God’s Authority (II) Part One
Today we will continue our fellowship about the topic of “God Himself, the Unique.” We have already had two fellowships on this subject, the first concerning God’s authority, and the second concerning God’s righteous disposition. After listening to these two fellowships, have you gained a new understanding of God’s identity, status, and substance? Have these insights helped you achieve a more substantive knowledge and certainty of the truth of God’s existence? Today I plan to expand upon the topic of “God’s authority.”
Understanding God’s Authority From the Macro- and Micro-Perspectives
God’s authority is unique. It is the characteristic expression of, and the special substance of, the identity of God Himself. No created or non-created being possesses such characteristic expression and such special substance; only the Creator possesses this kind of authority. That is to say, only the Creator—God the Unique—is expressed in this way and has this substance. Why talk about God’s authority? How is the authority of God Himself different from the authority in man’s mind? What is special about it? Why is it particularly significant to talk about it here? Each of you must carefully consider this issue. For most people, “God’s authority” is a vague idea, one that is very difficult to get one’s head around, and any discussion of it is likely to be nebulous. So there will invariably be a gap between the knowledge of God’s authority that man is capable of possessing, and the substance of God’s authority. To bridge this gap, one must gradually come to know God’s authority by means of real-life people, events, things, or phenomena that are within human reach, that humans are capable of understanding. Though the phrase “God’s authority” may seem unfathomable, God’s authority is not at all abstract. He is present with man every minute of his life, leading him through every day. So, in every person’s day-to-day life he will necessarily see and experience the most tangible aspect of God’s authority. This tangibility is proof enough that God’s authority truly exists, and it fully allows one to recognize and to comprehend the fact that God possesses this authority.
God created everything, and having created it, He has dominion over all things. In addition to having dominion over all things, He is in control of everything. What does this mean, the idea that “God is in control of everything”? How can it be explained? How does it apply to real life? How can you come to know God’s authority by understanding the fact that “God is in control of everything”? From the very phrase “God is in control of everything” we should see that what God controls is not a portion of planets, a portion of creation, much less a portion of mankind, but everything: from the massive to the microscopic, from the visible to the invisible, from the stars in the universe to the living things on earth, as well as microorganisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye or beings that exist in other forms. This is the precise definition of the “everything” that God is “in control of,” and is the scope over which God wields His authority, the extent of His sovereignty and rule.
Before this humanity came into being, the cosmos—all the planets, all the stars in the heavens—already existed. On the macro level, these heavenly bodies have been orbiting regularly, under God’s control, for their entire existence, however many years that has been. What planet goes where at what particular time; what planet does what task, and when; what planet revolves along what orbit, and when it disappears or is replaced—all these things proceed without the slightest error. The positions of the planets and the distances between them all follow strict patterns, all of which can be described by precise data; the paths along which they travel, the speed and patterns of their orbits, the times they are in various positions can be quantified precisely and described by special laws. For aeons the planets have followed these laws, never deviating one bit. No power can change or disrupt their orbits or the patterns they follow. Because the special laws that govern their motion and the precise data that describe them are predestined by the Creator’s authority, they obey these laws on their own, under the Creator’s sovereignty and control. On the macro level, it is not hard for man to find out some patterns, some data, as well as some strange and unexplainable laws or phenomena. Though humanity does not admit that God exists, does not accept the fact that the Creator made and has dominion over everything, and moreover does not recognize the existence of the Creator’s authority, human scientists, astronomers, and physicists are finding more and more that the existence of all things in the universe, and the principles and patterns that dictate their movements, are all governed and controlled by a vast and invisible dark energy. This fact compels man to face up to and acknowledge that there is a Mighty One in the midst of these patterns of movement, orchestrating everything. His power is extraordinary, and though no one can see His true face, He governs and controls everything at every moment. No man or force can go beyond His sovereignty. Faced with this fact, man must recognize that the laws governing the existence of all things cannot be controlled by humans, cannot be changed by anyone; and at the same time man must admit that human beings cannot fully understand these laws. And they are not naturally-occurring, but are dictated by a Lord and Master. These are all expressions of the authority of God that mankind can perceive on a macro level.
On the micro level, all the mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, and landmasses that man beholds on earth, all the seasons that he experiences, all the things that inhabit the earth, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and humans, are subject to God’s sovereignty, are controlled by God. Under God’s sovereignty and control, all the things come into being or disappear in accordance with His thoughts, their lives are all governed by certain laws, and they grow and multiply in keeping with them. No human being or thing is above these laws. Why is this? The only answer is, because of God’s authority. Or, to put it another way, because of God’s thoughts and God’s words; because God Himself does it all. That is to say, it is God’s authority and God’s mind that give rise to these laws; they will shift and change according to His thoughts, and these shifts and changes all occur or disappear for the sake of His plan. Take epidemics, for example. They break out without warning, no one knows their origins or the exact reasons why they happen, and whenever an epidemic reaches a certain place, those who are doomed cannot escape calamity. Human science understands epidemics to be caused by the spread of vicious or harmful microbes, and their speed, range, and method of transmission cannot be predicted or controlled by human science. Though humanity resists them by every means possible, they cannot control which people or animals are inevitably affected when epidemics break out. The only thing that human beings can do is try to prevent them, resist them, and research them. But no one knows the root causes that explain the beginning or ending of any individual epidemic, and no one can control them. Faced with the rise and spread of an epidemic, the first measure humans take is to develop a vaccine, but often the epidemic dies out on its own before the vaccine is ready. Why do epidemics die out? Some say that the germs have been brought under control, others say they die out because of changes in the seasons…. As to whether these wild speculations hold water, science can offer no explanation, give no precise answer. What humanity faces is not only these speculations but mankind’s lack of understanding and fear of the epidemics. No one knows, in the final analysis, why epidemics begin or why they end. Because humanity has faith only in science, relies entirely upon it, but does not recognize the Creator’s authority or accept His sovereignty, they will never have an answer.
Under God’s sovereignty, all things exist and perish because of His authority, because of His management. Some things come and go quietly, and man cannot tell where they came from or grasp the rules they follow, much less understand the reasons why they come and go. Though man can witness, hear, or experience all that come to pass among all things; though they all have a bearing on man, and though man subconsciously grasps the unusualness, regularity, or even strangeness of the various phenomena, he still knows nothing about the Creator’s will and His mind which lie behind them. There are many stories behind them, many hidden truths. Because man has wandered far from the Creator, because he does not accept the fact that the Creator’s authority governs all things, he will never know and comprehend everything that happens under its sovereignty. For the most part, God’s control and sovereignty exceeds the bounds of human imagination, of human knowledge, of human understanding, of what human science can achieve; the abilities of created humanity cannot rival it. Some people say, “Since you have not witnessed God’s sovereignty yourself, how can you believe that everything is subject to His authority?” Seeing is not always believing; seeing is not always recognizing and understanding. So where does “belief” come from? I can say with certainty, “Belief comes from the degree and depth of people’s apprehension of, and experience of, the reality and root causes of things.” If you believe that God exists, but you cannot recognize, much less perceive, the fact of God’s control and God’s sovereignty over all things, then in your heart you will never admit that God has this kind of authority and that God’s authority is unique. You will never truly accept the Creator to be your Lord, your God.
The Fate of Humanity and the Fate of the Universe Are Inseparable From the Creator’s Sovereignty
You are all adults. Some of you are middle-aged; some have entered old age. From a non-believer to a believer, and from the beginning of believing in God to accepting God’s word and experiencing God’s work, how much knowledge did you have of God’s sovereignty? What insights did you gain into human fate? Can one achieve everything one desires in life? How many things over the few decades of your existence have you been able to accomplish as you wished? How many things do not happen as expected? How many things come as pleasant surprises? How many things are you still waiting to bear fruit—unconsciously awaiting the right moment, awaiting the will of Heaven? How many things make you feel helpless and thwarted? Everyone is full of hopes about their fate, and anticipates that everything in their life will go as they wish, that they will not want for food or clothing, that their fortunes will rise spectacularly. Nobody wants a life that is poor and downtrodden, full of hardships, beset by calamities. But people cannot foresee or control these things. Perhaps for some, the past is just a jumble of experiences; they never learn what the will of Heaven is, nor do they care what it is. They live out their lives unthinkingly, like animals, living day by day, not caring about what the fate of humanity is, about why humans are alive or how they ought to live. These people reach old age having gained no understanding of human fate, and till the moment they die they have no idea what life is about. Such people are dead; they are beings without spirit; they are beasts. Although living among all things, people derive enjoyment from the many ways in which the world satisfies their material needs, though they see this material world constantly advancing, their own experience—what their hearts and their spirits feel and experience—has nothing to do with material things, and nothing material is a substitute for it. It is a recognition deep in one’s heart, something that cannot be seen with the naked eye. This recognition lies in one’s understanding of, and one’s feeling of, human life and human fate. And it often leads one to the apprehension that an unseen Master is arranging all things, orchestrating everything for man. In the midst of all this, one cannot but accept fate’s arrangements and orchestrations; at the same time, one cannot but accept the path ahead that the Creator has laid out, the Creator’s sovereignty over one’s fate. This is an undisputed fact. No matter what insight and attitude one holds about fate, no one can change this fact.
Where you will go every day, what you will do, who or what you will encounter, what you will say, what will happen to you—can any of this be predicted? People cannot foresee all these occurrences, much less control how they develop. In life, these unforeseeable events happen all the time, and they are an everyday occurrence. These daily vicissitudes and the ways they unfold, or the patterns by which they play out, are constant reminders to humanity that nothing happens at random, that these things’ ramifications, and their inevitability, cannot be shifted by human will. Every happening conveys an admonition from the Creator to mankind, and it also sends the message that human beings cannot control their own fates; at the same time every event is a rebuttal to humanity’s wild, futile ambition and desire to take its fate into its own hands. They are like powerful slaps about humanity’s ears one after another, forcing people to reconsider who, in the end, governs and controls their fate. And as their ambitions and desires are repeatedly thwarted and shattered, humans naturally arrive at an unconscious acceptance of what fate has in store, an acceptance of reality, of the will of Heaven and the Creator’s sovereignty. From these daily vicissitudes to the fates of entire human lives, there is nothing that does not reveal the Creator’s plans and His sovereignty; there is nothing that does not send the message that “the Creator’s authority cannot be exceeded,” that does not convey the eternal truth that “the Creator’s authority is supreme.”
The fates of humanity and of the universe are intimately entwined with the Creator’s sovereignty, inseparably tied to the Creator’s orchestrations; in the end, they cannot be teased apart from the Creator’s authority. Through the laws of all things man comes to understand the Creator’s orchestration and His sovereignty; through the rules of survival he perceives the Creator’s governance; from the fates of all things he draws conclusions about the ways the Creator exercises His sovereignty and control over them; and in the life cycles of human beings and all things man truly experiences the Creator’s orchestrations and arrangements for all things and living beings and truly witnesses how those orchestrations and arrangements supersede all earthly laws, rules, and institutions, all other powers and forces. In light of this, humanity is compelled to recognize that the Creator’s sovereignty cannot be violated by any created being, that no force can meddle with or alter the events and things predestined by the Creator. It is under these divine laws and rules that humans and all things live and propagate, generation after generation. Is this not the true embodiment of the Creator’s authority? Though man sees, in the objective laws, the Creator’s sovereignty and His ordination for all events and all things, how many people are able to grasp the principle of the Creator’s sovereignty over the universe? How many people can truly know, recognize, accept, and submit to the Creator’s sovereignty and arrangement over their own fate? Who, having believed the fact of the Creator’s sovereignty over all things, will truly believe and recognize that the Creator also dictates the fate of a human life? Who can truly comprehend the fact that man’s fate rests in the Creator’s palm? What sort of attitude humanity should take toward the Creator’s sovereignty, when confronted with the fact that He governs and controls the fate of humanity, is a decision that every human being who is now confronted with this fact must make for himself.