IV. Questions and Answers on How to Discern the Voice of God
Question 2: All of the apostles’ letters in the Bible were things that God had inspired, but I’m not clear on whether or not they really are His words. How would you explain this? And outside of the Bible, through the ages there have been many people who have been utilized by God as well as many spiritual people who have written books. In man’s eyes the things that they’ve said have all been in line with the truth and are edifying for mankind, so what really is the difference between these things they’ve said that are in line with the truth, and the words of God?
Almighty God says, “In fact, the truth is the most real of life’s aphorisms, and the highest of such aphorisms among all mankind. Because it is the requirement that God makes of man, and is the work personally done by God, thus it is called life’s aphorism. It is not an aphorism summed up from something, nor is it a famous quote from a great figure; instead, it is the utterance to mankind from the Master of the heavens and earth and all things, and not some words summed up by man, but the inherent life of God. And so it is called the highest of all life’s aphorisms” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“You have to understand the actual scope of the truth and you must also understand what does not pertain to truth. If some people gain some insights and have some understanding based on their experiences from the words of truth, does this count as the truth? At best we can say that they have some understanding of the truth. All the words of enlightenment of the Holy Spirit do not represent God’s word, do not represent truth, and they do not pertain to the truth. It can only be said that those people have some understanding of truth, and some enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. … Everyone can experience the truth, but the situations of their experience will be different, and what each person obtains from the same truth is different. But even after combining everyone’s understanding you still cannot completely explain this one truth; the truth is that deep! Why do I say that all of the things you have obtained and all of your understanding, cannot be a substitute for the truth? If you fellowship your understanding with others, they may ponder on it for two or three days and then they will finish experiencing it, but a person cannot fully experience truth even in a lifetime, even all people together cannot experience it thoroughly. Thus it can be seen that the truth is very profound, there is no way to use words to fully articulate the truth, the truth put into human language is man’s aphorism; humanity will never experience it fully, and humanity should live in reliance on it. A piece of truth can let all of humanity survive for thousands of years. Truth is the life of God Himself, representing His own disposition, representing His own substance, representing everything within Him. If you say that to have some experiences means that you have the truth, then can you represent the disposition of God? You cannot. A person may have some experience or light regarding a certain aspect or side of a truth, but they cannot supply others with it forever, so their light is not truth, it’s just a degree to which a person has reached, the experience—the proper experience—a person should have, the proper understanding, which is the aspect of the real experience of truth. This light, enlightenment and understanding based on experience can never be a substitute for truth; even if all people have completely experienced one sentence of truth, and they combine all those words together, that is still no substitute for that one truth. … What do I mean by this? Just that the life of man will always be the life of man, and no matter how much your understanding is in accordance with the truth, in accordance with the meaning of God, in accordance with the requirements of God, it will never be able to be a substitute for the truth. To say that people have truth means that they have some reality, that they have some understanding of God’s truth, that they have some real entry into God’s words, that they have some real experience with God’s words, and that they are on the right track in their faith in God. Only one statement of God is enough for a person to experience for a lifetime, to experience over several lifetimes, or for several thousand years; people cannot wholly and thoroughly experience a truth” (“Do You Know What Truth Really Is?” in Records of Christ’s Talks).
As far as getting to the bottom of the differences between man’s words that accord with the truth and God’s word, the words of Almighty God provide a very clear explanation in this regard: Truth comes from God, it is expressed through Christ, and it is also the direct expression of the Holy Spirit, and everything God says is the truth. Truth is the very life of God Himself, it is an expression of God’s righteous disposition, it is a revelation of all that God has and is, it is the reality of positive things, and it represents the substance of God’s own life. However, people used by God and people who have the Holy Spirit’s work can speak words that accord with the truth. This comes from the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and also from man’s experience with and understanding of the truth in God’s word. These words that accord with the truth represent man’s experience and understanding, it is the reality of the truth that man has entered, and it is a result of God’s work. It does not matter how deep or shallow man’s understanding of truth is, or how well they know God, everything man says reveals the substance of their human lives. But because the words that man says that accord with the truth are so far from the profound standard of the substance of truth, it is so, so far from the substance of truth, therefore what man says cannot be called the truth; there are inherent and substantial differences between words that accord with the truth and the actual truth. God’s word is truth, it is the substance of God’s life, so God’s word is everlasting and unchanging. It is just as the Lord Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Luk 21:33). Almighty God also says, “My words are the forever unchanging truth” (“You Ought to Consider Your Deeds” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). It is very much like the Ten Commandments promulgated by God in the Age of Law: Although thousands of years have passed, they are nonetheless still adhered to by mankind today. This is because God’s word is truth, it is the reality of positive things, it is able to withstand the test of time, and it shall stand through all eternity. However, because man’s words are not the truth, they will not last forever. We can see from the progression of human history, whether it be in the area of scientific research or scientific law, or even sociological theories, in a matter of time they are overturned or abandoned and they even become outdated in the blink of an eye. Even if the words that man says accord with the truth they can only be helpful to us, supply us, and support us on a temporary basis; they cannot be our life. Why is it said that man’s words cannot be man’s life? Because while man’s word may accord with the truth, it is merely man’s experience with and understanding of God’s word and it is very far from the substance of truth and in no way can it represent truth, nor can it have the effect of being man’s life that truth does; it can only temporarily help us, provide edification and support, so that’s why man’s word that accords with the truth is not the truth, and it cannot be man’s life. So how is it that only God’s words can be man’s life? It is because God’s word is truth and is the reality of positive things, we humans can never fully experience it, and each truth is inexhaustible in regard to us humans. Even if we were to experience eternity we still could not dare say that we possessed truth or had fully gained the truth; this is a fact. Furthermore, the truth can cleanse mankind, save mankind, and perfect mankind; by relying on the truth to live, we can live out the likeness of a real man, live out the image of truth, and thereby can come to know God, submit to God, worship God, be compatible with God, which was God’s intention when He first created mankind. It is just like the Bible says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). God’s intent in making mankind wasn’t just to provide mankind with a physical body, but primarily was to bestow mankind with new life and this new life is God’s word, which is truth. When truth becomes our life, when it becomes the reality of our life, when we will have lived in the image of truth, and lived out the likeness of a real man, then we will have fulfilled God’s intention in creating mankind. Therefore it is said that only God’s word and only the truth can be man’s everlasting life. Even though people used by God may have some experience with and understanding of God’s word, and they may be able to say some things that accord with the truth, this is an effect of the Holy Spirit’s work. It is God’s salvation and God’s perfecting of man. The words of people used by God that accord with the truth or their true understanding of God does not represent that they possess the substance of truth, nor does it represent possessing the life of God. Instead, it merely shows that they have gained truth and truth has become the reality of their lives. This is because man is not the truth and would not dare say that they truly possess the truth. Therefore, regardless of how much man’s words accord with the truth, or how much they can edify us, they cannot be said to be the truth and furthermore it is not the word of God. These are some of our thoughts on the differences between words that accord with the truth and God’s word.
from the movie script of Waiting