Divine Principle (DP) teaches all human beings are created to live forever in an invisible spirit world with God. In this article, I review Unification teaching on eternal life and suggest ways to improve it. This is important because the DP view of spiritual realities and how we can know about them is based on metaphysical assumptions no longer tenable in the modern/postmodern world. I make the case DP teaching on eternal life needs to be updated and offer points to consider to start this process.
Unification teaching demands no empirical evidence to verify its truth claims about eternal life. DP assumes when we die the same individual personality from earthly life continues in the spirit world:
“Our spirit self, or spirit, is a substantial yet incorporeal reality which can be apprehended only through the spiritual senses. It is the subject partner to our physical self. Our spirit can communicate directly with God and is meant to govern the incorporeal world, including the angels. In appearance, our spirit self matches our physical self. After we shed the physical self, we enter the spirit world and live there for eternity (DP, p. 48).”
Based on the assumption human beings go to spirit world after bodily death and maintain the same personality embodied while living on earth, DP teaches the doctrine of returning resurrection. It explains how human beings living as spirit selves in spirit world “come down to earth” to exert influence over earthly people. During the 1980s and 1990s, two dramatic expressions of returning resurrection occurred in the Unification faith community, seeming to prove the existence of spirit world and spirit being interaction with earthly people (cf. 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement, pp. 397-401; pp. 550-58).