On the Internal Meaning of Lineage
In the teachings of Reverend Sun Myung Moon, lineage comes up time and time again. Lineage is cited as a significant element in a number of ways: the need to restore humanity, originally of God’s lineage, from Satan’s lineage back to God’s lineage; the significance of lineage in terms of a person being chosen by God for providential work; the significance of lineage in terms of what kind of sin needs to be resolved on earth; etc.
Despite the prominence of lineage as a concept in Rev. Moon’s teaching, there is surprisingly little extrapolation on the topic. He frequently used all sorts of real world and theoretical examples to illustrate his understanding of how God’s creation works. Concepts such as internal and external, vertical and horizontal are pivotal to illustrating the ideas he is dealing with. The Principle itself goes into the idea of “spherical movement” of living beings. How then does lineage fit into this conceptual framework?
In many cases, Father Moon discusses different dimensions. Consider the eight-stages of restoration. He describes eight horizontal stages: individual → family → clan → ethnic group → nation → world → cosmos → God; and eight vertical stages: servant of servants → servant → adopted child → stepchild (or illegitimate child) → true child → mother → father → God. We can understand that these two dimensions as interacting or interfacing like an x and y axis. At any given point in time, a person may be at one of the horizontal levels, such as at the level of nation. By this, we mean that the person is dealing with issues that impact on a national level of existence.
Likewise, at any given point, a person may be at a vertical stage of restoration or growth, such as the stage of adopted son. We mean that the person is dealing with issues that impact or are related to a quality of relationship typified as that of an adopted child and his or her adopted parent. One axis deals with dimensions of human existence embodied in larger or smaller social groupings, the other deals with dimensions of relationships of heart — equated with “internal dimensions.”
However, from one viewpoint, these two axes only represent a partial picture. They look at the situation in two-dimensional terms, and as Rev. Moon points out on a number of occasions, including in the Divine Principle itself, the mode of existence of all created beings is three-dimensional, that is, spherical. The eight-stages paradigm (pal jeong shik) only deals with personal relationships (the vertical axis) and levels of magnitude of number (the horizontal axis; hereafter, “magnitude” is used in the sense of size or scale). The other axis that is missing here is time, and this is where lineage makes its appearance.
I do not in any way mean to imply that Father’s description of the pal jeong shik is incomplete or insufficient. The pal jeong shik is a description of the course of the Christ (and all who follow) as an individual in the physical place (“Earth”), and an individual on Earth only exists in one lifetime. Hence, in terms of the pal jeong shik course, time as it exists beyond the individual is not quite relevant. Pal jeong shik is an illustration sufficient for its purpose.
On the other hand, Father Moon also offers a description of the sphere and the seven-point paradigm. He describes how we define our position in the cosmos through the interaction of three axes: above and below, left and right, front and back. So while Newton conceived of time as an immutable constant, Einstein changed all of that with the general and special theories of relativity. Accordingly, while space involves three dimensions — height, width, depth — our universe also involves a fourth dimension, namely time.
In short, lineage is a concept that relates to the dimension of time. Lineage describes a connection between elements existing in space from the perspective of time. Ancestors are those that came before us, and who are no longer here in the same place (physical plane). Descendants are those who will come after us, in the place we are now, but where we will no longer be when they are. Lineage actually describes a connection through time. It describes an extending scale of existence, not a scale related to space or the number of people (family, clan, ethnic group, nation, etc.) but a scale in terms of the extension of time.
Conceive, if you will, of a lineage as a single entity stretching through time, like a river. As a member of that lineage, I am like a portion of a river. I may be at the origins of the river, or in the middle of the river’s course, or at the lower end of the river. Although my consciousness is focused on where I am in the river, I am a part of a greater whole. Likewise, a lineage has a life that started before I came into being in the physical world, and has a future that can potentially extend beyond the time I am present in the physical world. What comes before me affects me, because I am part of it. How I live and act and what I do will affect those who come after me because they are also a part of that same entity. This is lineage. In this sense, just as individuals connected with each other form a family or a clan, so individuals and families connected through time form a lineage.
This then is the third axis. Lineage is the flow of certain personalities, accomplishments and qualities through time. Likewise, when Satan accomplished control of Adam and Eve, he not only grasped control of the space they occupied as individuals, and not only expanded that control through magnitudes of population (akin to space), but he also achieved control over that space through time. The qualities that Satan infected the first family with expanded not only throughout space (via magnitudes of human interaction) but were also passed on through time.
Rev. Sun Myung Moon speaking to followers in suburban Tokyo, Japan in 1969.
The Christ thus comes not only to restore the vertical relationship with God (which is akin to penetrating deeper and deeper into the inner world of human existence — the “internal” axis), and not only to restore the horizontal dimensions of space (symbolized by the eight stages of horizontal magnitude), but the Christ also comes to restore the dimension of time, so that both the past and the future are returned to God.
The presence of Satan’s lineage means the past and the present belong to Satan, to the extent that the lineage has influence. The establishment of God’s lineage means that the past is restored, and the future also restored, at least, in terms of potential.
This is why preservation of lineage is so critical. Lineage represents the dimension of time. To resolve sin and accomplish unity over time, all Unificationists should realize we do not exist merely for ourselves. Moreover, we do not exist merely for the family, clan, nation, and world of which we are a part today. We also exist as part of the past, and part of the future.
From this perspective, lineage is a fusion of the qualities of human relationship passing through time. Quality of relationship (the vertical eight-stage axis) is both internal to the horizontal axis of magnitude (i.e., a nation may be an enemy, or a servant, or a child, or a bride of God, for example), and at the same time internal to the other horizontal axis of time (i.e., a lineage may be in a position of an enemy to God, or the position of an adopted child or true child of God, for example).
Rev. Moon is a man fully aware of his position and existence in the cosmos. He comes then, not only as the Lord of Love (vertical relationship) or the Lord of Life (dimensions of magnitude of human life) but also as the Lord of Lineage (time). When we emulate Father Moon and develop our awareness on all three axes, we can truly stand as blessed ancestors and blessed descendants who live for the sake of those who came before us and those who come after us. We will build our awareness in a mode that can only be described as spherical.♦
Andrew Lausberg is a linguist and translator with extensive experience in Korean, Japanese and Australian culture. He lives with his wife, Shizue, and four children in Melbourne, Australia. Andrew and Shizue are part of the 6,516 couples (1988) and served as National Leaders of Vanuatu during the mid-2000s.