9. How are positive and negative things discerned from each other?
Relevant Words of God:
What are positive things? All that directly comes from God is positive; the disposition of man, however, has been processed by Satan, and cannot represent God. Only the love, the will to suffer, the righteousness, submission, and humbleness and hiddenness of the incarnate God directly represent God. This is because when He came, He came without a sinful nature and came directly from God, without having been processed by Satan. Jesus is only in the likeness of sinful flesh and does not represent sin; therefore, His actions, deeds, and words, up to the time prior to His accomplishment of the work through crucifixion (including the moment of His crucifixion), are all directly representative of God.
Excerpted from “Corrupt Man Is Incapable of Representing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God Himself possesses no elements of disobedience; His essence is good. He is the expression of all beauty and goodness, as well as all love. Even in the flesh, God does not do anything that disobeys God the Father. Even at the expense of sacrificing His life, He would be wholeheartedly willing to do so, and He would make no other choice. God possesses no elements of self-righteousness or self-importance, or those of conceit and arrogance; He possesses no elements of crookedness. Everything that disobeys God comes from Satan; Satan is the source of all ugliness and wickedness. The reason that man has qualities similar to those of Satan is because man has been corrupted and processed by Satan. Christ has not been corrupted by Satan, hence He possesses only the characteristics of God, and none of the characteristics of Satan.
Excerpted from “The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The disposition of God is one that belongs to the Ruler of all things and living beings, to the Lord of all creation. His disposition represents honor, power, nobility, greatness, and most of all, supremacy. His disposition is the symbol of authority, the symbol of all that is righteous, the symbol of all that is beautiful and good. More than that, it is a symbol of Him who cannot be[a] overcome or invaded by the darkness and any enemy force, as well as a symbol of Him who cannot be offended (nor will He tolerate being offended)[b] by any created being. His disposition is the symbol of the highest power. No person or persons can or may disturb His work or His disposition. But the personality of man is no more than a mere symbol of the slight superiority of man over beast. Man in and of himself has no authority, no autonomy, and no ability to transcend the self, but is in his essence one who cowers at the mercy of all manner of people, events, and things. The joy of God is due to the existence and emergence of righteousness and light, because of the destruction of darkness and evil. He takes delight in bringing the light and a good life to mankind; His joy is a righteous joy, a symbol of the existence of all that is positive and, even more, a symbol of auspiciousness. The anger of God is due to the harm that the existence and interference of injustice brings upon His mankind, because of the existence of evil and darkness, because of the existence of things that drive out the truth, and even more, because of the existence of things that oppose what is good and beautiful. His anger is a symbol that all things negative no longer exist and, even more than that, it is a symbol of His holiness. His sorrow is due to mankind, for whom He has hopes but who has fallen into darkness, because the work He does on man does not come up to His expectations, and because the mankind He loves cannot all live in the light. He feels sorrow for the innocent mankind, for the honest but ignorant man, and for the man who is good but lacking in his own views. His sorrow is a symbol of His goodness and of His mercy, a symbol of beauty and of kindness. His happiness, of course, comes from defeating His enemies and gaining the good faith of man. More than this, it arises from the expulsion and destruction of all enemy forces, and because mankind receives a good and peaceful life. The happiness of God is unlike the joy of man; rather, it is the feeling of garnering good fruits, a feeling even greater than joy. His happiness is a symbol of mankind breaking free of suffering from this time forth, and a symbol of mankind entering a world of light. The emotions of mankind, on the other hand, all arise for the sake of his own interests, not for righteousness, light, or what is beautiful, and least of all for the grace bestowed by Heaven. The emotions of mankind are selfish and belong to the world of darkness. They do not exist for the sake of the will, much less for the plan of God, and so man and God can never be spoken of in the same breath. God is forever supreme and ever honorable, while man is forever base, forever worthless. This is because God is forever making sacrifices and devoting Himself to mankind; man, however, forever takes and strives only for himself. God is forever taking pains for mankind’s survival, yet man never contributes anything for the sake of the light or for righteousness. Even if man makes an effort for a time, it is so weak that it cannot withstand a single blow, for the effort of man is always for his own sake and not for others. Man is always selfish, while God is forever selfless. God is the source of all that is just, good, and beautiful, while man is he who succeeds to and makes manifest all ugliness and evil. God will never alter His essence of righteousness and beauty, yet man is perfectly capable, at any time and in any situation, of betraying righteousness and straying far from God.
Excerpted from “It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Whether the words spoken by God be plain or profound in outward appearance, they are all truths indispensable to man as he enters into life; they are the fount of living waters that enables man to survive in both spirit and flesh. They provide what man needs to stay alive; the principles and creed for conducting his daily life; the path, goal, and direction through which he must pass in order to receive salvation; every truth that he should possess as a created being before God; and every truth about how man obeys and worships God. They are the guarantee that ensures man’s survival, they are man’s daily bread, and they are also the sturdy support that enables man to be strong and stand up. They are rich in the truth reality of normal humanity as it is lived out by created mankind, rich in the truth by which mankind breaks free from corruption and eludes Satan’s snares, rich in the tireless teaching, exhortation, encouragement, and solace that the Creator gives to created humanity. They are the beacon that guides and enlightens men to understand all that is positive, the guarantee which ensures that men will live out and come into possession of all that is righteous and good, the criterion by which all people, events, and objects are measured, and also the navigation marker that leads men toward salvation and the path of light.
Excerpted from “Knowing God Is the Path to Fearing God and Shunning Evil” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Satan builds its reputation through deceiving people, and often establishes itself as a vanguard and role model of righteousness. Under false pretenses of safeguarding righteousness, it harms people, devours their souls, and uses all sorts of means to benumb, deceive and incite man. Its goal is to make man approve of and go along with its evil conduct, to make man join it in opposing God’s authority and sovereignty. However, when one sees through its schemes and plots and sees through to its vile features, and when one does not wish to continue to be trampled upon and fooled by it or to continue slaving away for it, or to be punished and destroyed alongside it, then Satan changes its previously saintly features and tears off its false mask to reveal its true face, which is evil, vicious, ugly and savage. It would love nothing more than to exterminate all those who refuse to follow it and who oppose its evil forces. At this point Satan can no longer assume a trustworthy, gentlemanly appearance; instead, its true ugly and devilish features are revealed under sheep’s clothing. Once Satan’s schemes are brought to light and its true features exposed, it will fly into a rage and expose its barbarity. After this, its desire to harm and devour people will only be intensified. This is because it is enraged when man awakens to the truth, and it develops a powerful vindictiveness toward man for their aspiration to yearn for freedom and light and to break free of its prison. Its rage is intended to defend and uphold its evil, and it is also a true revelation of its savage nature.
In every matter, Satan’s behavior exposes its evil nature. Out of all the evil acts that Satan has carried out upon man—from its early efforts to delude man into following it, to its exploitation of man, in which it drags man into its evil deeds, to its vindictiveness toward man after its true features have been exposed and man has recognized and forsaken it—not one of these acts fails to expose Satan’s evil essence, nor to prove the fact that Satan has no relation to positive things and that Satan is the source of all evil things. Every single one of its actions safeguards its evil, maintains the continuation of its evil acts, goes against just and positive things, and ruins the laws and order of humanity’s normal existence. These acts of Satan are hostile to God, and they will be destroyed by God’s wrath. Although Satan has its own rage, its rage is just a means of venting its evil nature. The reason why Satan is exasperated and furious is this: Its unspeakable schemes have been exposed; its plots are not easily gotten away with; its wild ambition and desire to replace God and act as God have been struck down and blocked; and its goal of controlling all of humanity has now come to nothing and can never be achieved. What has stopped Satan’s plots from coming to fruition and cut short the spread and rampancy of Satan’s evil is God’s repeated summoning of His wrath, time after time. For this reason, Satan both hates and fears God’s wrath. Each time God’s wrath descends, it not only unmasks Satan’s true vile appearance, but also exposes Satan’s evil desires to the light, and in the process, the reasons for Satan’s rage against humanity are laid bare. The eruption of Satan’s rage is a true revelation of its evil nature and an exposure of its schemes. Of course, each time that Satan is enraged heralds the destruction of evil things and the protection and continuation of positive things; it heralds the truth that God’s wrath cannot be offended!
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who are of the devil all live for themselves. Their life view and maxims mainly come from Satan’s sayings, such as, “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost.” The words spoken by those devil kings, great ones, and philosophers of the earth have become man’s very life. In particular, most of the words of Confucius, who is touted by Chinese people to be a “sage,” have become man’s life. There are also the famous proverbs of Buddhism and Taoism, and the oft-quoted classic sayings of various famous figures; these are all outlines of Satan’s philosophies and Satan’s nature. They are also the best illustrations and explanations of Satan’s nature. These poisons that have been infused into the heart of man all come from Satan; not the least bit of them comes from God. Such devilish words are also in direct opposition to God’s word. It is absolutely clear that the realities of all positive things come from God, and all those negative things that poison man come from Satan. Therefore, you can discern a person’s nature and to whom he belongs from his life view and values. Satan corrupts people through the education and influence of national governments and of the famous and great. Their devilish words have become man’s life and nature. “Everyone for himself and the devil take the hindmost” is a well-known satanic saying that has been instilled into everyone, and that has become man’s life. There are other words of philosophies for living that are also like this. Satan uses each nation’s fine traditional culture to educate people, causing mankind to fall into and be engulfed by a boundless abyss of destruction, and in the end people are destroyed by God because they serve Satan and resist God. Imagine asking someone who has been active in society for decades the following question: “Given that you have lived in the world for so long and achieved so much, what are the main famous sayings that you live by?” He might say, “The most important one is, ‘Officials do not strike gift-givers, and those who do not flatter accomplish nothing.’” Are these words not representative of that person’s nature? Unscrupulously using any means to obtain position has become his nature, and being an official is what gives him life. There are still many satanic poisons in people’s lives, in their conduct and behavior; they possess almost no truth at all. For example, their philosophies for living, their ways of doing things, and their maxims are all filled with the poisons of the great red dragon, and they all come from Satan. Thus, all things that flow through people’s bones and blood are all things of Satan. All of those officials, those who hold power, and those who are accomplished have their own paths and secrets to success. Are such secrets not perfectly representative of their nature? They have done such big things in the world, and no one can see through the schemes and intrigues that lay behind them. This shows just how insidious and venomous their nature is. Mankind has been profoundly corrupted by Satan. Satan’s venom flows through the blood of every person, and it can be seen that man’s nature is corrupt, evil, and reactionary, filled by and immersed in the philosophies of Satan—it is, in its entirety, a nature that betrays God. This is why people resist God and stand in opposition to God.
Excerpted from “How to Know Man’s Nature” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Knowledge of ancient culture has surreptitiously stolen man from the presence of God and turned him over to the king of devils and its progeny. The Four Books and Five Classics[c] have taken man’s thinking and notions into another age of rebellion, causing him to give even greater adulation than before to those who compiled the Book/Classic of Documents, and as a result to further exacerbate his notions about God. Unbeknownst to man, the king of devils heartlessly cast God out from his heart and then occupied it itself with triumphant glee. Since that time, man became possessed of an ugly and wicked soul and of the countenance of the king of devils. A hatred of God filled his chest, and the spiteful malice of the king of devils spread within man day after day until he was utterly consumed. Man no longer had the least bit of freedom and had no way of breaking free from the toils of the king of devils. He had no choice but to be taken captive on the spot, to surrender and fall down in submission in its presence. Long ago, when man’s heart and soul was still in its infancy, the king of devils planted in it the seed of the tumor of atheism, teaching him such fallacies as “study science and technology; realize the Four Modernizations; and there is no such thing as God in the world.” Not only that, it shouts out at every opportunity: “Let us rely on our industrious labor to build a beautiful homeland,” asking each and every person to be prepared from childhood to render faithful service to their country. Man, unwitting, was brought into its presence, where it unhesitatingly arrogated all the credit (meaning the credit belonging to God for holding all of mankind in His hands) unto itself. Never did it have any sense of shame. Moreover, it shamelessly seized God’s people and dragged them back into its house, where it leaped like a mouse onto the table and had man worship it as God. What a desperado! It cries out scandalous, shocking things, such as: “There is no such thing as God in the world. The wind comes from transformations according to natural laws; rain comes when water vapor, meeting with cold temperatures, condenses into drops that fall to earth; an earthquake is the shaking of the surface of the earth due to geological changes; drought is due to dryness in the air caused by nucleonic disruption on the sun’s surface. These are natural phenomena. Where, in all this, is there an act of God?” There are even those who shout out statements like the following, statements that should not be given voice: “Man evolved from apes in the ancient past, and the world today comes from a succession of primitive societies starting from approximately an eon ago. Whether a country flourishes or declines rests entirely in the hands of its people.” In the background, it makes man hang it on the wall or place it on the table to pay homage and make offerings to it. At the same time that it cries out, “There is no God,” it sets itself up as God, with summary roughness pushing God out of the bounds of the earth, while standing in God’s place and taking up the role of the king of devils. How utterly lost to reason! It makes one hate it to the very bone. It seems that God and it are sworn enemies, and the two cannot coexist. It schemes to chase God away while it roams free, outside the reach of law. Such a king of devils it is! How can its existence be tolerated? It will not rest until it has made a mess of God’s work and left it all in a complete shambles, as if it wants to oppose God to the bitter end, until either the fish dies or the net breaks, deliberately setting itself against God and pressing in ever closer. Its hideous face having long since been completely unmasked, it is now bruised and battered and in a sorry condition, yet still it will not relent in its hatred of God, as if only by devouring God in one mouthful will it be able to relieve the hatred pent up in its heart. How can we tolerate it, this enemy of God! Only its eradication and complete extermination will bring our life’s wish to fruition. How can it be allowed to continue running rampant? It has corrupted man to such a degree that man does not know the heavensun, and has become deadened and devoid of feeling. Man has lost normal human reason. Why not offer up our whole being to destroy it and burn it up to eliminate all worries for the future and allow the work of God to sooner reach unprecedented splendor? This gang of scoundrels has come into the world of men and reduced it to turmoil. They have brought all of humanity to the edge of a precipice, secretly planning to push them over to be dashed to pieces so that they may then devour their corpses. They vainly hope to break up God’s plan and enter into a match with Him, staking everything on a single throw of the dice. That is by no means easy! The cross has been prepared, after all, for the king of devils, who is guilty of the most heinous crimes. God does not belong to the cross. He has already tossed it aside for the devil. God has long before now emerged victorious and no longer feels sorrow over the sins of mankind, but will bring salvation to all mankind.
From top to bottom and from beginning to end, Satan has been disrupting the work of God and acting in opposition to Him. All this talk of “ancient cultural heritage,” valuable “knowledge of ancient culture,” “teachings of Taoism and Confucianism,” and “Confucian classics and feudal rites” has taken man into hell. Advanced modern-day science and technology, as well as highly developed industry, agriculture, and business are nowhere to be seen. Rather, all it does is emphasize the feudal rites propagated by the “apes” of ancient times in order to deliberately disrupt, oppose, and dismantle the work of God. Not only has it continued to afflict man until this day, but it even wants to swallow man whole. The transmission of the moral and ethical teachings of feudalism and the passing down of the knowledge of ancient culture have long infected humanity, turning them into devils big and small. Few are those who would gladly receive God, few who would jubilantly welcome His coming. The face of all humanity is filled with murderous intent, and in every place, a killing breath pervades the air. They seek to cast God out from this land; with knives and swords in hand, they arrange themselves in battle formation to “annihilate” God.
Excerpted from “Work and Entry (7)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Since mankind’s contrivance of the social sciences, the mind of man has become occupied by science and knowledge. Science and knowledge then have become tools for the ruling of mankind, and there is no longer sufficient room for man to worship God, and no more favorable conditions for the worship of God. The position of God has sunk ever lower in the heart of man. Without God in his heart, man’s inner world is dark, hopeless and empty. Subsequently many social scientists, historians, and politicians have come to the fore to express theories of social science, the theory of human evolution, and other theories that contradict the truth that God created man, to fill the hearts and minds of mankind. And in this way, those who believe that God created everything have become ever fewer, and those who believe in the theory of evolution have become ever greater in number. More and more people treat the records of the work of God and His words during the age of the Old Testament as myths and legends. In their hearts, people become indifferent to the dignity and greatness of God, to the tenet that God exists and holds dominion over all things. The survival of mankind and the fate of countries and nations are no longer important to them, and man lives in a hollow world concerned only with eating, drinking, and the pursuit of pleasure. … Few people take it upon themselves to seek out where God does His work today, or to look for how He presides over and arranges the destination of man. And in this way, unbeknownst to man, human civilization becomes less and less able to hew to man’s wishes, and there are even many people who feel that, living in such a world, they are less happy than those who have already passed away. Even people of countries that used to be highly civilized air such grievances. For without the guidance of God, no matter how much rulers and sociologists wrack their brains to preserve human civilization, it is to no avail. No one can fill the emptiness in man’s heart, for no one can be the life of man, and no social theory can free man from the emptiness with which he is afflicted. Science, knowledge, freedom, democracy, leisure, comfort: these bring man only a temporary consolation. Even with these things, man will inevitably sin and bemoan the injustices of society. These things cannot restrain man’s craving and desire to explore. This is because man was made by God and the senseless sacrifices and explorations of man can only lead to more distress and can only cause man to exist in a constant state of fear, not knowing how to face the future of mankind or how to face the path that lies ahead. Man will even come to fear science and knowledge, and fear even more the feeling of emptiness. In this world, regardless of whether you live in a free country or one without human rights, you are utterly incapable of escaping the fate of mankind. Whether you are the ruler or the ruled, you are utterly incapable of escaping the desire to explore the fate, mysteries, and destination of mankind, much less are you capable of escaping the bewildering sense of emptiness. Such phenomena, which are common to all of mankind, are called social phenomena by sociologists, yet no great man can come forth to solve such problems. Man, after all, is man, and the position and life of God cannot be replaced by any man. Mankind does not just require a fair society in which everyone is well-fed and is equal and free; what mankind needs is the salvation of God and His provision of life to them. Only when man receives God’s provision of life and His salvation can the needs, the yearning to explore, and the spiritual emptiness of man be resolved. If the people of a country or a nation are unable to receive the salvation and care of God, then such a country or nation will tread the road to ruin, toward darkness, and shall be annihilated by God.
Excerpted from “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Satan corrupts man through social trends. “Social trends” include many things. Some people say: “Does it mean the latest fashions, cosmetics, hairstyles, and gourmet foods?” Are these things considered social trends? They make up one part of social trends, but we will not be talking about them here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about in people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, and the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. These trends arise one after another, and they all carry an evil influence that continually debases mankind, causing people to lose conscience, humanity and reason, weakening their morals and their quality of character ever more, to the extent that we can even say that the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, and neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? They are trends that you cannot see with the naked eye. When a new trend sweeps through the world, perhaps only a small number of people are on the cutting edge, acting as the trendsetters. They start off doing some new thing, then accepting some kind of idea or some kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, will be continually infected, assimilated, and attracted by this kind of trend in a state of unawareness, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it and become submerged in it and controlled by it. One after another, such trends cause people, who are not of sound body and mind, do not know what the truth is, and cannot differentiate between positive and negative things, to happily accept them as well as the life views and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them about how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them, and they have neither the strength nor the ability, much less the awareness, to resist.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In His expression of the truth, God expresses His disposition and essence; His expression of the truth is not based on mankind’s summaries of the various positive things and statements that mankind recognizes. God’s words are God’s words; God’s words are truth. They are the foundation and the law by which mankind should exist, and those so-called tenets that originate with humanity are condemned by God. They do not meet with His approval, and less still are they the origin or basis of His utterances. God expresses His disposition and His essence through His words. All the words brought forth by God’s expression are truth, for He has the essence of God, and He is the reality of all positive things. The fact that God’s words are truth never alters, no matter how this corrupt mankind positions them or defines them, nor how it views them or understands them. No matter how many words of God have been spoken, and no matter how much this corrupt, sinful mankind condemns them, even unto not disseminating them, and even to the point of their meeting with the contempt of corrupt mankind—even in these circumstances, there remains a fact that cannot be changed: The so-called culture and traditions that mankind values, even given the reasons listed above, cannot become positive things, and cannot become the truth. This is unalterable.
Mankind’s traditional culture and way of existence will not become truth because of the changes or passage of time, and neither will the words of God become the words of man due to mankind’s condemnation or forgetfulness. This essence will never change; truth is always truth. What fact exists herein? All those sayings that are summarized by mankind originate in Satan—they are human imaginings and notions, even arising from human hot-bloodedness, and have nothing at all to do with positive things. The words of God, on the other hand, are expressions of God’s essence and status. For what reason does He express these words? Why do I say they are truth? The reason is that God rules over all the laws, principles, roots, essences, actualities, and mysteries of all things, and they are grasped in His hand, and God alone knows all the principles, actualities, facts, and mysteries of all things; He knows their origins and what their roots really are. Therefore, only the definitions of all things mentioned in the words of God are most accurate, and the requirements for mankind within God’s words are the only standard for mankind—the only criteria by which mankind should exist. Nevertheless, the laws by which mankind exists are derived, in one regard, from a violation of the fact of God’s rule over all things, and in another regard from a violation of the fact of God’s sovereignty over the laws of all things. They come from man’s imaginings and notions, and come also from Satan. What sort of role does Satan play? First, Satan impersonates the truth; second, it destroys, disturbs, and tramples all the principles and laws of God’s creation of all things. Thus, things that come from Satan match its essence precisely, and are full of Satan’s wicked intentions, temptations, and disguises, as well as Satan’s never-ending ambition. These will never become truth, regardless of whether corrupt mankind can discern them, regardless of the degree to which corrupt mankind accepts them, and regardless of the longevity of the era during which corrupt mankind admires them, worships them, and preaches them, and regardless, too, of how many people admire, worship, and preach them. They will never become truth, and will always remain negative things, for their essence, origin, and root is Satan, the Satan that is the enemy of God and in enmity with truth. When there is no truth against which to contrast them, they may pretend that they are good and that they are positive, but when the truth is used to dissect and expose them, they are not without vulnerabilities. They cannot stand fast, and they are things quickly condemned, exposed, and cast aside. The truth God expresses is exactly in line with the needs of mankind’s normal humanity, which God created, while what Satan gives man is in precise violation of those needs. It makes a normal person abnormal, immoderate, narrow-minded, arrogant, foolish, evil, hard, vicious, and, above all, insufferably arrogant. At a certain point, that person becomes mentally deranged, no longer even knowing who they are. They refuse to be normal people but must act as non-normal human beings; they refuse to be ordinary people but insist instead on becoming superior human beings—and thus is people’s humanity warped, and thus are their instincts warped. Truth makes people more able to live instinctually in accordance with the principles and laws of normal humanity and all the principles that God has dictated, whereas these so-called sayings and laws of Satan are precisely what cause people to violate their instincts and try to escape the laws that God has decreed and dictated, and even abandon the path of normal humanity, doing immoderate things that people with normal humanity should not do and of which they should not think.
Excerpted from “On What the Truth Is” in Records of Christ’s Talks
1. “Roams free, outside the reach of law” indicates that the devil goes berserk and runs amok.
2. “A complete shambles” refers to how the devil’s violent behavior is unbearable to see.
3. “Bruised and battered” refers to the ugly face of the king of devils.
4. “Staking everything on a single throw of the dice” means placing all one’s money on a single bet in hopes of winning in the end. This is a metaphor for the devil’s sinister and nefarious schemes. The expression is used mockingly.
5. “Swallow” refers to the vicious behavior of the king of devils, which ravishes people in their entirety.
a. The original text reads “it is a symbol of being unable to be.”
b. The original text reads “as well as a symbol of being unable to be offended (and not tolerating being offended).”
c. The Four Books and Five Classics are the authoritative books of Confucianism in China.