Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother: Two Gods or One?

By David Burton

In Divine Principle, one of the first principles in Chapter 1, “The Principle of Creation,” is that of resemblance whereby we deduce things about the characteristics of God from common characteristics of everything we observe. That we observe male and female beings suggests that God as described by Divine Principle is a God of both masculinity and femininity in a way quite different to the traditional Christian view of God.

However, until relatively recently we have inherited our common operating perception of God directly from Christianity and prayed to a Heavenly Father, not a Heavenly Mother. Then, five years ago, Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon asked us to start to pray to Heavenly Parent rather than Heavenly Father. For me this was a sea change and wakeup call to the fact that the view of God in Divine Principle is not the traditional Christian view of God.

My wife picked up on this first and often had to remind me who I was praying to during family prayers. Coming from a Christian culture praying to a Heavenly Father was totally ingrained for me and a new word for God quite disconcerting at first. Praying to Heavenly Parent is significantly different because it also acknowledges the Divine Feminine presence in the Godhead. It pushes us to come to grips with the content of Divine Principle that suggests God is both male and female.

Since 2013, there has been a growing awareness within Unificationism that we need to deal with God as Heavenly Mother as well as Heavenly Father. Personally coming to accept God also as Heavenly Mother has been part and parcel of my accepting Mother Moon in her leadership role in the church.

Accepting the Divine Feminine is not without issues of its own, though — not least of which are the mental ontological contortions involved with imagining how male and female can be combined into one substance.

The underlying reason for this perceptual difficulty is much deeper than personal imagination of a mental image. It goes to the philosophical roots of the Christian tradition. More than just being difficult to imagine, accepting Heavenly Mother in addition to Heavenly Father is in fact ontologically impossible within the context of traditional Christian monotheism.

In this article, I explore why that is so and posit a potential solution based in Divine Principle and science. We accept Divine Principle as a “New Truth” but struggle to articulate exactly how it is new. This issue of Heavenly Mother cuts directly to the core of the newness of Divine Principle.

The Problem of the Traditional Paradigm

It is with good reason Alfred North Whitehead characterized the whole Christian philosophical tradition as footnotes to Plato. Plato’s ontology was modified by Aristotle, then adopted by the whole of Christianity as its foundational explanation of existence. In order to outline the traditional paradigm concerning God we must briefly revisit that ontology.

Going back to first principles, both Plato and Aristotle said existing things consist of form and matter. Form is the immaterial idea or pattern of a thing whereas matter is the “stuff” of which things are made. In order to distinguish this concept of matter from concepts of matter that developed later, from this point I will call this first kind of “stuff” prime matter.

Prime matter on its own is inert, formless and continuous. It has the potential to become the stuff of any existing being. Form is the active principle that gives shape, even perhaps life and mind, to the formless prime matter much as a seal impresses an image into molten wax.

Detail of Plato and Aristotle from a fresco, “The School of Athens,” by Raphael in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City.

Plato was the idealist. For him, form was paramount, and he regarded forms as eternal, timeless, and immaterial, existing independently of prime matter in their own realm. Aristotle was the realist. He did not subscribe to the independent existence of forms. Neither could prime matter be found anywhere by itself independent of form. Nevertheless, Aristotle proposed there was something about an existing being, its substance or essence, beyond that which we could experience of it through our senses. The substance or essence of any existing being is its prime matter plus universal aspects of its form. In this view of form and matter, even normal everyday objects such as a rock or tree necessarily have a supernatural, or formal, component.

Christian writers have incorporated this view of existence in terms of form and matter into their theology and philosophy concerning God. Their views still largely dominate our understanding of God today. Two were of particular importance. St. Augustine was Platonic; he transformed Plato’s realm of forms into an explanation for God. St. Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, was Aristotelian. He incorporated Aristotelian substances into theology and philosophy. His influence was so pervasive on Christian theology that substantive ontology became the cornerstone of understanding existence in classical Christian theism. It is still implicitly present in Christian doctrine.

In this substantive ontology, every existing being exists as a combination of substance and attribute. The concept of substance derives from the Aristotelian concept of substance as prime matter plus universal aspects of form. There are three basic types of substance: God, spirit, and matter (not prime matter). Matter has “quantity” or mass and a continuous spatial extension, whereas spirit has “quality” and no spatial extension. God is seen as being beyond space and time so has no extension in either space or time.

Substances are simple, that is, they are not composed of anything simpler, and substances without spatial extension are indivisible. God and spirit are indivisible. Substances can also be personal, so I am a personal substance, you who are reading this are a personal substance. God is also a personal substance and is often equated with spirit or mind. No two substances can occupy the same place at the same time, so God must be wholly distinct from all other substances.

Attributes correspond to the things we can observe about a being. Attributes are said to inhere in the substance and they modify the substance. God, as substance, then also has attributes, and there is quite a long list of the attributes of God. When we say God is eternal, unchanging and absolute, we are talking about attributes of God. With respect to God, however, attributes take on a slightly different meaning than with created beings. God in this substantive ontology is simple and indivisible and is viewed as immaterial mind or spirit that pre-exists the universe and who creates prime matter out of nothing. This simple and indivisible oneness of God means that in God there is no distinction between God’s substance and attributes such as we find in created beings. God is.

Although masculinity is not normally on the list of attributes of God, the Christian God is also clearly male. As a male being, in the substantive ontology, that masculinity must be either substance or attribute. Consequently, if we now talk about Heavenly Mother in addition to Heavenly Father, we must be postulating two separate Gods, one male and one female. This is true whether masculinity or femininity are attribute or substance. The two cannot coexist as one simple substance in God. That is, in traditional Christian theology and philosophy rooted in form and matter it is not possible to reconcile the existence of both Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father with monotheism. As we will also see it is also not possible to reconcile it with science or Divine Principle.

Breaking the Paradigm

A serious challenge to the traditional substantive ontology is thrown up by science as it developed through the 19th and 20th centuries, and we can most clearly trace the problem in the history of chemistry.

Chemistry began to be established as a science toward the end of the 18th century with empirical laws such as Antoine Lavoisier’s law of conservation of mass in chemical reactions or Joseph Proust’s law of constant composition in chemical compounds. John Dalton explained these laws, and expanded on them, by drawing on a different root in Greek philosophy than the Platonic root of Christian philosophical theism. Modernizing the ancient Atomist doctrine of Democritus and Leucippus, he proposed a scientific version that explained the previously established empirical laws. Unlike the indivisible atoms of the Greek Atomists, Dalton’s atoms turned out to be divisible and composed of more fundamental elementary particles. However, with this one exception, Dalton’s theory still holds true for chemistry today. His Atomic Theory laid the foundation for chemistry, and much of physics, to develop as a quantitative science. Also, because of its different ontological root, it marks the actual point of separation between science and traditional Christian thought.

Dalton’s Atomic Theory was first published around 1804, but he had no experimental evidence for atoms. It was scientifically possible to doubt their existence throughout the 19th century and there were heated debates concerning their existence. Despite this lack of experimental evidence the development of much of chemistry, mechanics, and thermodynamics in the 19th century adopted a particle approach. It took 100 years for experimental evidence of atoms to be supplied by Albert Einstein in his analysis of Brownian motion in 1905.

Since Einstein, physics, in its search for the fundamental constituents of the universe, has developed beyond a consideration of simple atoms. Today’s scientific controversies in physics surround the interpretation of quantum mechanics and its reconciliation with relativity. Despite this contemporary uncertainty, there is now no scientific controversy concerning the existence of atoms. They have even been imaged in atomic force microscopes.

The experimental proof of atoms was another crucial turning point. Whatever you believe about quantum mechanics or relativity, the scientifically undeniable existence of atoms falsifies the form, prime matter, and substance ontology at the root of Christian thought. There are now no longer material substances continuously spread through space, but rather discrete atoms. In atomic theory, existing beings are all compound beings composed of many types of atoms. They are not the simple substances of traditional thought.

The view of existing beings composed of atoms is mutually exclusive to the view of existing beings in terms of form, prime matter and substance. Throughout the 19th century, this conflict was only at a philosophical level, but with Einstein’s proof of atoms putting Atomic theory on a firm experimental footing, the traditional ontology of form, matter, and substance is no longer tenable. Consequently, existing beings cannot be considered to be prime matter shaped by form, and the entire edifice of traditional philosophical theism turns out to be a house built on sand. The foundation in form, matter, and substance has crumbled away, leaving the house with no support. This house of theism must collapse unless we can build a new foundation.

Fortunately, there is the new truth of Divine Principle that can provide that new foundation. Divine Principle continues where science leaves off:

“[S]ubatomic particles, the basic building blocks of all matter, possess either a positive charge, a negative charge or a neutral charge formed by the neutralization of positive and negative constituents. When particles join with each other through the reciprocal relationships of their dual characteristics, they form an atom. Atoms, in turn, display either a positive or a negative valence. When the dual characteristics within one atom enter into reciprocal relationships with those in another atom, they form a molecule. Molecules formed in this manner engage in further reciprocal relationships between their dual characteristics to eventually become nourishment fit for consumption by plants and animals.”

That is, Divine Principle begins from an ontology based on particles in relationship. There is a hierarchy of particles of increasing complexity from the simple subatomic up to and including complex human beings. The characteristics of masculinity and femininity, then, as in the above quote, are properties of these particles, particularly as they engage in relationship. In this quote we also see that existing beings that we observe are all compound beings composed of layers of relationship.

Further, in its concept of a spirit body that inhabits a spiritual realm Divine Principle adds to the overturning of traditional ontology. For existence based on form and matter, a spirit body is a logical impossibility due to the indivisibility of the substance spirit. Christian ontology also only deals with God and the physical realm. There is no place in the substantive ontology for a spirit realm. Divine Principle therefore widens the break from traditional thought that was initiated by science. It is a new truth fundamentally because it is based on a new, and scientifically compatible, relational ontology. Since it is compatible with science, it has the potential to save theism from collapse in the face of science.

Heavenly Parent

Science and Divine Principle together show us that all the basic understandings of matter, spirit, and God that we inherit from Christianity are inherently suspect and are almost certainly wrong. There is no form and prime matter as traditionally conceived. So the substances of matter and spirit also do not exist.

What is needed is a completely new understanding of existence derived from the new ontological roots. Beginning from an ontology of particles in relationship, one of the key insights we derive from Divine Principle is that all existing beings we observe with some form of consciousness are compound and complex. They are not simple substance, but exist through multiple layers of relationship between discrete particles.

Invoking the principle of resemblance, then we should also fundamentally regard God too as a compound being. God is then not a simple and indivisible substance, but rather a complex being with many levels of relationship between discrete particles.

There are multiple consequences of this new understanding, but the immediate consequence of relevance here is that the objection to the Divine Feminine from the perspective of traditional ontology is removed. This is because some of those particles can be male and some female. Just as the human race contains both men and women, as “particles” within the larger whole, we can then easily imagine how both male and female combine in relationship within such a complex God. Further our personal experience of God then becomes contextual. Heavenly Parent, singular, if we are dealing with all of God, Heavenly Father if we are just dealing with the male particles and Heavenly Mother if we are dealing with the female particles. It is our own personal and direct relationship with God that is the key to how we experience God.

Finally, as food for thought, when we retire the concept of substance, we also remove the requirement that God be totally separate from us. I believe we all actively participate in God directly; that we are all a part of God. Nancy Ellen Abrams, in her book, A God That Could be Real, says of such a participatory experience of God:

We’re truly participating in our universe when we come to feel in our bones that we are a part of the story, thoroughly integrated into the big picture. God is emerging from us and bound into us, we know where we stand in the cosmos, and we know what we are. (p. 38)

As we participate directly in God’s existence we are connected beyond ourselves, not only to our fellow human beings, but intimately to the whole universe itself. We are not the separate and isolated beings we have imagined based on the Christian substantive ontology.♦

Dr. David Burton (UTS Class of 1990) is chemistry laboratory director and professor of chemistry at the University of Bridgeport. He holds a Ph.D. in nuclear magnetic resonance from the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. He and his wife, Kathleen, both graduated in 1990 with an M.Div. from Unification Theological Seminary, and were subsequently campus ministers at Yale University for eight years.

31 thoughts on “Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother: Two Gods or One?

  1. Sorry, David.

    Instead of writing such an article, you should go again to the so-called Original Substance of Divine Principle workshop lectures, which tragically have almost been forgotten by many.

    Father emphasized this already very strongly almost 10 years ago for all of our members and blessed families, in order to have the right understanding of God’s divine principle, his way of restoration, his existence and finally his character as well. And this not only one time, but seven times everyone should participate!

    Please consider this very seriously, otherwise you will bring an additional confusion within our movement. We have already had too much of that.

    • Sorry, Hannes.

      Although I heard Rev. Eu’s OSDP workshops more than once, and appreciate them, he has some limitations in knowledge. As a historian in Korea, he did not attend many of the East Garden talks. So, his presentations on the OSDP were not updated in regard to some issues.

      Dr. Young Oon Kim explained at her Theology Class Dinner in 1982 that Father sometimes did not give all his revolutionary explanations simply because he did not feel people were ready to hear them yet. For several years, she asked Father about the Creation event and if he could give more detail about Adam and Eve. He remained silent on this issue. Then one day, in personal conversation with her, he told her that Adam and Eve were born “like two peas in a pod.” As I describe in my later comment here, this is different from the Jewish myth that Rev. Eu touted in his 2012 Las Vegas OSDP seminar, that “Eve was born after Adam…and from Adam’s rib.”

  2. I have posted my comment about this topic several times in several places. We don’t need to think about this issue in such a complicated way. DP is very simple and clear. We call God as Father because of the position, not the attributes of God. This is totally different from Christian Theology.

    From this perspective, True Father mentioned many times if we call God as Heavenly Mother, that becomes dualism and it destroys the Principle. I believe this is our understanding of DP. In Jim Nim started saying Heavenly Mother. Ye Jin Nim followed the same. I repeat, True Father mentioned many times if we call God as Heavenly Mother, that becomes dualism and it destroys the Principle.

  3. It would be surprising if the Lord of the Second Advent didn’t bring a radical new understanding of the nature of our Creator, just as Jesus brought a radical new understanding of God as our Father. Chun Il Guk describes something essential about existence, and now we can see how our Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are one in heart. Thus, to talk about having “Heavenly Parents” is not di-theism, it’s just common sense. Just as it was common sense for Jesus to talk about us as sons and daughters of God. The problem, then as now, is that people mustn’t get stuck in old theologies. “New wine comes in new wine skins.”

    • James,

      Yes, it is common sense, but Unificationism is stuck in old theologies. Collectively, we do try to put the new wine into the old wine skin and it doesn’t work. The old wine skin will crack and spill all the new wine.

    • “Heavenly Parents” is dualism and against the Principle. This is such a simple truth. We should understand the difference between God’s attributes and God’s position. DP took God’s position to God as Father.

      • It is interesting to see how sometimes UCism truly (sometimes anyway) resembles the U.S. Congress (or is it that vice versa?).

        Unfortunately, (apparently) I seem to be in an odd minority group that believes in the principle of the both. In my opinion, those who presume to speak — absolutely — for God (or as God) will always make the same error. And this even includes The Messiah — or even any Messianic co-conspirators, proteges, progeny, etc. It is the personal relationship(s) that matters — and that can neither be dictated nor mandated. Yet, it remains the ultimate conundrum — even for me.

        How is it possible that the Great and Powerful Creator of the Universe has any knowledge, much less concern for me?

        Heavenly Parent (or Father? or Mother?) — yes, that odd construct may appeal to some. And Heavenly Parents? Yes, too. If there is “empirical evidence” (or even the usual anecdotal) that one construct is more true — universally — then, so what?

        True love is still the goal whether one attempts to be entirely objective and academic about causes, foundations, etc., or just the opposite.

        “If I have not charity (true love)…I…am…nothing…”

  4. Thank you for articulating your thoughts, particularly, regarding Aristotle and Plato and their influence on Aquinas and Augustine (Christian culture), etc., up to this very day. I would agree with your statement that the current status of “this new understanding” leads to “multiple consequences,” yet argue, somewhat, with your conclusion that “the immediate consequence of relevance here is that the objection to the Divine Feminine from the perspective of traditional ontology is removed.” But, as with most things, time will tell.

    • Thank you. There is a larger context for this, and that is Unificationism itself does not yet have a firm and unified theoretical understanding of our tradition. While Divine Principle itself is compatible with science, we usually interpret it using the traditional categories, which are not. So we are a house divided.

  5. The personification of deities is always problematic, but especially for religions in their early formative stages when one or both of their founders are still alive. Confusion might occur about how much connection there is between the entities and their intended meanings. The problem of referring to God as “Heavenly Parent” is problematic because one is forced to consider the fact that you need two parents for the act of creation. Conversely, if you refer to God as both “Heavenly Father” and “Heavenly Mother,” you are forced to rule out a key principle of creation that states everything begins with a central origin. Maybe this is why the term “God” has always been the go-to term when referring to the Almighty; it leaves out human descriptions which can lead to confusion, debate, and even conflict, which is anything but the purpose of religion.

    • Good points.

      Yet, oddly, conversely, it is those personal, human descriptions (and who can number them all?) that give *religions* their power and influence via dynamically inspired individuals, etc.

      Confusion, debate and conflict are mere part and parcel of life in a free society. As to the “purpose of religion,” who can really say? Will it ever…end?

      To strive, ever, as a “peace-making global citizen” seems pretty noble though.

  6. Thank you for your exploration of ontology that provides a backdrop with Classical Philosophy, science and Christian philosophy, David.

    Within Christian history, as we know, there were individuals who affirmed a Mother God and/or attempted to define the feminine aspects of God in later years. In the 10th century, a Cistercian Abbot mentions the words of Jesus in which he is like a “hen gathering his chicks (children)….” This is significant to these monks who were Abbots and parental figures because these men struggled to deal with the many internal problems of monks living as a community. They knew that strict masculine characteristics did not entirely represent the call for nurturance, relationship approaches and dealing with emotions. There were others who wrote about this issue, including Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science Church who posited a “Mother God and Father God.”

    As I always mention, it is relevant to remember Father’s words on the creation event. He described the birth of Adam and Eve emerging “like two peas in a pod” [dizygotic twins] who became “two pillars of the Godhead….both equidistant from God…both equally the substantial body of God….who both perceived the principles of creation (SMM, Sept. 2007, East Garden, notes of Dr. Donna Ferrantello and recounted in the conversation of Dr. Young Oon Kim at her 1982 Contemporary Theology Class Dinner).” Because this affirms the scientific fact of paired aspects in the physical world, I like Father’s revolutionary contribution that “both were the substantial body of God.”

    • Thanks, Donna. Yes, the emotional content of Heavenly Mother makes an enormous change to our perspective on religious life. It has been personally liberating for me.

      • Bravo, David!

        Even though philosophical debate may remain for years, it is my heart that changed as I became acquainted with Heavenly Parent. While I would not attempt to explain it theologically or scientifically, there is no doubt that my relationship with Heavenly Parent is different than with Heavenly Father. It could be that I as a parent resonate more profoundly with the parental heart of God, opening the possibility of a whole new relationship with Heavenly Mother.

        We are all complex beings, “not simple substance, but exist through multiple layers of relationship” reflecting our Creator in wonder, diversity and love.

    • Donna,

      Until I joined our movement I was a practicing Christian Scientist and like my fellow Christian Scientists, I had no problem with referring to “Father, Mother God.” In fact, the title, to me, is more comfortable than Heavenly Parent, which feels dry and impersonal. I guess, because, I, like all UC members, don’t have any historical experience calling on Heavenly Parent with my heartfelt, desperate prayers.

      It would be helpful to me and I think many who grew up in our movement, to be able to feel comfortable referring to God as Heavenly Father in public settings, or, maybe “Father, Mother God,” which would satisfy my longing to be close to the God I am familiar with when I pray.

      • George,

        It is a personal decision, depending as you say on the private or public occasion. I like praying by addressing “Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother,” or sometimes “Lord, God, Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother,” or just “Father, Mother God,” as you say.

        And, I am interested in how you integrate the Christian Science approach since it seems positive and a needed aspect to uplift and be hopeful. Is that so?

        • Donna,

          Christian Scientists are an unusual lot. They are primarily focused on healing, but, have little or no rituals or sacraments, not even funerals or marriages.

          I know someone who was healed from a very serious childhood affliction, he has the pictures to prove it. And that is not so unusual, there are countless stories about all kinds of miraculous healings. I think our movements could very easily adapt a healing ministry similar to CS. Because, there are some theological similarities, besides the Father/Mother I ideas we were about.

          Healing in the CS church is based on the belief that life is fundamentally spiritual, and the physical world only has the power we grant it, change your thinking and your reality changes.

          It’s a good religion Donna, but, of course, had more than its share of problems.

  7. I don’t think the Creator cares about any of this very much.

    My mother taught me to always refer to adults as Mr. or Mrs. until they told me otherwise. For some this was Mom and Dad or however their kids referred to them. If I was at their home at a mealtime, they fed us and we were subject to their rules. For a veterinarian that was also a family friend they were Dr. and Vicky and another medical doctor was always Dr. and Mrs. My mother and a good fiend of hers decided at a certain point to have their friends call them by their middle names. They were sill Mom and Maggie to me. If I asked one them, Jack or Maggie, a question, the other never felt offended and of course they were still the same couple to me and to each other. The same was true for Dr. and Mrs. and of course, for formal occasions a written invitation with Mr. and Mrs. was appropriate, but they were still Jack and Maggie and the contents of their refrigerator was always available to us. It was just manners and common sense.

    So if we are called to refer to the Creator as Heavenly Parent, I see this as a call to intimacy. It is not a requirement. If we want to access one of the attributes of the Creator as Heavenly Mother or Father, this does not change who they are, just what we are seeking to access. However we refer to God, He wants to keep us safe and She is always happy to serve us chicken noodle soup, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we are subject to their rules. However we referred to them, I always felt protected and loved.

  8. Thank you, David; nice article. As I was reading, I remembered experiencing both the Masculine and Feminine nature of God through a sunrise on the beach. Before the sun came out of the horizon, I heard the soft sound of swaying leaves on the coconut tree, the birds singing, the coolness of the morning and then the sun began to appear on the horizon. At first it was red, then orange, then brighter, oh the warmth of the sun and all was bright. Sound of the leaves, the birds were like a mother preparing for the father, the sun, who consistently comes at sunrise and illuminates the path for the rest of the day.

  9. Thank you, David, for some useful reference re: Plato and Aristotle. Philosophy, of course, offers its contribution in order to flesh out definition and clarity to theological issues. Failure to appreciate equal value of the feminine has perhaps been an own goal in Christian culture. Without clear definition, writers such as Simone De Beauvior have moved into the space that should be occupied by values grounded in Judeo-Christian ethics. Hildegard of Bingen was probably the first philosopher to write systematically about relationship between men and women in public life. Unfortunately her book on this subject, which would be supplementary, remains in Latin. Surely, protection of the F.P. Foundation calls for a CAUSA-like education program to support the family. It would need to crtique Greek thought as well as the lack of context in Darwinism, using supportive science and social data. The founders have already provided the UM with the core, which calls for prayer and study.

    Appreciate the insight you have shared.

    • Thanks, Trevor, though I believe that dealing with a God who is only male is part and parcel of the subordination of women in Christian culture, particularly in marriage. So to appreciate the value of the feminine I would say we need to go beyond the Judeo-Christian foundation. I believe that this begins from accepting the Divine Feminine in addition to the Divine Masculine. It is a bit like coming to believe in God all over again, and that our understanding of the role of women in marriage, family, and society will change from that point.

  10. Excerpt of Dr. Burton’s article:

    “Substances are simple, that is, they are not composed of anything simpler, and substances without spatial extension are indivisible. God and spirit are indivisible. Substances can also be personal, so I am a personal substance, you who are reading this are a personal substance. God is also a personal substance and is often equated with spirit or mind. No two substances can occupy the same place at the same time, so God must be wholly distinct from all other substances.”

    In my opinion the above claims/assignments do not take seriously the “Origin” position of the 4-position-foundation, which is simply beyond space and time and duality of any kind. It represents the “turiya state of consciousness — the 4th state” whose existence is proven by experience. For those who have not experienced this “4th state,” the turiya state might not appear on the radar of logic as being “real.”

  11. As Dr. Ferrantello pointed out in another discussion, the basic tenet of Unificationsm that the spiritual authority of the “double Messiah” is sacrosanct. True Parents are believed to be the incarnation of the Godhead/Creator, thus masculine and feminine attributes are essential to the being of God. DP also posits that Oriental philosophy is limited in that it doesn’t view God as a parent and we being God’s children (Islam may have a similar limitation.)

    As EG Pierson mentioned, the Greeks influenced early Christian thought quite a bit. Aquinas’ ruminations on beauty (as well as Boetheus’ ideas about music) owe a great deal to certain Greek concepts. Moreover, the cultural DNA of almost all societies have been decidedly patriarchal — Oriental, Hebrew, European, etc. As a result, the need to affirm the feminine attributes of God’s nature in this age seems inherently correct.

    It’s interesting to note that True Mother is placing greater emphasis on art, music, dance, videography, poetry and other cultural endeavors. Beauty may be seen as the feminine manifestation of God’s nature — whether in nature (“Mother nature”) or art. Plato suggested that male artists need to engage in athletic activities on a regular basis so as “not to become too effeminate.” He may have intuited that the creative impulse was linked to the spirit of the eternal feminine.

  12. Dr. Sebastian Matczak, professor of philosophy for many years at UTS, cautioned against anthropomorphism, i.e., projecting human traits or attributes on to God. Rather than being identified with one or the other gender, he emphasized that God is the source of gender.

    Steven Nomura argues that God is to be identified as masculine, not on the basis of attributes, but position. I take it that he concedes feminine attributes within the Godhead but maintains that because God exists in a subjective position in relation to creation and humankind, God is to be identified as masculine. There is support for this position within the Principle which refers to God as “the harmonious union of masculinity and femininity,” but as the masculine “subject partner” vis-à-vis the universe. However, this position seems to project longstanding cultural stereotypes as to masculine dominance and authority on to God. It seems to me that subjectivity can be expressed in multiple ways that need not be exclusively or even primarily identified with one or the other gender.

    In several articles on this blog and elsewhere, Dr. Wilson has cited a number of instances in which Rev. Moon referred to both Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. For example, in his January 1, 1977 speech, “The Kingdom of God on Earth and the Ideal Family,” he stated, “When you go to the spirit world, you will see not only the Heavenly Father but also the Heavenly Mother … The father and mother become one and together represent the full image of God … I want you to know that the invisible God, Almighty God, can manifest through True Mother’s and my image.” Unificationists will do well to recognize not only God’s immanence manifested through the genders but also God’s transcendence beyond the dualities of gender as Dr. Matczak recommended.

    • Dr. Mickler,

      Can you say to True Father, “Your position is to project longstanding Korean cultural stereotypes as to masculine dominance and authority on to God.”

      Why do you want to associate this word “masculine” or “Father” to human gender issue?

      Also Unification Thought says there are four types of Subject and Object: 1) Original Type, 2) Temporary Type, 3) Alternating Type, 4) Undetermined Type. When True Father (DP) says God is called Father because of the position, Original Type (Universal Type) subject and object partner is applied. Can you say to True Father, “Father, your perspective to God has a bit culturally biased content. We have to call God “Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother”?

      Honestly when In Jin Nim started saying Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, I asked In Jin Nim to ask True Father several times sincerely after I prayed for months. It was because I felt this way of saying contains serious issues which are different from what True Father had taught us.

      Jin Sun promised me to ask her to ask TF but it seems it did not happen.

      When I have time, I will explain how wrong is Dr. Wilson’s quote from Father’s words. In the past, I found very basic wrong translations from Korean to English. Especially when TF talked about the complicated situation of the spirit world, English translation is not correct. But if translator understood the basics of DP, it should have not been a problem. Those translators did not understand the basics of DP’s standpoint on how to call God.

  13. Steve,

    For your information, True Parents on January 1, 2010, began their prayer with the words Hanul Pumonim = “Heavenly Parent.”

  14. The current Family Pledge refers to God as Heavenly Parent – not Heavenly Parents. I have recently attended Sunday service in three different states in the USA and everyone is referring to God as Heavenly Parent. True Mother’s Prayer of Liberation on Gorée Island in Senegal began with “Heavenly Parent.” The debate is over. The Unification Movement’s name for the Heavenly Creator is Heavenly Parent.

  15. I know this, Migliore. I listened to that prayer in Korean. I am the first person who pointed out how TF prayed at that time and informed the Japanese Church. However, I checked all of TF’s prayers in the past again and also until TF ascended. True Father never prayed in that way in his life. That is only one time in his life. I have thought about this meaning very seriously. It is only one time in his life but there is one time he started his prayer with “Hanure pumonim.” I will explain this.

    First of all, you should understand Hanure pumonim is singular, not plural, not Father and Mother.

    I will give you some of TF’s expression about God from old days.

    True Father used a very interesting expression about God in Wolli Wonbon. One is “아버지어머님 (Aboji-Omonim)” and another is “하날 아버지 어머니 (Hanul Aboji Omoni).” To avoid complicated explanation, I will tell you the conclusion only. 아버지어머님 is the same meaning with 父母様(부모님=Pumo nim) and this is singular. In Korean language, there is no one Chinese character as parent (親). In Korean language they have to use 父母 (부모= Pumo). This two words means Father and Mother respectively, but this is one word and you cannot translate father and mother.

    It is true True Father often used the word “하날 아버지 어머니.” This means Heavenly Parent, not Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

    • Steve,

      I appreciate your knowledge and understanding. You make sense and I believe you are right in your description of God as Father. My own personal belief and revelation is in line with your explanation. However, as you can see from some of the responses and replies to your arguments, others hold strong, unyielding, contrary positions.

      For me, while I agree with you in principle on the masculine position of God, I resist the way OSDP has presented wives as having only an indirect relationship with God. Further, some teach that men are the body of God, because, God is presented as a male being, but, women are denied the same privilege.

      My point Steve, is that there needs to be a way that OSDP and the whole issue of gender balance can be presented in a way that does not create division and hostility.

  16. Language limits our thoughts but not our feelings and emotions. If we find new feeling as an evolution of feeling we need a new language. We feel more than we know. I’m not very sure about what we express about the nature of God by intellectual thoughts. In the Western world we analyse Greek, Latin, and Germanic languages to understand our thoughts and realize that we are limited to those languages. Modern concepts are bound to (old) languages. We define our modern time as the “information age.” The Greek and Latin words we use to describe scientific, societal phenomena bind us to Hellenistic philosophy. If we force God into the limitations of our linguistics, we limit God to linguistics. As long as we understand our limitations, we can live with these limitations. Wittgenstein said: “Worüber man nicht sprechen kann, muss man schweigen.”

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