This article is all about sex. Why? The Divine Principle reveals that sex is not only central to our lives and the growth of our families, but is the core of the plight of humankind throughout history to this day. Our team embarked on a mission to explore what God has to do with sex, and what all that has to do with us.
To read this series, simply click on a chapter and the article will appear right here. Got any comments or questions? Don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
A Billion Years for a Moment
Imagine how labor-intensive it is to build your own house. Just pause and consider the painstaking work involved, from drawing the blueprints to etching out a foundation, building the frame, and installing all the electrical wires, plumbing and insulation. Now, let’s take a step back and picture how much more effort it would take to construct an entire city. How about the work that goes into developing a country?
It took billions of years to form what we now know to be the cosmos. God worked tirelessly to lovingly design each element of the physical and metaphysical worlds that we most often take for granted. Simply noticing the gravity that keeps our feet on the ground or the magnetism that keeps our planets at a perfect distance from the sun can help us recognize that a lot of thought and effort went into every aspect of our reality.
The Divine Principle explains that human beings were created to enjoy all of this magnificence and grandeur, and that God yearned for a people who could share in the love and joy of existence with Him. We were created to share a tremendous love and to grow with our Creator in the most intimate of relationships possible. Like a parent preparing the perfect space in which their child will be born, God wanted us to have the ideal cosmos in which to explore.
Think of how amazing the universe is. It took between 16 billion and 20 billion years for God to create it, an immeasurable amount of time and imagination to design it, and only seconds for it to be destroyed. Whether historical, literal or metaphor, what is the Garden of Eden story trying to teach us? What could be so attractive at such a young age that Adam and Eve pursued it even unto the destruction of everything?
The First Heartbreak
There is a strange phenomenon that occurs when a story is told repeatedly; historical facts blur with lore into a hodgepodge of half-truths and the actual meaning behind the story is missed. Arguably one of the most famous stories ever told and dissected for meaning is that of Adam and Eve. For many, it is a story of simple disobedience by humans, which led to the ultimate punishment from God: to be banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). What if there was more to it?
Throughout the Bible, and in every sacred text, there are words to be taken literally and stories that are meant to be digested as metaphors. Unificationists believe that the story of Adam and Eve is laden with metaphors which are cleverly used to elucidate a paradigm that led humanity on a dismal path of ignorance, war and confusion throughout history.
The story goes that God “breathed life” into Adam and Eve (Gen 2:7), He gave them a commandment to eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden but for one (Gen 2:16). This advice starts to sound more like a threat when God says, “ … For when you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17). Translated literally, it means both Adam and Eve would have died immediately after eating the fruit. So harsh! Because of that, God has been judged by many scholars and critics as a militant, cold and heartless deity. Unificationists have a different perspective, and to us it actually makes sense!
The commandment was meant to be the law that guided Adam and Eve through their growth process. God’s hope was that humans would reach a maturity of love, not law, through a relationship of parent and child with God.
By disobeying the commandment, Adam and Eve began a tradition of making choices centered on their own immature understanding of what they felt was right. They created a family that wasn’t connected to their Heavenly Parent, God, which resulted in a family filled with murder, jealousy and ignorance of their innate divine value. This is what we descend from, and is why we have lived in such turmoil for so long.
The moment of “The Fall” was so traumatic to God that “it grieved him at his heart” (Gen 6:6). This was the moment of the first heartbreak, for by breaking God’s commandment—one based on love—they also broke God’s heart.
Shh … Don’t Say the S-Word!
Sex is the most powerful experience that two people can share, because it fully intertwines the mind, body and spirit of two people, bringing them into oneness. When misused, the act of sex can be used to promote hatred and division. How is it that one act can have such disparate emotional conclusions? The motivation behind our sexual impulses is the key differentiating factor between healthy and destructive sex.
The American sexologist Alfred Kinsey would suggest that, if we were simply animals without spiritual inclinations, then we could easily be detached from the results of our sexual interactions. In reality, we are beings of heart, creatures with a complex infrastructure of emotions that are deeply rooted in our spirituality. In our modern, overly sexualized society, we see the act of sex being promoted without any semblance of deep commitment and responsibility to the other individual involved. Through the teachings of Father Moon, we can see that real sex is not just about individuals at all; it is about centering our hearts on bringing joy first through our loving commitment to the other person.
Unificationists believe in the sacredness of sex, and that sex is considered to be so taboo in our society (apart from those who abuse it) as a result of it being so powerful—so central to the purpose of life—that when it’s decoupled from God, its enormous power mutates into something fearfully corrosive and devastating. Father Moon spoke on this on multiple occasions:
“The key that can unlock the sexual organ of a man is owned by the woman, and the key for the woman is owned by the man; there is only one key for every person. There should be only one key per person. Do you want to possess ten or twenty keys? Do you want to become a ruined house that has its gates open for everyone and does not have an owner? Do you want to become a place that anyone can pass through and come and go at will?” (January 1, 1997)
This is why God has been heartbroken since the time of Adam and Eve. As science has now confirmed in tracing our genetics, we humans originated from one woman and one man who in the Bible are named Adam and Eve. In the original dwelling place of this couple, the Garden of Eden, we see a paradigm develop which has become the framework for all suffering known to humankind.
The Divine Principle reveals that God had asked Adam and Eve specifically to enjoy life and all that He had created with one exception: do not participate in a sexual relationship prematurely (64). God was asking His children to focus on building a relationship with Him first so that the foundation of their future relationship would be rooted in a love that is eternal rather than in temporary emotions.
Unfortunately, our first human parents were not able to follow God’s commandments and began a sexual relationship based on insecurities and negative emotions. This story illustrates that when two people take sex into their own hands for self-serving purposes, they and their descendants are left with negative results.
Father Moon said: “When matured, Adam and Eve were supposed to have become an eternal husband and wife in God’s love. But Eve, who in her immaturity had engaged in the illicit relationship with the Archangel, joined with Adam as husband and wife. Thus, Adam fell when he, too, was still immature. This untimely conjugal relationship in satanic love between Adam and Eve constituted the physical fall.”
Whether or not you believe the bible story, it’s hard to dispute that we can find the misuse of sex as the root of so many of the problems that we face today, including the breakdown of the family.
Sex, Love and Science, Part 1
Sex is the deepest expression of love and is fundamental to our existence and lineage. It’s meant to have only positive emotions connected to it, but sometimes it’s engaged in indifferently or, even worse, leads to pain and heartache.
Before entering a sexual relationship it’s worth asking—“What impact will this have?” This is a question too few people ask themselves, because many are led into relationships based simply on impulsive emotions. Though emotions are an important part of any relationship, they are fleeting and often not entirely trustworthy.
True intimacy naturally desires sustained growth over a long period of time. Despite today’s “hookup” culture, sex is anything but meaningless. Though emotions are fleeting, with sex usually comes a deep emotional imprint—be it conscious or subconscious. After all, we are created as beings with not only bodies but also a mind and spirit.
Lust vs. Love
Is there a difference between “sex” and “making love”—in which sex is merely the physical, lustful act, and making love is a part of an intimate relationship? Writer Jonathan Lenbuck (Psych Central) spoke to this when he said:
“Being intimate with your partner requires you to be open and honest with him or her, and it is from this state of intimacy that great sex grows.”
It would seem that sex and intimacy are completely different things, and that awesome sex comes from having intimacy first.
However, there’s another notable difference between sex and making love—or lust versus love. Scientists have found that “while lust triggers the part of the brain that responds to pleasure, it seems love lights up the region that gives pleasure meaning.” Our brain shows us what we deem meaningful or not, and that love and intimacy can make sex even more pleasurable.
What Happens If Sex Is Meaningless?
Today’s hookup scene provides countless case studies on intimacy and sex. Some studies have found that hookup sex essentially devolves humans, because it’s aimed to be devoid of soul-to-soul connection and meaning. The driving factor of hookup sex and one-night stands is that it is meaningless—we can leave the next day and never call back. Even though our brains process love and pleasure separately, thinking of them as separate can be harmful, because we also tend to confuse feelings of love and lust, taking them for the same thing. What does that do to our heart and spirit?
In one study, students who had meaningless sex were found to have higher levels of psychological distress and depression. Researchers said, “Considering that society continues to loosen up in this arena, the potential results and impact are essential to consider.” It’s come down to this: Our sexual activity is becoming not only a personal concern but also a scientific and social one, as the mental health of young adults, in particular, is threatened. Meaningless sex might very well be undermining our chance for a happy, cohesive and connected society.
But what about the other side of the coin? Is there hope for a meaningful sexual relationship? Can we reach that higher level of making love? What are the benefits of sex when it’s meaningful?
Sex, Love and Science, Part 2
Meaningless sex might very well be undermining our chance for a happy, cohesive and connected society. But what about the other side of the coin? Is there hope for a meaningful sexual relationship? Can we reach that higher level of making love? What are the benefits of sex when it’s meaningful?
A study revealed that men and women who have sex to acquire self-esteem, resources or plain excitement are not so satisfied. In fact, people were found to be happier and more satisfied when they have sex in the context of love and commitment—in other words, a serious and meaningful relationship.
Marital sex is the perfect example of committed, long-term sex, and is both more rewarding and more difficult than casual sex. Psychologist Douglas LaBier explains, “Couples that have marital sex play out in the bedroom everything unspoken and unresolved from outside the bedroom.”
So are love and commitment enough to guarantee good sex? What happens when sex is tied with negative emotions? Experts say that casual sex can lead to depression, but how are negative emotions intertwined with sex a threat in a committed relationship?
When a couple is not exactly on the same wavelength in the bedroom—or in life in general—it often comes out post-sex, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. A study of 200 women showed that 32.9 percent of them experience feelings of sadness or melancholy after sex. Some researchers say it could be related to personal biology or previous abusive experiences, but other factors may be the culprit.
Genetic or experiential, it’s a vicious circle for these women if their feelings are left unresolved. It’s no secret that these issues can seem almost insurmountable at times. Do we ever wonder why bad feelings can be so easily tangled up in our sex lives, or how we can use them to spur on the betterment of the relationship?
Could Sex Even Be … Sacred?
You know that old saying, “It’s all about the journey”? Nothing could be truer for one’s sex life, especially in a committed relationship. In a way, sex can be seen as its own spiritual journey. Trying to connect to God can be a lot like trying to connect with our partner. In both relationships we absolutely need trust and respect—and we can experience immeasurable closeness and joy.
LaBier says that making love achieves this closeness by uniting the mind, body and spirit. “But your sexual relationship elevates to that higher plane only when you join that energy to the energy that comes from open communication and equality in your daily behavior with your partner,” he says. “This integration focuses you and your partner on your shared journey through life on this planet, including larger issues about your sense of meaning and purpose in the world.”
The monthly magazine Psychologies says that sex can be spiritual—and hugely joyful—if we see it as not only the union of two bodies but also the merging of two divine energies—that of male and female.
“Throughout history, our attitudes to sex have changed as culture has changed, and while we might be experiencing a ‘pornification’ of society, with the focus on performance, technique and instant gratification, the potential of sex to be a sacred act has long been acknowledged.” (Psychologies)
Deborah Anapol, Ph.D., says that our erotic and spiritual energies, when combined, potentiate both—otherwise it is simply a mechanical release of physical tension. Sacred sexuality can heal our society’s laden feelings of shame and guilt.
Anapol continues, “To put it another way, when partners are focused on cultivating receptivity, both giving and receiving leave one vibrating with aliveness.” Just as the most profound meditation occurs when all sense of self is lost, we can have this kind of “other-centered” mindset while we give or receive love as a profound way to unite the experience and energy of sex and spirit. It’s this balance of inner and outer fulfillment with one’s very significant other that all people seek—and if they don’t get it, they most likely will get bored with sex.
What might be holding us back from experiencing this meaningful, spiritual sex?
It’s important to consider that our sex life, like our spiritual life, might be tied to more than just our partner—it could be connected to how we relate to our family and society. A study in the UK revealed some surprising statistics. It examined the quality of 5,000 individuals’ relationships and showed a clear link between their personal relationships and their well-being. The study found that one in ten people living in the United Kingdom—around 4.7 million—has no close friends. Isn’t that heartbreaking? Among these people, “Almost one in four have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship (23 percent),” “One in four people are dissatisfied with their sex life (24 percent)” and “One in four people report having an affair (24 percent).”
Based on these statistics, close, committed relationships, in the context of and guided by nurturing families, are paramount. They’re the basis of happy careers, happy sex lives, happy marriages and families and happy lives in general.
Our Epic Legacy
When a seed is planted in the ground, it undergoes an intense, lengthy process of growth until it becomes a tree strong enough to bear fruits of its own. In much the same way, we humans need to pass through personal growth to be able to effectively contribute to the world. And unlike the natural order of nature, the growth of our human character, our emotions, thoughts and spirituality can come only through our personal choices.
We know that Adam and Eve’s actions caused dramatic consequences for human history, and why Unificationists regard sex as such a sacred act. So how do we make things right? To answer that, we first have to ask: What did God hope for instead? What kind of world did God want Adam and Eve to live in and help create? What kind of relationship did He want them to have with each other and the world around them?
A central idea within the Divine Principle is the Three Great Blessings, a commission which was brought to pass in Genesis 1:28, in which God said to humans, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” These three tasks are emphasized in the Unification faith because they represent a blueprint for us on which to build our lives. Although at a glance this passage can seem vague and far reaching, in studying it more deeply we can find deep meaning and power within.
What if Adam and Eve had invested in themselves as individuals, growing in maturity and heart, before entering into a relationship? This is the idea behind the First Blessing, “Be fruitful.” Being fruitful represents having the maturity of character to be a human of total integrity. The goal here is to be a person on whom others can completely rely, a person who follows their conscience as a habit, and who understands the nature of humility. In this first step of the blueprint, we prepare ourselves to fully embrace the love of another individual. A simple question can capture the need for such preparation: Would you rather be married to someone who lies, cheats and steals, or someone who is honest, conscientious and loving? We tell the quality of the tree by the fruits that it bears. By becoming quality friends, and children, we are preparing ourselves to be amazing spouses.
When two people join together in a sexual union, there is so much more at play than the basic physicality of the action. The mind, body and spirit all sync up during the act of sex, which is why it wields such tremendous power over us all. Just as fire can keep a family warm but also can burn down a city, so too can the effects of love and sex lift up or destroy those partaking, depending on their maturity. The second blessing, “Multiply,” represents two individuals who are fully mature in their capacity to give and receive love, building a relationship and subsequently a family together on their foundation. A couple based on such spiritual and emotional maturity has the capacity to build a very strong family, which then would be in a great position to inspire society in a very powerful way. Imagine if Cain and Abel had been raised in a family centered on love and respect, with parents who were physically and emotionally mature and ready to raise a family? Might their story have turned out differently?
Lastly, the third blessing, “Have Dominion,” deals with our capacity as humans to affect the world at large. People of integrity don’t allow their surroundings to be degraded, as that is shortsighted and foolish. When humanity works together to accomplish a common goal, there seems to be no end to our abilities. From domesticating feral animals to space travel, we have no end to our collective resolutions of problems, when there is proper incentive. The only barrier to reaching a peaceful environment is ourselves. The politics, red tape, pollution, wars and borders are all manmade, which means that they can be unmade by us. In the Unificationist faith we understand that once we reach a critical mass of individuals who have matured their internal character enough to build strong families, the momentum will be forced in the opposite direction and peace will prevail.
It would seem as though the last blessing deals with the legacy that each of us leaves behind. The important point to note is that the love and integrity we build as individuals are the foundation for the stability of our marriages. The strength of the marriage inherently acts as the soil for similar seeds to flourish with the ensuing children, and that in sum is the legacy of love that is established. Each generation will improve, spreading to a world level if the strength of the family’s love can withstand the test of time. God did not give these blessings simply as a commandment, but as a gift. God is showing us the way to create a happy life for ourselves and the larger human family. Obviously, it’s easier said than done. We will continue to grow as individuals, family members and citizens throughout our lives. What we can learn from Adam and Eve’s story is the importance of honoring the blessings that God gave us. We have inherited a certain legacy, but the next part is up to us.