The Problem of Evil: Unification Theodicy

Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 17, 2016 - Pages 33-70

We experience evil in the world, whether it is “natural” or “moral” evil. [1] We also experience suffering, which is to undergo physical or mental pain caused by evil. If, however, there is an omnipotent and perfectly good God, as theism believes, then why is it that evil, and suffering as well, exists in the world? Wouldn’t such a God have the power and character to prevent it? This is the problem of evil, which raises a serious challenge to theism. 

The problem of evil simply consists in a logical contradiction between the following three propositions: 1) God is omnipotent; 2) God is perfectly good; and 3) evil exists in the world. [2] The three cannot all be true; the truth of any two of them can mean the falsity of the third. So, if God is both omnipotent and perfectly good, then evil cannot exist; if God is omnipotent, and evil really exists, then God cannot be perfectly good; and if God is perfectly good, and evil really exists, then God cannot be omnipotent. 

This problem of evil has apparently been considered to exist throughout the history of theism. Any attempt to solve this problem especially in the monotheistic tradition is called “theodicy” (from Greek theos, God; dikÄ“, justice), which means to justify God in face of the existence of evil. The term was coined in 1710 by the German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz in his work Théodicée

The history of theodicy shows that there have generally been three types of theodicies: 1) simple theodicies, 2) aesthetic theodicies, and 3) practical theodicies.

Simple theodicies simply deny either one of the above three propositions to remove their logical contradiction; hence, they are of three different kinds: 1) simple theodicies which deny the omnipotence of God; 2) simple theodicies which deny the perfect goodness of God; and 3) simple theodicies which deny the reality of evil. Simple theodicies of the first kind, as in Zoroastrianism, make God a finite God by having an independent, ultimate principle of evil challenge and limit the power of God, so that evil in the world cannot be avoided by God. This is dualism. Simple theodicies of the second kind limit the goodness of God by believing, as in staunch Calvinism, that God is so powerful as to cause evil as well as good. This is despotism. Simple theodicies of the third kind deny the reality of evil in the world by basically equating the world with an omnipotent and good God, as in the theology of Christian Science. This is pantheism.

All three kinds of simple theodicies, however, have at least two difficulties: 1) They are not acceptable to most theists, who still somehow believe that none of the above three propositions should be denied. 2) These simple, logical attempts to solve the contradiction between the three propositions are unable to actually eradicate evil from the world; evil is still there. 

Aesthetic theodicies have been developed to go beyond simple theodicies, based on the belief that all three propositions must be affirmed. To go beyond their apparent logical contradiction they usually add a supplementary proposition to the original three. This supplementary proposition usually refers to a greater purpose of God and that evil serves it. It argues that an omnipotent and perfectly good God allows evil, although it is very real, to exist as a means to realize His greater purpose. Evil, therefore, is regarded as aesthetically harmonious with that purpose of God. The “best of all possible worlds” theodicy of Gottfried Leibniz, the “free will” defense of Alvin Plantinga, and the “soul-making” theodicy of John Hick are among the most well-known theodicies of the aesthetic type. 

These aesthetic theodicies are an improvement upon and more plausible than simple theodicies, and have therefore come to constitute “theodicy’s canonical tradition.” [3] But even they have often been criticized for carrying at least four difficulties, which are related to one another: 1) Their theoretical rationalization of evil through an aesthetic harmonization with God’s greater purpose cannot eradicate evil from the world; evil is still there. 2) So-called “gratuitous evil,” which is pointlessly excessive evil, may be too cruel to be rationalized or justified even by God’s greater purpose. 3) Those who theoretically explain away evil by God’s greater purpose are just theoreticians and not necessarily in a state of inner conversion or salvation. 4) The omnipotent and perfectly good God that these aesthetic theodicies affirm is basically the God of the philosophers rather than of the God of the Bible who, out of love, suffers for human salvation. 

These difficulties of aesthetic theodicies led to practical theodicies being proposed. Dorothee Soelle and Jürgen Moltmann are the chief practical theodicists. They suggest that we should accomplish the practical task of removing evil, including gratuitous evil, by showing the suffering love of God through our Christ-like commitment to, presence in, and solidarity with, the victims of evil. They often show far deeper insights into the meanings of God’s omnipotence and perfection than do proponents of philosophical theism. 

This is a context in which we can show the relevance of Unification theodicy. Unification theodicy, like practical theodicies and unlike simple theodicies or aesthetic theodicies, asserts that evil, including gratuitous evil, should and can be eradicated from the world rather than just logically and/or aesthetically explained away. Also, Unification theodicy, like practical theodicies, teaches about the need for our conversion through Christ centering on God’s suffering love, so that we may be able to willingly and creatively serve the world by removing evil in order to build the Kingdom of God.

Unification theodicy, as a new practical theodicy, may have advantages over existing practical theodicies, in that it can provide a theological clarification of their new insights into God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness. One advantage is its unique yet biblically developed theological notions of God’s “Heart” and God’s “dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang.” [4] Other theodicies, perhaps with the exception of Moltmann’s, have yet to develop these notions. It may have another advantage, in that its sexual interpretation of the historical fall of Adam can make more sense of the origin of evil and its connection with the role of Christ, and our role as well, to eradicate evil. Other theodicies are less clear about the origin of evil because they do not recognize historicity in the fall of Adam, let alone any sexual element in it.

The present article has four sections. The first section will discuss the three kinds of simple theodicies. The second section will discuss the aesthetic theodicies of Leibniz, Plantinga and Hick, and the third section the practical theodicies of Soelle and Moltmann. Unification theodicy will be treated last. It will be shown by the end of the article that there has been an evolution of theodicy and an evolution of the doctrine of God along with it, going beyond philosophical theism to reach a new understanding of God which resembles Unification theism. 


Simple Theodicies of Three Kinds

1. Denying God’s Omnipotence: Dualism

Simple theodicies of the first kind deny God’s omnipotence, asserting that the power of God is limited by the existence of an ultimate principle of evil that independently pre-exists from eternity. This dualistic assertion can be seen in the Christian heresies of Gnosticism and Manichaeism as well as in the pre-Christian religion of Zoroastrianism. It seems to be quite an appealing solution to the problem of evil. Its adherents have included many nineteenth-century and twentieth-century intellectuals such as John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), F. C. S. Schiller (1864-1937), J. M. E. McTaggart (1866-1925), H. G. Wells (1866-1946), C. E. M. Joad (1891-1953), and Edwin Lewis (1881-1959). Here we will examine the dualism of C. E. M. Joad, a British philosopher.

For thirty years following his student days at Oxford, Joad was an agnostic. [5] As an agnostic, he could not really believe in an omnipotent and benevolent God, given what he called the “obtrusiveness of evil.” [6] He was eventually able to go beyond this agnosticism in favor of a dualism which he thought would be able to explain the stark facts of evil very well:

If we are to go beyond a simple agnosticism, then what must be surmised is that there are two Gods, a good one and a bad; or, since the notion of a bad God is revolting and not absolutely necessary, there must be a good God and an obstructive hampering principle in and through and in spite of which He seeks to work. This is what a plain reading of the facts seems to require. [7]

A good God and his evil adversary are “two equally real and conceivably equally powerful antagonists,” and between them “a perpetual battle is fought in the hearts of men for the governance of the world”; so, even if God is a good God, his power is “limited.” [8]

Joad was aware that dualism “has always been regarded as a heresy” in the Christian tradition, but he decided that it “would seem more nearly to accord with the facts of experience.” [9] Thus Joad’s “mind came to rest” in this conclusion. [10]

Besides this form of external dualism, there is another form of dualism which is internal dualism. Internal dualism also limits the power of God in order to address the problem of evil, but it does so by locating the two conflicting principles of good and evil within God. This internal dualism was adhered to by thinkers such as Edgar S. Brightman (1984-1953) and William Pepperell Montague (1873-1953). Here we will have a glimpse of the thought of Edgar S. Brightman, an American philosopher.

According to Brightman, the internal dualism of God consists in two conflicting aspects of what he calls “The Given” within God: 1) “the eternal, uncreated laws of reason”; and 2) “equally eternal and uncreated processes of nonrational consciousness which exhibit all the ultimate qualities of sense objects (qualia), disorderly impulses and desires, such experiences as pain and suffering, the forms of space and time, and whatever in God is the source of surd evil.” [11] The two can be equated respectively with the Ideas and the Receptacle in Plato’s cosmology. [12] The difference is that while the two aspects of The Given in Brightman’s view are both included in God, the Ideas and the Receptacle in Plato’s cosmology are external to God.

Brightman is of the opinion that God as the creator wills to combine the two aspects of The Given to realize the ideal good, but the two can never be completely and perfectly combined, given their chaotic conflict between good in the former and “surd evil” in the latter. Here, surd evil means intrinsic evil which can never become instrumentally good. [13] Therefore, although “his [i.e., God’s] will for love and goodness is unlimited,” nevertheless “the power of his will is limited by The Given.” [14] The Given as a whole, then, becomes an obstacle to God’s will. This finite God, therefore, cannot prevent evil from occurring in the world. 

2. Denying God’s Perfect Goodness: Despotism

Simple theodicies of the second kind deny the perfect goodness of God by saying that God is so powerful, like a despot, that he is authorized to cause evil as well as good. Theodicies of this kind may appear to agree with Brightman that God causes both good and evil. But there is a striking disagreement, for while Brightman holds that evil is caused by the limited power of God due to The Given, theodicies of the despotist kind believe that evil is caused by God’s absolutely unlimited power. 

Let us look at the despotist theodicy of the staunch American Calvinist Gordon H. Clark (1902-1985). According to Clark, God is so sovereign that he causes all things in the world, including evil human acts. God is thus the “cause of sin”:

Let it be unequivocally said that this view certainly makes God the cause of sin. God is the sole ultimate cause of everything. There is absolutely nothing independent of him. He alone is the eternal being. He alone is omnipotent. He alone is sovereign. [15]

For Clark, however, being the cause of sin does not mean being the “author of sin.” Although God is the “ultimate cause” of sin, he is not the “immediate cause of sin,” i.e., the “author of sin.” [16] It is human beings that are authors of sin, committing sin. God does not commit sin nor can he commit sin, for the reason that “whatever God does is just and right. It is just and right simply in virtue of the fact that he does it.” [17] So, human sinners are responsible for sin, and “God is neither responsible nor sinful, even though he is the only ultimate cause of everything.” [18]

When God is regarded as the ultimate cause of sin from our perspective, his perfect goodness is denied, and it explains the occurrence of evil in the world. But at the same time it is believed that whatever God does, including our sin, is “just and right” because it is what he does, while our sin, though caused by God, is evil on our part for which we are held accountable. This would mean that what is good to God is sometimes what is evil to us. Millard J. Erickson comments: “In Clark’s scheme, the statements ‘God does good’ and ‘man does good’ are so dissimilar that we virtually cannot know what it means to say, ‘God is good.’” [19] It seems that the word “good” here is used “equivocally,” according to the terminology of Thomas Aquinas, because it has different meanings in its applications to a very transcendent God and to the world. [20]

3. Denying the Reality of Evil: Pantheism

Simple theodicies of the third kind deny the reality of evil by holding that evil is merely an illusion in the context of pantheism. Here we will deal with Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), a Dutch pantheistic philosopher, and Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), the founder of Christian Science, as simple theodicists of this kind.

According to Spinoza’s pantheism, there is only one substance, which both God and the world of nature share. His famous formula of Deus sive Natura (“God or Nature”) [21] shows that the two words God and Nature are interchangeable. The only distinction between them is that while God is that single substance with infinite attributes (thought and extension included), all things in the natural world are simply “modes” of the attributes of that substance. [22] Thus the world is not really distinct from God but is God, expressed in various modes of God’s attributes. 

Also, God’s being is considered to be necessary and not contingent; hence, all the modes in the world flow forth from God by necessity: “Nothing in the universe is contingent, but all things are conditioned to exist and operate in a particular manner by the necessity of the divine nature.” [23] In this sense nothing in the world is free, whereas God may be free in the sense that he is not conditioned by anything outside of himself, but not free in the sense that he could have created a different kind of world. He necessarily had to create just what he did.

This pantheistic vision clearly holds that everything in the world is divine. In this world, then, evil does not exist, nor can it possibly exit. Of course, we seem to often experience “evil” as “every kind of pain, especially that which frustrates our longings”; [24] but, this is simply due to our inadequate knowledge of the whole system of nature centering on God: “The knowledge of evil is an inadequate knowledge,” and “if the human mind possessed only adequate ideas, it would form no conception of evil.” [25] After all, what appears to evil is part of the natural order, and thus is not really evil.

Let us now turn to Mary Baker Eddy’s pantheistic position. According to her, God is completely spiritual as “incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love,” [26] and “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind [i.e., God] and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.” [27] Thus her pantheism is a radical form of philosophical idealism. The whole of reality is purely spiritual and entirely good. 

Hence, the material world does not exist, and to think that it exists is just an error of one’s mortal mind: “Matter is the falsity, not the fact, of existence.” [28] To think that matter is real is merely “the subjective condition of mortal mind” [29] and “an error of statement” as “a human concept.” [30]

Interestingly, Eddy denies that her theology is pantheistic. Her denial is based on her definition of pantheism as the belief that “God, or Life, is in or of matter.” [31] This definition certainly does not apply to her theology as it does to the pantheism of Spinoza which involves both “thought” and “extension” together. Hence, her position is not pantheistic in the Spinozistic sense. But it is unquestionably pantheistic in the sense of equating God with the world, even though in such a radically idealist way as to believe the world to be purely spiritual and good and not material.

What, then, is Eddy’s answer to the problem of evil? According to her, evil appears to occur when the material world, which does not exist, occurs to one’s mortal mind as an error. Therefore evil is an illusion without any reality: “Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” [32] All forms of evil such as disharmony, sin, suffering, sickness, and death are illusions. Therefore, “evil, disease, and death” can be overcome “by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good.” [33]

4. Difficulties

The three kinds of simple theodicies that we have viewed thus far seem to have at least two difficulties: 1) Their denials of the omnipotence of God, the perfect goodness of God or the reality of evil in the world, respectively, are unacceptable to most theists, who still believe that God is omnipotent and perfectly good, while at the same time evil really exists in the world. 2) These simple theodicies are merely logical solutions to the problem of the contradiction between the three original propositions, without being able to eradicate evil from the world.

The first difficulty is related to the fact that most theists do not accept dualism, despotism, or pantheism. That they do not accept dualism and pantheism is unquestionable. But is it really true that they do not accept despotism either? The answer should be in the affirmative, as long as despotism means to say that whatever God does, including our sin, is “just and right” because it is what he does. Alan Richardson (1905-1975) is typical when he says: “the idea that a thing is right because it is willed by God rather than that it is willed by God because it is right will appear offensive to the moral sense of most Christians today.” [34]

The second difficulty is self-evident. Evil, which is just a topic of their discussion, can never be removed from the world by simple theodicies. Even if pantheists may assert that there is no evil at all, and that evil is merely an illusion, that is not acceptable. For there still exists the “illusion of evil” at least in case of Christian Science, and “the problem is shifted, but is no less difficult.” [35]

Aesthetic theodicies address the first difficulty well, by accepting all the three original propositions of the omnipotence of God, the perfect goodness of God, and the reality of evil in the world. They, however, do not address the second one, as they aesthetically explain away evil, not being able to actually remove evil from the world. Practical theodicies address not only the first difficulty but also the second one, being committed to eradicating evil from the world.

Unification theodicy joins practical theodicies in addressing both difficulties well. Let us see here how it addresses the first difficulty. (How it addresses the second one will be seen later in the fourth section.) Unification theodicy clearly affirms the omnipotence of God (the denial of which is dualism), the perfect goodness of God (the denial of which is despotism), and the reality of evil (the denial of which is pantheism), thus rejecting dualism, despotism, and pantheism. 

The Divine Principle rejects the dualism of God and Satan, by saying that Satan did not exist “before the creation of the universe” to have “a purpose contrary to that of God.” [36] It states quite often that God is “omnipotent.” [37] Now, God’s “dual characteristics of internal nature (sungsang) and external form (hyungsang)” [38] may look like the internal dualism of God in Brightman’s philosophy which limits the power of God. But the external form of God in the Divine Principle is not evil at all, unlike the second aspect of The Given which is the source of surd evil in Brightman’s view. And God’s dual characteristics are always harmoniously united, unlike the two aspects of The Given which can never be completely combined. So, God’s dual characteristics in the Divine Principle do not mean an internal dualism of the Brightmanian type which would limit the power of God.

The Divine Principle also rejects despotism, because it never believes that God is so sovereign as to cause evil as well as good. God is always “the source of goodness” [39] or “the Subject of goodness,” [40] thus never predestining anything evil even from the viewpoint of human beings: 

God is the Author of goodness. Hence, His purpose of creation is good; likewise, the purpose of the providence of restoration and His Will to accomplish its purpose are good. For this reason, God does not intend anything that obstructs or opposes the fulfillment of the purpose of creation. In particular, He could not have predestined the human Fall or sins which make fallen human beings liable to judgment. Nor could He predestine such events as the destruction of the cosmos. If such evils were the inevitable result of God’s predestination, then God could not be the Author of goodness. [41]

It goes without saying that the Divine Principle also rejects pantheism. Even if it affirms the close relationship between God and the world, it does not mean a pantheistic relationship. The Divine Principle believes that God created the world not out of the divine substance but only in the image of God, i.e., in what Unification Thought calls the “Divine Image.” [42] Therefore the Divine Principle is not a pantheism but rather what Unification Thought calls a “Pan-Divine-Image theory.” [43] By the way, the Divine Image here refers to two things: 1) “universal images” of the dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang and the dual characteristics of yang and yin, and 2) “individual images,” which are their individualizations. [44] The Divine Principle thus rejects pantheism and does not teach that evil is just an illusion. It teaches that evil is as substantial as good. Good emerges as a substantial “force” resulting from the “give and take of love and beauty” between a subject partner and object partner in the “four position foundation” centering on “God’s purpose of creation.” [45] Evil emerges the same way, albeit completely opposite to God’s purpose of creation; it is substantial as “an act or its result… [which] violates God’s purpose of creation by forming a four position foundation under the dominion of Satan.” [46]


Aesthetic Theodicies

1. Gottfried Leibniz: The “Best of All Possible Worlds” Theodicy

German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716) is well known not only for the word “theodicy” that he coined but also for the phrase “the best of all possible worlds.” Representing the optimism of the eighteenth century, he acknowledges the existence of evil but thinks that evil is aesthetically compatible with a greater purpose of God.

According to Leibniz, an omnipotent and good God, before creating the world, used his divine mind to go through all the “forms” within it to set up every possible combination or set of possibilities that are compatible with one another for the realization of God’s goodness. Each and every possible combination of compatible possibilities would comprehensively constitute a complete possible history from creation onwards till the present. God surveyed all these possible combinations or sets, and when creating the world, he decided to choose from among them one particular set of compatible possibilities which would bring forth the best possible value of goodness. Hence this world is the “best of all possible worlds,” [47] consisting of those possibilities “which, being united, produce most reality, most perfection, most significance.” [48] In other words, “The result of all these comparisons and deliberations is the choice of the best from among all these possible systems, which wisdom makes in order to satisfy goodness completely; and such is precisely the plan of the universe as it is.” [49]

The divinely chosen set of compatible possibilities which is this actual world includes all the free actions of free beings in a complete sequence of events for the history of the world, whether these free actions are morally good or wrong ones. For Leibniz, however, God’s prior choice of that set of possibilities does not contradict these free actions of free beings in the world. The reason is that this world, which contains all possibilities involving free beings, was already decreed by God: 

This decree changes nothing in the constitution of things: God leaves them just as they were in the state of mere possibility, that is, changing nothing either in their essence or nature, or even in their accidents, which are represented perfectly already in the idea of this possible world. [50]

Leibniz is aware of three kinds of evil: 1) “metaphysical evil” consisting in “imperfections” or “monstrosities and other apparent irregularities of the universe”; 2) “physical evil” in suffering; and 3) “moral evil” in sin. [51] Metaphysical evil seems equivalent to what is usually called “natural evil.” Leibniz believes that while physical evil is the consequent “punishment” of moral evil, [52] metaphysical evil is not. (St. Augustine would say that natural evil, too, is the consequent punishment of moral evil) [53]

The heart of Leibniz’s theodicy is that God permits evil—whether metaphysical, physical or moral—even in the best possible world, so that it may aesthetically serve “greater goods” and even “the greatest goods”: “Not only does he [i.e., God] derive from them [i.e., evils] greater goods, but he finds them connected with the greatest goods of all those that are possible: so that it would be a fault not to permit them.” [54] Thus all kinds of evil contribute to the best of all possible worlds, the realization of which is God’s purpose. 

In this context, Leibniz approvingly refers to the hymn of praise sung on the eve of Easter in the Roman Catholic Church: [55]

O certe necessarium Adae peccatum, quod Christi morte deletum est!
[O truly necessary sin of Adam, which is cancelled by Christ’s death!]

O felix culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere Redemptorem! 
[O happy fault, which merited such and so great a redeemer!]

This aesthetic view echoes St. Augustine’s statement on the usefulness of evil for good: “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than not to permit any evil to exist.” [56]

Some people observe [57] that the God of Leibniz may not be as omnipotent as we think, because the German philosopher himself quite honestly admits that “the source of evil lies in the possible forms, anterior to the acts of God’s will.” [58] Apparently, God’s will to create the world had to be in conformity with, thus limited by, “the source of evil” which was already permitted to lie in the best possible set of possibilities within his mind. 

Leibniz, however, addresses that concern by saying, “God cannot but be all-powerful, even though he can do no better than produce the best, which includes the permission of evil.” [59] He also says that God brought the best possible world into existence “by means of the all-powerful word Fiat.” [60]

2. Alvin Plantinga: The “Free Will” Defense

The American analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga believes that there is no contradiction between an omnipotent and perfectly good God and the existence of evil in the world, because “God would have a good reason for permitting evil.” [61] When it comes to moral evil, it results from wrong choices we make through our God-given “free will”; and God permits this moral evil to occur so that it may contribute to the greater good of the universe. This aesthetic view of Plantinga, too, is Augustinian. So, he states:

Augustine tries to tell us what God’s reason is for permitting evil. At bottom, he says, it’s that God can create a more perfect universe by permitting evil. A really top-notch universe requires the existence of free, rational, and moral agents; and some of the free creatures He created went wrong. But the universe with the free creatures it contains and the evil they commit is better than it would have been had it contained neither the free creatures nor this evil. [62]

Plantinga, however, makes a little distinction between his position and St. Augustine’s, calling the former a “Free Will Defense” and the latter a “Free Will Theodicy,” because the former only attempts to say “what God’s reason [for permitting evil] might possibly be,” while the latter intends to say with more certitude “what God’s reason is.” [63] Thus his free will defense asserts the following two points: 1) it is possible that God permits moral evil for the reason that it can contribute to the greater good of the world; and 2) it is possible that even if God creates free beings who are completely free to choose between good and evil, God is not responsible for their evil choices. Plantinga clarifies the second point by explaining the nature of free will: Whether a free person performs an action or refrains from performing it is completely “within his power,” and “no antecedent conditions and/or causal laws [including God] determine” it. [64]

Prior to Plantinga’s free will defense, Antony Flew (1923-2010) and J. L. Mackie (1917-1981) famously developed their objections to it. Flew thought that if free will in theism is a God-given nature out of which we behave as we do, then an omnipotent and good God could have created “people who would always as a matter of fact freely have chosen to do the right thing.” [65] Mackie similarly held that in spite of the available possibility of God creating people who would always in fact freely have chosen to do the right thing, God failed to “avail himself of this possibility,” so that God is “inconsistent with his being both omnipotent and wholly good.” [66] Flew and Mackie were atheists when they presented these ideas. 

Plantinga naturally expressed disagreement with Flew and Mackie. [67] In this context, he further explained his free will defense by stating that it is possible that even if God is omnipotent, “it was not within His power to create a world containing moral good but no moral evil.” [68] God could have created any other possible world, but what happens in this world in terms of us freely choosing evil would also happen in any other possible world. Plantinga calls this universal malady “transworld depravity.” [69]

So far we have dealt with Plantinga’s understanding of moral evil. What about natural evil? According to him, natural evil, which involves hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., is not due to the free activity of human beings, but possibly “due to the free actions of nonhuman persons,” i.e., “Satan and his cohorts.” Hence, natural evil “significantly resembles moral evil in that, like the latter, it is the result of the activity of significantly free persons.” [70] Needless to say, Plantinga believes that God would have the same good reason for permitting natural evil as he does moral evil.

Plantinga’s free will defense, in spite of its basically aesthetic treatment of evil, seems not to be interested in specifically referencing the “O felix culpa” hymn. But, in an article, “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa,’” written much later, [71] he develops a “felix culpa” theodicy (not a defense any longer), which is somewhat similar to the theodicy of Leibniz but which now has some emphasis on the importance of the Incarnation and Atonement for the best possible world. 

3. John Hick: The “Soul-making” Theodicy

The English philosopher of religion John Hick (1922-1912) also holds that evil aesthetically serves a greater purpose of an omnipotent and perfectly good God. In this, he seems similar to Leibniz and Plantinga, but there is a difference. While Leibniz and Plantinga believe that evil just generally contributes to the greatest good of the universe, Hick has in mind a more specific purpose of God, which is to have immature human souls grow (“soul-making”) through their experiences of evil in the world, so that they can develop an ultimately perfect personal relationship with God. [72] Evil is understood to be useful in this teleological and eschatological context.

According to Hick, humans are created as immature and imperfect children at an “epistemic distance” from God, [73] and they are therefore to go through a very long process of growth to eventually realize their mature unity with God. Hick apparently borrows this idea from the second-century Church Father St. Irenaeus, rejecting St. Augustine’s view that Adam was created “in a finished state, as a finitely perfect being.” [74]

Hick criticizes the Augustinian tradition for its incoherence on this issue, that in order to preserve God from any responsibility for the existence of evil in the world, it believes that Adam, in spite of having been wonderfully created as a “free and finitely perfect” being, freely sinned: “It is impossible to conceive of wholly good beings in a wholly good world becoming sinful.” [75]

St. Augustine’s free will theodicy, of course, has its own aesthetic reason why God permits free creatures to sin, as was seen in the preceding subsection on Plantinga; but Hick does not buy it. He instead develops an “Irenaean” theodicy, whose aesthetic treatment of evil focuses on God’s more specific purpose of our “soul-making.” For him, the fall of Adam is simply a myth, which intends to convey the fact that God created immature and imperfect free humans whose fall is virtually inevitable: “A fall… [is] rendered virtually inevitable by the basic features of man’s divinely appointed situation.” [76] (Note, however, that St. Irenaeus himself believed in the historicity of the fall of Adam.) God, then, is responsible for this vulnerable situation in which imperfect humans are placed, namely, “a hazardous adventure of individual freedom” they have to go through. [77] But, as they go through it, even making many wrong choices of their own as well as some good ones and as a result experiencing much suffering as well as some joy, they can gradually, if very slowly, grow to be perfect “by meeting and eventually mastering temptations, and thus by rightly making choices in concrete situations.” [78] For “the paradox of creaturely freedom is that only those who are initially against Him [i.e., God] can of their own free volition choose to be for Him.” [79]

The usefulness of moral evil for our soul-making is, according to Hick, “in agreement with… the profound medieval insight of the ‘O felix culpa.’” [80] This means that he agrees with Leibniz and Plantinga on the aesthetic effect of evil for good, although his understanding of it is more specific than what the other two understand.

Physical pain, and other forms of suffering resulting from it, also serve the purpose of soul-making. Our natural world is not intended to be a paradise, but rather an environment that provides us with physical pain and suffering due to the general laws of nature, so that we as moral beings, by experiencing them, may be fashioned into mature children of God:

This is a world of rough edges, a place in which man can live only by the sweat of his brow, and which continually presents him with challenges, uncertainties, and dangers; and yet… just these features of the world seem, paradoxically, to underlie the emergence of virtually the whole range of the more valuable human characteristics. [81]

Hick is aware, of course, that our soul-making process may not be completed during our lifetime on the earth. So, he suggests the hopeful idea of “an after-life” beyond this world, in which a “decisive bringing of good out of evil” can be done so that we might experience our final blessedness as “the fulfillment of God’s good purpose.” [82]

4. Difficulties

The aesthetic theodicies of Leibniz, Plantinga, and Hick have quite often been criticized for having at least four difficulties, related to each other: 1) Their theoretical rationalization of evil through aesthetic harmonization of it with God’s greater purpose cannot eradicate evil from the world. 2) Gratuitous evil, pointlessly excessive evil, may be too severe and cruel to be rationalized even by God’s greater purpose. 3) When aesthetic theodicists theoretically rationalize evil with God’s greater purpose, they may not necessarily be in a state of inner conversion or salvation; and 4) God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness, though affirmed, are not grasped deeply enough to be able to accommodate the biblical notion of God’s suffering love for human salvation; in aesthetic theodicies God is basically still the God of the philosophers.

The first difficulty unquestionably exists in Leibniz and Plantinga, who assume that evil should exist even forever for the sake of good. Leibniz’s best possible world, which is this world, always contains evil for the realization of the best possible value of goodness, and Plantinga’s notion of “transworld depravity” assumes that rational beings in any possible world always make wrong choices as well as right ones for the greater good of that world. However, does the first difficulty exist in Hick’s theodicy, which hopes that with time the perfection of soul-making will finally come? Will evil, which is instrumental for soul-making, disappear when the final blessedness is reached? Hick himself admits that it is “an exceedingly difficult question to meet,” for “if only challenges and obstacles and sufferings can evoke the highest moral qualities within us, will not these evils still be necessary in heaven?” [83] The process theologian David Ray Griffin observes that Hick does not understand “genuine evil,” which is evil “without which the world would have been a better place.” [84] If Griffin’s observation is correct, then what Hick thinks to be evil should stay forever even in the final kingdom of God. 

How about the second difficulty? An example of gratuitous evil is mentioned by Ivan in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: An army general angrily and mercilessly let his numerous hunting hounds chase after an eight-year-old boy, catch him and tear him to pieces before his mother’s eyes, simply because the poor child had thrown a stone in play and accidently hurt the paw of the general’s favorite hound. Ivan complains that this evil is too cruel to be aesthetically harmonized with any greater purpose of God: “Listen! If all must suffer to pay for the eternal harmony, what have children to do with it, tell me, please? It’s beyond all comprehension why they should suffer, and why they should pay for the harmony.” He also says that if “too high a price is asked for harmony,” then “it’s beyond our means to pay so much to enter it.” Thus he would rather “give back my entrance ticket” to God. Not that he does not believe in God, but that he cannot accept the strange fact that there are even cruel human beings who invent the idea of the need of an omnipotent and good God for the occurrence of such intolerable evil: “the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man.” [85]

Ivan’s “rebellion” here devastatingly discredits all aesthetic theodicies that attempt to rationalize and domesticate even gratuitous evil. It should also be noted in this connection that evil which is rationalized and domesticated by aesthetic theodicies is pejoratively dubbed an “aesthetic phantom” by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005), who observes that they only triumph over this phantom and not over real evil at all. [86]

Now to the third difficulty. Very few aesthetic theodicists are what Ivan refers to as “savage, cruel” human beings. But, according to Kenneth Surin, who is a practical theodicist, aesthetic theodicists seem not to demonstrate any real inner conversion, transformation or evidence of their own salvation when they aesthetically rationalize evil. [87] For example, Job’s comforters in the Book of Job are aesthetic theodicists, when they plausibly attribute his afflictions to his ancestral sins, unknown sins, forgotten sins, and sins of the community, so that everything may be harmonized with God’s will. Their apparent problem is that they are not internally transformed enough to be able to know God’s wisdom behind the afflictions of Job, an upright and pious servant of God. So, Job himself strongly disagrees with them. Furthermore, God finally appears in a whirlwind to challenge all plausible human explanations, by declaring: “Who is this that darkens council by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) 

In the Book of Job, we are strongly challenged to first connect humbly with God for inner transformation rather than proudly present our superficial explanations of evil. According to Surin, our conversion, our inner connection with God, is the only foundation on which we can address the problem of evil properly:

So it is conversion—which comes about when the human will co-operates with divine grace—that solves the ‘problem of evil.’ Without conversion, the very process of seeking an answer to the question ‘whence is evil?’ will be undermined by the distorted thinking of a crippled intellect. [88]

The fourth and final difficulty of aesthetic theodicies concerns their understanding of God. When they try to solve the problem of the logical contradiction between an omnipotent and perfectly good God and the existence of evil in the world by adding another proposition concerning a greater purpose of God that evil serves, they deal with God rather intellectually and philosophically. Thus their God is the God of philosophical theism rather than the God of the Bible. God is treated as an object of philosophical thinking rather than as a living God for the faithful. God is understood as a being, object, or entity “possessing a number of clearly specifiable characteristics,” and based on that understanding of God, “the things of the world” are rendered “rational, meaningful and explicable.” [89] Such philosophical theism entered into Christian theology under the influence of Greek philosophy from nearly the beginning of the Christian era, but it became even more visible since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the aesthetic theodicy of Leibniz emerged. 

According to Surin, however, the tradition of treating God merely as an object of philosophical thinking has led to “the most profound misunderstanding of who God is. It is to leave theological utterance in irreparable disarray.” [90] The God of the philosophers is basically a “unipersonal” God, the measure of whom does not have to involve significant theological issues such as Incarnation, redemption, Holy Spirit, and Trinity. [91] God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness, which are important components in philosophical aesthetic theodicy, are hardly discussed in relation to these theological issues. Thus these divine attributes are not grasped deeply enough to be able to accommodate the biblical notion of God’s suffering love for human salvation.

We will see in the following sections that the practical theodicies of Dorothee Soelle and Jürgen Moltmann, and Unification theodicy as well, address the above four difficulties of aesthetic theodicies in quite profound ways.


Practical Theodicies

1. Dorothee Soelle

The German political theologian Dorothee Soelle (1929-2003) has quite a radical approach to the problem of evil and suffering, primarily dealing with social suffering. She sharply criticizes traditional aesthetic approaches, by saying that when they aestheticize or harmonize suffering with God’s greater purpose, they mean to encourage believers to “masochistically” endure their suffering for their purification in front of a “sadistic” God:

The [traditional] Christian interpretations of suffering… amount to a recommendation of masochism… Affliction has the intention of bringing us back to a God who only becomes great when he makes us small… Suffering is understood to be a test, sent by God, that we are required to pass. It is considered a punishment that follows earlier sins… or as a refining from which we come out purified. [92]

[There is also] a companion piece of a sadistic God. The libidinal and flexible impulses of pious sufferers are now sadistically fixed by the theologians, who make the wrath of God their essential motif. The God who produces suffering and causes affliction becomes the glorious theme of a theology that directs out attention to the God who demands the impossible and tortures people. [93]

Soelle also complains that God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness mentioned in this context are of a sadistic God, and that God’s love therefore tends to be minimized. [94] She points to still another problem resulting from this, and it is that we become apathetic and insensitive to other people’s misery in front of an apathetic God. [95] In this situation, suffering is far from being eradicated.

What Soelle suggests, therefore, is that we should become people who can practically strive to abolish suffering, including gratuitous suffering, instead of staying as apathetic bystanders: “It is axiomatic for me that the only humanely conceivable goal is the abolition of circumstances under which people are forced to suffer, whether through poverty or tyranny.” [96]

How, then, can we abolish suffering? Soelle’s answer as a Christian is that we go to the sufferers and bear their pain with them, like Jesus Christ did on the cross. She finds this answer particularly in the stance of Alyosha, Ivan’s younger brother in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. A novice in a monastery,

Alyosha directs his attention not to the power above but to the sufferers. He puts himself besides them. He bears their pain with them. During this conversation he says almost nothing. He listens in agony as Ivan introduces examples of suffering he had assembled as witnesses against the compassion of God. Later Alyosha arises, goes up to Ivan, the rebel and insurrectionist, and kisses him silently on the lips. It is the same gesture with which Christ departed in the legend of the Grand Inquisitor. [97]

It is in this imitatio Christi stance of Alyosha that Soelle finds at least two amazing things: 1) “Alyosha’s strength is the silent sharing of suffering,” and 2) “God is not over Alyosha… [but] within him.” [98]

When Jesus, who was going to the cross, bore the pain of the sufferers by drinking the “cup of suffering,” it became the “cup of strengthening” which “conquered all fear” because of the emergence of “love unbounded” there. [99] If we follow Christ in this regard, then we can experience the power of love by which we can be strengthened enough to be able to overcome and even eradicate suffering.

Soelle does not assert that from the beginning God is a God of omnipotence and perfect goodness, based on whom we just rationally explain away the existence of suffering. It rather means to argue that we first throw ourselves to the painful situation of the sufferers to be with them, with the result that we, together with God who is now “within us,” can experience love unbounded in the midst of the suffering which is to be overcome. God also suffers with us even in such miserable places as Auschwitz: “Between the victim and the executioner, God… is on the side of the sufferer. God is on the side of the victim, he is hanged.” [100] This way the nature of God can gradually yet truly be discovered. In this sense, says Seolle, God is “one who certainly is not over us like a perfect being [from the beginning] but one who is in the process of becoming.” [101]

Soelle’s theodicy certainly poses a challenge to traditional philosophical theism. She does not fully develop a doctrine of God, but her theodicy can potentially develop a new, practical understanding of God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness based on the tremendous power of love, by which we are able to eventually abolish evil and suffering.

2. Jürgen Moltmann

Jürgen Moltmann, too, takes seriously Ivan Karamazov’s rebellious complaint that traditional aesthetic theodicy harmonizes evil with a greater purpose of an omnipotent and perfectly good God. The German Reformed theologian says: “The suffering of an innocent child is an irrefutable rebuttal of the notion of the almighty and kindly God in heaven.” [102]

In this context he criticizes any aesthetic explanation for its inability to obliterate suffering from the world: “There is no explanation of suffering which is capable of obliterating his [the sufferer’s] pain, and no consolation of a higher wisdom which could assuage it.” [103] Again, with this “highly questionable” traditional explanation, the sufferer has to “come to terms with” his suffering, without being able to overcome it:

The desire to explain suffering is already highly questionable in itself. Does an explanation not lead us to justify suffering and give it permanence? Does it not lead the suffering person to come to terms with his suffering, and to declare himself in agreement with it? And does this not mean that he gives up hope of overcoming suffering? [104]

Moltmann therefore proposes an entirely new approach which is both “practical” and “eschatological.” It is practical in that we, together with God, strive to overcome suffering, and it is eschatological in that it seeks a future when the overcoming of suffering will be completed, i.e., “the future in which the desire for God will be fulfilled, suffering will be overcome, and what has been lost will be restored.” [105]

His approach involves a theologia crucis (theology of the cross), which he believes to be the only answer to the question of severe torments in places like Auschwitz: 

Any other answer [than the theologia crucis] would be blasphemy. There cannot be any other Christian answer to the question of this torment. To speak here of a God who could not suffer would make God a demon. To speak here of an absolute God would make God an annihilating nothingness. To speak here of an indifferent God would condemn men to indifference. [106]

Soelle’s approach also involves a theologia crucis. But Moltmann’s theologia crucis has a more developed doctrine of God than hers, because it directly incorporates the passion of Christ on the cross into the inner being of the Godhead. According to Moltmann, God is a God of the Trinity in whom there is a dynamic relationship of love between the Father and the Son centering on the Holy Spirit. So, when the Father forsakes the Son on the cross for the redemption of the sinful world of suffering, the Son experiences the agony of being forsaken by the Father, who in turn experiences the suffering of separation from the Son. By surrendering to this painful situation together, however, the Father and the Son experience a new unity of love with each other in the Holy Spirit. [107] Thus “What happens on Golgotha reaches into the innermost depths of the Godhead, putting its impress on the trinitarian life in eternity.” [108]

When God, through the cross of the Son on Golgotha, makes our suffering his own within his inner-trinitarian life, we feel that our suffering is healed. It is on the basis of this crucified God of suffering that we as believers are empowered to crucify ourselves together with Christ to practically bear the pain of others who are suffering: “The crucifixion of the believer with Christ takes its meaning from Christ’s death on the cross for the godless.” [109] This is how suffering is overcome; and when we are engaged in this task, it is no longer the case in which we are apathetic to others in front of an apathetic God. We are instead “sympathetic” to others in front of a sympathetic God, being “filled with the spirit of God”:

In the sphere of the apathetic God man becomes a homo apatheticus. In the situation of the pathos of God he becomes a homo sympatheticus. The divine pathos is reflected in man’s participation, his hopes and his prayers. Sympathy is the openness of a person to the present of another. It has the structure of dialogue. In the pathos of God, man is filled with the spirit of God. He becomes the friend of God, feels sympathy with God and for God. He does not enter into a mystical union but into a sympathetic union with God. He is angry with God’s wrath. He suffers with God’s suffering. He loves with God’s love. He hopes with God’s hope. [110]

The removal of suffering from the world, however, cannot be completed until the last days. The cross of Christ is just the beginning. After the Son’s death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit is poured out to transform us all, so that we may eventually have “new solidarity and fellowship” among ourselves to partake of the inner-trinitarian life of God, thus giving joy and “bliss” to God. [111] This signifies “the completion of the trinitarian history of God and the end of world history” in which “the history of man’s sorrow” is overcome and “his history of hope” fulfilled. [112]

According to Moltmann, God is a God of sympathy who suffers for us. So, he rejects traditional theism’s idea that God is “an omnipotent God who cannot suffer.” [113] His theology, however, seems to have a new, profound understanding of God’s omnipotence as the omnipotence of God’s love. For when God suffers for the sake of love, by limiting and emptying himself and even withdrawing his omnipotence in the traditional sense of the term, “he has confidence in the free response of men and women”; and that confidence of God is nowhere more powerful than in his kenosis of love: God is “nowhere greater than,” “nowhere more glorious than,” and “nowhere more divine than” there. [114]

Moltmann also seems to have a new understanding of God’s perfection. Unlike traditional philosophical theism’s understanding, it does not mean God’s immutability. Instead, the inner dynamic unity of love between the Father and the Son centering on the Holy Spirit is “the very proof of divine perfection.” [115]

3. Assessment

Let us assess how Soelle and Moltmann address the four difficulties of aesthetic theodicies. Both of them address the first difficulty well, by boldly stating that we have to commit ourselves to removing evil and suffering from the world. The abolishment of suffering is “axiomatic” for Soelle, and any explanation of suffering which cannot obliterate it is “highly questionable” for Moltmann. Both theologians also take seriously the example of Ivan’s rebellion to address the second difficulty for the eventual removal of gratuitous evil and suffering. 

They address the third difficulty well, by saying that we have to be internally converted and empowered through the cross of Jesus Christ, which shows God’s suffering love for human salvation, and that on that basis we can be ready to bear the suffering of victims in order to help them to remove it through the power of God’s love. Thus apathy to victims of evil is the last thing we should have, according to both theologians. 

They address the fourth difficulty, by critically challenging the traditional philosophical understanding of God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness and also by restating these divine attributes in the context of the theologia crucis which holds that God can only be known through the cross of Christ who suffers for us out of love. Both theologians are aware of God’s unbounded kenosis of love, and they believe that only in connection with it can we start talking about the divine omnipotence and perfection. 

The difference between Soelle and Moltmann is that Moltmann has a more developed doctrine of God than Soelle, in that he directly incorporates the passion of Christ on the cross into the inner-trinitarian life of the Godhead. Thus he connects the theodicy problem with Incarnation, redemption, Holy Spirit, and Trinity. By contrast, aesthetic theodicies are hardly interested in doing this.

Unification theodicy as a practical theodicy addresses the four difficulties of aesthetic theodicies in much the same way as the practical theodicies of Soelle and Moltmann. Especially notable is Unification theodicy’s convergence with them in believing that because of his unbounded love for us God is a God of suffering, while at the same time being a God of omnipotence and perfect goodness. How Unification theodicy addresses the difficulties of aesthetic theodicies will be discussed in the next section. 

But there seems to be at least one thing which differentiates Unification theodicy from the existing practical theodicies. It is that Unification theodicy is very interested in finding out the origin of evil, while they are not. They do not seriously try to seek the origin of evil in spite of their intended noble task of abolishing evil. They already presuppose the existence of evil as an undeniable universal reality which does not have to be explained or traced back to any particular historical event like the fall of Adam. This is a modern liberal view that is widespread among scholars, including Soelle and Moltmann. For Soelle the fall of Adam is a myth and its narrative in Genesis 3 simply “describes how the human being is—and always was.” [116] For Moltmann as well, it is just a “myth” or “saga” without any historicity. [117] Yet, if they are not necessarily interested in uncovering the origin of evil, how are they able to say that Christ is absolutely needed to abolish evil?

Unification theodicy answers this question by tracing evil back to the fall of Adam, which it believes to be a historical event. St. Augustine is famous for tracing evil in the same way, although he is not a practical theodicist but basically an aesthetic theodicist who ends up harmonizing evil, even if its origin is found out, with God’s greater purpose. It will be seen that Unification theodicy traces the origin of evil to the sexual fall of Adam, whereas St. Augustine traces it in the free will of Adam.


Unification Theodicy 

1. The Fall of Adam 

Unification theodicy holds that the fall of Adam gave rise to the problem of evil, so that Jesus Christ came as “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45) to tackle this problem, i.e., to abolish evil. This parallelism between Adam and Christ is mentioned by St. Paul: “As one man’s trespass led to condemnation of all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men (Rom. 5:18). St. Irenaeus’ doctrine of “recapitulation” reinforces this point, by saying that Christ “summed up all things” since the time of Adam in order to renew them all for the future. [118] Given this parallelism, then, the historicity of the life and work of Christ explains the historicity of Adam and his fall. The Unificationist scholar Jonathan Wells, who specializes in both theology and biology, rejects Darwinism and supports the idea that Adam and Eve actually existed, by saying: “There is no scientific reason—that is, no reason based on evidence as opposed to philosophical or theological assumptions—to abandon the traditional view that our species began with one male and one female.” [119]

While Unification theodicy affirms the historicity of Adam’s fall, this does not mean that it believes that the fall of Adam was a historical necessity. That Adam would not fall was a possibility. If he had not fallen in the Garden of Eden, God’s will would have been realized there completely with no need for the coming of Christ. Unification theodicy, therefore, rejects the O felix culpa clause that aesthetic theodicies cherish. Thus Unification theodicy differs from aesthetic theodicies, as well as from the practical theodicies of Soelle and Moltmann which deny the historicity of Adam’s fall.

What, then, is the Unification interpretation of Adam’s fall? [120] According to the Divine Principle, the archangel Lucifer first seduced Eve sexually (the “spiritual fall”) and became Satan, and then Eve seduced Adam sexually (the “physical fall”), giving birth to sinful children. God originally wanted them not to fall but to realize the God-centered “four position foundation” and propagate the “lineage of God” based on the divine words of blessing: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). Instead, Adam and Eve realized the “four position foundation” centering on Satan and propagated the “lineage of Satan” to all humankind. Through this lineage of Satan, the “original sin” of Adam has been transmitted from generation to generation, and the whole world has been under the sovereignty of Satan instead of God’s sovereignty.

The idea that Adam and Eve fell sexually may sound unfamiliar to the Christian tradition, but early Church Fathers such as St. Clement of Alexandria in the East and St. Ambrose in the West actually believed in the sexual fall of the first human ancestors. [121] Also, the notions of the lineage of Satan and the sovereignty of Satan may sound novel to many in the Christian tradition. But it should be noted that before the appearance St. Anselm’s “satisfaction theory” of the atonement in the 11th century, the sovereignty of Satan was a commonsensical notion. It was considered to be something that had to be defeated in favor of the sovereignty of God through the death of Christ on the cross, according to the classic “ransom theory” of the atonement that was widespread during the first eleven centuries of the Christian era. Regarding the notion of the lineage of Satan, it was, strictly speaking, hardly present even during those centuries, but still it can be considered to be somewhat similar to the notion of the sovereignty of Satan, in that both concern the solidarity of human beings centering on Satan, if at different levels. [122]

The lineage of Satan is a central notion in the Unification understanding of Adam’s fall, which holds that the fall took place through a sexual relationship of “illicit love” [123] or “unprincipled love” [124] between Adam and Eve centering on Satan. This resulted in the formation of a Satan-centered family of all humanity, as intimated by the verse: “You brood of vipers! how can you speak good, when you are evil?” (Mt. 12:34) 

Hence, according the Unification understanding, the fall was “caused by the stronger power of unprincipled love, which overwhelmed the freedom of the original mind.” [125] The fall was not caused by freedom.

The meaning of freedom as understood in the Divine Principle needs to be explained here. Freedom functions perfectly when “both free will and the free actions pursuant to that will” are “in harmony” with each other (i.e., mind-body unity) centering on “God’s Word.” Hence, there is no freedom without “the Principle,” no freedom without “responsibility,” and no freedom without “accomplishment” bringing “joy to God.” [126] Freedom as a gift of God, therefore, always purports to accomplish the purpose of creation, not just by staying at the individual level of mind-body unity but by going to the higher levels of making relationships of unity with others to make God joyful. Closely associated with this freedom is the notion of “creative nature” or “creatorship” with which human beings are endowed in resemblance to God. [127] Therefore this freedom, which is called the “freedom of the original mind,” never caused the fall of Adam. [128] It was rather squashed and lost when Adam and Eve fell through their illicit love relationship, which overpowered it. 

Interestingly, the Unification notion of the freedom of the original mind as the freedom to make only the right choice for the purpose of creation coincides with what Flew and Mackie, the aforementioned atheist philosophers, perceived free will to be if there were an omnipotent and perfect God. This means that the Unification view of freedom is very different from the received notion of free will as the ability to freely choose between right and wrong, which is adhered to by aesthetic theodicists such as Leibniz, Plantinga and Hick. 

This received notion of free will was, needless to say, established and popularized by St. Augustine, who was combating Manichaean fatalism. According to the Bishop of Hippo, the fall of Adam as a historical event was caused by free will (liberum arbitrium), when it freely made the wrong choice: “Free will is the cause of our doing evil.” [129] Therefore the fall means that Satan, Eve, and Adam severally and individually had already fallen because of the free will of each of them, before Satan’s temptation to Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was able to make any appeal to her and her temptation to Adam to eat the fruit was able to make any appeal to him. With Augustine’s atomistic, non-relational and non-sexual interpretation, the notion of the lineage of Satan is unthinkable. This is the interpretation that has been prevalent and dominant throughout the history of Christianity. Although Augustine also said correctly that the original sin of Adam has been relationally and sexually transmitted from generation to generation, [130] nevertheless he did not deny his non-relational and non-sexual interpretation of how evil originated in the fall of Adam. This is an inconsistency in his theology. 

2. Christ’s Role and Ours

Both Unification theodicy and the existing practical theodicies are aware of the important role of Christ for the removal of evil. But Unification theodicy may be more advantageous, in that it has a clearer view of Christ’s role based on its understanding of a historical parallelism between Adam and Christ.

According to the Divine Principle, Adam and Eve fell sexually, realizing the Satan-centered four-position foundation and the lineage of Satan for all humanity. Although they were originally supposed to realize the “three great blessings” of individual perfection, multiplication of children, and dominion over creation based on the God-centered four-position foundation, [131] they failed to do so. Therefore the role of Christ as the last Adam was to restore the God-centered four-position foundation and the lineage of God based on which to realize the three great blessings. For that purpose, Christ came as the Son of God [132] and as “the incarnation of the Word,” [133] born without the original sin [134] so that he is able to redeem our sins. [135] Through the lineage of God, he was to multiply sinless children in the world. To be sure, the existing practical theodicies are also well aware that Christ came as the sinless Son of God and the incarnation of the Word to redeem us, but they do not know that his real role was to restore the God-centered four-position foundation and the lineage of God as the basis for realizing the three great blessings. For they do not explain the origin of evil, as they do not recognize historicity in the fall of Adam, let alone any sexual element in it.

Nevertheless, Unification theodicy is in basic agreement with the existing practical theodicies in holding that the essence of Christ’s approach was love and sacrifice: “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44); “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). He knew its importance, because he was well aware that God could only be truly experienced through love, sacrifice, and cross: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Mt. 16:24; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 9:23). With this approach generating God’s tremendous power of love, Christ was to abolish evil, including gratuitous evil, in the world to build the kingdom of God on the earth. Thus Unification theodicy clearly possesses a theologia crucis in the broader sense of the term, meaning that Christ was carrying the cross daily on the earth because of God’s love. In this connection, Sun Myung Moon states of Christ: “He could overcome any difficulties for God and His will, and could even give up his own life. That is why God’s love could dwell with him, and for the first time in human history, he could personally incarnate the love of God.” [136]

In fact, Christ received so much opposition from the Israelite leaders that he had to walk the path of the real cross and be literally crucified. Even so, his approach was the same. Out of utmost love and forgiveness, he shouldered the evil of his opponents and of sinful humankind as well, even when he had to be thrown to the hand of Satan at the crucifixion. Because of this, God was now able to emerge to exert his power for his resurrection. Thus the Divine Principle says: “God exercised His maximum power and resurrected Jesus,” opening “the way for all humanity to be engrafted with the resurrected Jesus and thereby receive salvation and rebirth.” [137]

But this was only “spiritual salvation”; [138] it necessarily could not include physical salvation because Christ had to lose his physical body on the cross. This is the reason why he must return in the last days to completely accomplish his original role, bringing joy to God. The Divine Principle claims that today is the last days, [139] and calls the returning Christ “the third Adam,” while referring to the Christ of the first coming as “the second Adam.” [140] The existing practical theodicies, too, talk about the return of Christ, but they seem not to know the real reason why Christ must return. For they are not aware that the real mission of the Christ of the first coming, which was to restore the God-centered four-position foundation and the lineage of God as the basis on which to realize the three great blessings, and that this mission was left unaccomplished due to his premature death on the cross. 

What, then, is our role? According to Unification theology it is to imitate Christ (imitatio Christi) in bearing the cross daily for the sake of those who suffer from evil, so that God’s power of love may overwhelm evil and abolish it. We are supposed to work together with Christ to quicken the time of the realization of the kingdom of God. To do so, after he redeems us, each of us is supposed to restore and realize, together with him, God’s original three great blessings of individual perfection, multiplication of children, and dominion over creation. 

We are expected to reach the first blessing of individual perfection first, before we are qualified to play our role of removing evil from the world. Individual perfection means that our mind and body are united centering on God, experiencing the “Heart of God” as if it were our own. [141] We are thus internally transformed. As was seen above, the God-centered mind-body unity is also the state in which we are able to exercise the “freedom of the original mind.” Therefore we can voluntarily and creatively serve and help others to overcome evil and suffering. That way we can fulfill the “human portion of responsibility” which Adam and Eve could not fulfill. [142]

From a trinitarian perspective, the role of Christ can be understood as follows. [143] The inner Trinity of God (Heart, Sungsang, and Hyungsang) [144] was supposed to be substantially manifested as the “trinity” of God, Adam, and Eve, with Adam and Eve as the “True Parents of humankind” giving birth to all humankind in the lineage of God. That way, the kingdom of God on the earth fulfilling God’s three great blessings would have been realized at that time. But instead, the “fallen trinity” of Satan, Adam, and Eve was formed due to their sexual fall, giving birth to all humanity in the lineage of Satan. So, to give rebirth to humankind on earth, the original trinity needed to be substantiated as the “trinity” of God, Christ, and his Bride, with Christ and his Bride as the True Parents giving rebirth to humankind on the earth. Due to the crucifixion of Jesus, however, only the “spiritual trinity” of God, the resurrected Christ, and the Holy Spirit was formed, with the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit as the “spiritual True Parents” giving only “spiritual rebirth.” Therefore Christ must return, so that the “perfect trinity” of God, the returning Christ, and his Spouse may be formed, with the returning Christ and his Spouse as the True Parents of humanity giving “rebirth both spiritually and physically.”

It goes without saying that the trinity of God, True Father, and True Mother, which constitutes the God-centered four-position foundation when the children reborn through them are added to it as a fourth position, brings forth the stage where all the stakeholders (God, True Father, True Mother, and children) practice love and sacrifice towards one another for their victory over evil. 

3. Addressing the Difficulties of Aesthetic Theodicies

At this juncture, let us address the difficulties of aesthetic theodicies from the perspective of Unification theodicy.

As was mentioned before, the Divine Principle believes that evil’s emergence as a substantial force was the result of a violation of God’s purpose of creation, “forming a four-position foundation under the dominion of Satan.” [145] Evil, therefore, will have to cease to exist in the heavenly kingdom under the dominion or sovereignty of God. Evil, including gratuitous evil, will be completely removed from the world, when Christ and we who follow him restore and realize the original three great blessings based on the four-position foundation under God’s sovereignty. This is how Unification theodicy addresses the first and second difficulties of aesthetic theodicies. 

Unification theodicy may sometimes teach, echoing Hick’s soul-making theodicy, that evil is useful for our character formation in the process of restoration through indemnity, as Rev. Moon has said, “You become an important person through suffering.” [146] But evil, including gratuitous evil, is definitely something “without which the world have been a better place,” to use David Ray Griffin’s phrase. And it should never exist in the kingdom of God.

The Divine Principle also teaches that the eradication of evil from the world only begins with the individual perfection of Christ and of each human person who follows him. The individual perfection of a person is the state of personal transformation in which that person is one with God through his/her complete unity of mind and body centering on God. Naturally, therefore, he/she will voluntarily show up, like Christ does, with a spirit of love and sacrifice at places where victims of evil exist, in order to shoulder their suffering for the removal of evil and suffering. He/she will thus contribute to building ideal families, societies, and nations, and eventually the kingdom of God. That kind of person would never be satisfied with just theoretically and logically explaining away evil. Regarding Jesus Christ in this matter, Rev. Moon says: 

He did not talk about the definition of love or its logic. He represented human history in the light of actualizing love. He did not mention anything that he personally did not feel or actualize. [147]

This is how Unification theodicy addresses the third difficulty of aesthetic theodicies. 

How does Unification theodicy address the fourth difficulty? It does not treat God as an object of philosophical thinking. Unification theodicy, as mentioned above, holds that God is a God of omnipotence and perfect goodness, but it also believes that God is a God of Heart who suffers as our Parent to work for our salvation and restoration. Therefore, God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness should be understood more deeply and even restated in the context of God’s suffering Heart of love, which is expressed through the dynamic give-and-take action of God’s dual characteristics of internal nature (sungsang) and external form (hyungsang). 

Thus, unlike philosophical theism, God’s omnipotence will not be seen simply as his infinite sovereign power, but rather as the “irrepressibility” of God’s Heart of love; [148] and God’s perfection will not be defined as his immutable character, but rather as the unity of the dynamic give-and-take action of God’s dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang. [149] Therefore, although God is omnipotent in that his Heart is absolutely irrepressible, he can still feel an inner emotion of suffering when there is evil in the world; and although God is perfect in that his dual characteristics are completely united in their dynamic give-and-take action, he can still suffer from constraints coming from the sinful world. [150]

By the way, the Unification theologian Young Oon Kim quite clearly states that “God is not omnipotent,” but this statement apparently comes from her reliance on the traditional definition of God’s omnipotence in philosophical theism as his infinite sovereign power, without looking at the issue in the context of God’s Heart. [151]

Unification theodicy also connects the problem of evil with redemption and the Trinity, in that it talks about the redemptive role of the incarnated Christ and the Trinity for the abolition of evil. Elsewhere I equated God’s dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang centering on Heart, which constitute the threeness of God, with the “inner Trinity” of the Godhead. This in turn is economically manifested in the form of the “outer Trinity” of God and the True Parents of humanity, forming the God-centered four-position foundation for the salvation and restoration of human beings and the world. [152]

4. Why God Did Not Intervene in the Fall

Exposition of the Divine Principle in its second chapter on the Human Fall has a section entitled “The Reason God Did Not Intervene in the Fall of the First Human Ancestors.” [153] The main reason stated there is that human beings, created in the image of God and thus endowed with the “creative nature of God” in accordance with the Principle of Creation which is “absolute and perfect,” must grow to perfection “by fulfilling their portion of responsibility” during the “period of their growth” without God’s intervention. [154] This is certainly about the “freedom of the original mind.”

At a glance, this might look the same as St. Augustine’s free will theodicy or Alvin Plantinga’s free will defense or any other aesthetic theodicy’s free will defense of God. But we have to be reminded that the Divine Principle’s notion of the “freedom of the original mind” is different from the received notion of free will in aesthetic theodicies. [155] The former means our ability to always make the right choice, while the latter refers to our ability to freely choose between right and wrong. The former is only headed for the right choice, while the latter is neutral in that it can go either right or wrong. Additionally, the former is already programmed to work for God’s purpose of creation, thus not having to be aestheticized with it at all, while the latter, when making the wrong choice, needs to be theoretically justified to be harmonized and aestheticized with it. Therefore it would be inadequate to say that Unification theodicy is a free will defense. 

Adam and Eve fell not because of the wrong choice of the will according to the received notion of free will, but because the freedom of the original mind that should be accompanied by the Principle was not fully developed; it could not exert itself in unbreakable oneness with God’s realm of love. The fall of Adam and Eve took place because their freedom, not yet fully developed or exerted, was overwhelmed by the stronger power of illicit or unprincipled love.

Why, then, did God make the power of love “stronger” than the power of the Principle, thus making the sexual fall a possibility from the beginning? The reason is that “love [when centering on God] is truly the source and wellspring of our life and happiness,” and that “in order for love to fulfill its proper role, its power must be stronger than the power of the Principle.” [156]

God created the world in which love is stronger than the Principle. In a sense, therefore, it can be said that God was responsible for the possibility of the fall. Thus the Divine Principle talks about the “ninety-five percent responsibility” of God as the creator in comparison with the “five percent responsibility” of human beings. [157] But God was not actually responsible for the fall itself. Adam and Eve were responsible for it because they could not fully develop or exercise their freedom. 

In the course of our restoration, however, God’s Heart of love for us is available through his dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang. Also, it has been made substantially available through Christ who suffered for us. Therefore, as long as we imitate Christ by bearing the cross for the sake of others, the power of the love of God, which is even stronger than the power of the Principle, will overwhelmingly help our freedom of the original mind to grow strong enough to overcome evil: 

Since fallen people can also relate with God in freedom, if they follow the words of truth, form a common base and engage in give and take with Him, then the power of principled love can revive their original nature. [158]

This seems to be another unique way of defending God in Unification theodicy. This is certainly related to the theologia crucis in which the power of the suffering love of God is a major theme. 



Unification theodicy is not a simple theodicy, which denies one of the following three propositions: the omnipotence of God, the perfect goodness of God, and the reality of evil in the world. Nor is Unification theodicy an aesthetic theodicy, which, after accepting the above three propositions, adds a supplementary proposition to aesthetically harmonize evil with a greater purpose of God. 

Rather, Unification theodicy is a practical theodicy. It agrees with the practical theodicies of Dorothee Soelle and Jürgen Moltmann that evil, including gratuitous evil, must be abolished instead of being logically and/or aesthetically explained away; that a theodicist must practice a theologia crucis to be equipped with God’s suffering love for us, expressed in the cross of Christ, in order to be able to be qualified to tackle the problem of evil; and that God’s omnipotence and perfect goodness, as understood in philosophical theism, should be challenged and restated in the context of God’s suffering love for us seen in the Bible, so that they may be understood more profoundly. 

Unification theodicy, however, differs from the practical theodicies of Soelle and Moltmann on a couple of points. First, it believes that the role of Christ was to undo what Adam did historically, i.e., his sexual fall, his failure to realize the lineage of God for all humanity, whereas the theodicies of the German theologians do not know enough about that role of Christ as they are not necessarily interested in knowing the origin of evil, having denied historicity to the fall of Adam. Second, although both Unification theodicy and the existing practical theodicies may agree that there is little room for any free will defense, the former can explain the reason more clearly than the latter because it explicitly states that the fall of Adam was not caused by free will.

Even so, the emergence of the practical theodicies of these German theologians in the evolution of theodicy is very significant, in that it provides a new understanding of God which, going beyond philosophical theism, converges very much with the Unification understanding of God. Especially Moltmann’s analysis of the inner-trinitarian life of God alludes to the more clearly stated Unification understanding of God’s own dynamic threeness within: the dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang centering on Heart.



[1] It is usually understood that there are two kinds of evil: 1) natural evil and 2) moral evil. Natural evil refers to disasters and obstacles by natural causes without the intention of a moral agent; for example hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and incurable diseases. Moral evil, by contrast, is evil which arises from the intentional action or inaction of an intelligent, conscious, and moral agent; examples of it are murder, cruelty, theft, lying, and adultery. The dividing line between the two may sometimes not be absolutely clear, because some natural evils such as global warming may arise from our wrong moral decisions. The dividing line is virtually removed by St. Augustine, who maintains that natural evil, which is nature’s disobedience to us, is the consequent punishment of our moral evil, which is our disobedience to God: “When you sin, that is, disobey your Lord, the things [in nature] you before ruled over are made instrumental in your punishment.” Augustine, “Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental” 37:43.

[2] The present essay does not consider the proposition that God is omniscient. 

[3] Kenneth Surin, Theology and the Problem of Evil (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1986), p. 2.

[4] Sungsang and hyungsang are Korean terms, which mean “internal nature” and “external form.” For a detailed explanation of God’s Heart and God’s dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang, see Theodore Shimmyo, “God and the World: Advantages of the Unification Doctrine of God’s Dual Characteristics,” Journal of Unification Studies 16 (2015): 27-64.

[5] C. E. M. Joad, God and Evil (London: Farber & Farber, 1943), pp. 9, 62.

[6] Ibid., pp. 24-62.

[7] Ibid., p. 101.

[8] Ibid., pp. 85-86

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 101.

[11] Edgar Sheffield Brightman, A Philosophy of Religion (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1940), p. 337.

[12] Ibid., p. 339.

[13] Ibid., pp. 245-46.

[14] Ibid., p. 337.

[15] Gordon H. Clark, Religion, Reason, and Revelation (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1961), pp. 237-38.

[16] Ibid., pp. 238-39.

[17] Ibid., p, 239.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), p. 419.

[20] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, ed. Thomas Gilby, vol. 1: The Existence of God (Garden City, N.Y.: Image Books, 1969), p. 205.

[21] Benedict de Spinoza, The Ethics, trans. R. H. M. Elwes (London: George Bell &Sons, 1891), Part IV, preface.

[22] Ibid., Part I, prop. 25, corollary.

[23] Ibid., Part I, prop. 29.

[24] Ibid., Part III, prop. 39, note.

[25] Ibid., Part IV, prop. 64.

[26] Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, authorized ed. (Boston, Mass.: Christian Science Board of Directors, 2011), p. 465.

[27] Ibid., p. 468.

[28] Ibid., p. 127.

[29] Ibid., p. 189. 

[30] Ibid., p. 277.

[31] Ibid., p. 27.

[32] Ibid., p. 71.

[33] Ibid., p. 450.

[34] Alan Richardson, “Evil, The Problem of,” in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, ed. Alan Richardson and John Bowden (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983), p. 195.

[35] Erickson, Christian Theology, vol. 1, p. 421.

[36] Exposition of the Divine Principle (New York: H.S.A.-U.W.C., 1996), p. 57. Henceforth abbreviated as EDP.

[37] EDP, pp. 10, 42, 76, and 81.

[38] EDP, pp. 16-18.

[39] EDP, p. 42.

[40] EDP, p. 84.

[41] EDP, p. 155.

[42] Unification Thought Institute, New Essentials of Unification Thought: Head-Wing Thought (Tokyo: Kogensha, 2006), pp. 2-22. Henceforth abbreviated as NEUT.

[43] NEUT, p. 557.

[44] NEUT, pp. 19-22.

[45] EDP, pp. 25, 39.

[46] EDP, p. 39.

[47] G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil, trans. E. M. Huggard (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952), ¶168.

[48] Ibid., para. 201.

[49] Ibid., para. 225.

[50] Ibid., para. 52.

[51] Ibid., paras. 21, 241, 

[52] Ibid., para. 155.

[53] See note 1.

[54] Leibniz, Theodicy, para. 127.

[55] Ibid., para. 10.

[56] Augustine, Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Love, trans. Albert C. Outler (1955), VIII.27.

[57] See, for example, John Hick, Evil and the God of Love, revised ed. (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), pp. 164-66.

[58] Leibniz, Theodicy, para. 381.

[59] Ibid., para. 333.

[60] Ibid., para. 52.

[61] Alvin Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1977), p. 26.

[62] Ibid., p. 27.

[63] Ibid., p. 27-28.

[64] Ibid., p. 29.

[65] Antony Flew, “Divine Omnipotence and Human Freedom,” in New Essays in Philosophical Theology, ed. Antony Flew and Alasdair C. MacIntyre (London, SCM Press, 1955), p. 152.

[66] J. L Mackie, “Evil and Omnipotence,” Mind 64, no. 254 (April 1955): 209.

[67] Plantinga, God, Freedom, and Evil, pp. 31-33.

[68] Ibid., p. 45.

[69] Ibid., pp. 49-53.

[70] Ibid., pp. 58-59.

[71] Alvin Plantinga, “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa,’” in Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil, ed. Peter van Inwagen (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 1-25.

[72] Hick, Evil and the God of Love, pp. 253-61.

[73] Ibid., pp. 281- 82, 285-88.

[74] Ibid., p. 253.

[75] Ibid., pp. 249-50.

[76] Ibid., p. 285.

[77] Ibid., p. 256.

[78] Ibid., p. 255.

[79] Ibid., p. 287.

[80] Ibid., pp. 287, 364.

[81] Ibid., pp. 326-27.

[82] Ibid., pp. 337-40.

[83] Ibid., p. 351.

[84] David Ray Griffin, God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976), p. 200.

[85] Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

[86] Paul Ricoeur, “The Hermeneutics of Symbols and Philosophical Reflection: I,” in The Conflict of Interpretation, ed. Don Ihde (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University, 1974), p. 312.

[87] Surin, Theology and the Problem of Evil, pp. 11, 23.

[88] Ibid., p. 11.

[89] Ibid., pp. 6-7.

[90] Ibid., p. 7.

[91] Ibid., pp. 4-7.

[92] Dorothee Soelle, Suffering, trans. Everett R. Kalin (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1975), p. 19.

[93] Ibid., p. 22.

[94] Ibid., pp. 24-25.

[95] Ibid., pp. 33-59.

[96] Ibid., p. 2.

[97] Ibid., p. 175.

[98] Ibid., pp. 175-76.

[99] Ibid., pp. 85-86.

[100] Ibid., p. 148.

[101] Ibid., p. 92.

[102] Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom: The Doctrine of God, trans. Margaret Kohl (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), p. 47.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Ibid., p. 52.

[105] Ibid., p. 49.

[106] Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology, trans. R. A. Wilson and John Bowden (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), p. 274. 

[107] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, pp. 82-83.

[108] Ibid., p. 81.

[109] Moltmann, The Crucified God, p. 62.

[110] Ibid., p. 272.

[111] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, pp. 126-27.

[112] Moltmann, The Crucified God, p. 278.

[113] Ibid., p. 223.

[114] Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom, p. 119.

[115] Ibid., pp. 45-46.

[116] Dorothee Soelle et al., Great Couple of the Bible, trans. Brian McNeil (Minneapolis, Minn.: Fortress Press, 2006), p. 28.

[117] Jürgen Moltmann, “Justice for Victims and Perpetrators,” Reformed World 44 (March 1994).

[118] Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.21.1.

[119] Jonathan Wells, “Evolution and Unification Thought,” Journal of Unification Studies 12 (2011): 134.

[120] For the Unification teaching of the fall of Adam, see EDP, chap. 2, pp. 53-78.

[121] Theodore Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of the Atonement,” Journal of Unification Studies 12 (2011): 36, n. 14.

[122] For this discussion, see Theodore Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of the Atonement,” Journal of Unification Studies 12 (2011): 11-40.

[123] EDP, p. 67.

[124] EDP, pp. 64-67, 75-76.

[125] EDP, p. 75.

[126] EDP, p. 74.

[127] EDP, pp. 43-44, 67, 77-78.

[128] EDP, p. 75.

[129] Augustine, Confessions of St. Augustine, trans. Rex Warner (New York: New American Library, 1963), p. 138.

[130] See Augustine, “On Original Sin,” and “On Marriage and Concupiscence,” in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1971), vol. 5, pp. 237-55, 261-308.

[131] EDP, pp. 32-36.

[132] EDP, pp. 23, 128, 284.

[133] EDP, pp. 92, 95, 167, 180, 283.

[134] EDP, p. 168.

[135] EDP, pp. 56, 392.

[136] Sun Myung Moon, “Jesus’ True Heart for God,” in Sermons of Reverend Sun Myung Moon (New York: HSA Publications, 1994), vol. 2, p. 270. This sermon was originally given in Korean at Chung Pa Dong Church in Korea on August 4, 1957.

[137] EDP, p. 279.

[138] EDP, p. 118.

[139] EDP, pp. 96-103.

[140] EDP, p. 202.

[141] EDP, p. 34.

[142] EDP, p. 77.

[143] EDP, pp. 171-72.

[144] For how God’s dual characteristics of sungsang and hyungsang centering on Heart can be equated with the Trinity within the Godhead, see Theodore T. Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of the Trinity,” Journal of Unification Studies 2 (1998): 1-17.

[145] EDP, p. 39.

[146] Sun Myung Moon, The Way of God’s Will (New York: HSA-UWC, 1980), p. 140.

[147] Moon, “Jesus’ True Heart for God,” p. 270.

[148] The “irrepressible” nature of God’s Heart is mentioned in NEUT, pp. 23-24.

[149] NEUT, p, 244. 

[150] Theodore Shimmyo, “How a God of Omnipotence and Perfection Can Suffer: A Perspective from Unification Theism,” Journal of Unification Studies 13 (2012): 33-72.

[151] Young Oon Kim, Unification Theology (New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, 1980), p. 67. In the revised edition of 1987, the language of “not omnipotent” about God is erased.

[152] See Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of the Trinity.”

[153] EDP, pp. 76-78.

[154] EDP, p. 77.

[155] Young Oon Kim seems not to be very aware of this difference, when she says that “human freedom,” as understood in Unification theology, is “freedom of choice.” See her Unification Theology, p. 119.

[156] EDP, p. 66.

[157] EDP, p. 157.

[158] EDP, p. 76.