I. Basic Positions of the Unification View of History

The Unification view of history is based on the principle of restoration in the Divine Principle. It interprets history from three fundamental perspectives: first, as a sinful history; second, as the history of re-creation; and third, as the history of restoration. Also, it addresses such questions as whether or not laws operate in history, how history started, in which direction history has proceeded, and so on.

Sinful History

From the Unification view history has been a history of sin: it was initiated by the human fall. Because of the fall, it was not possible for human history to become a principled, peaceful history; instead, it became a history of confusion filled with conflicts, struggles, wars, pain, sorrow, misery, and the like. Accordingly, finding fundamental solutions to the various problems in history is impossible without solving the problem of the human fall, that is, the problem of sin.

History of Re-creation

Due to the fall of the first human ancestors, the original human beings and the ideal of the original world were lost, and humans fell into a state of spiritual death. The original human beings and the original world were lost while they were still incomplete. Therefore, throughout history, God has carried out the dispensation of re-creating and reconstructing human beings and the world. Accordingly, history became a history of re-creation.

In this process, the laws (laws of creation) and the Word (Logos) through which God had created human beings and the universe come to be applied in human history as well. God’s creation was carried out through the Word. Therefore, re-creation is also being carried out through the Word. Re-creation does not mean creating the universe all over again. Since the fall involved only human beings, the only being that needs to be re-created is the human being, who must be re-created through the Word. This is why God sent saints, righteous people, prophets, and other spiritual leaders to spread truth (Word) and guide people spiritually.

History of Restoration

Due to the fall of the first human ancestors, human beings were expelled from what was to become the original world (the Garden of Eden), and the ideal of the original human beings and original world were lost; therefore, non-principled (non-original) human beings came to live in a non-principled world. Thus, original human beings and the original world were left as an ideal still to be attained.

As for God, He has had to restore the non-principled world and human beings back to their original states in such a way that His creation would not remain a failure. Accordingly, since the dawn of human history, God has conducted His dispensation (providence of restoration) to restore sinful people and the sinful world back to their original state. Consequently, human history became the history of the providence of restoration. Since God is a God of principle, and the human fall resulted from human beings’ failure to observe certain conditions, the providence of restoration, also, was carried out according to certain laws. These laws are referred to as the “laws of restoration.”

The Law-Governed Nature of History

In establishing a theory of history, one of the most important requisites is to discern the laws which have been operating in history. To date, however, there have been few religious leaders or scholars who could show, clearly, the law-governed nature of history. For example, the Christian providential view of history has not presented persuasive laws. As a result, the Christian view of history has been dismissed by the academic world, rejected as unscientific. In modern times, Hegel applied the dialectic (i.e., idealistic dialectic) to historical development, and asserted that history is the process of actualizing freedom through reason, and that, in the end, a rational state would be reached in which freedom would be fully realized. In Prussia, however, which Hegel regarded as an ideal state, freedom remained elusive, and history continued just as it always had. The historical laws described by Hegel were unrelated to reality. In the twentieth century, Arnold Toynbee established his “cultural view of history,” which was an expansive, all-embracing view of history, through which he analyzed in detail the genesis, growth, breakdown, and disintegration of civilizations. Yet, Toynbee did not clearly present the laws of history. Under these circumstances, only Marx’s materialistic view of history remained as allegedly showing the laws of history, calling itself a scientific view of history.

The Unification view of history asserts that history has been developing according to certain laws and clarifies that these laws are of two types, namely, the laws of creation and the laws of restoration. These laws are what are truly at work in history. When these genuine laws of history are pointed out, the falseness of the materialist view of history is exposed. It becomes clear that the laws advocated by the materialist view of history are in reality pseudo laws; that is, they are nothing more than dogmatic assertions. Furthermore, the Unification view of history, by clarifying the laws of history from a theological basis, has revived the traditional providential view, which had been regarded as unscientific, and has made it possible to treat the providential view as more of a social science.

The Origin, Direction, and Goal of History

As for the question of when and how history started, namely, its origin, the Unification view of history regards the creation of human beings and the human fall as the origin of history, just as does the Christian providential view of history. There is also a question concerning the origin of the human race itself, namely, whether the human race had a single origin (monogenetic) or multiple origins (polygenetic). The Unification view of history advocates a monogenetic view in asserting that the first human ancestors were Adam and Eve. This is because there is a law based on the principle of creation which holds that “creation starts from one.”

Then, what is the goal of history? The Unification view of history regards the goal of history as being the restoration of the ideal world of creation on a higher dimension. The direction of history is such that it is moving or developing toward that goal. Therefore, the origin and goal of history are fixed and determined. However, how that goal is eventually reached is not determined. Each step in the forward progress of history is successfully completed only when the human portion of responsibility―especially the portion of responsibility of providential central figures―is fulfilled in accordance with God’s providence. Therefore, the process that history actually takes―that is, whether history proceeds in a straight line or makes a detour; whether it is shortened or prolonged―depends entirely on the efforts of human beings. This means that the process of history is undetermined and is entrusted to the free will of human beings. In particular, it depends on whether or not providential figures fulfill their mission. This is called fulfillment of responsibility, or simply, portion of responsibility.

The view that the goal is determined but the process is undetermined, and that the progress of history depends on the human portion of responsibility, or free will, is referred to as the “theory of responsibility.”