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Dietrich Seidel dedicated much of his life to studying and developing Unification Theology, which is based on revelation received by Sun Myung Moon. Although Dietrich’s physical life ended before he could create this publication, his colleague, Jennifer Tanabe, recovered his lectures, which form the foundation and framework for this book.
More than theological expertise alone, it takes heart to understand God. These authors’ insights and reflections on Unification Theology presented in this book come not just from the hard work of their intellect, but more subtly and quietly through that small voice that speaks to the heart; that voice that reveals the heart of God. For it is through the eyes of the heart that we most clearly see our way, our purpose, and what we must do to restore this world to the original ideal of creation.
The reader is invited to join the authors on this quest to see the world through the eyes of the heart, and in so doing to experience the true love of God.
Dr. Seidel’s latest posthumously published work is a remarkable achievement. Throughout his book, sparks of creativity and inspiration make an otherwise heavy subject readable and vibrant. Most books on theology lapse into obscure navel-gazing and self-absorbed intellectualism. But “Reflections on Unification Theology: Revealing the World of Heart” stands apart. It doesn’t simply repeat and microanalyze the extraordinary systematic theology of the late Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon. Dr. Seidel probes the inner workings of that theology to reveal the emotional content inherent in it.
For example, the writer highlights Unification Theology’s daring recognition of the feminine strain of personality within the unitary God. And he notes that this provides a strong and heretofore elusive theological basis for the social, intellectual, and political equality of men and women. This has great emotional implications for all women—and all men.
As another example, the book explains the mechanics of God’s Creation, along with the Divinity’s emotions at the foundation of the world. This is a rather technical process but, according to Dr. Seidel’s explanation of Unification Theology, the whole starting point was bursting at His seams, as it were, with an uncontainable desire to create a partner—children—to love.
Yet again, Dr. Seidel discusses the life of Jesus. But he does so not simply through a traditional, tedious explanation. Instead, he lays out for us revolutionary insights into the birth of our Lord, the complicated relationships surrounding his birth, and the uneasy sentiments of the central persons involved. Moreover, he delves into the Second Coming of Christ, the conferring of Jesus’ unfinished salvation work on a couple, a husband and wife, whom our Lord gives the mission to restore the failure of the original Adam and Eve. And he discusses the hopes of God at this time of messianic reappearance.
Altogether, a book well worth reading!
~Robert Selle, writer, Washington DC.
This book is a finely written exposition of Unification Theology, written for Christians with some theological background. On this score, it can serve as a good explanation of Unification teachings for ministers, seminarians and educated lay people. The authors write in a clear and intelligible style that is easily accessible, and the use of call-outs is definitely a plus.
Although the writing is easy to understand, the authors are well aware of the issues that people often raise when discussing theological topics. Dr. Seidel taught theology for 30 years at the Unification Theological Seminary, and he knows the field well. Hence, the book gives space to address some of the major issues, including evolution, the problem of theodicy, the nature of revelation, the plausibility of the sexual fall, and more. A good deal of attention is given to the contemporary interest in God’s femininity—Her manifestation as Heavenly Mother as well as Heavenly Father; as this is a concept that is baked into the core of Unification Theology.
Another feature of this book is practical guidance in living the Christian life. In a chapter entitled “Afterthoughts: Living with the Heart of God,” the authors take the theory and translate it into practice. They write that after knowing God’s plan through understanding the theory, there are practical steps that we can take in order to better live our life with God. This includes learning how to subjugate the evil within ourselves, dealing with guilt from the Fall, etc.
Interestingly, the authors declare that the best place to deal with these issues is in marriage, the relationship with one’s spouse. Since the conjugal relationship is the place where Satan attacked humankind, troubles can abound there, and working on that relationship is one of the best ways to repair the damage caused by the Fall in our own lives. It is also the place where the promise of God’s true love shines brightest.
One of the best aspects of “Reflections” is its emphasis on God’s heart. The late Dr. Seidel was a man of heart, and he brings that quality into his writing. The book opens with an explanation of God that begins with God’s heart. It is indeed an excellent way to begin to contemplate the nature of God. It is also a fine place to end, as they do in summing up the situation of God and human beings today:
“God’s heart was damaged and pained by the Fall, just as ours were. But His heart is unbroken and His love for us, God’s children, is unbreakable. God does not give up on His ideal, on us. God does not even judge us; we judge ourselves when we recognize the standard of God’s love.
As object partners to God’s heart, living with the heart of God, it is not just a matter of sharing with God in a vertical parent-child relationship, there is also sharing love horizontally with all humankind. Then, human beings are also to share God’s love with all of creation. This is the world of heart.
When restoration has been completed and we live as the object partners of God, in the world of God’s heart, there is no need for judgement. The heart does not judge; the heart just loves.”
In sum, I heartily recommend “Reflections on Unification Theology,” not only for personal reading but also as a book for outreach. It is a fine text of the Principle teachings that Unificationists will feel confident about sharing with friends, family and members of their tribe.
~ Dr. Andrew Wilson, Unification Theological Seminary
Working with the posthumous papers and journals of Dr. Dietrich Seidel, Dr. Jennifer Tanabe has crafted a beautiful systematic theology. “Reflections on Unification Theology: Revealing the World of Heart” presents the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon in clear and lovely prose. It clarifies the flow of reasoning, answers possible questions and objections, considers alternative approaches, and comes to coherent conclusions, building step by step from creation to fall, restoration and eschatology.
The source of the authors’ inspiration is a heart of faith and love. It comes shining through in passages such as this:
“We cannot understand ourselves just by ourselves. We understand ourselves in partnership with someone else. Therefore, we are messiahs to each other as husband and wife. We see our fulfillment through the other. That is self-communication, which is the real source of self-knowledge and self-enlightenment.”
Seidel and Tanabe strike the deepest chords of Rev. and Dr. Moon’s life and thought, given for the sake of Heavenly Parent and all humankind. This book provides gentle enlightenment, something the world is deeply in need of.
~Tyler Hendricks, Ph.D., Educator
“Reflections on Unification Theology” is an accessible book that offers profound insight into the heart and mind of God. Based on the notes, tapes, and spiritual guidance of the late Dietrich F. Seidel, an accomplished Unification theologist, the co-author Jennifer P. Tanabe crafted a compendium that captures the essence of Unificationism. While the structure of the book closely follows Unificationist classics such as the Exposition of the Divine Principle or Young Oon Kim’s Unification Theology, its style is not that of a dry theoretical treatise that only speaks to the head. Rather, the book invites readers to explore, experience and engage with the living God. Seidel/Tanabe’s reflections provide an ideal resource for sermons, lectures, and daily inspirational reading for young and old alike.
~Jonathan Heinrich, Austria
As a new and unfolding field of theological study and research, Unification Theology invites and calls for creative interpretive efforts to explore and reveal its magnitude and depth. “Reflections on Unification Theology: Revealing the World of Heart” by Dietrich Seidel and Jennifer Tanabe is a stimulating work of exactly this kind of exploration.
One of the important strengths of the book is the way that the authors draw upon other Unification sources in addition to the Divine Principle book, including Unification Thought, Ye Jin Moon’s writings, and other articles by Dr. Andrew Wilson, Dr. Theodore Shimmyo and others. In its combination of scholarly sources, academic analysis and mystical insight, the book is reminiscent of the work of our pioneering Unification theologian, Dr. Young Oon Kim.
While some familiarity with “Exposition of the Divine Principle” is necessary and expected, the authors lead their readers to reflect more deeply on the connections within Unification theology, as well as its practical applications in daily life.
The section on the Principle of Creation lays a strong systematic foundation of the rest of the book. For example, the thought-provoking discussion on the value of novelty and surprise in the Principle of Creation, appears again in later sections about the restoration of the Three Blessings in the eschaton. In the section on the results of the human Fall, there is an intriguing discussion of various kinds of knowledge or ignorance that arose as consequences of the Fall, drawing on Dr. Seidel’s pastoral concern and Dr. Tanabe’s psychological insight. Another fruitful contribution–and there are many throughout the book–is the theological concept of “inclusive incarnation.”
The interlude entitled “The Unbroken Heart” is one of the highlights, offering profound insight into the perseverance of original goodness within each of us, as seen from God’s point of view. This section also connects with a point made earlier that God relates with us fallen humans in terms of our proper position, treating us as we are supposed to be, and where we are supposed to be. This insight can be understood as revealing the deeper meaning of God’s question to Adam [and Eve] in Gen.3:9– “Where are you?”
Of course, there are a few places where I wish things were handled a bit differently. After all, if a reader disagrees with the phrasing or emphasis here or there, that is just a sign of the fruitfulness of this work in stimulating further reflection.
For example, although the authors are quite deliberate and conscientious in drawing out the gender-balanced implications of Unification theology, they still find it necessary to use “He” for God at various points. I concede that sometimes pronouns may be necessary, but in about 1/3 of the times when God is referred to as “He”, the word “God” could well be used instead. Another minor observation is that there are lots of disclaimers in the opening section about the relative unimportance of theology and intellect compared with revelation, but in fact the book is rather theological and intellectual in many parts, and that is one of its strengths.
To the authors’ credit, “Reflections” goes well beyond the existing Divine Principle book in its inclusion of a number of issues in the current providence. “Reflections on Unification Theology: Revealing the World of Heart” is stimulating and refreshing for both feeling and intellect. I highly recommend this book for all who are seriously interested in Unification theology.
~ Thomas Selover, President, SunHak UP Graduate University, Seorak-myeon, South Korea