How does gaebyeok differ from eschatology?
People tend to fixate too much upon the fact that all will die at the time of gaebyeok. Strictly speaking, this is just a minor element of gaebyeok. It is not desirable to focus your attention upon the fact that gaebyeok shall ‘destroy’ the existing world, its order and culture, and human life; gaebyeok should instead be viewed as an inevitable process of reform or as a means of creating a new world. That is, gaebyeok is an indispensable stage in the advent of the Paradise of Immortality on earth, the Later Heaven’s world. I may liken gaebyeok to the labor of fixing a disabled car and transforming it into a whole new automobile through tuning. To reiterate, the Autumn Gaebyeok is, above all, a process in which the Early Heaven’s order of sanggeuk is replaced by the Later Heaven’s order of sangsaeng. It is also a human gaebyeok in which human seeds are selected. In this matter, the fact that all humans are to die is of less import than the fact that human seeds shall be chosen for the Later Heaven.
In terms of civilization, the Later Heaven Gaebyeok is a process in which all things divided become united. During the Early Heaven, various forms of cultures and civilizations were established based upon the distinct regions and eras. These diverse cultures and civilizations are to unite following the Autumn Gaebyeok. Through this harmonious convergence of various existing cultures, a vast culture spanning the global village will be formed and the universe will become one family. All cultural barriers—whether based upon geographical region, political system, language, or any other factor—will completely collapse during the Later Heaven Gaebyeok, and a united, mature world will emerge.
To put it simply, gaebyeok is a process in which all that exists—ranging from the order of heaven and earth, to nature, to humanity—are transformed into entirely new forms. The process of gaebyeok must occur to clear away all the problems and stale qi that accumulated during the Early Heaven and blaze a path to the world of the Later Heaven. Only after the dissolution of the old order and the cleansing of all such pent-up problems will the Later Heaven advent. This is gaebyeok.
During these universal changes, those who do not overcome gaebyeok shall surely perish. The problem is that people who are not aware of the core of gaebyeok focus only upon the context of gaebyeok, which asserts that the whole world will be overturned and that all will die; as a result, they mistake gaebyeok for eschatology, or the Last Judgment and the like. Jeung San Do’s truth is entirely different from the claims of people who threaten others with doomsday scenarios. Gaebyeok should instead be viewed as a process of creation; that is, as an impetus for the creation of that peaceful ideal world of which humanity has so long dreamed, a world that shall be obtained by reforming the outdated order of heaven and earth.
I wonder exactly how so many lives will be lost at a single stroke when gaebyeok strikes.
The progression of gaebyeok is a complex topic, so I shall just touch upon several aspects of the gaebyeok of nature. The gaebyeok of nature will strike the world in three stages.
First, there shall be a war. A war unprecedented in its scale will break out, a conflict of horrible brutality between peoples. The use of nuclear weapons will be considered, and there shall dawn a final battle that threatens the annihilation of humanity. However, this war by itself is not gaebyeok in its totality; and, for better or for worse, this fierce war will not end of its own accord.
The outbreak of war will be swiftly followed by the second stage of gaebyeok: a disease shall unexpectedly afflict humanity, inevitably ending the war. This disease will be a mysterious one that humanity has never before experienced. No cure will be found among existing medicines, and the catastrophic disease will spread rapidly, slaying life. Yet, this disease still will not represent the end of gaebyeok.
The final stage of gaebyeok will shake the very earth, for it will entail the shift of the earth’s axis. The axis, which has been slanted 23.5 degrees northeast during the Early Heaven, will be straightened. The order of heaven and earth will enter the era of the upright axis. The earth’s orbit around the sun will naturally transform from an ellipse into a circle. What will happen if the earth’s axis moves 23.5 degrees at once, when only 0.1 degrees of such movement would trigger earthquakes and tsunamis? Mountains will submerge into the seas, and new land shall rise from below the waves. Fire and water will be thrown together, and heaven and earth will be violently shaken.
In Jeung San Do, we call the Autumn Gaebyeok the ‘three-stage gaebyeok.’ There is little doubt that such tremendous disasters, taking place one after another, will leave few people alive on earth. In describing the seriousness of the ordeal, Sangjenim remarked that if only a single person survived in a whole extended family, that family would nevertheless rank as one of the most extremely fortunate of families. When people inquired how many would survive in Sangjenim’s hometown, Gaengmang-ri Village, Gobu County, Jeolla-do Province, Sangjenim answered that not a single person would be left alive. You may surmise how severe gaebyeok will be if none will survive even in Sangjenim’s hometown. A severe gaebyeok of this magnitude is approaching, a gaebyeok which few of the world’s seven billion people will survive.