2. Ontology: A Theory of Being

Table of contents

The word ontology, as it has been used in philosophy, originates from the Greek word Ontologia, which consists of onta (what exists) and logos (logic). Ontology is that field of philosophy which deals with the fundamental matters of existence. Likewise, in Unification Thought, ontology deals with the common attributes of all created beings, the way they exist, their movements, and so on, all based on the Divine Principle view of God’s creation.

Hence, Unification Thought ontology deals with all created beings, including human beings. However, since the human being is the lord of dominion over all things and occupies a position different from that of all other created beings, the human being will be discussed in more detail in a separate chapter, the “Theory of the Original Human Nature.” We can note that, whereas the Theory of the Original Image deals with God, ontology in Unification Thought deals primarily with all things.

In this ontology, we will ascertain whether or not the attributes of God, as they are explained in the Theory of the Original Image, are actually manifested in all things and, if so, how. If it can be shown that the attributes of God are universally manifested in all things then the veracity of the Theory of the Original Image becomes more certain and persuasive. Therefore, ontology, which deals with the attributes of all things, can be described as a theory that confirms, in visible terms, the attributes of the invisible God. In other words, Unification ontology is a theory that supports the Theory of the Original Image, which itself, is a deductive theory based on the Divine Principle.

Today, the natural sciences, which deal with all things, have made rapid progress. Yet, in most cases, scientists have been observing the natural world from a purely objective point of view, without giving any consideration to God. Since all things were created according to the law of likeness, the scientific facts as observed by scientists can be expected to be in accordance with the attributes of God, and so the natural sciences will come to support the Theory of the Original Image. In fact, in Unification ontology it will be clarified that the achievements of the natural sciences today are indeed supporting the Theory of the Original Image.

According to the Divine Principle, human beings were created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and all things were created in the image of the human being. Prior to creating the universe, God first envisioned the image of the human being, which resembles God’s own image. Then, using the human image as the prototype, and in likeness to it, God formed the ideas of all things. This is called “creation in likeness.”

Because of the human fall, however, human beings, and their societies, lost their original nature and fell into an unprincipled state, even though all things of creation have remained as originally created. For this reason, we can never find in actual human beings or societies the way to solve our problems, in other words, the problem of existence, and the problem of relationship. This is why many saints and sages of the past have sought to understand the way for people to live, not by observing humanity but by observing the movements of the stars, the growth and decline of living beings, the changes of the four seasons, and so on. They were unable, however, to clarify why it is possible to obtain from the natural world, the truth for people and society. They obtained only a merely intuitive realization of the truth.

Unification Thought, on the other hand, maintains that since all things were created in the likeness of human beings, it is possible to know the original characteristics of human beings and society through observing the natural world. In the Theory of the Original Image, it was explained that a correct understanding of the attributes of God is the key to solving the problems of individuals and society. Yet, creation was made in likeness; therefore, if we correctly understand the attributes of all things, then this can help us secure the key in solving actual problems. Consequently, ontology becomes another standard for solving existing questions.

In the ontology laid out here, each created being is called an “existing being.” Hence, ontology is the theory of existing beings. An existing being is examined from two points of view, namely, as an “individual truth being” and as a “connected being.”

An individual truth being refers to an individual being resembling the attributes of God, namely, the content of the Original Image, and it refers to an existing being considered as such, independently and without regard to any of its relationships with other beings. In actuality, of course, all existing beings have mutual relationships with one another, and when a being is seen in terms of these relationships it has with other beings, then that being is called a “connected being.” A connected being thus refers to the same individual truth being, but in this case we are seeing it from the viewpoint of its relationships to other beings.

Since all existing beings were created in the likeness of God, the image of each being resembles the Divine Image. The Divine Image includes the universal image and the individual image; therefore, an existing being has both a universal image and an individual image. Here, the universal image refers to Sungsang and Hyungsang, and yang and yin, whereas the individual image refers to those peculiar characteristics which each individual being possesses. Let us first discuss the universal image of an individual truth being, namely Sungsang and Hyungsang, and yang and yin.