God Himself, the Unique VII (Part Two)
God Is the Source of Life for All Things (I)
Today I will fellowship about a new topic with you. What is this topic? Its title is: “God Is the Source of Life for All Things.” Does this topic sound slightly too big? Does it feel a little beyond your reach? “God Is the Source of Life for All Things”—this topic may strike people as somewhat remote, but it must be understood by all who follow God, because it is inextricably linked to each person’s knowledge of God and their being able to satisfy and revere Him. That is why I am going to fellowship about this topic. It is quite possible that people have a simple, prior understanding of this topic, or perhaps they are aware of it on some level. This knowledge or awareness may, in some people’s minds, be accompanied by a simple or shallow degree of understanding. Others may have had some special experiences in their hearts that led them to a deep, personal encounter with this topic. But such prior knowledge, whether deep or superficial, is one-sided and not sufficiently specific. So, this is why I have chosen this topic for fellowship: to help you arrive at a deeper and more specific understanding. I will use a special method to fellowship with you about this topic, a method we have not used before, one that you may find a bit unusual, or a bit uncomfortable. You will know what I mean afterward. Do you like stories? (We do.) Well, it seems My choice to tell stories is a good one, since you all like them so much. Now, let us begin. There is no need for you to take notes. I ask that you be calm, and not fidget. You may close your eyes if you feel you may be distracted by your surroundings or the people around you. I have a wonderful story to tell you. This is a story about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man. Who are its main characters? (A seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man.) Is God one of them? (No.) Even so, I’m sure you will feel refreshed and satisfied once you’ve heard this story. Now, please listen quietly.
Story 1. A Seed, the Earth, a Tree, the Sunlight, the Birds, and Man
A small seed fell to the earth. A great rain fell, and the seed grew a tender sprout, while its roots delved slowly into the soil below. The sprout grew tall in time, enduring cruel winds and harsh rains, witnessing 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 might endure the season’s scorching heat. And because of the earth, the sprout was not overwhelmed by heat, and thus the worst of the summer heat passed. When winter came, the earth enveloped the sprout in its warm embrace, and earth and sprout held one another tightly. The earth warmed the sprout, and thus it survived the season’s bitter cold, unharmed by wintry gales and snowstorms. Sheltered by the earth, the sprout grew brave and happy; nurtured selflessly by the earth, it grew healthy and strong. Happily it grew, singing in the rain, dancing and swaying in the wind. The sprout and the earth depend on one another …
Years passed, and the sprout grew into a towering tree. It stood strong upon the earth, with stout branches tipped with countless leaves. The tree’s roots still dug into the earth as they had before, and they now plunged deep into the soil below. The earth, which had once protected the tiny sprout, was now the foundation for a mighty tree.
A ray of sunlight shone down on the tree. The tree swayed its body and stretched its arms out wide and breathed deeply of the sunlit air. The ground below breathed in time with the tree, and the earth felt renewed. Just then, a fresh breeze blew forth from among the branches, and the tree trembled in delight, rippling with energy. The tree and the sunlight depend on one another …
People sat in the cool shade of the tree and basked in the brisk, fragrant air. The air cleansed their hearts and lungs, and it cleansed the blood within them, and their bodies were no longer torpid or constrained. People and the tree depend on one another …
A flock of little chirping birds alighted on the branches of the tree. Perhaps they landed there to evade a predator, or to breed and raise their young, or perhaps they were just resting for a while. Birds and the tree depend on one another …
The roots of the tree, twisted and tangled, dug deep into the earth. With its trunk, it sheltered the earth from the wind and rain, and it stretched out its limbs to protect the earth beneath its feet. The tree did so because the earth was its mother. They strengthen each other and rely on each other, and they shall never part …
And so, this story ends. The story I told was about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man. It had only a few scenes. What feelings did it leave you with? When I speak in this way, do you understand what I am saying? (We understand.) Please, talk about your feelings. What did you feel after hearing this story? I shall first tell you that all the characters in the story can be seen and touched; they are real things, not metaphors. I want you to consider what I said. There was nothing esoteric within My story, and its main points could be expressed in a few sentences from the story. (The story we heard paints a beautiful picture: A seed comes to life and as it grows, it experiences the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. The earth nurtures the sprouting seed as a mother would. It warms the sprout in winter so that it may survive the cold. After the sprout has grown into a tree, a ray of sunshine touches its branches, bringing it much joy. I see that among the multitude of God’s creation, the earth too is alive, and that it and the tree depend on each other. I also see the great warmth that sunlight bestows on the tree, and I see birds, common creatures though they are, coming together with the tree and with human beings in a picture of perfect harmony. These are the feelings I had in my heart as I heard this story; I realize that all these things are indeed alive.) Well said! Does anyone have something else to add? (In this story of a seed sprouting and growing into a towering tree, I see the wonder of God’s creation. I see that God made all things reinforce and depend on one another, and that all things are connected and serve one another. I see God’s wisdom, His wonder, and I see that He is the source of life for all things.)
Everything I just spoke of is a thing you have seen before. Seeds, for instance—they grow into trees, and though you may not be able to see every detail of the process, you know that it happens, do you not? You know, too, about the earth and the sunlight. The image of birds perched on a tree is something everyone has seen, yes? And the image of people cooling themselves in the shade of a tree—this is something you have all seen, yes? (Yes.) So, when all of these things are in a single image, what feeling does that image produce? (A feeling of harmony.) Does each of the things in such an image come from God? (Yes.) Since they come from God, God knows the value and significance of the earthly existence of all these different things. When God created all things, when He planned and created each thing, He did so with intent; and when He created those things, each was imbued with life. The environment He created for the existence of mankind, as just described in our story, is one where seeds and the earth depend on each other, where the earth can nourish seeds and seeds are bound to the earth. This relationship was ordained by God at the very beginning of His creation. A scene of a tree, sunlight, birds, and humans is a depiction of the living environment God created for mankind. First, the tree cannot leave the earth, nor can it be without sunlight. So, what was God’s purpose in creating the tree? Can we say that it is only meant for the earth? Can we say that it is only meant for the birds? Can we say that it is only meant for people? (No.) What is the relationship between them? The relationship between them is one of mutual strengthening, interdependence and inseparability. That is to say, the earth, the tree, the sunlight, the birds and people rely on one another for existence and nurture one another. The tree protects the earth, and the earth nurtures the tree; the sunlight provides for the tree, while the tree gains fresh air from the sunlight and lessens the scorching heat of the sun upon the earth. Who benefits from this in the end? It is mankind, is it not? This is one of the principles that underlies the environment in which mankind lives, which God created; it is how God intended it to be from the first. Even though this image is a simple one, we can see within it God’s wisdom and His intention. Mankind cannot live without the earth, or without trees, much less without the birds and the sunlight. Is this not so? Though this is just a story, what it portrays is a microcosm of God’s creation of the heavens and earth and all things and His gift of an environment in which mankind may live.
It was for mankind that God created the heavens and earth and all things, as well as an environment to inhabit. First, the main point our story addressed is the mutual strengthening, the interdependence, and the coexistence of all things. Under this principle, the environment of mankind’s existence is protected; it can exist and be sustained. Because of this, mankind can thrive and reproduce. The image we saw was one of a tree, the earth, sunlight, birds, and people together. Was God in this image? One did not see Him there, right? But one did see the rule of mutual strengthening and interdependence between the things in the scene; in this rule, one can see the existence and sovereignty of God. God uses such a principle and such a rule to preserve the life and existence of all things. In this way, He provides for all things and for mankind. Is this story connected to our main theme? On the surface, it seems not to be, but in reality, the rule with which God created all things and His mastery over all things are intimately related to His being the source of life for all things. These facts are inseparable. Now you are beginning to learn something!
God commands the rules that govern the operation of all things; He commands the rules that govern the survival of all things; He controls all things, and sets them to both reinforce and depend on each other, so that they do not perish or disappear. Only thus can mankind live on; only thus can they live under God’s guidance in such an environment. God is the master of these rules of operation, and no one can interfere with them, nor can they change them. Only God Himself knows these rules and only God Himself manages them. When the trees will sprout; when it will rain; how much water and how many nutrients the earth will give to the plants; in what season the leaves will fall; in what season the trees will bear fruit; how many nutrients the sunlight will give to the trees; what the trees will exhale after having been fed by the sunlight—all these things were preordained by God when He created all things, as rules that no one can break. The things that God created, whether living or, in the eyes of man, non-living, sit in His hand, where He controls them and reigns over them. No one can change or break these rules. This is to say, when God created all things, He predetermined that without the earth, the tree could not set down roots, sprout, and grow; that if the earth had no trees, then it would dry out; that the tree should become the home of the birds and a place where they may shelter from the wind. Can a tree live without sunlight? (No.) Nor could it live with only the earth. All of these things are for mankind, for mankind’s survival. From the tree, man receives fresh air, and man lives upon the earth, which is protected by the tree. Man cannot live without sunlight or various living beings. Though these relationships are complex, you must remember that God created the rules that govern all things so that they may strengthen each other, depend on each other, and exist together. In other words, every single thing He created has value and significance. If God created something without significance, God would have it disappear. This is one of the methods God uses to provide for all things. What do the words “provide for” refer to in this story? Does God water the tree every day? Does the tree need God’s help to breathe? (No.) “Provide for” refers here to God’s management of all things after their creation; it is enough for God to manage them after establishing the rules that govern them. Once a seed is planted in the earth, the tree grows by itself. The conditions for its growth were all created by God. God made the sunlight, the water, the soil, the air, and the surrounding environment; God made the wind, frost, snow, and rain and the four seasons. These are the conditions that the tree needs in order to grow, and these are things that God prepared. So, is God the source of this living environment? (Yes.) Does God have to count each leaf on the trees every day? No! Nor does God need to help the tree breathe or to wake up the sunlight every day, saying, “It is time to shine on the trees now.” He does not have to do that. The sunlight shines on its own when it is time for it to shine, in accordance with the rules; it appears and shines on the tree and the tree absorbs the sunlight when it needs to, and when it does not, the tree still lives within the rules. You may not be able to explain this phenomenon clearly, but it is nonetheless a fact, which everyone can see and acknowledge. All you need to do is recognize that the rules that govern the existence of all things come from God, and know that God is sovereign over the growth and survival of all things.
Now, does this story contain what people refer to as a “metaphor”? Is it a personification? (No.) I have told a true story. Every sort of living thing, everything that has life, is ruled over by God; each living thing was imbued with life by God when it was created; the life of every living thing comes from God and follows the course and laws that direct it. This does not require man to alter it, nor does it require man’s help; it is one of the ways in which God provides for all things. You understand, do you not? Do you think it is necessary for people to recognize this? (Yes.) So, does this story have anything to do with biology? Is it related in some way to a field of knowledge or a branch of learning? We are not discussing biology, and we certainly are not conducting biological research. What is the main idea of our talk? (God is the source of life for all things.) What have you seen within creation? Have you seen trees? Have you seen the earth? (Yes.) You have seen the sunlight, have you not? Have you seen birds perched in the trees? (We have.) Is mankind happy to live in such an environment? (Yes.) That is to say, God uses all things—the things He created—to maintain and protect mankind’s home, their life environment. In this way, God provides for mankind and for all things.
How do you like the style of this talk, the way I am fellowshiping? (It is easy to understand, and there are many real-life examples.) These are not empty words I speak, are they? Do people need this story to understand that God is the source of life for all things? (Yes.) In that case, let us move on to our next story. The next story is a bit different in content, and the focus is a bit different as well. Everything that appears in this story is something people can see with their eyes in God’s creation.
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