Fuel is any material that is burned or altered to obtain energy. Fuel releases its energy either through chemical means, such as combustion, or nuclear means, such as nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. An important property of a useful fuel is that its energy can be stored to be released only when needed, and that the release is controlled in such a way that the energy can be harnessed to produce work.
All known life forms, from microorganisms to humans, depend on and use fuels as their sources of energy. Their cells engage in enzyme-mediated chemical processes collectively called metabolism, which converts energy from food or solar power into a form that can be used to sustain life. Additionally, humans employ various techniques to convert one form of energy into another, producing usable energy for purposes that go far beyond the energy needs of a human body. The application of energy released from fuels ranges from heating to cooking and from powering weapons to the generation of electricity.
From a Unification perspective, several points can be made:
- Fuels interact physically and chemically with other substances. Unification Thought calls such interactions "give and take action" (or giving and receiving action). Such interactions form the basis for existence and action of things in general and the production of new entities. In addition, these types of interactions are part of the larger picture in which the world is a collective whole, built on relationships between its individual parts. Unification thought endeavors to expand our consciousness of the things of this world, moving from small, individual entities (such as atoms and molecules) to the relationships they have with one another, thereby building larger and larger entities, until we can view the world as a collective, dynamic whole.
- The constituents of several fuels are highly combustible. Yet, through research and development, a wide range of applications have been found for them. Here we have an example of human ingenuity and creativity, based on years of patient investigation and effort. Such human attributes, lacking in other living organisms, are connected to our internal, spiritual dimension and are reflections of God's intelligence and creativity.
- Scientific studies of fuels also indicate our desire to understand and harmonize with God's creation. By taking responsibility and exerting our efforts, we become channels for God's love to flow through us to the creation. In other words, we can exert a stewardship of true love over the creation. The Unification principle refers to these types of efforts as contributing toward the fulfillment of God's "Third Great Blessing" to humanity.
- Various fuels are directly involved in serving humanity. By serving our external, physical needs, they help us maintain our physical lives on Earth. As the Unification principle points out, our physical lives on Earth give us the opportunity for internal, spiritual growth.
- Even as fuels serve humanity in many ways, they provide us with an internal guiding principle: to live for the benefit of others. By so doing, we transcend the level of mere survival and travel the path toward inheriting God's nature. Eventually, we can vibrate with God's spirit and become channels for God's love to flow through us to others and to the rest of creation. In this manner, we can fulfill what the Unification principle calls the "Three Great Blessings" and establish a world of peace and harmony.