continues to
inhabit eternally. For this reason, Moses and Elijah were recognizably
themselves when they appeared with Jesus centuries after their deaths.

                         The Day You Eat Of It

A further assertion made by many faithful is that had our first
progenitors not separated themselves from God none of us would have
ever known physical death. In support of such a tenet, these believers
cite Genesis 2:17, where the author quotes God as forbidding Adam and
Eve to eat of the Fruit of the tree of knowledge for, as the Lord
says, "in the day you eat of it you shall die." If they had been
obedient, the argument runs, they and all their descendants would have
lived eternally.  

Divine Principle teaches that such an interpretation is incorrect. It
was never God's intention that man would live eternally on earth. Our
physical bodies are destined inevitably to age, to die and return to
the soil. Indeed, Divine Principle points out that if God had intended
us to live eternally in our physical bodies He would have had no
reason to create the spiritual world for our spirit selves to go to.
Rather than being the product of some retrospective thinking on the
part of God. 

The spiritual world was created from the beginning to receive our
spiritual selves/ The death that Adam and Eve inherited as a result of
the Fall was thus not physical in nature, but, again, spiritual. In
addition, of course, we see from the account in Genesis that despite


the promise of death, even after Adam and Eve ate the fruit they
continued to be active and alive; they sustained themselves and gave
birth to children. Indeed, Genesis tells us they lived over nine
hundred years (Gen 5:5). Clearly their death "in that day", was
something other than physical. In the New Testament writings of John,
we read that "He who does no love abides in death.' (1 Jn 3:14). Such
was the fate of Adam and Eve, Separated from God's love, they knew no
love. Thus they encountered death.  

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 begone, 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

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

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 judgement 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 judgement, 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. 

                          Historical Advance 

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. 

Auguste Compte, the founder of sociology, theorized that man
progressed through three stages: the theological, the metaphysical and
the positivist. This doctrine of progress, adopted since the time of
the French Revolution, details a cultural ascent of humanity similar
the physical evolution identified by Darwin. For many, this rational
approach to history parallels (though often not taking into account)
religious evolution, and resurrection.

Like judgement, resurrection has been going on since the dawn of
history ; and like revelation, it has a progressive nature. Humanity's
religious ascent is from a primitive superstition and savagery to a
greater sophistication and awareness. Students of the history of
religion claim that mankind slowly turned from animism to polytheism
to monotheism. God could shed only as much light as man could
understand and constructively employ.

Divine Principle points out that the religious evolution of humankind
may be thought of as proceeding through a succession of stages
comparable to a person's life. If Adam and Eve had remained true to
their instructions from the Lord, they would have proceeded through
the steps of formation, growth and completion to true personal
maturity and a fully mature relationship with God. Similarly, the
evolution of humanity's spiritual consciousness can be seen as moving
through three stages.

While God no doubt began striving for humanity's resurrection
immediately following Adam's fall, there is little we can point to in
the events recorded in the first chapters of Genesis that would
suggest that the Lord had gained a secure foothold with man. Such
developments as Cain killing Abel, Noah cursing his son Ham and the
construction of the tower of Babel offer us little hope.


With the arrival of Abraham, however, some foundation seems to have
been established. He is the individual with whom God initiates his
covenant with mankind. He is the person whom the Bible depicts as
faithfully offering his son Isaac on the altar; also his grandsons
Esau and Jacob succeed in reversing the animosity of Cain and Abel by
overcoming their enmity and accepting each other.

For Divine Principle, then, Abraham and his family constitute the
starting point of universal resurrection, and the two thousand years
between Abraham and Jesus comprise the formation period of humanity's
return to God.

Although Abraham was an anointed man of the Lord, during his time even
such chosen people were so distant from God that they normally
approached Him through animal sacrifices and vegetable offerings.


After some spiritual advancement had occurred, God gave the Ten
Commandments through Moses. Later the Hebrew prophets arose and
elevated the spiritual life of the Israelites by teaching additional
ethical and spiritual aspects of God's nature and the religious life.

In general, however, individuals who lived during this time could do
their part in returning to God by faithfully obeying the Mosaic law,
which we may think of as the initial stage of the revelation of God's
Word. Overall, we may think of this period as a time when man's
relationship to God was governed by law.


On the basis of this formative stage of resurrection, God sent Jesus
of Nazareth with the mission to raise humankind's spiritual status to
virtual completion. However , because of the failure of the people of
his time to accept Jesus, such noble aim was not achieved. Rather the
period from his death to the present became simply a second major
stage in human religious evolution.

Whereas the Old Testament Word was the initial guideline for the
Hebrews' approach to Yahweh, the New Testament fulfilled this role
during the years following Jesus' death. We may thus think of the New
Testament as the growth stage of the revelation of God's Word, and the
New Testament Age in general as the time of justification by faith in
the New Testament Word.

In accordance with this pattern, we may readily anticipate the next
step. The Second Advent is to be fulfilled on the foundation of the
previous stages. In our day the mission of the Messiah is to bring the
Completed Testament, which is to fulfill the promises of the Old and
New Testaments and complete the establishment of God's Kingdom on

Men and women of this time can be resurrected to the completion stage
by accepting and embodying the new expression of the Word and by
accepting and supporting God's new Messiah. Therefore, while the
previous age was the age of justification by faith, the Completed
Testament age is a period of justification by service to the new Lord.

Divine Principle teaches that an individual attains completion when
through the messiah he rids himself of the original sin and enters
into full relationship of love with God. Completion does not mean that
spiritual growth stops. On the contrary , it continues forever.
Whereas the Apostle Paul portrayed the early Christians as "groaning
inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons" (Rom. 8:23), in the final
stage of resurrection men and women are to evolve from the position of
being true sons and daughters of God. We may thus hope that the great
promise of the writer of the Book of Revelation will ultimately be


Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and
they shall be his people, and God Himself will be with them (Rev.

In his very thoughtful "Dreams: God's Forgotten Language",
California's Father John Sanford, an Episcopalian priest and Jungian
counselor, tells of a remarkable dream his worried father had after a
series of illnesses and at an age when he knew death could not be far
off. He reported it to his wife, who later recorded it. In the dream
the father goes through different scenes from his life and 

"Finally he sees himself lying on a couch back in the living room. I
(Mrs. Sanford) am descending the stairs and the doctor is in the room.
The doctor says "Oh he's gone." Then, as the others fade in the dream,
he sees the clock on the mantelpiece; the hands have been moving, but
now they stop; as they stop, a window opens behind the mantelpiece
clock and a bright light shines through. The opening widens into a
door and the light becomes a brilliant path. He (Mr. Sanford) walks
out on the path of light and disappears."

To the author, the son of the dreamer, the meaning of the dream is
clear. It is saying that having passed through the many phases of his
life, time has now run out for the elder Sanford (the hands on the
clock have stopped). However, this event is not the end, but the
beginning of something else. On the other side of earthly time, a new
dimension of life is opening up. The dream reassures Sanford's father
that he will proceed into another world, one beyond space and time.

The idea that human beings survive physical death has been expressed
in so many places that it is foolhardy to ignore it. In a number of
Plato's dialogues, for example "The Republic" and "Phaedo", we
encounter this master thinker's idea that after death the soul
continues to exist in another realm. Dante, the greatest poet in
Italian history, devoted his three part epic, "The Divine Comedy", to
describing his travels through the spiritual realms of Hell, Purgatory
and Paradise. While we don't know how firm Shakespeare's convictions
were, we do find him depicting Hamlet conversing with the revengeful
spirit of his murdered father. And in the writings of Emmanuel
Swedenborg, an eighteenth century Swedish scientist and mystic, we
find voluminous records and thoughtful analysis of his experiences
with the spirit world and its residents.

Nor should we overlook the Bible. Both Isaiah (26:19) and Daniel
(12:2) write of their expectation of life after death, while both
Jesus (Lk 9:30-31) and Paul (Acts 26:13-26) are reported as
encountering non-physical beings. Indeed, in 1 Corinthians Paul goes
to some length to describe the characteristics of the "spiritual body"
in which the Apostle asserts that believers will be resurrected. (1
Cor. 15:35-50).

                           What is it like?


As was explained in the Principle of Creation, Divine Principle
unequivocally affirms the continuation of life after physical death.
Since God is eternal, He created His counterpart His children to exist
eternally also.

The question is what will be our experience on the "other side".
Although within the Roman Catholic tradition the dichotomy between
heaven and hell is muted by the concept of purgatory, the historic
position of the Christian faith is that the alternatives facing one
upon his death are only these two: heaven or hell. 

If one has followed God and accepted His son, eternal salvation in the
Kingdom of Heaven is promised. If on the other hand one has strayed
from the path, the torments of hell will be his. In ages past the
horrors depicted in such pronouncements as a famous sermon preached by
Colonial America's Jonathan Edwards', "Sinners in the Hands of an
Angry God," have been sufficient to cow even the most intrepid into
trembling obedience to the Law. The eternal terrors of the regions
below, we have been told, are hardly to be taken lightly.

For Divine Principle, such expectations are the product of an
incomplete religious awareness. The spirit world is not simply limited
to heaven and hell but is differentiated according to many levels.
One's position after death determined by his spiritual attainment
during life. In contrast to traditional notions of heaven as a reward
and hell as an imposed punishment, one's position in the after-life is
a natural result of the quality of one's life on earth. 

The Principle would firmly agree with Oxford University's John
Macquarrie, who, in writing on the subject of heaven, argues sensibly
for an organic connection between the stages of one's life before and
after death:

"Heaven is not a reward that gets added on to the life of faith, hope
and love, but it is simply the end of that life, that is to say, the
working out of the life that is orientated by these principles.
Understood in this way...the symbol (heaven) stands for fullness of

                          Religious Evolution

Just as the religious evolution of humanity may be thought of as
proceeding through three stages, so may the spiritual growth of any
person. Accordingly, Divine Principle asserts spirit persons at the
different levels may be distinguished. 

A person who has grown through the formation stage of resurrection may
be said to have become a form spirit. After his physical death, he
would live at the form spirit level of the spirit world. Similarly, we
may use the terms of life spirit and divine spirit to describe those
persons who have grown through the growth and completion stages,
respectively, on earth. At the growth stage in the spirit world one


enters the region called Paradise, while at the completion stage he
enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

Traditionally, those of the Christian faith have understood Heaven and
Paradise to be the same. Divine Principle, however points to a
distinction. The Kingdom of Heaven emerges as the dwelling place for
those who have fulfilled the purpose of God's creation. 

Although Jesus came as the Messiah to fulfill this ideal and foster
the salvation of humanity, he was prevented by the crucifixion from
doing so. Therefore, since the three blessings and the Kingdom were
not realized on earth, we may understand that the Kingdom of Heaven in
the spirit world remains vacant. Jesus and his followers remain in
Paradise, the region in the spirit world equivalent to the growth
stage of resurrection. Their own resurrection to the Kingdom of Heaven
is to take place through the ministry of the Second Advent.

Countless numbers of people have already passed on to the spirit
world, with the great majority no doubt falling far short of having
attained complete resurrection. Since a person needs his physical body
in order to grow, we must inquire as to the fate of these persons who
now possess only their spirit selves. Can they continue to be

In his autobiography "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" the Swiss
psychologist Carl Jung recounts his conversation with a highly
cultivated elderly Indian, a friend of Mahatma Gandhi's. In discussing
the different ways in which education took place in India, the Indian
answered in reply to a question by Jung that his own guru was a man
named Shankaracharya. Jung replies:

"You don't mean the commentator on the Vedas who died centuries ago?"

"Yes, I mean him," he said, to my (Jung's) amazement.

"Then you are referring to a spirit?" I asked.

"Of course it was his spirit," he agreed....

"There are ghostly gurus too," he added.

"Most people have living gurus. But there are always some who have a
spirit for a teacher."

As Jung records, his conversation is an enlightenment to him, for over
a period of time he had a similar experience, but he had not been able
to explain it. Through his Indian acquaintance, he comes to understand
people on earth are frequently guided by those on the spirit world.

For "Divine Principle", the phenomenon experienced by Jung and his
associate is an example of activity by spirit persons who are pursuing
their own continuing resurrection. Since these spirit people did not


complete the process during their lifetime on earth, they return to
earth in spirit form to fulfill the task they left unaccomplished.
They do this by helping and guiding people who are still on earth. As
the spirit person assists the growth and achievement of such people on
earth, he himself is spiritually benefitted and progressively

Forces of Good.

That spirit persons cooperate with those on earth is an assertion
which tends to raise eyebrows. However, as Notre Dame's Morton Kelsey
has pointed out, such skepticism is restricted mainly to the perhaps
too-rationalistic West. While Kelsey's argument is too complex to
repeat here, in his "Encounter with God" he explains that spiritual
forces generally have not been given proper recognition in Western
civilization, due largely to the influence of one famous Greek:

"There is another view of man, however, found wherever the influence
of Aristotle and nineteenth century Western thought have not been
felt. In most cultures from primitive ones to the developed cultures
of China, India, Islam and of Byzantine Christianity, nonphysical
realities have been seen as a more powerful influence on man's destiny
than the physical world."

Nor is the fact of spirit cooperation without documentation in the
Bible. Jesus' assertion, for example, that John the Baptist was Elijah
clearly suggests a spiritual relationship between the two. Although
Elijah was in the spiritual world, "Divine Principle" holds that he
was responsible to complete his own earthly mission working with John
the Baptist as his successor. Along the same line, the writer of the
"Letter to the Hebrews" suggests that earlier prophets and other
servants of the Lord will find their own final salvation only through
the present generation:

"And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive
what was promised since god had foreseen something better for us, that
apart from us they should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11: 39-41)

"Divine Principle" points out that both the period of Jesus' life on
earth and the period of the Second Advent are special times when the
possibilities for a spiritual advancement for the faithful on earth
are especially great. After all, these are times when God's recreative
Word appears anew, opening new avenues for spiritual growth and
stimulating people of all backgrounds to new heights. Therefore we may
expect the earthly activity of spirit persons to be particularly acute
during these times.

The twenty-seventh chapter of "Matthew", for example, tells us that
when Jesus died on the cross many saints arose from their tombs. As we
have previously discussed, such reports should not be thought of
literally, but rather should be understood as describing a spiritual
reality. The passed-away prophets and saints were actively assisting


God's new dispensation, seeking to elevate themselves to higher levels
of spiritual attainment. Since this was the case in the past, "Divine
Principle" would argue we may anticipate similarly intense spiritual
activity at the time of the Second Advent.

The Demonic

While the relationship between the Indian acquaintance of Jung and his
spiritual acquaintance of Jung and his spiritual guru was obviously an
elevating one, this is not always the case. Many spirit persons,
having lived unenlightened lives here on earth, proceed to the spirit
world in a confused or even destructive state of mind. When this is
the case, and such spirits relate to people here on earth, their
influence is not a benign one.

Without discounting the psychological, emotional and even chemical
factors involved, "Divine Principle" suggests that the presence of
such dark spirit forces around vulnerable individuals can contribute
to a number of different tragic experiences.

In the New York "Son of Sam" murders for example, a man who killed a
number of young New York women said he was commanded to do so by an
invisible voice belonging to a person named Sam. Also, although
clearly an extreme account of spirit possession, the well-known film
"The Exorcist" was in fact based on a true story.

It is perhaps in the area of mental psychosis, however, that the
possibility of harmful spirit interaction is clearest. In his book
"The Presence of Other Worlds," Dr. Wilson Van Dusan, a clinical
psychologist who labored for sixteen years at California's Mendocino
State Hospital, described his own discovery of what he calls the
"presence of spirits in madness." Van Dusen had been vaguely familiar
with the writings of Emmanual Swedenborg on the interaction of spirits
with people on earth but only through his own experience with
psychotic patients did he learn what the seventeenth century Swedish
scientist was talking about.

Just as Swedenborg had discovered that spirits representing forces of
both light and dark, good and evil, were in communication with people
on earth, so Van Dusen discovered his patients both vocally and
visually were in touch with forces they regarded, as autonomous
spiritual beings. Describing the influence these beings can have, Van
Dusen writes:

"I learned to two orders of experience...called the higher and the
lower order. Lower order voices are similar to drunken bums at a bar
who like to tease and torment just for the fun of it... They find a
weak point of conscience and work on it interminably..... All of the
lower order are irreligious or anti-religious...In direct contrast
stand the rarer higher order (spirits)...(who) respected his freedom
and would withdraw if it frightened him.... The higher order is much


more likely to be symbolic, religious, supportive, genuinely
Presence of Other Worlds

Centuries ago, of course, concepts of spirit influence and spirit
possession were prevalent. The New Testament, for example, clearly
reflects Jesus' belief in spirit influence. On more than one occasion
Jesus is described as casting out demons (e.g. Mt. 8:15-16, Mk.
5:1-20). Also, the Apostle Paul, after his long experience with the
spiritual path, writes to his fellow believers in Ephesus of the
reality of invisible powers acting on the striving devotee:

"Put on the whole armor of God...For we are not contending against
flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers,
against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the
spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph. 6:11-12)

All these assertions tend to be dismissed by our materialistic West as
reflective of an antiquated world view. In light of modern discoveries
such as Van Dusen's however, and in light of modern psychiatry's
acknowledged inability to heal much mental illness, perhaps a new
openness to such perceptions as those of Jesus and Paul is merited.

Despite the potential power for good or evil that spiritual forces may
have, Divine Principle holds that the ultimate responsibility for an
individual's state of being and behavior rests with himself. It is we
who make the bases which determine what kind of spirit influence we
may attract.

Chevy Chase's famous dictum "the devil made me do it" may be an
amusing out, but such a denial of one's own ultimate responsibility
doesn't square with the way God made the world.

Belief in reincarnation has been with us since the earliest days of
human life. Hindus and Buddhists have held to the belief for many
centuries, and the Western world has become familiar with it through
the channels of Oriental influence in the last fifty years. Let us
examine it in light of the Divine Principle.

According to the doctrine of reincarnation the soul has successive
bodies of flesh and, therefore, many lives upon the earth. Through
these many lives, the individual soul is able to evolve. What a person
does not work out or achieve in one lifetime, he completes in the

Assuming this is the case, the theory of reincarnation purports to
answer questions such as the following: Why is one person so well
placed in life, given every advantage that money and culture can
confer, while another person is born into very difficult
circumstances, where it seems impossible to make any advance in life?
Why is one child born a cripple, or born blind, while another child
arrives in this world with a healthy body? Why does one child live to


a ripe old age, while another child dies after only a few days or
years? Men and women are not born free and equal but start this life
like horses in a handicap race, no one two bearing an equal burden.

How can this be, the reincarnationist is likely to ask, if indeed God
is loving, just, and all-powerful? The reincarnationist answer is that
we are reaping today, for good or evil, the results of the seeds we
have sown during the course of many previous lives. Many times we have
been a man, and many times a woman. Some of those at the bottom of the
social ladder today have walked the earth as kings, presidents,
generals, admirals and high priests; and some who now sit in the seats
of the mighty have toiled as simple peasants in days gone by, pulled
at the oar of a galley, or worn the chains of a slave. 

Despite these arguments, Divine Principle objects to the theory of
reincarnation on several grounds. First of all, the idea is contrary
to the Principle of Creation, which teaches that man was originally to
become fully mature in one lifetime. Afterwards, he was to pass on to
the spiritual heaven and to live with God in the utmost joy and glory.

Human beings were thus not designed to take a physical form again and
again, however imperfect one is at the end of his life on earth.
Assuming one can progress only on earth, the doctrine of reincarnation
ignores God's design for the blessed eternal spiritual heaven, in
which there are innumerable spheres and regions for man's evolution
and where he has great opportunities for improvement.

Within the Hindu tradition, the Karmic Law of cause and effect states
that the consequences of every act must be discharged in this or some
future life on earth. Divine Principle affirms that the law of cause
and effect operates in the creation and that no one can escape it.
However, the consequences of all our actions will be discharged not in
another incarnation but in this life and the spirit realm. Therefore,
it is important to realize what we think, love, and do now determines
our life and character in the eternal spirit world, for we are forming
our spirit self here on earth.

Nor can we be persuaded by the fact that the doctrine presumes to
explain apparent worldly injustices such as why one man is poor and
another rich. Such states cannot be simplistically attributed to one's
prior goodness or evil. 

As most people would agree, material wealth, physical comfort,
prestige and power are not true blessings of ultimate spiritual value.
Moses gave up an easy and comfortable life in Pharaoh's court and
became a shepherd to be closer to God. Gautama Buddha left his palace,
forsaking his position as a prince, in order to seek enlightenment. In
our day, Albert Schweitzer chose to serve the primitive Africans with
Christian love, giving up a good position and a high standard of
living. Also, Helen Keller, though blind, deaf, and dumb, achieved the
highest academic goal and spiritual light and peace. Many people turn
to God and for the first time find inner joy and high purpose in life


after a serious illness or accident. Why? Because an easy life and
luxurious environment are often hindrances to one's spiritual growth.

Regardless of such argumentation, there are nevertheless many cases
cited of people who, while reading ancient history or tales of other
lands and times, "remember" the events about which they are reading.
In the view of Divine Principle, a "memory" of this type occurs when
cooperating spirits strengthen the mental images invariably created
while reading. 

Swedenborg, the great psychic and revelator of the seventeenth
century, once explained that if a spirit were to speak from his own
memory with a man, the man would not know otherwise than that the
thoughts then in his mind were his own, although they were in fact the
spirit's thoughts. Thus, startling ideas and thoughts can be influxes
from the memories of cooperating spirits.

Finally, if reincarnation had been a fact throughout the ages, should
we not find evidence of it in a goodly portion of perfected souls
among us? Surely by this time we should see many mature and advanced
spirits among the wealthy, the beautiful, and the powerful on earth.
But is this true? On the contrary, in many instances such people seem
to be just as immature and imperfect as the rest of mankind, if not
more so!

In conclusion, Divine Principle teaches that a spirit person can reach
maturity only in conjunction with physical body. Because of this
principle, discarnate spirits are destined to return to contact
earthly people in order to advance to the state of completion.
Discarnate beings do come back as spirit persons to be invisible
teachers, to guide and help humanity. They more they serve others, the
more they progress. 

This is especially so at this time. By serving and cooperating with
those who work for the Lord of the Second Advent, those in spirit
world can advance more rapidly than at any other time in history. 

The eighteenth century British novelist Henry Fielding, in his famous
satire "Tom Jones", uses the pontifications of a Christian minister to
illustrate a classic religious arrogance. The minister declaims:

     "When I mention religion, I mean the Christian religion, and
     not only the Christian religion, but the Protestant
     religion; and not only the Protestant religion, but the
     Church of England."

Although Fielding's portrait is a comic exaggeration of religious
bias, it is nevertheless reflective of a type of bigotry not uncommon
to many believers, whether they be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or
whatever. Such has been the religious fragmentation of the human


Divine Principle teaches that the time for such a divided state is
nearly up. In an age when we are seen, in Archibald MacLeish's words,
as "riders on the earth together," the future of the religious faiths
is necessarily an interdependent one. 

For Divine Principle, an integrated religious vision is the very tool
necessary to bring the human family into a healthy wholeness. If
religion fails to play this role, some other power, perhaps even a
totalitarian force like communism, is likely to attempt to fill the

                            Religious Unity

Therefore, our age calls for a religious unity. A practical
harmonization of the world's faiths will both release new energies
against the problems facing humankind, and realize fully the spiritual
values common to the religions themselves.

At the time of the Second Advent, Divine Principle teaches,
traditional religious barriers are to be overcome. This process will
no doubt be aided by input from the spirit side, perhaps even by the
founders of the different religions themselves.

As was previously explained, spirit persons who have remained in
Paradise are inevitably to return to earth and cooperate with the
faithful at the time of the Second Advent, thereby to advance their
own spiritual growth.

Through this intervention, sincere seekers on earth can be led by
spirit persons to the Lord of the Second Coming. The time and type of
guidance that a person on earth receives from a spirit person vary
depending on a person's attitude, faith and disposition. In any event,
Divine Principle suggests that through such guidance the unification
of religions will gradually occur.

For Divine Principle, all religions have arisen through God's
providence and have enlightened the consciousness of man. Taoism,
Confucianism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Shinto and Hinduism
have all contributed to the spiritual development of man. These
religions have laid the foundation for the fulfillment of the last
dispensation, the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

                             At the center

However, while all great religions are thus based upon certain degrees
of truth from God and have served His purposes in various ways, Divine
Principle sees the Judeo-Christian revelation as the central
revelation from God for humankind. Christianity is thus not a religion
for Christians alone. Rather, it is the central religion whose
insights enable it to be the core around which other faiths can make
their own contributions most fully.


Accordingly, messages concerning the Second Advent are likely to come
not only from Jesus but from founders of all other religions as well.
These religious founders will fulfill their own missions and complete
their own resurrection through the sincere participation of their
followers in the ministry of the Second Advent.

Since the Second Advent of the Lord is universal in scope, its effects
are not to be confined to the Christian world. Eventually all mankind
will participate in this cosmic event in order to bring about the
resurrection of each individual and the restoration of the universe.

For the first time in history, then, divergent religions will be
harmonized, thereby leading mankind into one universal brotherhood.
Ultimately, Divine Principle anticipates that the unity of the two
worlds, the invisible and the visible, will be accomplished. Matured
men and women will serve as the mediators between them, resulting in
complete harmony and communication between the two worlds.

Consequently, the new world of perfection will be highly spiritual; it
will be the Garden of Eden or heaven on earth. The life God has
planned for all of His children will have been established and God's
ideal of creation fulfilled at last.