Growing Up: The Second Juncture
Depending on what kind of family they are born into, people grow up in different home environments and learn different lessons from their parents. This determines the conditions under which a person comes of age, and growing up[b]represents the second critical juncture of a person’s life. Needless to say, people have no choice at this juncture, either. It too is fixed, prearranged.
1. The Circumstances Under Which One Grows Up Are Fixed by the Creator
A person cannot choose the people or factors under whose edification and influence he or she grows up. One cannot choose what knowledge or skills one acquires, what habits one forms. One has no say in who one’s parents and relatives are, what kind of environment one grows up in; one’s relationships with the people, events, and things in one’s surroundings, and how they influence one’s development, are all beyond one’s control. Who decides these things, then? Who arranges them? Since people have no choice in the matter, since they cannot decide these things for themselves, and since they obviously do not take shape naturally, it goes without saying that the formation of all this rests in the hands of the Creator. Just as the Creator arranges the particular circumstances of every person’s birth, He also arranges the specific circumstances under which one grows up, needless to say. If a person’s birth brings changes to the people, events, and things around him or her, then that person’s growth and development will necessarily affect them as well. For example, some people are born into poor families, but grow up surrounded by wealth; others are born into affluent families but cause their families’ fortunes to decline, such that they grow up in poor environments. No one’s birth is governed by a fixed rule, and no one grows up under an inevitable, fixed set of circumstances. These are not things that a person can imagine or control; they are the products of one’s fate, and are determined by one’s fate. Of course, the bottom line is that they are predestined for a person’s fate by the Creator, they are determined by the Creator’s sovereignty over, and His plans for, that person’s fate.
2. The Various Circumstances Under Which People Grow Up Give Rise to the Different Roles
The circumstances of a person’s birth establish on a basic level the environment and circumstances in which they grow up, and the circumstances in which a person grows up are likewise a product of the circumstances of his or her birth. During this time one begins to learn language, and one’s mind begins to encounter and assimilate many new things, in the process of which one is constantly growing. The things a person hears with one’s ears, sees with one’s eyes, and takes in with one’s mind gradually enrich and animate one’s inner world. The people, events, and things that one comes into contact with, the common sense, knowledge, and skills one learns, and the ways of thinking that one is influenced by, inculcated with, or taught, will all guide and influence a person’s fate in life. The language that one learns as one grows and one’s way of thinking are inseparable from the environment in which one spends one’s youth, and that environment consists of parents, siblings, and other people, events, and things around him or her. So the course of a person’s development is determined by the environment in which one grows up, and also depends on the people, events, and things that one comes into contact with during this period of time. Since the conditions under which a person grows up are predetermined long in advance, the environment in which one lives during this process is also, naturally, predetermined. It is not decided by a person’s choices and preferences, but is decided according to the Creator’s plans, determined by the Creator’s careful arrangements, by the Creator’s sovereignty over a person’s fate in life. So the people that any person encounters in the course of growing up, and the things one comes into contact with, are all inevitably connected with the orchestration and arrangement of the Creator. People cannot foresee these kinds of complex interrelationships, nor can they control them or fathom them. Many different things and many different people have a bearing on the environment in which a person grows up, and no human being is capable of arranging and orchestrating such a vast web of connections. No person or thing except for the Creator can control the appearance, presence, and disappearance of all the various people, events, and things, and it is just such a vast web of connections that shape a person’s development as predestined by the Creator, form the various environments in which people grow up, and create the various roles necessary for the Creator’s work of management, laying solid, strong foundations for people to successfully fulfill their missions.
from “God Himself, the Unique III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh