Cause and Effect 

 

THE MAXIM THAT A PERSON REAPS what he has sown, belief in divine retribution, and the doctrine of karma, are diverse expressions of a common idea: that the world is governed by justice. Religions give various teachings regarding the specific manner in which justice is meted out, e.g. through one’s fate in this life, by reincarnation, or in the afterlife. Yet all agree that one way or another, justice will be served. It is inherent in the nature of the universe, as designed by a benevolent Creator, that good deeds be rewarded and evil deeds punished. This is the principle of cause and effect. 

The principle of cause and effect bears the same ambiguous relationship to Ultimate Reality as divine law generally. In the eastern religions the principle of justice is inherent in the fabric of the cosmos and is therefore subordinate to the ultimate goal of liberation. Karma and the wheel of samsara display the operation of cause and effect, yet these are part of the hellishness of human existence and have nothing to do with the ultimate goal of Nirvana and Enlightenment, where the cycle of rebirth is broken. On the other hand, the monotheistic religions portray God as the divine Judge who visits punishments upon the guilty to maintain justice. Nevertheless, it is not the Heavenly Father’s purpose to act as a judge against His children; rather with love and truth He guides them on the path to salvation. Therefore, as Father Moon does, we can ascribe God’s judgments to the operation of His creation, a cosmos that is designed to administer justice through the operation of cosmic law. 

The passages in this chapter describe two aspects of cause and effect. First is the aspect of justice: people reap what they sow. Father Moon draws instances of this principle not only in the lives of individuals, but also from the history of nations and races, who collectively have committed sins that must bear requital. Even though this world seems to tolerate injustice and permit wrongs to go unpunished, scriptures assert that the ultimate individual recompense is in the afterlife, where he or she is destined either for heaven or hell. Here Father Moon’s teachings give a deeper explanation for why sinners are destined for hell, not by the decree of any angelic judge but by the conditions they made for themselves during earthly life. 

Second, there are passages on cause and effect as a universal principle that operates in the growth and completion of all beings. We learn that the effect is not separate from the cause; rather, they are closely tied together. The core Buddhist doctrine of Dependent Origination expresses the negative of this idea, as ignorance develops through a causal chain to the whole human condition of suffering (dhukka). A Taoist text puts it positively, that cause and effect form a circuit, the movement of Heaven. Father Moon teaches that God is immanent in the world, working everywhere as the cause and revealing Himself in human beings as the effect. Ultimately, God and humans, cause and effect, are to be united as the Alpha and the Omega—through love. 

 

  1. We Reap the Consequences of Our Actions 

 

Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 

Galatians 6.7 

 

“This text comes from the agriculture civilization. If the soil is bad, the plantation will not grow well. Similarly, if the weather is not ideal, the crop might also be bad. Parasites as well can destroy the harvest by eating it. There’s actually not only our responsibility but we should ask God to protect our plantation. We shouldn’t stop after sowing but ask the hand of God over it. There are different factors playing a role.”

 

Whatever affliction may visit you is for what your own hands have earned. 

Qur’an 42.30 

 

All who take the sword will perish by the sword. 

Matthew 26.52 

 

“For example, Guillotine, the creator of the guillotine machine, was killed by his own machine.”

“The destiny actually depends if the person will repent or not. If he/she repents, it might be changed.”

“Although Job first reaped the suffering, he stayed faithful to God and never abandoned. At the end, he got what he sowed, all the blessings from God.”

 

Suffering is the offspring of violence—realize this and be ever vigilant. 

Acarangasutra 3.13 (Jainism) 

 

“Jains believe in reincarnation and therefore, the suffering as a consequence of the violence in a previous life.”

“The violence that you’re creating now will have consequence and they will not be necessarily experienced by yourselves but by the descendance. For example, Jews had to flee from their country and they were killed by the Nazis during the 2nd World War. What’s the reason? Rev. Moon said it could be because the Jews didn’t accept Jesus and crucified him.”

 

Ashes fly back in the face of him who throws them. 

Yoruba Proverb (African Traditional Religions) 

 

“Good parable!”

 

They sow the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind. 

Hosea 8.7 

 

An ignorant man committing evil deeds does not realize the consequences. The imprudent man is consumed by his own deeds, like one burnt by fire. 

Dhammapada 136 (Buddhism) 

 

“We have to do everything to learn, we have no excuse not to know the laws.”

 

Unto God belongs the sequel of all things. 

Qur’an 31.22 

 

God is not hornless; He is horned: He exacts punishment for every deed. 

Ovambo Proverb (African Traditional Religions) 

 

“God created the cause and effect so there should be a judgment from God.”

 

Unrighteousness, practiced in this world, does not at once produce its fruit; but, like a cow, advancing slowly, it cuts off the roots of him who committed it. 

Laws of Manu 4.172 (Hinduism) 

 

There are no special doors for calamity and happiness [in men’s lot]; they come as men themselves call them. Their recompenses follow good and evil as the shadow follows the substance. 

Treatise on Response and Retribution 1 (Taoism) 

 

“You can create your own happiness or sadness.”

 

Not in the sky, nor in mid-ocean, nor in a mountain cave, is found that place on earth where abiding one may escape from the consequences of one’s evil deed. 

Dhammapada 127 (Buddhism) 

 

The net of Heaven is cast wide. Though the mesh is not fine, yet nothing ever slips through. 

Tao Te Ching 73 (Taoism) 

 

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 

Romans 12.19 

 

Let not their conduct grieve you, who run easily to disbelief, for lo! they injure God not at all. It is God’s will to assign them no portion in the hereafter, and theirs will be an awful doom. 

And let not those who disbelieve imagine that the rein We give them bodes good for their souls. We only give them rein that they may grow in sinfulness. And theirs will be a shameful doom. 

Qur’an 3.176, 178 

 

Everything is given on pledge, and a net is spread for all the living; the shop is open; and the dealer gives credit; and the ledger lies open; and the hand writes; and whosoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow; but the collectors regularly make their daily round, and exact payment from man whether he be content or not; and they have that whereon they can rely in their demand; and the judgment is a judgment of truth; and everything is prepared for the feast. 

Mishnah, Avot 3.20 (Judaism) 

 

Further, as Heaven and Earth are the greatest of things, it is natural, from the point of view of universal principles, that they have spiritual power. Having spiritual power it is proper that they reward good and punish evil. Nevertheless their expanse is great and their net is widemeshed. There is not necessarily an immediate response as soon as this net is set in operation. 

Pao-p’u Tzu21 (Taoism)

 

Holy, then, did I recognize Thee, O Wise Lord. I perceived Thee foremost at the birth of life, When Thou didst endow acts and words with retribution: Bad unto bad, good blessing unto holy, Through Thy wisdom, at the final goal of life! 

Avesta, Yasna 43.5 (Zoroastrianism

 

According as one acts, according as one conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action. 

But people say, “A person is made [not of acts, but] of desires only.” [I say,] as his desire, such is his resolve; as is his resolve, such the action he performs; what action he performs, that he procures for himself. On this point there is this verse, 

Where one’s mind is attached—the inner self goes thereto with action, being attached to it alone. 

Obtaining the end of his action, whatever he does in this world, he comes again from that world to this world of action.

So the mind that desires.

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5-6 (Hinduism) 

 

 

Teachings of Sun Myung Moon 

 

In order for life to be sustained centering on this body, all the different parts must engage in give and take action as subject and object partners. If everything engaged in this action does what it is supposed to do, then the physical body will function smoothly, and existence will continue. But what happens when this is blocked somewhere? 

This universe protects anything that engages in give and take in accord with God’s ideal. If an opposing element appears, something becomes lacking, or there is a blockage, there will be a failure within that realm of interaction. Hence, in order to protect the universe, there will be a reaction to expel it. This reaction is not a bad thing. It may be seen as something bad, but it truly functions to protect the larger realm. 

For example, if your stomach hurts, it means there is a blockage in a circuit of give and take action between some subject and object partner. The blockage causes it to be pushed away to the same extent as it is blocked. A cosmic force to push it out acts on the stomach, and it hurts. All you need to do is open the place that is blocked, and you will feel fine. 

Likewise, the world of our conscience and the entire human world are in pain. Why? There are elements that do not meet the standards of the cosmic force, and the universe is trying to push them out. Hence, we feel pain in our conscience. While the conscience was going in the proper direction, something stood opposing it and blocked the conscience’s function. We experience a reaction, resulting in pain. If the problem is not solved, that reaction will send the person into hell.

(165:176-77, May 20, 1987) 

 

“For example, coughing is a natural reaction of the body to get the virus/bacteria and mucus out of the lungs.”

 

The law of cause and effect cannot be avoided in history. America is an extension of Great Britain... thus America is in a position to indemnify what Britain did wrong in history. What did Britain do when she colonized Asia, especially China? She killed countless Asians through pushing the opium trade. Britain adopted that policy to dominate the Chinese and profit off of them, while totally unconcerned that whole populations became helpless addicts. Someone today has to indemnify that sin. Americans, especially American youth, should indemnify that historical debt; otherwise young people here will be plagued by drugs as a result.

(105:134, October 4, 1979) 

 

God abhors sin, and misuse of love is the sin God abhors the most. God regards sinners who commit such transgressions and do not repent as His enemies, and He visits them with destruction. It is the Principle that whoever indulges in illicit love will perish. In Italy, the lustful and immoral city of Pompeii was destroyed by instant calamity. Sodom and Gomorrah perished under the same law. The Roman Empire once prevailed in the world with unparalleled power, but it collapsed for the same reason. From the vantage point of history, America today is on the same path. Unless it repents for its violations of the law of God’s love, it too will perish.

(104:141, April 29, 1979) 

 

I was involved in the underground resistance movement against Japanese imperial rule, and from that perspective the Japanese were my enemies. They were the enemies of the Korean people in general and my enemies in particular. Yet, after Japan was defeated at the end of World War II, I loved the Japanese. Some time earlier, certain Japanese policemen had arrested me for my activities in the resistance and tortured me severely. When the war ended I could have reported them, and they all would have been executed. Yet, when I came across those same policemen running for their lives, I helped them escape to safety. 

 

Do you know why so many young people in Japan place their eternal lives in my hands and pledge their loyalty to me? It is because there is a principle of cause and effect, which dictates that they must return what was given.

(True Family and World Peace, February 10, 2000) 

 

 

 

Written by Noëmie Komagata-Nguyen