K. On How to Achieve Knowledge of God
453. The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s work in saving mankind. Man must know God’s work and God’s disposition in the work of salvation; without this fact, your knowledge of God consists of nothing but hollow words, nothing more than armchair pontification. Such knowledge can neither convince nor conquer man; it is at odds with reality, and it is not the truth. It may be very plentiful and pleasing to the ear, but if it is at odds with God’s inherent disposition, then God will not spare you. Not only will He not commend your knowledge, but He will also take retribution on you for being a sinner who has blasphemed Him. The words of knowing God are not spoken lightly. Though you may be glib and silver-tongued, and though your words are so clever that you can argue black into being white and white into being black, still you are out of your depth when it comes to speaking of the knowledge of God. God is not someone that you can judge rashly or casually praise, or nonchalantly denigrate. You praise anyone and everyone, yet you struggle to find the right words to describe the great virtuousness and graciousness of God—this is what every loser comes to realize. Even though there are many masters of language who are capable of describing God, the accuracy of what they describe is but a hundredth of the truth spoken by people who belong to God, people who though possessing only a limited vocabulary, have rich experience to draw upon. Thus it can be seen that knowledge of God lies in accuracy and actuality, and not in the clever use of words or a rich vocabulary, and that man’s knowledge and the knowledge of God are completely unrelated. The lesson of knowing God is higher than any of the natural sciences of mankind. It is a lesson that can only be achieved by an extremely small number of those who seek to know God, and cannot be achieved by just any person of talent. So, you must not view knowing God and pursuing the truth as if they are things that could be achieved by a mere child. Perhaps you have been completely successful in your family life, or your career, or in your marriage, but when it comes to the truth and the lesson of knowing God, you have nothing to show for yourself and you have achieved nothing. Putting the truth into practice, it can be said, is of great difficulty for you, and knowing God is an even greater problem. This is your difficulty, and this is also the difficulty faced by the whole of mankind. Among those who have had some achievements in the course of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or to what degree one must attain in order to know God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and it is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work. Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talented people who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, furthermore, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talented people in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, they will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. But nothing would be more distressing and regrettable than if such talented people do not emerge on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or if there are only one or two who have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate. However, this is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case may be, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this; such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and it is also the work of the future; it is the last and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and it is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all these things are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God, and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
454. God’s possessions and being, God’s essence, God’s disposition—all has been made known in His words to humankind. When he experiences God’s words, man will in the process of putting them into practice come to understand the purpose behind the words God speaks, and to understand the source and background of God’s words, and to understand and appreciate the intended effect of God’s words. For humanity, these are all things that man must experience, grasp, and attain in order to attain truth and life, grasp God’s intentions, become transformed in his disposition, and become able to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements. At the same time that man experiences, grasps, and attains these things, he will gradually have gained an understanding of God, and at this time he will also have gained different degrees of knowledge about Him. This understanding and knowledge does not come out of something man has imagined or composed, but rather from what he appreciates, experiences, feels, and confirms within himself. Only after appreciating, experiencing, feeling, and confirming these things does man’s knowledge of God acquire content; only the knowledge that man obtains at this time is actual, real, and accurate, and this process—of attaining genuine understanding and knowledge of God through appreciating, experiencing, feeling, and confirming His words—is no other than true communion between man and God. In the midst of this kind of communion, man comes truly to understand and comprehend God’s intentions, comes truly to understand and know God’s possessions and being, comes truly to understand and know God’s essence, comes gradually to understand and know God’s disposition, arrives at real certainty about, and a correct definition of, the fact of God’s dominion over all creation, and gains an essential bearing on and knowledge of God’s identity and position. In the midst of this kind of communion, man changes, step by step, his ideas about God, no longer imagining Him out of thin air, or giving rein to his own suspicions about Him, or misunderstanding Him, or condemning Him, or passing judgment on Him, or doubting Him. Thus, man will have fewer disputes with God, he will have fewer conflicts with God, and there will be fewer occasions on which man rebels against God. Conversely, man’s caring for and obedience to God will grow greater, and his reverence for God will become more real and more profound. In the midst of such communion, man will not only attain the provision of truth and the baptism of life, but he will at the same time also attain true knowledge of God. In the midst of such communion, man will not only be transformed in his disposition and receive salvation, but he will at the same time also garner the true reverence and worship of a created being toward God. Having had this kind of communion, man’s faith in God will no longer be a blank sheet of paper, or a promise offered up in lip service, or a form of blind pursuit and idolization; only with this kind of communion will man’s life grow toward maturity day by day, and only now will his disposition gradually become transformed, and his faith in God will, step by step, pass from a vague and uncertain belief into genuine obedience and caring, into real reverence, and man will also, in the process of following God, gradually progress from a passive to an active stance, from the negative to the positive; only with this kind of communion will man arrive at true understanding and comprehension of God, at true knowledge of God.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. Preface
455. Knowledge of God’s authority, God’s power, God’s own identity, and God’s essence cannot be achieved by relying on your imagination. Since you cannot rely on imagination to know the authority of God, then in what way can you achieve a true knowledge of God’s authority? The way to do this is through eating and drinking the words of God, through fellowship, and through experiencing the words of God. Thus, you will have a gradual experience and verification of God’s authority and you will gain a gradual understanding and incremental knowledge of it. This is the only way to achieve the knowledge of God’s authority; there are no shortcuts. Asking you not to imagine is not the same as making you sit passively to await destruction, or stopping you from doing anything. Not using your brain to think and imagine means not using logic to infer, not using knowledge to analyze, not using science as the basis, but instead appreciating, verifying, and confirming that the God you believe in has authority, confirming that He holds sovereignty over your fate, and that His power at all times proves Him to be the true God Himself, through the words of God, through the truth, through everything that you encounter in life. This is the only way that anyone can achieve an understanding of God. Some say that they wish to find a simple way of achieving this aim, but can you think of such a way? I tell you, there is no need to think: There are no other ways! The only way is to conscientiously and steadfastly know and verify what God has and is through every word that He expresses and everything that He does. This is the only way to know God. For what God has and is, and everything of God, is not hollow and empty, but real.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique I
456. God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may gain knowledge of Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man could not possibly know His righteous disposition, which brooks no offense, and nor would man be able to turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man, through His public appearance, to arrive at knowledge of God, to be transformed in his disposition, and to bear resounding testimony to God. The transformation of the disposition of man is achieved through many different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in his disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God and to be after God’s heart. The transformation of man’s disposition signifies that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage and from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, a witness of God, and one who is after God’s heart. Today, God incarnate has come to do His work on earth, and He requires that man achieve knowledge of Him, obedience to Him, testimony to Him, to know His practical and normal work, to obey all of His words and work which do not accord with the notions of man, and to bear testimony to all the work He does to save man, as well as all the deeds He accomplishes to conquer man. Those who bear testimony to God must have knowledge of God; only this kind of testimony is accurate and real, and only this kind of testimony can shame Satan. God uses those who have come to know Him through undergoing His judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, to bear testimony to Him. He uses those who have been corrupted by Satan to bear testimony to Him, and so too does He use those whose disposition has changed, and who have thus gained His blessings, to bear testimony to Him. He does not need man to praise Him with his mouth, nor does He need the praise and testimony of the ilk of Satan, who have not been saved by Him. Only those who know God are qualified to bear testimony to Him, and only those who have been transformed in their disposition are qualified to bear testimony to Him. God will not allow man intentionally to bring shame upon His name.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God
457. Coming to know the essence of God is no trifling matter. You must understand His disposition. In this way, you will, gradually and unknowingly, come to know the essence of God. When you have entered into this knowledge, you will find yourself stepping into a higher and more beautiful state. In the end, you will come to feel ashamed of your hideous soul, and, moreover, will feel that there is nowhere to hide from your shame. At that time, there will be less and less in your conduct to offend the disposition of God, your heart will come closer and closer to that of God, and a love for Him will gradually grow in your heart. This is a sign of mankind entering a beautiful state. But as yet, you have not attained this. As you all rush about for the sake of your destiny, who has any interest in trying to know the essence of God? Should this continue, you will unknowingly transgress against the administrative decrees, for you understand far too little of the disposition of God. So is not what you do now laying down a foundation for your offenses against the disposition of God? That I ask you to understand the disposition of God is not at odds with My work. For if you transgress against the administrative decrees often, who among you will escape punishment? Would My work then not have been entirely in vain? Therefore, I still ask that, in addition to scrutinizing your own conduct, you be cautious in the steps you take. This is the higher demand that I make of you, and I hope that you will all consider it carefully and give it your earnest regard. Should a day come when your actions provoke Me to a towering rage, then the consequences will be yours alone to consider, and there will be no one else to bear the punishment in your place.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. It Is Very Important to Understand God’s Disposition
458. What does it mean to know God? It means being able to comprehend His joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness, and thus knowing His disposition—this is what it is to truly know God. You claim that you have seen Him, yet you do not understand His joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness and you do not understand His disposition. You also understand neither His righteousness nor His mercifulness, nor do you know what He likes or what He loathes. This is not knowledge of God. Therefore, some people can follow God but are not necessarily capable of truly believing in Him; herein lies the difference. If you know God, understand Him, and are able to comprehend some of His will, then you can truly believe in Him, truly submit to Him, truly love Him, and truly worship Him. If you do not understand these things, then you are just a follower who runs along and goes with the flow. That cannot be called true submission or true worship. How does true worship come about? Without exception, all who genuinely know God worship and revere Him whenever they see Him; they are all compelled to bow down and worship Him. At present, while God incarnate is at work, the more understanding people have of His disposition and of what He has and is, the more they will treasure these things and the more they will revere Him. Generally, the less understanding people have, the more careless they are, and so they treat God as human. If people really knew and saw God, they would tremble with fear. “He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—why did John say this? Though deep down he did not have a very profound understanding, he knew that God is awe-inspiring. How many people these days are capable of revering God? If they do not know His disposition, then how can they revere God? People neither know Christ’s essence nor understand God’s disposition, much less are they able to truly worship God. If they see only the ordinary and normal outward appearance of Christ, yet do not know His essence, then it is easy for them to treat Christ as just an ordinary man. They may adopt an irreverent attitude toward Him and can cheat Him, resist Him, disobey Him, and cast judgment on Him. They can be self-righteous and not take His words seriously; they can even give rise to notions, condemnations, and blasphemy against God. To resolve these issues, one must know Christ’s essence and divinity. This is the main aspect of knowing God; it is what everyone who believes in the practical God must enter and achieve.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know God Incarnate
459. To believe in God and know God is ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, and today—during an age when God incarnate is doing His work in person—is an especially good time to know God. Satisfying God is something that is achieved by building on the foundation of understanding God’s will, and in order to understand God’s will, it is necessary to have some knowledge of God. This knowledge of God is the vision that one who believes in God must have; it is the basis of man’s belief in God. In the absence of this knowledge, man’s belief in God would exist in a vague state, in the midst of empty theory. Even if it is the resolution of people like this to follow God, they will gain nothing. All those who gain nothing in this stream are the ones who will be eliminated—they are all freeloaders. … If man cannot receive visions, then he cannot receive the new work of God, and if man cannot obey God’s new work, then man will be unable to understand God’s will, and so his knowledge of God will amount to nothing. Before man carries out the word of God, he must know the word of God; that is, he must understand God’s will. Only in this way can God’s word be carried out accurately and in accordance with God’s will. This is something that everyone who seeks the truth must possess, and it is also the process that everyone who tries to know God must undergo. The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God and the work of God. So, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is. Belief in God is the first step to knowing God. The process of advancing from this initial belief in God to the most profound belief in Him is the process of coming to know God, the process of experiencing the work of God. If you only believe in God for the sake of believing in God, and not for the sake of coming to know Him, then there is no reality to your faith, and your faith cannot become pure—of this there is no doubt. If, during the process by which man experiences God’s work, he gradually comes to know God, then his disposition will gradually change, and his belief will become increasingly true. In this way, when man achieves success in his belief in God, he will have completely gained God. The reason why God went to such great lengths to become flesh for the second time to do His work in person was so that man would be able to know Him and to see Him. Knowing God[a] is the final effect to be achieved at the conclusion of God’s work; it is the last requirement God makes of mankind. The reason why He does this is for the sake of His final testimony; He does this work in order that man may finally and completely turn to Him. Man can only come to love God by knowing God, and to love God he must know God. No matter how he seeks, or what he seeks to gain, he must be able to achieve knowledge of God. Only in this way can man satisfy God’s heart. Only by knowing God can man have true faith in God, and only by knowing God can he truly revere and obey God. Those who do not know God will never arrive at true obedience and reverence of God. Knowing God includes knowing His disposition, understanding His will, and knowing what He is. Yet whichever aspect one comes to know, each one requires man to pay a price and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to continue following to the end.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God
460. The effects of the lesson of coming to know God cannot be achieved in one or two days: Man must accumulate experiences, undergo suffering, and attain true submission. First of all, start from the work and the words of God. It is imperative that you understand what is included in the knowledge of God, how to achieve this knowledge, and how to see God in your experiences. This is what everyone must do when they have yet to know God. No one can grasp the work and the words of God in one fell swoop, and no one can achieve knowledge of God’s entirety within a short time. There is a necessary process of experience, without which no one would be able to know God or to follow Him sincerely. The more work God does, the more man knows Him. The more at odds the work of God is with man’s notions, the more man’s knowledge of Him is renewed and deepened. If the work of God were to remain forever fixed and unchanging, then there would not be much to man’s knowledge of Him. Between the time of creation and the present, what God did during the Age of Law, what He did during the Age of Grace, and what He does during the Age of Kingdom—you must be crystal clear about these visions. You must know the work of God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God
461. During his time following Jesus, Peter formed many opinions of Him and always judged Him from his own perspective. Although Peter had a certain degree of understanding of the Spirit, his understanding was somewhat unclear, which is why he said: “I must follow he who is sent by the heavenly Father. I must acknowledge he who is chosen by the Holy Spirit.” He did not understand the things Jesus did and lacked clarity about them. After following Him for some time, Peter grew interested in what He did and said, and in Jesus Himself. He came to feel that Jesus inspired both affection and respect; he liked to associate with Him and stay beside Him, and listening to Jesus’ words rendered him supply and aid. During the time he followed Jesus, Peter observed and took to heart everything about His life: His actions, words, movements, and expressions. He gained a deep understanding that Jesus was not like ordinary men. Although His human appearance was exceedingly normal, He was full of love, compassion, and tolerance for man. Everything He did or said was of great aid to others, and Peter saw and gained things he had never before seen nor possessed from Jesus. He saw that although Jesus had neither a grand stature nor any unusual humanity, He had a truly extraordinary and uncommon air about Him. Although Peter couldn’t fully explain it, he could see that Jesus acted differently from everyone else, for the things He did were very different from that of normal men. From his time in contact with Jesus, Peter also saw that His character was different from that of an ordinary man. He always acted steadily and never with haste, never exaggerated nor underplayed a subject, and He conducted His life in a way that revealed a character which was both normal and admirable. In conversation, Jesus spoke plainly and with grace, communicating always in a cheerful yet serene manner—and yet never did He lose His dignity while carrying out His work. Peter saw that Jesus was sometimes taciturn, while other times He spoke incessantly. Sometimes He was so happy that He appeared like a frisking and frolicking dove, and other times He was so sad that He did not talk at all, appearing laden with grief as though He were a worn and weary mother. At times He was filled with anger like a brave soldier charging off to kill an enemy or, on some occasions, He even resembled a roaring lion. Sometimes He laughed; other times He prayed and wept. No matter how Jesus acted, Peter grew to have boundless love and respect for Him. Jesus’ laughter filled him with happiness, His sorrow plunged him into grief, His anger frightened him, while His mercy, forgiveness, and the strict demands He made of people made him come to truly love Jesus and develop a true reverence and longing for Him. Of course, it was not until after Peter had lived alongside Jesus for a number of years that he gradually came to realize all of this.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How Peter Came to Know Jesus
462. If you want to know God, to know Him truly, to understand Him truly, then do not restrict yourself merely to the three stages of God’s work, or to stories of the work He performed in the past. If you try to know Him in that way, then you are placing limitations on God, confining Him. You are seeing God as something very small. How would doing so affect people? You would never be able to know God’s wondrousness and supremacy, nor His power and omnipotence and the scope of His authority. Such an understanding would have an impact on your ability to accept the truth that God is the Ruler of all things, as well as your knowledge of God’s true identity and status. In other words, if your understanding of God is limited in scope, then what you can receive is also limited. This is why you must broaden your scope and expand your horizons. You should seek to understand all of it—the scope of God’s work, His management, His rule, and all the things He manages and over which He rules. It is through these things that you should come to understand God’s actions. With such an understanding, you will come to feel, without realizing it, that God rules, manages, and provides for all things among them, and you will also truly feel that you are a part and a member of all things. As God provides for all things, you are also accepting God’s rule and provision. This is a fact that no one can deny.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VIII
463. However much understanding of God there is in people’s hearts, that is also the extent of the position He holds in their hearts. However great the degree of knowledge of God is in their hearts, that is how great God is in their hearts. If the God that you know is empty and vague, then the God you believe in is also empty and vague. The God that you know is limited to the scope of your own personal life, and has nothing to do with the true God Himself. Thus, knowing God’s practical actions, knowing the reality of God and His omnipotence, knowing the true identity of God Himself, knowing what He has and is, knowing the actions that He has manifested among all the things of His creation—these things are very important to every single person who pursues knowledge of God. They have a direct bearing on whether people can enter truth reality. If you limit your understanding of God to just words, if you limit it to your own little experiences, to what you figure to be God’s grace, or your little testimonies to God, then I say that the God you believe in is absolutely not the true God Himself. Not only that, but it can also be said that the God you believe in is an imaginary God, not the true God. This is because the true God is the One that rules over everything, that walks among everything, that manages everything. He is the One that holds the fate of all of mankind and of everything in His hands. The work and actions of the God that I am talking about are not just limited to a small portion of people. That is, they are not limited to just the people who currently follow Him. His deeds are manifested among all things, in the survival of all things, and in the laws of change of all things.
If you cannot see or recognize any deeds of God among all the things of His creation, then you cannot bear witness to any of His deeds. If you cannot bear witness for God, if you continue to speak of the small so-called “God” that you know, that God who is limited to your own ideas and exists only within the narrow confines of your mind, if you continue to speak of that kind of God, then God will never praise your faith. When you bear witness for God, if you do so only in terms of how you enjoy God’s grace, how you accept God’s discipline and His chastening, and how you enjoy His blessings in your witness for Him, then that is nowhere near enough and not even close to satisfying Him. If you want to bear witness for God in a way that accords with His will, to bear witness for the true God Himself, then you must see what God has and is from His actions. You must see God’s authority from His control of everything, and see the truth of how He provides for all of mankind. If you only acknowledge that your daily sustenance and your necessities in life come from God, but you fail to see the truth that God has taken all the things of His creation for the provision of all of mankind, and that, by ruling over all things, He is leading all of mankind, then you will never be able to bear witness for God. What is My purpose in saying all of this? It is so that you do not take this lightly, so that you do not mistakenly believe that these topics I have spoken about are irrelevant to your own personal entry into life, and so that you do not take these topics as being just a type of knowledge or doctrine. If you listen to what I am saying with that kind of attitude, then you will not gain a single thing. You will lose this great opportunity to know God.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IX
464. Though man may go deep in his research of science and the laws that govern all things, that research is limited in scope, whereas God controls everything. For man, God’s control is infinite. A man could spend his entire life researching God’s smallest deed without achieving any true results. This is why, if you use just knowledge and what you have learned to study God, you will never be able to know God or understand Him. But if you choose the way of seeking the truth and seeking God, and look at God from the perspective of coming to know Him, then, one day, you will recognize that God’s actions and wisdom are everywhere at once, and you will know why God is called the Master of all things and the source of life for all things. The more you gain such understanding, the more you will understand why God is called the Master of all things. All things and everything, including you, are constantly receiving the steady flow of God’s provision. You will also be able to clearly sense that in this world, and among this mankind, there is no one apart from God who could have the ability and the essence with which He rules over, manages, and maintains the existence of all things. When you arrive at this understanding, you will truly recognize that God is your God. When you reach this point, you will have truly accepted God and allowed Him to be your God and your Master. When you have obtained such an understanding and your life has reached such a point, God will no longer test you and judge you, nor will He make any demands of you, because you will understand God, will know His heart, and will have truly accepted God in your heart.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VIII
465. People often say that it is not an easy thing to know God. However, I say that knowing God is not a difficult matter at all, for God frequently displays His deeds for man to see. God has never ceased His dialogue with mankind, and He has never concealed Himself from man, and nor has He hidden Himself. His thoughts, His ideas, His words and His deeds are all revealed to mankind. Therefore, so long as man wishes to know God, he can come to understand and know Him through all sorts of means and methods. The reason why man blindly thinks that God has intentionally avoided him, that God has intentionally hidden Himself from humanity, that God has no intention of allowing man to understand and know Him, is because he does not know who God is and nor does he wish to understand God. Even more than that, man does not concern himself with the Creator’s thoughts, words or deeds…. Truthfully speaking, if a person just uses their spare time to focus upon and understand the Creator’s words or deeds, and if they pay just a little attention to the Creator’s thoughts and the voice of His heart, it will not be difficult for that person to realize that the Creator’s thoughts, words, and deeds are visible and transparent. Likewise, it will take little effort to realize that the Creator is among man at all times, that He is always in conversation with man and the entirety of creation, and that He is performing new deeds every day. His essence and disposition are expressed in His dialogue with man; His thoughts and ideas are revealed completely in His deeds; He accompanies and observes mankind at all times. He speaks quietly to mankind and all of creation with His silent words: “I am in the heavens, and I am amongst My creation. I am keeping watch; I am waiting; I am at your side….” His hands are warm and strong; His footsteps are light; His voice is soft and graceful; His form passes and turns, embracing all of mankind; His countenance is beautiful and gentle. He has never left, never vanished. Day and night, He is mankind’s constant companion, never to leave their side.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
466. When people do not understand God and do not know His disposition, their hearts can never truly open up to Him. Once they have understood God, they will begin to appreciate and savor what is in His heart with interest and faith. When you appreciate and savor what is in God’s heart, your heart will gradually, bit by bit, open up to Him. When your heart opens up to Him, you will feel how shameful and contemptible your exchanges with God, your demands of God, and your own extravagant desires were. When your heart truly opens up to God, you will see that His heart is such an infinite world, and you will enter into a realm you have never experienced before. In this realm there is no cheating, there is no deception, there is no darkness, and no evil. There is only sincerity and faithfulness; only light and rectitude; only righteousness and kindness. It is full of love and care, full of compassion and tolerance, and through it you feel the happiness and joy of being alive. These things are what God will reveal to you when you open up your heart to Him. This infinite world is full of God’s wisdom and omnipotence; it is also full of His love and His authority. Here you can see every aspect of what God has and is, what brings Him joy, why He worries and why He becomes sad, why He becomes angry…. This is what every single person can see who opens up their heart and allows God to come in. God can only come into your heart if you open it up to Him. You can only see what God has and is, and you can only see His intentions for you, if He has come into your heart. At that time, you will discover that everything about God is so precious, that what He has and is is so worthy of treasuring. Compared to that, the people who surround you, the objects and events in your life, and even your loved ones, your partner, and the things you love, are hardly worth mentioning. They are so small, and so lowly; you will feel that no material object will ever be able to draw you in again, or that any material object will ever again be able to entice you to pay any price for it. In God’s humility you will see His greatness and His supremacy. Moreover, you will see in some deed of God that you previously believed to be quite small His infinite wisdom and His tolerance, and you will see His patience, His forbearance, and His understanding of you. This will engender in you an adoration for Him. On that day, you will feel that mankind is living in such a filthy world, that the people by your side and the things that happen in your life, and even those you love, their love for you, and their so-called protection or their concern for you are not even worth mentioning—only God is your beloved, and it is only God that you treasure the most. When that day comes, I believe that there will be some people who say: God’s love is so great, and His essence is so holy—in God there is no deceit, no evil, no envy, and no strife, but only righteousness and authenticity, and everything that God has and is should be longed for by humans. Humans should strive for and aspire to it. On what basis is mankind’s ability to achieve this built? It is built on the basis of their understanding of God’s disposition, and their understanding of God’s essence. So understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is, is a lifelong lesson for every person; this is a lifelong goal pursued by every person who strives to change their disposition, and strives to know God.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III
467. God Himself is God Himself. He will never become a part of creation, and even if He becomes a member of the created beings, His inherent disposition and essence will not change. Therefore, knowing God is not the same as knowing an object; to know God is not to dissect something, nor is it the same as understanding a person. If man uses his concept or method of knowing an object or understanding a person to know God, then you will never be able to attain knowledge of God. Knowing God is not reliant on experience or imagination, and therefore you must never impose your experience or imagination on God; no matter how rich your experience and imagination may be, they are still limited. What is more, your imagination does not correspond to facts, and much less to the truth, and it is incompatible with God’s true disposition and essence. You will never succeed if you rely on your imagination to understand God’s essence. The only path is this: Accept all that comes from God, then gradually experience and understand it. There will be a day when God will enlighten you to truly understand and know Him because of your cooperation and because of your hunger and thirst for the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
468. “Fearing God and shunning evil” and knowing God are indivisibly connected by a myriad threads, and the connection between them is self-evident. If one wishes to attain to shunning evil, one must first have real fear of God; if one wishes to attain to real fear of God, one must first have real knowledge of God; if one wishes to attain to knowledge of God, one must first experience God’s words, enter into the reality of God’s words, experience God’s chastening and discipline, His chastisement and judgment; if one wishes to experience God’s words, one must first come face to face with God’s words, come face to face with God, and ask God to provide opportunities to experience God’s words in the form of all sorts of environments involving people, events, and objects; if one wishes to come face to face with God and with God’s words, one must first possess a simple and honest heart, readiness to accept the truth, the will to endure suffering, the resolution and the courage to shun evil, and the aspiration to become a genuine created being…. In this way, going forward step by step, you will draw ever closer to God, your heart will grow ever more pure, and your life and the value of being alive will, along with your knowledge of God, become ever more meaningful and wax ever more radiant. Until, one day, you will feel that the Creator is no longer a riddle, that the Creator has never been hidden from you, that the Creator has never concealed His face from you, that the Creator is not at all far from you, that the Creator is no longer the One that you constantly long for in your thoughts but that you cannot reach with your feelings, that He is really and truly standing guard to your left and right, supplying your life, and controlling your destiny. He is not on the remote horizon, nor has He secreted Himself high up in the clouds. He is right by your side, presiding over your all, He is everything that you have, and He is the only thing you have. Such a God allows you to love Him from the heart, cling to Him, hold Him close, admire Him, fear to lose Him, and be unwilling to renounce Him any longer, disobey Him any longer, or any longer to evade Him or put Him at a distance. All you want is to care for Him, obey Him, requite all that He gives you, and submit to His dominion. You no longer refuse to be guided, provided for, watched over, and kept by Him, no longer refuse what He dictates and ordains for you. All you want is to follow Him, walk along by His side, all you want is to accept Him as your one and only life, to accept Him as your one and only Lord, your one and only God.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. Preface
a. The original text reads “The work of knowing God.”