If it is nature’s providence that the cosmic seasons change, bringing the Autumn Gaebyeok, then is it not true that there is little human beings can do? Is it not the case that people should simply remain passive, entrusting themselves to the providence of the universe?
That is not true. The core of Jeung San Do’s truth asserts that though the Autumn Gaebyeok shall come upon us, humans can overcome the Autumn Gaebyeok on their own and stride into the Later Heaven’s world—anyone can do so. How splendid is this proclamation and promise that humanity can surmount gaebyeok and gain the Later Heaven’s Paradise of Immortality on its own! Humanity will not enter the Later Heaven’s world—will not be saved—by the power of a certain god or by the spiritual power of nature, as certain of the Early Heaven’s religions and beliefs preach. Rather, humanity shall, by itself, overcome gaebyeok and enter into the Later Heaven’s world. This accords with heaven and earth’s primary intention: to birth and raise humanity and allow humanity to build the autumn paradise. Humans are the main majestic beings who shall surmount gaebyeok on their own, build paradise with their own hands, and enjoy comfort and happiness in that paradise for generations.
The universe births and nurtures humans during the cosmic spring and summer, the Early Heaven, and this process culminates with the bearing of fruit, with maturation, in autumn. The universe allows human beings to build a unified world, an autumn paradise—this is why humans are known as the fruit of heaven and earth. Heaven and earth construct the autumn paradise through humans, to whom they give birth, and this paradise is the autumn culture. The primary majestic beings in the preparation and ruling of the autumn culture will be humans themselves.
Therefore, in the cosmic autumn, human beings shall be the noblest beings, the most majestic beings in the completion of the autumn culture. It is none other than humans who are to complete the unified culture of autumn. Sangjenim proclaimed, “Humanity’s nobility surpasses both heaven’s nobility and earth’s nobility, for now is the Era of Humanity’s Nobility” [Dojeon 2:14:6].
During the spring and summer, during the Early Heaven when humanity grew and developed cultures, human beings have never been a noble being on their own. They focused their faith and their hope of salvation upon heaven or earth, believing that only God could save humanity—that reaching heaven or the promised land after death was possible only through the grace of God. Such faith reflected an admiration only of the world that awaited after death: heaven. A number of sages and philosophers who lived within this framework during the Early Heaven claimed that all spiritual problems could be resolved and the salvation of humanity could be achieved only by relying upon heaven and earth. Therefore, the Early Heaven was an era of heaven’s nobility and earth’s nobility, when heaven and earth were superior to humans.
Now, the order of heaven and earth is changing from the Early Heaven to the Later Heaven; the era of division in summer is giving way to autumn’s era of grand unification. At this time, humans must resolve all the problems confronting them by themselves. With gaebyeok looming, all remaining problems must be overcome and solved by humanity’s own efforts. The spirits and divine beings of heaven and earth no longer solve human problems; problems are not resolved by simply following the directions of Buddha or of other spirits. The Era of Humanity’s Nobility has arrived, the time when humans should become majestic beings and resolve all problems on their own. Heaven and earth will complete autumn’s unified culture through humanity. Therefore, in cosmic autumn, it is humanity—not heaven or earth—who shall become the noblest beings, and humanity shall subsequently resolve all their own problems. It was in order to prove that humans are noble and that they are the masters of their own destiny who will bring to completion the autumn culture of the Later Heaven that Sangjenim incarnated into the world as a human.
Accordingly, Sangjenim’s incarnation into the world as a human signified that the Era of Humanity’s Nobility had dawned. If He had simply proclaimed from heaven’s throne, “The Era of Humanity’s Nobility begins from this time forth,” His proclamation would have been less persuasive. Similarly, if a saint had come forth to cry out, “The heaven-centered, god-centered culture of the past must immediately change into a human-centered one,” as actually did occur in history, people would not have accepted the saint’s declaration as reality. But Sangjenim, the Ruler of the Universe, incarnated into this world as a human being and proclaimed in person, “Behold, I have entered into this world as a human—truly, the Era of Humanity’s Nobility, the autumn culture, and a new world have dawned.” This is why He came to this world. Sangjenim symbolically demonstrated that the impending cosmic autumn will be an era in which human beings shall become central—shall become noble beings.
If I summarize what you have revealed concerning humanity’s predicament: first, the present season is cosmic autumn; second, gaebyeok is imminent; and third, it is the Era of Humanity’s Nobility. Under such circumstances, what role are human beings to play?
Before I discuss the role of human beings in a historical context, let us review humanity’s current situation. The global village in this early stage of the 21st century confronts enormous problems that daily challenge humanity. In contrast to the 19th and 20th centuries, huge and serious problems have now emerged—challenges that will eventually determine whether humans will be able to coexist or will perish together.
First of all, the weather is a serious concern. Earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis of unprecedented scale are afflicting humanity one after another. News reports daily pour forth from around the world declaring that the earth’s temperature is continuously rising; already, Korea has become a subtropical zone, and all the glaciers at the poles will melt down within three years. Scientists cite carbon dioxide and fossil fuels as a cause, explaining that the abnormal weather patterns are side effects of industrialization and global warming. However, are all these diverse disasters truly explainable in terms of industrialization or warming? Do not view the abnormal phenomena and disasters around the world separately; instead, observe them as a whole. As I have already mentioned, everything is occurring exactly as Sangjenim had declared, “The world will reveal to you the tides of change” [Dojeon 2:42:4].
The changes now facing humanity are not the same sort experienced during the transitions from the ancient world to the medieval era and hence to modern times, for those were not actually transitions from one civilization to another. You must look upon the bigger picture. The order of heaven and earth is changing from the Early Heaven to the Later Heaven and from cosmic summer to cosmic autumn. Changes are taking place through which the era of division in summer is giving way to the era of maturity, the era of the great unification in autumn. Under these circumstances, it is critically important for us to recognize and boldly confront these changes in the order of heaven and earth. We should scrutinize the current situation with keen insight and hence understand that we are facing the Autumn Gaebyeok.
In the past eras of Heaven’s Nobility and Earth’s Nobility, heaven, or paradise, was important as the land where people journeyed after death. But in the present Era of Humanity’s Nobility, what is significant is this world, this reality, the global village in which we dwell. At this time when the order of heaven and earth are transforming, we must focus upon the flood of changes and brace ourselves. The problems afflicting the human world cannot be solved by merely praying to heaven or by an extraordinary individual. Human beings themselves should become masters of their own destiny in order to surmount these changes and solve all problems. In the future, tsunamis—titanic ones—will strike, and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions will continue. If people recognize these events as results of the changes in the order of heaven and earth and prepare for them, the number of victims can be reduced by as many as possible. These immense changes and the mountainous challenges of the 21st century can be addressed only by humans, and nobody can aid us. We Human beings must seek out and pioneer our means of survival by ourselves.