God Himself, the Unique III
God’s Authority (II) (Part One)
Today we will continue our fellowship on the topic of “God Himself, the Unique.” We have already had two fellowships on this subject, the first concerning God’s authority and the second concerning God’s righteous disposition. After listening to these two fellowships, have you gained a new understanding of God’s identity, status, and essence? Have these insights helped you achieve a more essential knowledge and certainty of the truth of God’s existence? Today I plan to expand on the topic of “God’s authority.”
Understanding God’s Authority From the Macro- and Micro-Perspectives
God’s authority is unique. It is the characteristic expression of, and the special essence of, the identity of God Himself, such as is not possessed by any created or non-created being; only the Creator possesses this kind of authority. That is to say, only the Creator—God the Unique—is expressed in this way and has this essence. So, why should we talk about God’s authority? How is the authority of God Himself different from “authority” as man conceives of it in his mind? What is special about it? Why is it particularly significant to talk about it here? Each of you must carefully consider this issue. For most people, “God’s authority” is a vague idea, one that requires a great deal of effort to understand, and any discussion of it is likely to be abstract. Therefore, there will invariably be a gap between the knowledge of God’s authority that man is capable of possessing and the essence of God’s authority. To bridge this gap, everyone must gradually come to know God’s authority through the people, events, things, and various phenomena that are within the reach of humans and within their capacity to understand in their real lives. Though the phrase “God’s authority” may seem unfathomable, God’s authority is not at all abstract. He is present with man through every minute of man’s life, leading him through every day. So, in real life, every person will necessarily see and experience the most tangible aspect of God’s authority. This tangible aspect is proof enough that God’s authority truly exists, and it fully allows one to recognize and to comprehend the fact that God possesses such authority.
God created everything, and having created it, He has dominion over all things. In addition to having dominion over all things, He is in control of everything. What does this mean, the idea that “God is in control of everything”? How can it be explained? How does it apply to real life? How can understanding the fact that God is in control of everything lead to an understanding of His authority? From the very phrase, “God is in control of everything,” we should see that what God controls is not a portion of planets nor a portion of creation, much less a portion of mankind, but everything: from the massive to the microscopic, from the visible to the invisible, from the stars of the cosmos to the living things on earth, as well as microorganisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye and beings that exist in other forms. This is the precise definition of the “everything” that God is “in control of”; it is the scope of His authority, the extent of His sovereignty and rule.
Before this humanity came into being, the cosmos—all the planets and all the stars in the heavens—already existed. On the macro level, these heavenly bodies have been orbiting regularly, under God’s control, for their entire existence, however many years that has been. What planet goes where at what particular time; what planet performs what task, and when; what planet revolves along what orbit, and when it disappears or is replaced—all these things proceed without the slightest error. The positions of the planets and the distances between them all follow strict patterns, all of which can be described by precise data; the paths along which they travel, the speed and patterns of their orbits, the times when they are in various positions—all of these can be quantified precisely and described by special laws. For eons the planets have followed these laws, without the slightest deviation. No power can change or disrupt their orbits or the patterns they follow. Because the special laws that govern their motion and the precise data that describe them are predestined by the Creator’s authority, they obey these laws of their own accord, under the Creator’s sovereignty and control. On the macro level, it is not hard for man to discover some patterns, some data, and some strange and unexplainable laws or phenomena. Though humanity does not admit that God exists nor accept the fact that the Creator made and has dominion over everything, and moreover does not recognize the existence of the Creator’s authority, human scientists, astronomers, and physicists are nonetheless finding more and more that the existence of all things in the universe, and the principles and patterns that dictate their movements, are all governed and controlled by a vast and invisible dark energy. This fact compels man to confront and acknowledge that there is a Mighty One in the midst of these patterns of movement, orchestrating everything. His power is extraordinary, and though no one can see His true face, He governs and controls everything at every moment. No man or force can reach beyond His sovereignty. Faced with this fact, man must recognize that the laws governing the existence of all things cannot be controlled by humans, cannot be changed by anyone; he must also admit that human beings cannot fully understand these laws, and they are not naturally occurring, but are dictated by a Sovereign. These are all expressions of the authority of God that mankind can perceive on a macro level.
On the micro level, all the mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, and landmasses that man may behold on earth, all the seasons that he experiences, all the things that inhabit the earth, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and humans, are subject to God’s sovereignty and control. Under God’s sovereignty and control, all things come into being or disappear in accordance with His thoughts; laws arise that govern their existence, and they grow and multiply in keeping with them. No human being or thing is above these laws. Why is this? The only answer is this: It is because of God’s authority. Or, to put it another way, it is because of God’s thoughts and; because of the personal actions of God Himself. This means that it is God’s authority and God’s mind that give rise to these laws, which shift and change according to His thoughts, and these shifts and changes all occur or fade away for the sake of His plan. Take epidemics, for example. They break out without warning. No one knows their origins or the exact reasons why they happen, and whenever an epidemic reaches a certain place, those who are doomed cannot escape calamity. Human science understands epidemics to be caused by the spread of vicious or harmful microbes, and their speed, range, and method of transmission cannot be predicted or controlled by human science. Though people resist epidemics by every means possible, they cannot control which people or animals are inevitably affected when epidemics break out. The only thing human beings can do is try to prevent them, resist them, and research them. But no one knows the root causes that explain the beginning or ending of any individual epidemic, and no one can control them. Faced with the rise and spread of an epidemic, the first measure humans take is to develop a vaccine, but often the epidemic dies out on its own before the vaccine is ready. Why do epidemics die out? Some say the germs have been brought under control, while others say they die out because of the change of seasons…. As to whether these wild speculations are tenable, science can offer no explanation and can give no precise answer. Humanity must not only reckon with these speculations, but also with mankind’s lack of understanding and fear of epidemics. No one knows, in the final analysis, why epidemics begin or why they end. Because humanity has faith only in science, relies entirely upon it, and does not recognize the Creator’s authority or accept His sovereignty, they will never obtain an answer.
Under God’s sovereignty, all things are born, live, and perish because of His authority and His management. Some things come and go quietly, and man cannot tell where they came from or grasp the patterns they follow, much less understand the reasons why they come and go. Though man can see, with his own eyes, all that comes to pass among all things, and can hear it with his ears, and can experience it with his body; though it all has a bearing on man, and though man subconsciously grasps the relative unusualness, regularity, or even strangeness of the various phenomena, he still knows nothing about what lies behind them, which is the Creator’s will and mind. There are many stories behind these phenomena, many hidden truths. Because man has wandered far from the Creator and because he does not accept the fact that the Creator’s authority governs all things, he will never know and comprehend everything that happens under the sovereignty of the Creator’s authority. For the most part, God’s control and sovereignty exceed the bounds of human imagination, of human knowledge, of human understanding, and of what human science can achieve; it is beyond the ken of created humanity. Some people say, “Since you have not witnessed God’s sovereignty yourself, how can you believe everything is subject to His authority?” Seeing is not always believing, and neither is it always recognizing and understanding. So, where does belief come from? I can say with certainty, “Belief comes from the degree and depth of people’s apprehension of, and experience of, the reality and root causes of things.” If you believe that God exists, but you cannot recognize, much less perceive, the fact of God’s control and God’s sovereignty over all things, then in your heart you will never admit that God has this kind of authority and that God’s authority is unique. You will never truly accept the Creator to be your Lord and your God.
The Fate of Humanity and the Fate of the Universe Are Inseparable From the Creator’s Sovereignty
You are all adults. Some of you are middle-aged; some have entered old age. You have gone from not believing in God to believing in Him, and from beginning to believe in God to accepting His word and experiencing His work. How much knowledge do you have of God’s sovereignty? What insights have you gained into human fate? Can one achieve everything one desires in life? How many things over the few decades of your existence have you been able to accomplish in the way you wished? How many things have happened that you never anticipated? How many things come as pleasant surprises? How many things do people still wait on in the expectation that they will bear fruit—unconsciously awaiting the right moment, awaiting the will of Heaven? How many things make people feel helpless and thwarted? Everyone is full of hopes about their fate, anticipating that everything in their life will go as they wish, that they will not want for food or clothing, that their fortunes will rise spectacularly. Nobody wants a life that is poor and downtrodden, full of hardships and beset by calamities. But people cannot foresee or control these things. Perhaps for some, the past is just a jumble of experiences; they never learn what the will of Heaven is, and nor do they care what it is. They live out their lives unthinkingly, like animals, day by day, not caring about the fate of humanity or why humans are alive or how they ought to live. Such people reach old age having gained no understanding of human fate, and until the moment they die they have no idea what life is about. Such people are dead; they are beings without spirit; they are beasts. Although people live within creation and derive enjoyment from the many ways in which the world satisfies their material needs, and though they see this material world constantly advancing, yet their own experience—what their hearts and their spirits feel and experience—has nothing to do with material things, and nothing material is a substitute for experience. Experience is a recognition deep in one’s heart, something that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This recognition lies in one’s understanding of, and one’s perception of, human life and human fate. And it often leads one to the apprehension that an unseen Master is arranging all things, orchestrating everything for man. In the midst of all this, one cannot but accept fate’s arrangements and orchestrations; one cannot but accept the path ahead that the Creator has laid out, the Creator’s sovereignty over one’s fate. This is an undisputed fact. No matter what insight and attitude one holds about fate, no one can change this fact.
Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how these situations develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time; they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns they follow, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that the process of each event’s occurrence, each event’s ineluctable nature, cannot be shifted by human will. Every occurrence conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates. Every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands. They are like powerful slaps about humanity’s face, one after another, forcing people to reconsider who, in the end, governs and controls their fate. And as their ambitions and desires are repeatedly thwarted and shattered, humans naturally arrive at an unconscious acceptance of what fate has in store—an acceptance of reality, of the will of Heaven and the Creator’s sovereignty. From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that “the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,” that does not convey this eternal truth that “the Creator’s authority is supreme.”
The fates of humanity and of the universe are intimately entwined with the Creator’s sovereignty, inseparably tied to the Creator’s orchestrations; in the end, they are inseparable from the Creator’s authority. In the laws of all things, man comes to understand the Creator’s orchestrations and His sovereignty; in the rules of survival of all things, he comes to perceive the Creator’s governance; in the fates of all things, he comes to infer the ways the Creator exercises His sovereignty and control over them; and in the life cycles of human beings and all things, man truly comes to experience the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements for all things and living beings, to witness how those orchestrations and arrangements supersede all earthly laws, rules, and institutions, all other powers and forces. This being so, humanity is compelled to recognize that the Creator’s sovereignty cannot be violated by any created being, that no force can usurp upon or alter the events and things predestined by the Creator. It is under these divine laws and rules that humans and all things live and propagate, generation after generation. Is this not the true embodiment of the Creator’s authority? Though man sees, in the objective laws, the Creator’s sovereignty and His ordination for all events and all things, how many people are able to grasp the principle of the Creator’s sovereignty over the universe? How many people can truly know, recognize, accept, and submit to the Creator’s sovereignty over and arrangement of their own fate? Who, having believed in the fact of the Creator’s sovereignty over all things, will truly believe and recognize that the Creator also dictates the fates of the lives of men? Who can truly comprehend the fact that man’s fate rests in the Creator’s palm? What sort of attitude should humanity take toward the Creator’s sovereignty, when confronted with the fact that He governs and controls the fate of humanity? That is a decision that every human being who is now confronted with this fact must make for themselves.