By Tyler Hendricks, Ecclesiastical Endorser, Unification Church of America
Religion exists to bring about goodness, and yet most religions teach that evil is inevitable and some teach that it is a good thing. Christianity teaches that the human fall was good because it created the need for Jesus. Many follow the position of second century patriarch Irenaeus, who taught that for us to become good, evil has to exist so that we can reject it, or the fourth century patriarch Augustine, who taught that evil is the inevitable price of a greater good, freedom.
The problem is that this leads to the acceptance of evil, an ultimate resignation expressed in common phrases such as “it’s human nature,” “that’s just the way things are,” and “what can you do?” I have two reasons to refute this—and in this essay I will address Irenaeus’ view. One, I believe that a completely good world is possible. Two, I’d like to help Christians appreciate the Divine Principle.
Let’s begin by defining evil. The Divine Principle does not say that selfishness is necessarily evil. Rev. Moon even said that God has an element of selfishness: “All of our human traits originate in God. We recognize that there is some human tendency for selfishness. This is natural because at one time God Himself was self-centered. This fact may surprise you, but you must understand that before God created man and the universe, He was all alone, with no one to care for except Himself. However the very instant that God initiated creation, His full concept of life emerged. God now lives for His counterpart, not for Himself. …He exists to love, He exists to give. God is the totally unselfish existence. …When God poured all of His love, life, and ideal into His second self, He had to, in a sense, realize a profit. God knew that when He invested all He had—100 percent—His object would mature and return to Him many, many times over the fruits of love, life, and His ideal.”
The principled way to fulfill selfish desire, called in the Divine Principle “self-purpose,” is through unselfishness behavior, called “whole purpose.” The important point is that self-purpose gives way to the whole purpose. Goodness means to fulfill selfish desire through unselfish behavior—to put the whole purpose first. This is “principled behavior.” Evil means to fulfill selfish desire through selfish behavior—to put the self-purpose first. This is “unprincipled behavior.” Here, by “behavior” I include both intention and action.
So is evil, that is, unprincipled behavior, necessary so that we can reject it? The answer is, no. The principle is that the subject partner gives to the object partner, which responds to fulfill the purpose of creation. There is no necessity that either partner discontinues the proper behavior or withdraws from the relationship in order for it to succeed. Let’s look at some examples in our everyday experience.