God Himself, the Unique V
God’s Holiness (II) (Part Three)
Regarding God’s holiness, even though it may be a familiar topic, it is a topic which, when spoken about, might become a bit abstract for some people and be a bit profound and beyond their reach. But there is no need to be anxious. I will help you to understand what God’s holiness is. To understand what kind of person someone is, look at what they do and the outcomes of their actions, and then you will be able to see the substance of that person. Could it be put in this way? (Yes.) Then, let us first fellowship on God’s holiness from this perspective. It can be said that Satan’s substance is evil, and so Satan’s actions toward man have been to ceaselessly corrupt them. Satan is evil, so the people it has corrupted are certainly evil, correct? Would anyone say, “Satan is evil, but perhaps someone it corrupted is holy”? That would be a joke, would it not? Could such a thing be possible? (No.) Satan is evil, and contained within its evil there is both an essential and a practical side. This is not just empty talk. We are not trying to smear Satan; we are merely fellowshiping about truth and reality. Fellowshiping on the reality of this topic might hurt some people or a certain subsection of people, but there is no malicious intent; perhaps you will hear this today and feel a bit uncomfortable, but someday soon, when you are able to recognize it, you will despise yourselves, and you will feel that what I talk about today is very useful to you and very valuable. The substance of Satan is evil, so could we say that the results of Satan’s actions are inevitably evil, or at the very least, are bound to its evil? (Yes.) So how does Satan go about corrupting man? Of the evil that Satan does in the world and among humanity, which specific aspects of it are visible and perceptible to people? Have you ever thought about this before? You might not have given it much thought, so let Me bring up several main points. Everyone knows about the theory of evolution that Satan proposes, right? This is an area of knowledge studied by man, is it not? (Yes.) So, Satan first uses knowledge to corrupt man and uses its own satanic methods to impart knowledge to them. Then it uses science to corrupt man, arousing their interest in knowledge, science, mysterious matters or in matters people desire to explore. The next things Satan uses to corrupt man are traditional culture and superstition, and following that, social trends. These are all things that people encounter in their daily lives, and all exist in close proximity to people; they are all connected to the things they see, things they hear, things they touch, and things they experience. One could say that each and every human being lives their life surrounded by these things, unable to escape or free themselves of them even if they wanted to. In the face of these things, mankind is helpless, and all that man can do is to be influenced, infected, controlled and bound by them; man is powerless to free himself from them.
1. How Satan Uses Knowledge to Corrupt Man
First, we will talk about knowledge. Is knowledge something that everyone considers to be a positive thing? At the very least, people think that the connotation of the word “knowledge” is positive rather than negative. So why are we mentioning here that Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man? Is the theory of evolution not an aspect of knowledge? Are Newton’s scientific laws not a part of knowledge? The gravitational pull of the earth is also a part of knowledge, is it not? (Yes.) So why is knowledge listed among the things that Satan uses to corrupt mankind? What is your view on this? Does knowledge have even a shred of truth in it? (No.) Then what is the substance of knowledge? On what basis is all the knowledge that man acquires learned? Is it based on the theory of evolution? Is not the knowledge that man has gained through exploration and summation based on atheism? Does any of this knowledge have a connection to God? Is it connected with worshiping God? Is it connected to truth? (No.) So how does Satan use knowledge to corrupt man? I just said that none of this knowledge is connected with worshiping God or with truth. Some people think about it like this: “Knowledge might not have anything to do with truth, but still, it doesn’t corrupt people.” What is your view on this? Were you taught by knowledge that a person’s happiness must be created with their own two hands? Did knowledge teach you that man’s fate was in his own hands? (Yes.) What kind of talk is this? (It is nonsense.) Absolutely right! It is nonsense! Knowledge is a complicated subject to discuss. You may state simply that a field of knowledge is nothing more than knowledge. That is a field of knowledge that is learned on the basis of not worshiping God and on not understanding that God created all things. When people study this type of knowledge, they do not see God having sovereignty over all things; they do not see God being in charge of or managing all things. Instead, all they do is endlessly research and explore that area of knowledge, and seek out answers based on knowledge. However, is it not true that if people do not believe in God and instead only pursue research, they will never find the true answers? All that knowledge can give you is a livelihood, a job, income so that you do not go hungry; but it will never make you worship God, and it will never keep you far from evil. The more you study knowledge, the more you will desire to rebel against God, to subject God to your studies, to tempt God, and to resist God. So, what do we now see that knowledge is teaching people? It is all the philosophy of Satan. Do the philosophies and rules of survival spread by Satan among corrupt men have any relation to truth? They have nothing to do with truth and, in fact, are the opposite of the truth. People often say, “Life is motion” and “Man is iron, rice is steel, man feels famished if he skips a meal”; what are these sayings? They are fallacies, and hearing them causes a feeling of disgust. In man’s so-called knowledge, Satan has imbued quite a bit of its philosophy for living and its thinking. And as Satan does this, it allows man to adopt its thinking, philosophy, and points of view so that man may deny the existence of God, deny God’s dominion over all things and over man’s fate. So as man’s studies progress and he gains more knowledge, he feels the existence of God become vague, and might even no longer feel that God exists. As Satan has added viewpoints, notions, and thoughts into the mind of man, is not man corrupted during this process? (Yes.) What does man now base his life upon? Is he really living on the basis of this knowledge? No; man is basing his life on the thoughts, views and philosophies of Satan that are hidden within this knowledge. This is where the essential part of Satan’s corruption of man occurs; this is both Satan’s goal and its method for corrupting man.
We will start by addressing the most superficial aspect of knowledge. Are the grammar and words in languages able to corrupt people? Can words corrupt people? (No.) Words do not corrupt people; they are a tool that people use to speak and they are also the tool with which people communicate with God, not to mention that at present, language and words are how God communicates with people. They are tools, and they are a necessity. One plus one equals two, and two multiplied by two equals four; is this not knowledge? But can this corrupt you? This is common knowledge—it is a fixed pattern—and so it cannot corrupt people. So what type of knowledge does corrupt people? Corrupting knowledge is knowledge that is intermingled with Satan’s viewpoints and thoughts. Satan seeks to inculcate these viewpoints and thoughts into humanity through the medium of knowledge. For example, in an article, there is nothing wrong with the written words in themselves. The problem lies with the viewpoints and intent of the author when they wrote the article, as well as the content of their thoughts. These are things of the spirit, and they are able to corrupt people. For example, if you were watching a television show, what sort of things in it could change people’s view? Would what the performers said, the words themselves, be able to corrupt people? (No.) What sort of things would corrupt people? It would be the core thoughts and content of the show, which would represent the director’s views. The information carried in these views could sway people’s hearts and minds. Is that not so? Now you know what I am referring to in My discussion of Satan using knowledge to corrupt people. You will not misunderstand, will you? So the next time you read a novel or an article, will you be able to evaluate whether or not the thoughts expressed in the written words corrupt mankind or contribute to humanity? (Yes, to a small extent.) This is something that must be studied and experienced at a slow pace, and it is not something that is easily understood right away. For example, when researching or studying an area of knowledge, some positive aspects of that knowledge may help you to understand some general knowledge about that field, while also enabling you to know what people should avoid. For example, take “electricity”—this is a field of knowledge, is it not? Would you not be ignorant if you did not know that electricity can shock and hurt people? But once you understand this field of knowledge, you will not be careless about touching objects with electrical currents, and you will know how to use electricity. These are both positive things. Are you now clear on what we have been discussing in terms of how knowledge corrupts people? There are many types of knowledge studied in the world, and you must take your time to differentiate them for yourselves.
2. How Satan Uses Science to Corrupt Man
What is science? Is not science held in high prestige in the mind of each and every human and considered profound? When science is mentioned, do people not feel: “This is something beyond the reach of ordinary people; this is a topic that only scientific researchers or experts can touch; it has nothing to do with us regular folks”? Does it have any connection to ordinary people? (Yes.) How does Satan use science to corrupt people? In our discussion here, we will talk only about the things that people frequently encounter in their own lives, and disregard other matters. There is a word “genes.” Have you heard of it? You are all familiar with this term, are you not? Were genes not discovered through science? What exactly do genes mean to people? Do they not make people feel that the body is a mysterious thing? When people are introduced to this topic, will there not be some people—especially the curious—who will want to know more and want more details? These curious people will focus their energy on this subject and when they do not have other things to do, they will search for information in books and on the internet to learn more details about it. What is science? To speak plainly, science is the thoughts and theories of things that man is curious about, things that are unknown, and not told to them by God; science is the thoughts and theories about the mysteries that man wants to explore. What is the scope of science? You could say that it is rather broad; man researches and studies everything in which he is interested. Science involves researching the details and the laws of these things and then putting forth plausible theories which cause everyone to think: “These scientists are really terrific! They know so much, enough to understand these things!” They have so much admiration for scientists, do they not? People that research science, what sort of views do they hold? Do they not want to research the universe, to research the mysterious things in their area of interest? What is the final outcome of this? In some of the sciences, people draw their conclusions by conjecture, and in others they rely on human experience to draw conclusions. In yet other fields of science, people come to their conclusions based on historical and background observations. Is this not so? So what does science do for people? What science does is merely to allow people to see the objects in the physical world, and to satisfy man’s curiosity, but it cannot enable man to see the laws by which God has dominion over all things. Man seems to find answers in science, but those answers are puzzling and bring only temporary satisfaction, a satisfaction that only serves to confine the heart of man to the material world. Man feels that they have received answers from science, so whatever issue arises, they use their scientific views as a basis to prove and accept that issue. Man’s heart becomes possessed by science and seduced by it to the point that man no longer has the mind to know God, worship God and believe that all things come from God and that man should look to Him for answers. Is this not so? The more a person believes in science, the more absurd they become, believing that everything has a scientific solution, that research can solve anything. They do not seek God and they do not believe He exists; even some people who have followed God for many years will go and research bacteria on a whim or look up some information for the answer to an issue. Such people do not look at the issues from the perspective of truth and in most cases they want to rely on scientific views or knowledge or scientific solutions to solve problems; they do not rely on God and they do not seek God. Do people like this have God in their hearts? (No.) There are even some people who want to research God in the same way as they study science. For example, there are many religious experts who have gone to the mountain where the ark came to rest, and thus they proved the existence of the ark. But in the appearance of the ark they do not see the existence of God. They believe only in the stories and the history; this is the result of their scientific research and study of the material world. If you research material things, whether it be microbiology, astronomy, or geography, you will never find a result that determines that God exists or that He has sovereignty over all things. So what does science do for man? Does it not distance man from God? Does it not cause people to subject God to studies? Does it not make people more doubtful about God’s existence? (Yes.) So how does Satan want to use science to corrupt man? Does Satan not want to use scientific conclusions to deceive people and make them numb, and use ambiguous answers to hold on to people’s hearts so that they will not seek out or believe in God’s existence? (Yes.) So this is why I say that science is one of the ways in which Satan corrupts people.
3. How Satan Uses Traditional Culture to Corrupt Man
Are there or are there not many things that are considered part of traditional culture? (There are.) What does this “traditional culture” mean? Some say it is passed down from the ancestors—this is one aspect. From the beginning, ways of life, customs, sayings and rules have been passed down within families, ethnic groups and even the entire human race, and they have become instilled in people’s thoughts. People consider them an indispensable part of their lives and regard them as rules, observing them as though they were life itself. Indeed, they never want to change or abandon these things, because they were passed down from their ancestors. There are other aspects of traditional culture which are ingrained into people’s very bones, like the things that were passed down from Confucius and Mencius, and the things taught to people by Chinese Taoism and Confucianism. Is this not so? What things are included in traditional culture? Does it include the holidays people celebrate? For example: the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, as well as the Ghost Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Some families even celebrate the days when seniors achieve a certain age, or when children reach one month or one hundred days of age. And so on. These are all traditional holidays. Is there not traditional culture underlying these holidays? What is the core of traditional culture? Does it have anything to do with worshiping God? Does it have anything to do with telling people to practice the truth? Are there any holidays for people to offer sacrifice to God, go to God’s altar and receive His teachings? Are there holidays like this? (No.) What do people do on all of these holidays? In modern times they are seen as occasions for eating, drinking, and fun. What is the source underlying traditional culture? Who does traditional culture come from? (Satan.) It comes from Satan. Behind the scenes of these traditional holidays, Satan instills certain things in man. What are these things? Ensuring that people remember their ancestors—is that one of them? For example, during Tomb Sweeping Day, people tidy up graves and offer sacrifices to their ancestors, so as not to forget their ancestors. Also, Satan ensures that people remember to be patriotic, of which an example is the Dragon Boat Festival. What about the Mid-Autumn Festival? (Family reunions.) What is the background of family reunions? What is the reason for it? It is to communicate and connect emotionally. Of course, whether it be celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve or the Lantern Festival, there are many ways of describing the reasons behind these celebrations. However one describes those reasons, each one is Satan’s way of instilling its philosophy and its thinking in people, so that they will stray from God and not know there is God, and offer sacrifices either to their ancestors or to Satan, or eat, drink, and have fun for the sake of desires of the flesh. As each of these holidays is celebrated, Satan’s thoughts and views are planted deep within the minds of the people without their knowing. When people reach their forties, fifties or even older ages, these thoughts and viewpoints of Satan are already deeply rooted in their hearts. Moreover, people do their utmost to transmit these ideas, whether right or wrong, down to the next generation, indiscriminately and without reservation. Is not this so? (Yes.) How do traditional culture and these holidays corrupt people? Do you know? (People become constrained and bound by the rules of these traditions, such that they have no time or energy to seek God.) This is one aspect. For example, everyone celebrates during Lunar New Year—if you did not celebrate it, would you not feel sad? Are there any superstitions that you hold in your heart? Might you feel, “I didn’t celebrate the New Year, and since Lunar New Year’s day was a bad day, won’t the whole of the rest of the year also be bad”? Would you not feel ill at ease and a bit afraid? There are even some people who have not made sacrifices to their ancestors in years and who suddenly have a dream in which a deceased person asks them for money. What would they feel? “How sad that this person now gone needs money to spend! I’ll burn some paper money for them. If I don’t, that just wouldn’t be right. It might cause trouble for us living people—who can say when misfortune will strike?” They will always have this little cloud of fear and worry in their hearts. Who gives them this worry? (Satan.) Satan is the source of this worry. Is this not one of the ways that Satan corrupts man? It uses different means and pretexts to control you, to threaten you, and to bind you, so that you fall into a daze and yield and submit to it; this is how Satan corrupts man. Often when people are weak or when they are not fully aware of the situation, they may inadvertently do something in a muddle-headed way; that is, they inadvertently fall into Satan’s grasp and might act unwittingly, might do things without knowing what they are doing. This is the way Satan corrupts man. There are even quite a few people now who are reluctant to part with deep-rooted traditional culture, who just cannot give it up. It is especially when they are weak and passive that they wish to celebrate these kinds of holidays and they wish to meet Satan and satisfy Satan again, to bring comfort to their hearts. What is the background to the traditional culture? Is the black hand of Satan pulling the strings behind the scenes? Is Satan’s evil nature manipulating and controlling? Does Satan hold sway over all of this? (Yes.) When people live in a traditional culture and celebrate these kinds of traditional holidays, could we say that this is an environment in which they are being fooled and corrupted by Satan, and moreover that they are happy to be fooled and corrupted by Satan? (Yes.) This is something you all acknowledge, something that you know about.
4. How Satan Uses Superstition to Corrupt Man
You are familiar with the term “superstition,” yes? There are some links between superstition and traditional culture, but we will not talk about those today. Rather, I will discuss the most commonly encountered forms of superstition: divination, fortune-telling, burning incense and worshiping Buddha. Some people practice divination, others worship Buddha and burn incense, while others have their fortunes read or have someone read their facial features and tell their fortunes in this way. How many of you have had your fortunes told or had a face-reading? This is something most people are interested in, is it not? (Yes.) Why? What sort of benefit do people gain from fortune-telling and divination? What kind of satisfaction do they gain from it? (Curiosity.) Is it just curiosity? That is not necessarily it, as I see it. What is the goal of divination and fortune-telling? Why is it done? Is it not to see the future? Some people have their face read to predict the future, others do it to see whether or not they will have good luck. Some people do it to see what their marriage will be like, and yet others do it to see what fortune the year ahead will bring. Some people have their face read to see what their prospects and those of their sons or daughters will be, and some business people do it to see how much money they will make, seeking the guidance of the face-reader about what actions they should take. So, is this done just to satisfy curiosity? When people have their face read or do these sorts of things, it is for their own future personal benefit; they believe that all of this is closely connected with their own fate. Is any of this useful? (No.) Why is it not useful? Is it not a good thing to gain some knowledge through these things? These practices may help you know when trouble may strike, and if you learn about these troubles before they happen, could you not avoid them? If you have your fortune told, it might show you how to find the right path out of the maze, so that you may enjoy good luck in the year ahead and come into great wealth through your business. So, is it or is it not useful? Whether it is useful or not has no connection with us, and our fellowship today will not involve this topic. How does Satan use superstition to corrupt man? People all want to know their fate, so Satan takes advantage of their curiosity to entice them. People engage in divination, fortune-telling, and face-reading in order to learn what will happen to them in the future and what sort of road lies ahead. In the end, though, in whose hands are the fate and prospects with which people are so concerned? (In God’s hands.) All of these things are in God’s hands. In using these methods, what does Satan want people to know? Satan wants to use face-reading and fortune-telling to tell people that it knows their future fortunes, and that it not only knows these things but is also in control of them. Satan wants to take advantage of this opportunity and use these methods to control people, such that people put blind faith in it and obey its every word. For example, if you have a face-reading done, if the fortune-teller closes his eyes and tells you everything that has happened to you in the last few decades with perfect clarity, how would you feel inside? You would immediately feel, “He’s so accurate! I’ve never told my past to anyone before, how did he know about it? I really admire this fortune-teller!” For Satan, is it not too easy to know about your past? God has led you to where you are today, and all the while Satan has been corrupting people and following you. The passage of decades of your life is nothing to Satan and it is not difficult for Satan to know these things. When you learn that all that Satan says is accurate, are you not giving your heart over to it? Are you not depending on it to take control of your future and your fortunes? In an instant, your heart will feel some respect or reverence for it, and for some people, their souls may already be snatched away by it at this point. And you will immediately ask the fortune-teller: “What should I do next? What should I avoid in the coming year? What things must I not do?” And then, he will say, “You must not go there, you must not do this, do not wear clothes of a certain color, you should go to certain places less, do certain things more….” Will you not take everything he says immediately to heart? You would memorize his words faster than the words of God. Why would you memorize them so quickly? Because you would want to rely on Satan for good luck. Is this not when it seizes your heart? When its predictions come true, one after the other, would you not want to go right back to it to find out what fortune the next year will bring? (Yes.) You would do whatever Satan tells you to do and you would avoid the things it says to avoid. In this way, are you not obeying everything it says? Very quickly, you will fall into its embrace, be deceived, and come under its control. This happens because you believe what it says is the truth and because you believe that it knows about your past lives, your life now, and what the future will bring. This is the method Satan uses to control people. But in reality, who is really in control? God Himself is in control, not Satan. Satan is just using its clever ploys in this case to trick ignorant people, trick people who only see the material world, into believing and relying on it. Then, they fall into Satan’s grasp and obey its every word. But does Satan ever loosen its grip when people want to believe in and follow God? Satan does not. In this situation, are people really falling into Satan’s grasp? (Yes.) Could we say that Satan’s behavior in this regard is shameless? (Yes.) Why would we say that? Because these are fraudulent and deceitful tactics. Satan is shameless and misleads people into thinking it controls everything about them and that it controls their very fate. This causes ignorant people to obey it completely. They are fooled with just a few words. In their daze, people bow down before it. So, what sort of methods does Satan use, what does it say to cause you to believe in it? For example, you might not have told Satan how many people are in your family, but it might still be able to tell you how many people there are, and the ages of your parents and children. Though you might have had your suspicions and doubts about Satan before this, after hearing it say these things, would you not then feel it is a little more believable? Satan might then say how difficult work has been for you recently, that your superiors do not give you the recognition you deserve and are always working against you, and so on. After hearing that, you would think, “That’s exactly right! Things haven’t been going smoothly at work.” So you would believe Satan a bit more. Then it would say something else to deceive you, making you believe it even more. Little by little, you would find yourself unable to resist or remain suspicious of it anymore. Satan merely uses a few trivial tricks, even trifling little tricks, and in this way confounds you. As you become confounded, you will be unable to establish your bearings, you will be at a loss as to what to do, and you will begin to follow what Satan says. This is the “brilliant” method Satan uses to corrupt man, which causes you to unwittingly fall into its trap and be seduced by it. Satan tells you a few things that people imagine to be good, and then it tells you what to do and what to avoid. This is how you are unwittingly tricked. Once you have fallen for it, things will get sticky for you; you will constantly be thinking about what Satan said and what it told you to do, and you will unknowingly be possessed by it. Why is this? It is because mankind lacks the truth and so is unable to stand firm and resist Satan’s seduction and temptation. Faced with Satan’s evil and its deceit, treachery, and malice, mankind is so ignorant, immature and weak, is it not? Is this not one of the ways Satan corrupts man? (Yes.) Man is unwittingly deceived and tricked, little by little, by Satan’s various methods, because they lack the ability to differentiate between the positive and the negative. They lack this stature, and the ability to triumph over Satan.