(II) God Is the Source of Life for All Things
Today I will fellowship about a new topic with you. What will the topic be? The title of the topic will be “God Is the Source of Life for All Things.” Isn’t this a fairly large topic to discuss? Does it feel like something that might be a little out of reach? God being the source of life for all things might seem like a topic that people feel detached from, but all who follow God must understand it. This is because this subject is inextricably linked with each person knowing God, being able to satisfy Him, and revere Him. Therefore, this topic must be communicated. Some people may have a basic understanding of this topic, or perhaps some people are aware of it: They may have a simplistic knowledge of it in their hearts, just a superficial understanding. Others may have a special familiarity with it; due to their unique experiences, in their hearts they have a profound understanding of it. But whether knowledge of this is deep or superficial, for you it is one-sided and not sufficiently specific. So, this topic must be communicated, the purpose of which is to give you a more specific and deeper understanding; this is very crucial. I will use a special method to fellowship about this topic with you, a method we have not used before and one that you may find a bit unusual, or a bit uncomfortable. Nonetheless, after you hear it you will know it, whatever the method may be. Do you like listening to stories? (We do.) What type of story do you like to hear? Fairy tales, fables or science fiction? (Fables.) (A story about God and man.) Are there stories about God and man? (Yes.) There are stories about God and man that happen near you every day. Do I even need to mention them? Whoever likes stories please raise your hands, and then I can see how many people like to hear stories. It seems that I was right to choose the method of telling a story. You all like to hear stories. OK then, let’s begin! You don’t need to write this down in your notes. I ask that you be calm, and not fidget. You may close your eyes if you feel that having your eyes open would cause you to be distracted by your surroundings or the people around you. I have a wonderful little story to tell you. It is a story about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the songbirds, and man. Don’t fall asleep. Do you hear Me? The story I am going to tell has what main characters in it? (A seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the songbirds, and man.) Will God be in it? (No.) You haven’t heard it, right? But I am sure that after the story is told you will feel relaxed and content. Alright then, you may listen quietly.
Story 1. A Seed, the Earth, a Tree, the Sunlight, the Songbirds, and Man
A small seed fell to the earth. After a great rain blew by, the seed grew a tender sprout and its roots delved slowly into the soil below. The sprout grew tall in time, braving winds cruel and rain deep, seeing the changing of the seasons as the moon waxed and waned. In the summer, the earth brought forth gifts of water so that the sprout could endure the scorching heat. And because of the earth, the sprout did not feel the heat and thus it survived the heat of summer. When winter fell, the earth enveloped the sprout in its warm embrace and they clutched one another tightly. And because of the warmth of the earth, the sprout survived the bitter cold, passing unharmed through the wintry gales and snowfall of the season. Sheltered by the earth, the sprout grew brave and was happy. It grew tall and proud from the selfless nurturing the earth provided. The sprout grew happily. It sang as the rain splashed down and it danced and swayed as the wind blew. And thus, the sprout and the earth depend on one another …
Years passed, and the sprout was now a towering tree. It had grown stout branches tipped with countless leaves and stood strong upon the earth. The tree’s roots dug into the earth as they had before, but they now plunged deep into the soil below. What had once protected the sprout was now the foundation for the mighty tree.
A ray of sunlight shown down on the tree and the trunk shook. The tree reached out its branches wide and drew deeply from the light. The earth below breathed in rhythm with the tree, and the earth felt renewed, and just then, a fresh breeze blew among the branches, and the tree trembled in delight, bursting with energy. And thus, the tree and the sunlight depend on one another …
People sat in the cool shade of the tree and they basked in the brisk, fragrant air. The air cleansed their hearts and lungs, and it cleansed the blood within. The people no longer felt weary or burdened. And thus, the people and the tree depend on one another …
A flock of songbirds chirped as they alighted on the branches of the tree. Perhaps they were evading some foe, or they were breeding and raising their young, or maybe they were just taking a short rest. And thus, the birds and the tree depend on one another …
The roots of the tree, twisted and tangled, dug deep into the earth. Its trunk sheltered the earth from the wind and rain and it stretched out its great branches and protected the earth below it, and the tree did this because the earth is its mother. They live together, depend on one another, and they shall never dwell apart …
So, the story is at an end. You may open your eyes now. I told a story about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the songbirds, and man. The story only has a few parts to it. What feelings did it give you? Having told it this way, do you understand it? (We understand.) You may talk about your feelings. So, what do you feel after hearing this story? (It is very moving and it seems to be a story about God and man and that this is the way that He nurtures man, protects man so that afterward man can grow strong. When a man becomes a true man he can understand God’s love and return that love to Him. God is inextricably close to man.) I shall first tell you, all of the things I mentioned you can see with your own eyes and they can be touched by your own hands; these are real things, not metaphors. I want you to go ahead and think about what I discussed. Nothing I covered was profound, and there are a few sentences that form the main point of the story. (Whether it is a plant or an animal, whether it is a bird or a man, the source of its life is God.) What else? (Even though the events in the story are things that happen near us, we nonetheless often neglect the rule of God. God says it very naturally and it very naturally happens right beside us, yet within that is the rule of God. God rules all things and is the source of life for all things.) (The words God has spoken are simple, they are there for us to understand and to let us know that it is God’s rule that has arranged all things.) Is there anything else to add? (The story we heard paints a beautiful picture: The seed comes to life and as it grows it experiences the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. The earth is like a mother in the way it nurtures. It gives warmth in winter so that the sprout may survive the cold. After the sprout has matured into a tree, a ray of sunshine touches upon its branches, bringing the tree much joy. We see that among all things of God’s creation, the earth is alive and that it depends on the tree. We also see that the sunlight brings so much warmth to the tree, and even though birds are common things to see, we see how the birds, the tree, and the people all come together in harmony. When we hear this story this is the feeling we have in our hearts that, actually, all things of God’s creation are alive.) Well said! Does anyone have anything else to add? (In the story as the seed sprouts and grows into a towering tree, we see the wondrous things that God has made. God made all things live and depend on one another and they are all connected to one another. We see God’s wisdom, His wonder, and we see that all the things God has created serve one another and that He is the source of life for all things.)
All of the things I just talked about are things you have seen before, like seeds, you know about this, right? A seed growing into a tree might not be a process you see in detail, but you know that it is a fact, right? (Yes.) You know about the earth and the sunlight, right? The image of songbirds perching in a tree is a thing all people have seen, right? (Yes.) And people cooling off in the shade of a tree, you’ve all seen that, right? (We have seen that.) So what feeling do you get when you see all these examples in one image? (Harmony.) Do all the examples that exist in this image come from God? (Yes.) As they come from God, God knows the value and significance of these several examples existing together on the earth. When God created all things, He had a plan for each item, and each thing He created shows His intentions and He imbues life in them. He created the living environment for mankind, which is discussed in the story we just heard. It discussed the interdependence the seed and the earth have; the earth nourishes the seed and the seed is bound to the earth. The relationship between these two was predetermined by God from the very beginning, right? (Yes.) The tree, the sunlight, the songbirds, and man in this image, are they an example of the living environment that God created for mankind? (Yes.) First, can the tree leave the earth? (No.) Can the tree be without sunlight? (No.) Then what was God’s purpose for creating the tree, can we say that it was just for the earth? Can we say that it was just for the songbirds? Can we say that it was just for the people? (No.) What is the relationship between them? The relationship between them is one of interdependence wherein they cannot be separated. The earth, the tree, the sunlight, the songbirds, and the people rely on one another for existence and they nurture one another. The tree protects the earth while the earth nurtures the tree; the sunlight provides for the tree, while the tree creates fresh air from the sunlight and helps soothe the earth from the heat of the sunlight. Who benefits from this in the end? Mankind benefits from this, right? (Yes.) And this is one of the principles behind why God made the living environment for mankind and one of the primary purposes for it. Even though this is a simple picture, we can see God’s wisdom and His intentions. Mankind cannot live without the earth, or without trees, or without the songbirds and sunlight, right? Even though it was a story, it is a microcosm of God’s creation of the universe and His bestowal of the living environment upon man.
God created the heavens and earth and all things for mankind and He created the living environment as well. First, the main point we discussed in the story is the interconnected relationships and interdependence of all things. Under this principle, the living environment for mankind is protected, it survives and continues; because of the existence of this living environment, mankind can thrive and reproduce. We saw the tree, the earth, the sunlight, songbirds, and people in the scene. Was God there as well? People may not see it, right? On the surface it may seem like God was not there, but people can see the rules of the interconnected relationships between the things in the scene; it is through these rules that people can see that God exists and that He is the Ruler. Right? God uses these principles and rules to preserve the life and existence of all things. It is in this way that He provides for all things and He provides for mankind. Does this story have any connection to the theme we just discussed? (Yes.) On the surface it seems like there isn’t one, but in reality the rules God has made as the Creator and His dominion over all things are strongly connected with His being the source of life for all things and they are inextricably linked. Right? (Yes.) You’ve learned a little something, right?
God is the Master of the rules that control the universe, He controls the rules that govern the survival of all things, and He also controls the universe and all things such that they can live together; He makes it so they do not go extinct or disappear so that mankind may continue to exist, man can live in such an environment through God’s leadership. These rules that govern all things are under the dominion of God, however, mankind cannot intervene and cannot change them; only God Himself knows these rules and only He Himself manages them. When will the trees sprout, when will it rain, how much water and how many nutrients will the earth give the plants, in what season will the leaves fall, in what season will the trees bear fruit, how much energy will the sunlight give the trees, what will the trees exhale from the energy they get from the sunlight—these are all things that God had already arranged when He created the universe and they are laws that cannot be broken by man. The things created by God—whether they are living or appear to be non-living by people—are all in God’s hands and under His dominion. No man can change or break this rule. That is to say, when God created all things He formulated how they should be. The tree could not set down roots, sprout, and grow without the earth. What would the earth be like if it had no trees? It would dry out. Isn’t this right? (Yes.) Also, the tree is the home of the songbirds, it is a place where they take shelter from the wind. Would it be OK if the tree went without sunlight? (It would not be OK.) If the tree only had the earth that would not work. All of this is for mankind and for mankind’s survival. Man receives fresh air from the tree, and lives upon the earth protected by it. Man cannot live without sunlight, man cannot live without all the various living beings. Even though the relationships between these things are complex, people must clearly understand that God created the rules that govern all things so that they may exist in an interconnected and interdependent way; every single thing He created has value and significance. If God created something without significance, God would let it disappear. Understand? (Yes.) This is one of the methods He used in the provision of all things. What does “provide for” refer to in this story? Does God go out and water the tree every day? Does the tree need God’s help to breathe? (No.) “Provide for” in this instance refers to God’s management of all things after creation; all He needed were rules to keep things running smoothly. The tree grew all by itself by being planted in the earth. The conditions for it to grow were all created by God. He made the sunlight, the water, the soil, the air, and the surrounding environment, the wind, frost, snow, and rain, and the four seasons; these are the conditions that the tree needs in order to grow, these are things that God prepared. So, is God the source of this living environment? (Yes.) Does God have to go out every day and count each leaf on the trees? There’s no need, right? God also doesn’t have to help the tree breathe. God also doesn’t have to wake up the sunlight every day by saying, “It’s time to shine on the trees now.” He doesn’t have to do that. The sunlight shines down on its own as prescribed by the rules, it shines on the tree and the tree soaks it in. This is how things live within the rules. Perhaps this is a phenomenon you might not be familiar with, but it is a fact everyone has seen and has accepted. All you need to do is recognize that the rules for the existence of all things come from God and know that their growth and survival are under God’s dominion. This proves that God is the source for all life.
Is a metaphor used in this story, as men would call it? (No.) Is it anthropomorphic? (No.) What I talked about is truth. Everything that is alive, everything that exists is under the dominion of God. Everything was given life after God created it; it is life given from God and it follows the laws and path He created for it. This needs not be altered by man, and needs no help from man; this is how God provides for all things. You understand, right? Do you think it is necessary for people to recognize this? (Yes.) So, does this story have anything to do with biology? Does it have any relation to any field of knowledge or science? (No.) We are not discussing biology here and we certainly are not doing any biological research. What is the main point that we are talking about here? (That God is the source for all life.) What do you see among all things of creation? Have you seen trees? Have you seen the earth? (Yes.) You have seen the sunlight, right? Have you seen birds resting in the trees? (We have.) Is mankind happy to live in such an environment? (He is happy.) God uses all things—the things He created to maintain mankind’s home for survival and protect mankind’s home, and this is how He provides for man and provides for all things.
How do you feel about My discussing things in this manner and My communicating in this way? Is it good? (It is fine. It’s realistic.) What’s fine about it? (It’s easy to understand and there are practical examples of it.) This is a substantive way to discuss things, right? Is this story necessary to help people recognize that God is the source of life for all things? (Yes.) If it’s necessary, then we shall continue with the next story. The content in the next story is a little bit different and the main point is a bit different as well; the things in the story are what we have seen among God’s creation. I will once again use the method of telling you a story, which you may all quietly listen to and think over what it is I’m talking about. After I finish the story, I’ll ask you some questions to see how much you’ve learned. The main characters in this story are a great mountain, a little stream, a fierce wind, and a gigantic wave.
Story 2. A Great Mountain, a Little Stream, a Fierce Wind, and a Gigantic Wave
There was a tiny stream that meandered to and fro, finally arriving at the foot of a great mountain. The mountain was blocking the tiny stream’s path, so the stream asked the mountain in his weak, little voice, “Please let me pass, you are standing in my way and blocking my path forward.” The mountain then asked, “Where are you going?” To which the little stream responded, “I am looking for my home.” The mountain said, “Alright, go ahead and flow right over me!” But because the tiny stream was too weak and too young, there was no way for it to flow over such a large mountain, so it had no choice but to keep flowing to the foot of the mountain …
A fierce wind swept by, carrying with it sand and dust to where the mountain stood. The wind bellowed at the mountain, “Let me pass!” The mountain asked, “Where are you going?” The wind howled back, “I want to go over to that side of the mountain.” The mountain said, “Alright, if you can break through my middle, then you can go!” The fierce wind howled this way and that, but no matter how furiously it blew, it couldn’t break through the middle of the mountain. The wind grew tired, and stopped to rest. So on that side of the mountain only a weak wind blew fitfully, which pleased the people there. Such was the greeting the mountain gave to the people …
At the seashore, the ocean spray rolled gently against the reef. Suddenly, a gigantic wave came up and roared its way toward the mountain. “Move over!” shouted the gigantic wave. The mountain asked, “Where are you going?” The great wave did not stop, and it continued to surge as it responded, “I’m expanding my territory and I want to stretch my arms a bit.” The mountain said, “Alright, if you can pass over my peak, I’ll yield the way.” The great wave moved back a bit, and then once again surged toward the mountain. But no matter how hard it tried, it couldn’t get over the mountain. It had no choice but to slowly recede back from whence it came …
Over the centuries, the tiny stream trickled gently around the foot of the mountain. By following the course the mountain had made, the tiny stream made it back to its home; it joined the river, and flowed into the sea. Under the mountain’s care, the tiny stream never became lost. The tiny stream and the great mountain relied on one another, they restrained one another, and depended on one another.
Over the centuries, the fierce wind did not change its habits of howling at the mountain. The fierce wind blew great swirls of sand when it “visited” the mountain just as it had before. It threatened the mountain, but never broke through the middle of the mountain. The fierce wind and the great mountain relied on one another, they restrained one another, and depended on one another.
Over the centuries, the gigantic wave did not rest either, and never stopped expanding. It would roar and surge again and again toward the mountain, yet the mountain never moved an inch. The mountain watched over the sea, and in this way, the creatures in the sea multiplied and thrived. The gigantic wave and the great mountain relied on one another, they restrained one another, and depended on one another.
My story is finished. First, what can you tell Me about this story, what the main content was? First there was a mountain, then what? (A tiny stream, a fierce wind, and a gigantic wave.) What happened in the first part with the tiny stream and the great mountain? Do you remember? (The tiny stream was flowing at the foot of the great mountain.) The tiny stream flowing at the foot of the mountain, is this the story that happened between them? Where did the stream go? Why would we talk about the great mountain and the little stream? (Because the mountain protected the stream, the stream never got lost. They relied on each other.) Would you say the mountain protected or obstructed the tiny stream? (Protected it.) Could it be that it obstructed it? The mountain and the tiny stream were together; it protected the stream, and it was also an obstruction. The mountain protected the stream so it could flow into the river, but also kept it from flowing all over the place where it could flood and be disastrous for the people. Is this the main point of this section? (Yes.) The mountain’s protection of the stream and its acting as a barrier safeguarded the homes of the people. Then you have the tiny stream joining the river at the foot of the mountain and later flowing into the sea; isn’t that the imperative of the tiny stream? (Yes.) When the stream flowed into the river and then the sea, what was it relying on? Wasn’t it relying on the mountain? It was relying on the mountain’s protection and the mountain acting as a barrier; is this the main point? (Yes.) Do you see the importance of mountains to water in this instance? (Yes, we do.) Is it important? (Yes.) Does God have His purpose in making mountains both high and low? (He does.) It does have purpose, right? This is a small part of the story, and from just a tiny stream and a big mountain we are able to see the value and significance of these two things in God’s creation of them. We can also see His wisdom and purpose in how He rules these two things. Isn’t that right?
What does the second part of the story deal with? (A fierce wind and the great mountain.) Is wind a good thing? (Yes.) Not necessarily, since sometimes if the wind is too strong it can be disastrous. How would you feel if you had to stay out in the fierce wind? It depends on how strong it was, right? If it was a slight breeze, or if it was a level 2-3 wind, or a level 3-4 wind then it would still be tolerable, at most a person would have trouble keeping their eyes open. But could you handle it if the wind blew strong enough to become a tornado? You wouldn’t be able to take it. So it’s wrong for people to say that the wind is always good, or that it’s always bad because it depends on how strong the wind is. So what use is the mountain here? Is it somewhat like a filter for the wind? (Yes.) The mountain takes the fierce wind and cuts it down into what? (A slight breeze.) Into a slight breeze. Most people could touch and feel it in the environment where they lived—was it a fierce wind or a slight breeze that they felt? (A slight breeze.) Isn’t this one of the purposes behind God’s creation of mountains? Isn’t this His intent? What would it be like for people to live in an environment where the fierce wind blew around bits of sand without anything to block or filter it? Could it be that with sand and stones blowing around, people wouldn’t be able to live on the land? Some people might get hit in the head by the stones flying about, or others might get sand in their eyes and wouldn’t be able to see. People could get sucked up into the air or the wind could blow so hard they couldn’t stand up. Houses would be destroyed and all sorts of disasters would happen. Does the fierce wind have value? (Yes.) What value is this? When I said that it was bad, then people might feel it has no value, but is that right? Doesn’t turning it into a breeze have value? What do people need most when it’s humid or stifling? They need a slight breeze to gently blow over them, to refresh and clear their minds, to calm their mood and improve their state of mind. For example, you are all sitting in a room with lots of people and the air is stuffy, and what do you need most? (A slight breeze.) In places where the air is turbid and full of dirt it can slow down a person’s thinking, reduce their blood flow, and make them less clear-headed. However, the air will become fresh if it gets a chance to move and circulate, and people will feel much better. Even though the little stream and the fierce wind could become a disaster, as long as the mountain is there it will turn them into things that actually benefit people; isn’t that right?
What does the third part of the story talk about? (The great mountain and the huge wave.) The great mountain and the huge wave. The scenery here is a mountain by the sea where we can see the mountain, the ocean spray, and also, a huge wave. What is the mountain to the wave in this instance? (A protector and a screen.) It is both a protector and a screen. Right? The goal of protecting it is to keep this part of the sea from disappearing so that the creatures that live in it may thrive. As a screen, the mountain keeps the sea water—this body of water—from overflowing and causing a disaster, which would harm and destroy people’s homes. Right? So we can say that the mountain is both a screen and protector. This shows the significance of the mutual reliance between the mountain and the stream, the mountain and the fierce wind, and the mountain and the huge wave and how they restrain one another and depend on one another.
There is a rule and a law governing the survival of these things that God created. Can you see what God did from what happened in the story? Did God create the universe and then ignore what happened after? Did He give them rules and design the ways that they function and then ignore them after that? Is that what happened? (No.) What is that then? (God is in control.) God is still in control of the water, the wind, and the waves. He does not let them run amok and He does not let them harm or destroy people’s homes, and because of this the people can continue to live and thrive on this piece of land. Which means that God had already planned out the rules for existence when He made the universe. When God made these things, He ensured that they would benefit mankind, and He also controlled them so that they wouldn’t be troublesome or disastrous to mankind. If they weren’t managed by God, wouldn’t the waters be flowing everywhere? Wouldn’t the wind be blowing all over the place? If God didn’t manage them they wouldn’t be governed by any rules, and the wind would howl and the waters would rise and flow about everywhere. If the huge wave had been higher than the mountain would that area of the sea still be able to exist? The sea wouldn’t be able to exist. If the mountain was not as high as the wave, that area of the sea would not exist and the mountain would lose its value and significance.
Do you see God’s wisdom in these two stories? (Yes.) God created the universe and He is Lord of it; He is in charge of it and He provides for it while watching over every word and action. He also oversees every corner of human life. So God created the universe and the significance and value of each thing as well as its function, its nature, and its rules for survival are clearly known to Him like the back of His hand. God created the universe; do you think He has to do research on these rules that govern the universe? (No.) Does God need to read up on human knowledge or science to do research and understand it? Is there anyone among mankind who has the extensive scholarship and ample wisdom to understand all things like God does? There isn’t. Right? Are there any astronomers or biologists who truly understand how all things live and grow? (No.) Can they truly understand the value of the existence of each thing? (They cannot.) Why is that? All things were created by God, and no matter how much and deeply mankind studies this knowledge, or how long they endeavor to learn it, they will never be able to fathom the mystery and purpose of God’s creation of all things, isn’t that right? (Yes.)