The Starting Point Of Good And Evil

The Starting Point Of Good And Evil

Sun Myung Moon
June 24, 1973
Belvedere Training Session
Translated by Won Pok Choi

It is difficult for us to define exactly what is good and what is evil. As we have seen through human history, a thing was called good if it was in conformity with the idea of the philosophy of the age, else it was thought to be evil. More specifically, for example, if and when someone makes and breaks a promise or fails to carry out the promise, they are called bad or evil.

The individual calls something good when he gains or bad if he loses something. When we ask ourselves if it is really good when something gives us profit or bad when it causes us loss, then we are not sure because the standard of profit or loss varies according to the individual. When we compare the conditions in the Communist world with the conditions in the democratic world, religion is not admitted in the Communist world whereas it is admitted in the democratic world.

We can safely say that the standard of good and evil in the Communistic world is different from that in the democratic world. Roughly divided, there are two main ideological blocs in the world: the Communist world and the democratic world. But even in the democratic world the standard of good and evil can vary according to the nations and to the view of life of the people. Then, what is the origin of good and evil? It is fundamental to clarify at what point good and evil started.

The starting point of your life is your parents; the starting point of your parents is your grandparents, and so on. When we trace back our human history, the starting point for humanity is our first human ancestors — Adam and Eve. The starting point of Adam and Eve had to be God, and therefore, God’s standard of good and evil should be the absolute standard.

Therefore, the standard of good and evil after the human fall could not be a fundamental one — even if we do find a better standard of good and evil in the democratic world, where people believe in God. You are not the starting point of good and evil; and neither am I. Then, what is the starting point of good and evil, and where is it?

The starting point of good and evil was Adam and Eve, the first human ancestors. Again, it has something to do with God. Originally the relationship between God and man is that between the Creator and the created, or the Master and servant, Father and son and, in general, that between subject and object. In no way is man the subject being in his relationship with God.

Man is the result of God’s creation. Right from the beginning man was not born of his own accord. We were born from the motivation of another existence, which was God. Therefore, it is clear enough that we are not the subject, but are in the position of object to God. We were not born because we wanted to be born. Then, what could motivate our desire?

We cannot think of ourselves separately from God as the subject. We are nothing without Him. Only when we look for Him and find Him can we find the motivation of our life. We are destined to find God before finding the true meaning in life. We know that we have our own desires but we must know that these are secondary desires.

The original desire can be found only when we find the ultimate subject, God, and become one with Him in love and in goodness. In other words, the standard of goodness cannot be defined by us — by man. The standard of goodness must be defined by the ultimate subject Being who is absolute and perfect — whether we name Him God or something else.

Then, the question is what is it that God would have us do that is goodness? Would He not want us to attain the purpose and value of our lives by becoming one with Him and doing good things? Then, goodness will start from that point. If man is in the object position to God as the subject, God is compelled to show us the way of goodness. And He already showed it to Adam and Eve.

As I said before, the relationship between God and man is that between subject and object. The subject and object must finally become one through the action of give and take. Love alone can keep the perfection of give and take making any two into one. Centered on love, what kind of relationship would bring the two into the closest and strongest oneness?

It must be the kind of love which we first experience in our life as a child to our parents, which will last forever. That is the love between father and child. As I said before, the very beginning of our lives started with the love relationship between our parents and us. Only when there is perfect love between a husband and wife can they give birth to perfect children. The love between parents and children will last through eternity, while conjugal love can be broken.

So, again we must say that the love relationship between parents and children is the strongest. Even without trying, in their loving and serving their children, parents are examples for us to learn how to love and serve others. The first thing in our life we learn from our parents is how to love and serve others.

We cannot deny that our parents, in the position of God, have shown us the example of God, loving and serving His children. Then we come to the conclusion that if man learned from God in the beginning how to love and serve others, and put it into practice, a world of love and harmony would have come about. Loving and serving others is the example and tradition set before us by God. If Adam and Eve, following His example, loved and served each other, and they, in oneness, served and loved God, the world of goodness and unity would have come about.

If you serve others without love there, true unity cannot come about. If you calculate profit from others and for that purpose, serve others and exalt them, people cannot become one with you, because only love can make true unity. If you serve others at the sacrifice of yourself, centered on love, the love can be returned manifold; however hard you may serve others, if it is not centered on love it will cause nothing and you will have worked in vain.

If you really love someone, you can leave everything in his hands with assurance. It is because in love there is no “mine” or “yours,” but everything belongs to both. Only love makes it possible. In this case, loving and serving that person will not cause any loss to you. If you leave things to someone you love, they are still yours, and what is his is also yours — thus in love, you have twice the benefit.

As you love and serve the person, you can come to completely occupy his heart, thus coming into perfect unity and harmony with him. So, no power whatever can separate those who truly love each other. If you serve people with love, what you have given will be returned to you, with all he has added to it.

In the beginning God would have wanted all humankind to become one with each other in love. The expression of love should have been service and sacrifice for others. God, Himself, did the same for mankind. If Adam and Eve, after the example and tradition of God’s love, had loved each other, and if they in oneness had loved and served God, their descendants would have done the same and the ideal world would have come about.

Only in this way could God have built the ideal world through man. In love you want to completely occupy your mate and you want to be completely occupied by him. Isn’t that true? Yes, you want to be completely occupied by your mate, until there will be no “you.” In that situation there can be no “you” and no “he,” but in oneness both of you are elevated to a higher dimension of yourselves. In that kind of love there can be no complaint, no negative power can work there; even though you may be smashed and trodden upon, your love cannot be broken.

If, on the worldly level, your physical parents loved and served you by bestowing Godly love in their hearts, you then could have done the same following their example, while your children in turn would do the same for their descendants. This is how the kingdom of Godly love could have come about. The children who had received this kind of love from their parents would learn to love their parents in return. This is the first love the children learn and the first love they practice.

As I see, in this country of America, the parents are do not have such love. If the parents should love their children transcending individual interest, then their children, too, could have learned and practiced the love towards them. Then, the bond of love between the parents and children could be so strong that the parents would never divorce each other and leave their children in misery and unhappiness.

No child would want his parents to love him with self-centered love or half-heartedly, with their interests in something else. The same applies to brothers’ love towards each other. Even in the relationship between the government and people of a nation, if they do not love and serve each other, their relationship will be broken.

Now we have come to the truth that the starting point of goodness is to love and serve others. This is the standard of goodness which started at the beginning of human history, and has lasted through the process of history and will endure through eternity. The same thing applies in the relationship between God and man, parents and children, husband and wife, brothers and sisters and between families, between tribes, between nations, thus making the whole world into one under God in love and goodness. We call this present world a world of evil because this world is not what it should be according to the standard of goodness we have set.

You are Western people, but suppose there is an Oriental man loving you more than any Westerner, including your brothers and friends, would love you. Would you not love this Oriental man more than you would love your own brothers? It is man’s original tendency to respect and exalt the persons who love and serve others.

We cannot deny this fact. If goodness is to serve others centered on Godly love, then what must be evil? Evil is the contrary. What must it be to love and serve others for the sake of oneself? Is that good or not? Even though people seemingly love and serve others, if they love and do things centered on themselves, it is evil.

So, we can see that good and evil start at the same point but head in different directions. Service to others is good, but unless the service is centered on Godly love, we cannot call it good. So, we cannot deny that good and evil are headed for different directions according to the quality of love they are centered upon. Even in witnessing to people, if you evangelize in order to go to heaven, then what is this, good or bad?

You must rearrange your way of thinking and put things in order. You may say to yourself, “In this movement I must bring at least three or more members in three years’ time in order to be blessed. I must work desperately hard.” Is that good or bad? If, in that case, you think of the urgency of God’s providence of restoration and are desperate to witness to the people from that viewpoint, then it is good. It is good because you are doing that not for your sake, but for the sake of God.

Every religion teaches us to pursue goodness and practice good, teaching how to love and serve people. But we must have the clear picture of how good and evil deviated at the original point, going to entirely different directions, according to the quality of love that things are centered on. We know that Adam and Eve fell somewhere in the beginning.

This means that evil came into existence at a certain point, where it could have been good. For a man who was born not out of his own will, to have wanted to do his own will was the beginning of the fall. In order for him to be good, he was supposed to do the things his subject, God, would take delight in. But apart from this, they wanted to do what they pleased and thus caused evil to come about. Evil having been brought about from this point… If anything starts at this point, we can define it as evil.

I am here as your leader, but if I always want you to do things for my sake, then you will fall away one after another as time goes by. If I keep doing this, there will be no one left here. All will escape from me. If I do things for a selfish and self-centered purpose, the outcome is only too clear. I could pretend to be good for awhile, but sooner or later your spirit would come to know that I am not, and although you pretended to obey me you would inwardly complain.

Finally everything will explode, it will rupture. Nothing like perfect unity is possible there. The more we struggle to be united into one, the quicker the rupture will come about. This is what has happened though human history — everything being judged by the people as to whether it is good or evil.

In this light, we can judge that persons like Jesus led a wonderful and good life, according to the ultimate standard. From his childhood he did not think he was born for only his own family, his tribe, or his nation. He knew he was born to save the whole world; thus he called himself the son of God. He had the definite idea that God was his Father and he His son. He thought, “I am born for you, I live for you, and I am going to die for you.”

Therefore, he was confident that God’s love would abide in him forever. We know that was a great discovery. With this confidence he left a great example of divine love — even asking forgiveness of his enemies who put him on the cross. With this great love he influenced and moved the hearts of the Roman people who had once oppressed and persecuted him; and from then on, the Roman Empire came into the sphere of Christian culture, playing an important role.

If the people of the United States and the people of the whole world really know this theory of divine love, the whole world will come to be a world of goodness with every possible scientific achievement used for the good of the world, and where every man knows he is born for others and for the sake of the whole.

That’s why every man by nature wants to do things for the public benefit, thus leaving good accomplishments after his death. You want to be thought good by others, but before being proud of yourself, you must be able to be proud of your friends, your group and so on through larger units of society. Then the people around you will be proud of you.

If you are too proud of yourself, others will not like you. Always think that you see things, hear things, and experience things not for the sake of yourself, but for the sake of appreciation of the things you perceive. Do this in order to appreciate things you see and hear. In this way, your viewpoint is entirely different from that of ordinary people. The stories you will want to hear most are those which other people take delight in.

Your original mind tends to like things which all others like. Isn’t that true? To do that we must tear down the walls in which we have been confining ourselves. We must take the initiative to tear down the walls to reach out to others instead of waiting for others to reach in to us. Suppose there is a highway newly paved. Everyone would want to drive on that highway instead of the narrow, bumpy road next to it. In this case you don’t have to tell people to drive on the highway, they will do that automatically.

Now I am sure you know clearly what the starting point of good and evil really is. We know that if we serve others centered on divine love, it is always good. Everything you do for the sake of yourself is either bad or at least not good in God’s sight. If I hold up my hand for a selfish purpose, is it good or bad?

But if I hold up my hand for your sake, the same act will arouse your attention and interest. Suppose there is a marathon runner on the Olympic track, racing desperately representing the nation; wouldn’t the people themselves feel as if they are running the race and cheer him on? In that case the runner is doing a great things for the sake of his nation.

Is that bad or good? [GOOD!] When the runner wins first prize, it really doesn’t belong to him alone. His name will remain with the history of that nation. Would you, too, want to become a famous and important person on the national level? Then, try to serve others centered on true love. Even if you were a candidate for president, would the people elect you if you are serving others for self-centered purposes?

Now the Watergate event is the focus of world attention. American people believe that Nixon and his colleagues did that for their own interests, but if the President did that with the belief that he was the only way this nation could be saved from its difficulties and that he therefore had to be re-elected, then he might be justified by God. Who knows? Then any disrespectful attitude from the people toward the President would not be right.

The kingdom of God is the ideal world where goodness alone dominates. That is to say, it is where people exalt and respect those who serve others. At the time of the human fall, the archangel dominated Eve and Eve dominated Adam, while the order should have been the other way around. Each wanted to utilize the other centered on their own interests; this was the beginning of evil. Thus, in the fallen world, fighting between individuals and wars between nations have continued. Wars have continued because the defeated nations or people always wanted to restore what they lost.

Have you ever stopped to think in what way should do things in the Unification Church? Members of the Unification Church believe that only we can save the world. We know clearly that our church will develop and expand to cover the whole world with love and goodness. Our motto, as you know, is “With the heart of the parents, in the shoes of the servant, let us shed tears for mankind, sweat for the earth and blood for heaven.” Are those simple words? Have you ever tried hard to put that into practice? Would there be any “I” there, which is ego?

No ego is possible there. It means we have to be the incarnation of parental love towards mankind. If we practice parental love towards mankind, serving them as a servant would then we should never regret shedding tears, sweat and blood for the sake of mankind, giving out our whole being. If we do this, we will not have done it in vain, because there will be many people appreciating it and following the its’ example. In studying or in witnessing to the people, if we do that with the concept that we are going to be famous or appreciated by people, then it is already bad.

In speaking of success would you want to be successful now or later? I would rather reserve success to the end, because if you succeed now, it will be a small success, while later it would grow to be a success of greater dimension. More than that, if you succeed now you are apt to be arrogant, and contented, you will never struggle on. Then your success will end as success centered on yourself. Should your success be self-centered, or centered on others?

In the history of mankind we have seen without exception that just as a nation enjoyed its prime, it would begin to fall and decline. America is not an exception. The United States is proud of being the leading nation of the world, but it cannot go for eternity. You must know that your nation is blessed by God not for the sake of yourselves but for the sake of the world.

If there is any way at all for your people to keep your blessing, it is for you to think that the success of your nation is not for yourselves but for the benefit of the world. You must not only think that way but you must act that way and do things for the benefit of other nations. Then your success will not remain where it is but will be multiplied until it will cover the whole world to save mankind.

You must think that today’s success is the training and preparation for tomorrow’s bigger success. For most people success is for self-benefit and so they cling to it, never sharing with others. They are apt to enjoy their success– never working harder. This is a totally wrong idea, because they could not have had success without the aid of others; so it does not belong to them alone but to others too.

If you feel like being proud of yourself, you must first be proud of God and mankind who made your success possible. Then your success can be justified. When you are successful you must turn to God and say, “Oh Father, but for your help, I could not have been successful.” And turning to mankind you must say, “I could not have done it by myself.”

So your success belongs to God and to mankind. Then both God and people around you will be pleased and will have you enjoy it. They will think you are a wonderful person entitled to success. If you have this attitude, succeeding will not end there, but you will have still greater success in the coming days. But if you are boastful then success will end there.

When you think of yourselves, have you lived your lives with that attitude? If not, you must realize that you are not entitled to whatever you have attained. So, bear in mind that your success must always be returned to God and to mankind, always serving others with God-centered love without any complaint or regret, to the end. Then, you are going to be qualified for victory.

You must always put yourself in the position of object to God as the Subject, and to other people as another subject, and be ready to love and serve them. Then they in turn will love you and would be willing to let you enjoy successes and victories. Jesus, too, though he died on the cross for mankind, looked like a failure at that time, but history has proven that he was a success because his ideal and deeds remained alive in human hearts — causing Christianity to develop as it has.

Therefore, if you sacrifice yourself for the sake of others, you are already successful even though it may seem that you are a failure. There is room for you to rise again for bigger success. If you may have to fail once, twice or even a hundred times, there is still room for you to succeed if and when you do things for God and for others. Such a person will be helped by heaven and earth until he attains victory. But those who struggle and do things for the sake of themselves, their accomplishment will be ephemeral and limited.

Which kind of success would you choose? You know too well. We must re-evaluate ourselves according to this standard. I know that among the Unification Church members there are some who would say, “I have been in the church so long, and what has become of me? If I am going to die like this, what will be left behind me? Don’t I look more miserable than when I was in the world 10 years ago?”

Is this a good way of thinking or a bad way of thinking? Don’t ever think that way. However hard a situation you are in and however miserable you may look, and even though you may be on the verge of death, your sacrifice will be justified by God and you must be sure you are doing this for God’s will and for the sake of mankind.

When you are on the edge of defeat, without your realizing it, reinforcements are being sent by God to rescue you. On the spiritual level myriads of saints will come to save you, while even on the physical level, people’s minds are on your side supporting you even without their being conscious of it.

In movies you have seen many such instances. Suppose there is a patriot who is captive in an enemy camp. After severe torture, he is at last about to be shot to death. Without his knowing it, reinforcements are coming to his rescue. His last chance to be saved was when he was asked to help the enemy against his own nation, to save his own life.

If he had been cowardly and said “yes,” when the reinforcements came to save him, he would have been put to shame. But, if he should say, “I have lived for my country and I want to die for my country,” then the reinforcements will praise him and the whole nation will exalt him and leave his name in the nation’s history.

In a way you are fighting in this kind of battle for the will of God. Billions of spirit men are mobilized on our side. Have you ever thought of that? How wonderful it is to know that because of one individual like you, the whole spirit world is mobilized. Suppose that there is just one more peak to cross over, and then there will be a paved highway where you can reach out and gain the support of all mankind. If you are frustrated on the way, at the threshold of victory, how pitiful it will be in the end.

So, you must know that you are not fighting alone, but with companions on the spiritual level as well as on the physical level. Therefore, even though the battle looks unfavorable, the next moment it can turn out to be a victory. If you fight on with readiness to sacrifice yourself, so much help will come from above and around you. How wonderful our battle is!

Those who begin things with good motivation must never vacillate but carry it through to the end. How much more would it be so when the matter is centered on God’s will! The beginning and end, alpha and omega, must meet. God will find the world through us and the world will find God through us. God and the world will meet through us. On the vertical level, God will connect with us, and on the horizontal level individuals will connect families, tribes, nations and finally the whole world.

Satan tends to take the offensive while heaven in on the defensive. The time for victory for the heavenly side comes at the end of the battle. It is too early and even dangerous for us to be boastful; and it is safe for us always to be humble and steadfast. At the end we can be proud of our victory, and it will be yours for eternity.

It is characteristic of the satanic world that people are always proud of themselves and boastful of what they have done. They always initiate battles, but in the end, the victory will be for the heavenly side, where people have always been attacked. In humbleness and with strenuous effort, we will finally defeat the enemy who is over-confident.

On the Godly side, people defeat the satanic side while serving others centered on divine love. If you are ready to give your lives for the great cause, you can win the minds of the people, which is real victory on the side of righteousness. This is the standard of goodness. If we go on like this, any opposition or persecution is nothing. We can be sure that before long, everyone will come to our side.

My words will prove to be true. Otherwise there is no God. As long as there is God, our will united with God’s will can be realized. God’s will is not for America alone, or for any one nation. We know it is for the whole world and for all mankind. That’s why we are here, transcending racial, national, and religious boundaries. We are here for training — in preparation for the coming battle — to advance forward to the end of the world.

We must long for and love the kingdom of God more than we do our own nations. In the love of the kingdom of God and its people, we must serve the people by sacrificing ourselves. This alone can bring us victory and erect the Kingdom of God on Earth. We must restore the relationship of love between God and man.

In order to be loved by God, we must first love our brothers and having united with them, come back to God’s bosom and be loved by Him. That is to say, by our winning over the Cains of this world and returning them to God, We will make God happy and can really enjoy a rest after a long struggle. This is the way we should live to be as filial sons of God. We must know that this is the true way of life.

If we are in a strong love relationship with God, no other power whatsoever can sever our relationship. By our doing this alone, can we build the Kingdom of God on Earth where peace, happiness and the ideal can prevail. There is no other way possible for us to build the kingdom. In the kingdom we are going to be the first citizens under God, our Lord and everlasting Father. Thus, good and evil starting at the same point will end in the victory of righteousness. Everything dark and negative will be eliminated, goodness alone dominating. Then the world of God’s original intention will start right there.

God has never once been frustrated or exhausted in the long, long battle against Satan. He could fight the battle only through us. So we as His children must resemble Him by following his example, never getting frustrated or exhausted, fighting through to the end until we win the final victory. Now we are going to march forward to the battlefield of the whole world with the United States as our base. I want you to go through this training with a strong sense of mission, and perfectly prepare yourself for the coming battle.