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강증산은 시간의 흐름 속에서 역사를 선천과 후천으로 보았으며, 선천은 상극에 의해 지배된 세계이고 후천은 상생에 의해 운행될 이상세계라 하였다. 이와 같은 논리는 선천과 후천이 연차적으로 순환하는 가운데 역사가 전개된다는 것이며 순환론적 역사인식을 보여준다. 강증산은 선천 말기이며 후천을 열어가는, 선천과 후천의 과도기인 조선 말기에 대해 다음과 같이 시대를 인식하였다. 강증산은 조선 말기를 선천 말대(末代)라 하였다. 이 말대는 선천이 끝나는 시기를 가리키는 것으로 상극에 의한 원한 등의 폐해로 모든 것이 혼란해져서 천하의 모든 것이 진멸(盡滅)할 지경에 도달한 상태를 말한다. 이러한 상황에서 선천과 반대의 이상세계를 열기위해 후천을 맞이하며 무극대운(无極大運)이 열리는 과도기임을 강증산은 역사의 전개에서 강조하였다. 강증산은 조선 말기를 신명시대라 하였다. 강증산은 인간 세상이 신의 세계와 밀접한 연관성하에서 존재하는 것으로 파악하였다. 또 선천에서 신의 세계도 인간 세계와 마찬가지로 원한에 의해 수 많은 문제와 비극이 쌓여 있으므로 이를 풀어 없애야한다고 주장하였다. 강증산은 조선 말기를 인존시대라 하였다. 이는 성사재천(成事在天)이 아닌 성사재인(成事在人)이라는 말이 새 시대가 열리게 됨을 보여준다. 시간의 흐름 속에서 천존과 지존시대가 지나고 순차적으로 인존(人尊)시대가 조선 말기를 맞아 도래하게 되는 것임을 강증산은 주장하였다. 이에 따라 해원의 원리 하에 도통(道通)군자가 나오고, 인간에게 피해를 주는 많은 것들을 없애게 된다. 아울러 명당의 의미도 땅이 아닌 인간에게 있다고 강증산은 밝혔다. 강증산은 조선 말기를 해원 및 보은(報恩)의 시대라 하였다. 해원의 시대를 거쳐야 구원된 이상시대로 갈 수 있다고 하였으며 선천 역사의 흐름 속에서 상극으로 만들어진 세상을 구원하기 위해서는 해원시대가 필요하다고 하였다. 보은은 타인의 공덕과 도움에 대한 인륜적 보상이라 하였다. 또 조선에서 득천하(得天下) 할 인물들이 나와 조선이 상등국이 되며 모든 나라가 살 계책이 남조선(南朝鮮)으로부터 나온다는 역사인식을 표출하였다.


Jeung-san was born in the late Joseon Dynasty when the East was being dominated by the Western powers. He recognized the time as chaotic last age of the Former World and carried out the Work of Reordering of the Universe to save the world. Jeung-san explained the history develops from the Former World to the Later World. The Former World indicates the world uncompleted and the Later World indicates the world of perfection which is led by sages. The Work of Reordering of the Universe of Jeung-san was His achievement that resolves so many problems of the Former World and realizes the ideal world. Also, it has a meaning of salvation, which was made in response to the petition of all gods. In saving the world, Jeung-san descended to human world as the incarnation of Gucheon Sangje(God of the Ninth Heaven) at the late Joseon Dynasty which was the end of the late Former World and the time of opening of new world when it needed preparation for the coming Later World. Jeung-san saw the history flows in cycle of time, which was changing from the Former World into the Later World. He said the Former World was ruled by Mutual Conflict and the Later World is the ideal world operated by the principle of Mutual Beneficence. The flow of time from the Former World to Later World is recognized based on the historical awareness according to Law of Change of Jeung-san. Jeung-san said Hu Xi who established the Hu Xi's Law of Change is the first ancestor of religion, and spoke highly of the wisdom of Shao Yong who was the great scholar in Mathmatical philosophy. Also, He said that Law of Change established by King Wen of Chu had already been played and now it is the time for the Principle of Changes of Duke Tai of Qi to appear. This concept of Jeung-san shows circular reasoning of history, which views the history develops in the circle of phase from the Former World to the Later World. Jeung-san saw the history of humanity unfolded in close connection with the world of divinity. Human history is the reflection of the will of the divine world, and the human history has a system that develops in accordance with the pre-set law of God. Also, the fact that the whole world of Heaven, Earth, and Human world fell into chaos as the authority of Eternal Divine Law was fallen after it was transmitted to the human world and caused a state of unbalance shows that the Divine Law is the foundation for all operation of Three Realms of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. Jeung-san perceived the late Joseon Dynasty, the transition period from the Former World and the Later World as the following. First, Jeung-san defined the late Joseon Dynasty as the age of Haewon(Resolution of all grudges). He said the ideal world can be realized after going through the age of Haewon, which is required to save the world of Mutual Conflict created in the historical flow of the Former World. Second, Jeung-san defined the late Joseon Dynasty as th age of divinity. Jeung-san saw the human world exists in close relation with the divine world. Also, the divine world was in great misery as well with so many problems and tragedy, which had to be all resolved. Third, Jeung-san said the late Joseon Dynasty is the Age of Human Nobility. From this concept, the saying "accomplishment of all matter lies in the Heaven" is changed to "accomplishment of all matter lies in Humans". In the flow of time, the Age of Heaven and Age of Earth are gone and now in turn, the Age of Human is coming at the face of late Joseon Dynasty. According to this principle of Haewon(Resolving all grudges), humans who are unified with Tao will appear and all things that harm humans will disappear. In addition, Jeung-san revealed that the meaning of propitious land will move from Earth to human beings. Fourth, Jeung-san indicated the late Joseon Dynasty as the end of age. This is the end of the Former World when all things of Heaven and Earth face the edge of annihilation due to destructive effects from grudges created by Mutual Conflict. In this situation, Jeung-san emphasized that it is the transition period that we have to go through to open the ideal world from old world and when great infinite fortune of the Later World is being opened.