God’s Holiness (II) Part Three
Regarding God’s holiness, even though it may be a familiar topic, in discussion it might become a bit abstract for some people, and the content might be a bit deep. In the past, people rarely dealt with the topic of God’s holiness, so they don’t understand it. But don’t worry, I will help you understand what God’s holiness is. I see that this is a little hard for you to absorb, let us say this first: If you want to get to know someone, just look at what he or she does and the results of his or her actions, and you will be able to see the substance of the person. So let us fellowship on God’s holiness from this perspective first. We said that the substance of Satan is evil and malicious, and so Satan’s actions toward man have been to endlessly corrupt them. Satan is evil, so the people it has corrupted are certainly evil, right? Would anyone say, “Satan is evil, perhaps someone it corrupted is holy”? What a joke, right? Is this even possible? (No.) So don’t think about it like that, let’s talk about it from this aspect: Satan is evil, this is its substance and this is real, this is not just empty talk. We are not trying to libel Satan; we are merely fellowshiping about truth and reality as well as about the facts surrounding it. This might hurt some people or a certain section of people, but there is no malicious intent here; perhaps you will hear this today and feel a bit uncomfortable, but someday soon, when you are able to recognize it, you will despise yourselves, and you will feel that what we talked about today is very useful to you and very valuable.
The substance of Satan is evil, so the results of Satan’s actions are inevitably evil, or at the very least, are connected with its evil, could we say that? (Yes.) So how does Satan go about corrupting man? First we must take a look in particular at the evil wrought by Satan in the world and among humanity that is visible, that we can feel; have you ever thought about this before? You might not have given it much thought, so let Me bring up several main points so that you can see how Satan corrupts man. There is a theory called evolution; everyone knows about this, right? This evolution and materialism, aren’t these areas of knowledge studied by man? (Yes.) So, Satan first uses knowledge to corrupt man, and then it uses science to arouse people’s interest in knowledge, science, and mysterious things, or in things people desire to explore; this is to say, Satan uses scientific knowledge to corrupt man. The next things Satan uses to corrupt man are traditional culture and superstition, and following that, it utilizes social trends. These are all things that people come into contact with in their daily lives and these are all connected to things close to people, what they see, what they hear, what they touch and what they experience. One could say that they surround everyone, they are inescapable and inextricable. Mankind has no way to avoid being influenced, infected, controlled, and bound by these things; they are powerless to push them away.
First we will talk about knowledge. Wouldn’t everyone consider knowledge a positive thing? Or at the very least, people think that the connotation of the word “knowledge” is positive rather than negative. So why are we mentioning here that Satan uses knowledge first to corrupt man? Isn’t the theory of evolution an aspect of knowledge? Aren’t Newton’s scientific laws part of knowledge? The gravitational pull of the earth is part of knowledge, right? (Yes.) So why is knowledge listed among the content that Satan uses to corrupt mankind? What is your take on this? Does knowledge have even a shred of truth in it? (No.) Then what is the substance of knowledge? (It goes against truth.) On what basis is the knowledge that man studies learned? Is it based on the theory of evolution? Isn’t the knowledge that man has explored, the summation of it, based on atheism? (Yes.) So, does any of this knowledge have a connection to God? Is it connected with worshiping God? Is it connected to truth? (No.) How does Satan use knowledge to corrupt man? I just said that none of this knowledge is connected with worshiping God or with truth. Some people think about it like this: “It might not have anything to do with truth, but it doesn’t corrupt people.” What’s your take on this? Were you taught by knowledge that people’s happiness depended on what they created with their own hands? Did knowledge ever teach you that man’s fate was in his own hands? (Yes.) What is this kind of talk? (It’s nonsense.) Spot on! It is nonsense! Knowledge is complicated to discuss. You may put it simply that a field of knowledge is nothing more than knowledge. That is a field of knowledge that is learned on the basis of atheism and lack of understanding that God created all things. When people study this type of knowledge, they do not see God as having dominion over all things, they do not see God as being in charge of or managing all things. Instead, all they do is endlessly research, explore, and seek out scientific answers in that area of knowledge. However, if people do not believe in God and instead only pursue research, they will never find the true answers, right? Knowledge only gives you a livelihood, it only provides a job, it only provides income so that you don’t go hungry, but it will never help you know God, it will never help you believe in Him, obey Him, and knowledge will never keep you far from evil. The more you study knowledge, the more you will desire to rebel against God, to research God, to tempt God, and to go against God. So now, what do we see that knowledge is teaching people? It is all the philosophy of Satan. Do Satan’s philosophies and rules of survival found in corrupt men have any connection to truth? (No.) They have nothing to do with truth and, in fact, are the opposite of the truth. People often say, “Life is motion”; what kind of talk is this? (Nonsense.) People also say, “Man is iron, rice is steel, man feels famished if he skips a meal”; what is this? (Nonsense, Satan’s words.) It’s an even worse fallacy and it’s disgusting to hear it. So knowledge is something that perhaps everyone knows about. In man’s so-called knowledge, Satan has imbued quite a bit of its philosophy of life and its thinking. And as Satan does this, Satan allows man to borrow its thinking, philosophy, and point of view so that man may deny the existence of God, deny God’s dominion over all things and dominion over man’s fate. So as man’s studies progress, he feels the existence of God become vague when he gains more knowledge, and man might even feel that God doesn’t exist because of the viewpoints, concepts, and thoughts that Satan has added into the mind of man. As Satan puts these thoughts into the mind of man, aren’t people corrupted by this? (Yes.) What does man base his life on now? Is he really depending on this knowledge? No; man is basing his life on the thoughts, views and philosophies of Satan that are hidden in this knowledge. This is where the core of Satan’s corruption of man occurs, this is Satan’s goal and its method for corrupting man.
A. How Satan Uses Knowledge to Corrupt Man
We will first talk about the most superficial aspect of this topic. When you were having Chinese lessons in school, were the language and writing able to corrupt people? They couldn’t. Can words corrupt people? (No.) Words do not corrupt people; they are a tool that allows people to speak with and a tool with which people communicate with God. Furthermore, language and words are how God communicates with people now, they are tools, they are a necessity. One plus one equals two, this is knowledge, right? Two multiplied by two equals four, this is knowledge, right? But can this corrupt you? This is common sense and a rule so it cannot corrupt people. So what knowledge does corrupt people? It’s knowledge that has Satan’s viewpoints and thoughts mixed in with it, Satan seeks to imbue these viewpoints and thoughts into humanity through knowledge. For example, in an essay, is there anything wrong with the written words? (No.) So, where would the problem be? The viewpoints and intent of the author when he wrote the essay as well as the content of his thoughts—these are spiritual things—are able to corrupt people. For example, if you were watching a television show, what sort of things in it could change your view? Would what the performers said, the words themselves, be able to corrupt people? (No.) What sort of things would corrupt people? It would be the core thoughts and content of the show, which would represent the director’s views, and the information carried in these views could sway people’s hearts and minds. Is that right? (Yes.) Do you know what I am referring to in My discussion of Satan using knowledge to corrupt people? (Yes, we do.) You won’t misunderstand, right? So when you read a novel or an essay again, can you evaluate whether or not the thoughts expressed in the essay corrupt mankind or contribute to humanity? (We can do so a little bit.) This is something that must be studied and experienced at a slow pace, it’s not something that’s easily understood right away. For example, when researching or studying an area of knowledge, some positive aspects of that knowledge may help you understand some common sense about that field, and what people should avoid. For example, take “electricity,” this is a field of knowledge, right? You would be ignorant if you didn’t know that electricity can shock people, right? But once you understand this area of knowledge, you won’t be careless about touching something electrical and you’ll know how to use electricity. These are both positive things. Are you clear on what we are discussing about how knowledge corrupts people? (Yes, we are.) If you understand we will not continue to speak about it further because there are many types of knowledge studied in the world and you must take your time to differentiate them yourselves.
B. How Satan Uses Science to Corrupt Man
What is science? Isn’t science held in high prestige and considered profound in just about everyone’s mind? (Yes, it is.) When science is mentioned, don’t people feel, “This is something regular folks can’t grasp, this is a topic that only scientific researchers or experts can touch upon. It doesn’t have any connection with us regular folks”? Does it have a connection though? (Yes.) How does Satan use science to corrupt people? We won’t talk about other things except the things that people frequently encounter in their own lives. You have heard of “genes,” right? (Yes.) You are all familiar with this term, right? Were genes discovered through science? What exactly do genes mean to people? Don’t they make people feel that the body is a mysterious thing? When people are introduced to this topic, won’t there be people—especially the curious—who will want to know more or want more details? These curious people will focus their energy on this subject and when they aren’t busy they will look up information in books and on the internet to learn more details about it. What is science? To speak plainly, science is the thoughts and theories of things man is curious about, things that are unknown, and not told to them by God; science is the thoughts and theories of the mysteries man wants to explore. What do you think the scope of science is? You could say that it encapsulates all things, but how does man do the work of science? Is it through research? It involves researching the details and the laws of these things and then putting forth dubious theories about which everyone thinks, “These scientists are really terrific! They know so much and have so much knowledge to understand these things!” They have so much admiration for those people, right? People that research science, what sort of views do they hold? Don’t they want to research the universe, to research the mysterious things in their area of interest? What is the final outcome of this? Some sciences have people drawing their conclusions by conjectures, others have people relying on human experience for their conclusions and yet another field of sciences will have people coming to their conclusions based on experience or historical and background observations. Is that right? (Yes.) So what does science do for people? What science does is that it only allows people to see the objects in the physical world and merely satisfies man’s curiosity; it does not allow man to see the laws by which God has dominion over all things. Man seems to find answers from science, but those answers are puzzling and bring only temporary satisfaction, a satisfaction that only serves to confine the heart of man to the physical world. Man feels that they have already gotten the answers from science so whatever issue arises, they firmly believe in their scientific views to prove or accept it. Man’s heart becomes possessed by science and seduced by it to the point where man no longer has the mind to know God, worship God, and believe that all things come from God and man should look to Him for answers. Isn’t this true? You can see that the more a person believes in science, the more absurd they become, believing that everything has a scientific solution, that research can solve anything. They do not seek God and they do not believe He exists; even some people who have followed God for many years will go and research bacteria on a whim or look up some information for answers. Such a person does not look at the issues from the perspective of truth and in most cases they want to rely on scientific views and knowledge or scientific answers to solve problems; but they don’t rely on God and they do not seek God. Do people like this have God in their hearts? (No.) There are even some people who want to research God in the same way as they study science. For example, there are many religious experts who have gone to where the ark came to rest after the great flood. They have seen the ark, but in the appearance of the ark they do not see the existence of God. They only believe in the stories and the history and this is the result of their scientific research and study of the physical world. If you research material things, whether it be microbiology, astronomy, or geography, you will never find a result that says God exists or that He has dominion over all things. Is this right? (Yes.) So what does science do for man? Doesn’t it distance man from God? Isn’t this allowing people to study God? Doesn’t this make people more doubtful about God’s existence? (Yes.) So how does Satan want to use science to corrupt man? Doesn’t Satan want to use scientific conclusions to deceive and benumb people? Satan uses the ambiguous answers to hold on to people’s hearts so that they won’t seek out or believe in God’s existence, and thus they will be suspicious of God, deny God and be distanced from Him. So this is why we say it is one of the ways Satan corrupts people.
C. How Satan Uses Traditional Culture to Corrupt Man
Are there many things that are considered part of traditional culture? (Yes.) What does this traditional culture mean? (It is passed down from ancestors.) It is passed down from ancestors, this is one aspect. Families, ethnic groups and even the human race have passed down their ways of life from the beginning, or they have passed down customs, sayings, and rules, which have become instilled into people’s thoughts. What do people make of these things? People consider them inseparable from their lives. They take these things and regard them as rules and life to be observed, and they are always unwilling to change or abandon these things because they were passed down from their ancestors. There are other aspects of traditional culture, like that which was passed down from Confucius or Mencius, or the things taught to people by Chinese Daoism and Confucianism which have become part of each person down to their very bones. Isn’t this right? (Yes.) What does this traditional culture include? Does it include the holidays people celebrate? For example, from the top there is the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, and there’s International Labor Day, Children’s Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, and National Day. Some families even celebrate other holidays, or celebrate when seniors achieve a certain age, or when children achieve 1 month of age and when they are 100 days old. These are all traditional holidays. Don’t the backgrounds of these holidays consist of traditional culture? What is the core of traditional culture? Does it have anything about worshiping God? Does it have anything about telling people to practice the truth? (No.) Are there any holidays for people to offer sacrifice to God, go to God’s altar and receive His word? Are there holidays like this? (No.) What do people do on all of these holidays? (Worshiping Satan. Eating, drinking and leisure activities.) In modern times they are seen as occasions for eating, drinking, and fun. Then what is the source behind traditional culture? Who is traditional culture from? (Satan.) It’s from Satan. In the background of these traditional holidays, Satan instills things in man, what are these things? Ensuring that people remember their ancestors, is that one of them? For example, during the Tomb Sweeping Festival people tidy up graves and offer sacrifices to their ancestors. So people won’t forget their ancestors, right? Also, Satan ensures that people remember to be patriotic, like with the Dragon Boat Festival. What about the Mid-Autumn Festival? (Family reunions.) What is the background of family reunions? What’s the reason for it? (To put family first, and emotions.) To communicate and connect emotionally, right? Of course, whether it’s celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve or the Lantern Festival, there are many ways of describing the background reasons. However one describes the reason behind them, each one is Satan’s way of instilling its philosophy and its thinking in people, so that they stray from God and do not know there is God, and that they offer sacrifices either to their ancestors or to Satan, or that it’s just an excuse to eat, drink, and have fun for the sake of desires of the flesh. As each of these holidays is celebrated, Satan’s thoughts and views are planted deep within the minds of the people and they don’t even know it. When people reach middle age or older, these things, these thoughts and viewpoints of Satan are already rooted deep in their hearts. Moreover, people do their utmost to transmit these ideas, whether right or wrong, down to the next generation without reservation. Is this right? (Yes.) So how do traditional culture and these holidays corrupt people? (People become constrained and bound by the rules of these traditions such that they have no time or energy to seek God.) This is one aspect. For example, everyone celebrates during Lunar New Year, if you didn’t wouldn’t you feel sad? Wouldn’t you feel, “Aiya, I didn’t celebrate the New Year. This day of the Lunar New Year was awful, and it has not been celebrated; will this whole year be bad”? Wouldn’t you feel ill at ease? (Yes.) And perhaps a bit afraid, right? There are even some people who haven’t made sacrifices to their ancestors in years and they suddenly have a dream where a deceased person asks them for money, what will they feel inside? “How sad that this dead person needs money to spend! I’ll burn some paper money for them, if I don’t that just wouldn’t be right. We living people may run into some trouble if I don’t burn some paper money, who can say when tragedy will strike?” They will always have this little cloud of fear and worry in their hearts. So who gives them this worry? (Satan.) Satan brings it. Isn’t this one of the ways that Satan corrupts man? It uses different means and excuses to control you, to threaten you, and to bind you, to the extent that you fall into a daze and yield and submit to it; this is how Satan corrupts man. Often times when people are weak or when they aren’t fully aware of the situation, they may inadvertently do something in a muddle-headed way, that is, they unwittingly fall under Satan’s grasp and they might unwittingly do something and they don’t know what they are doing. This is the way Satan corrupts man. There are even quite a few people now who are reluctant to part with deep-rooted cultural traditions and they just can’t give them up. It is especially when they are weak and passive that they wish to celebrate these kinds of holidays and they wish to meet Satan and satisfy Satan again, through which they can also comfort themselves inside. Isn’t this how it goes? (Yes.) What is the background for these cultural traditions? Is the black hand of Satan pulling the strings behind the scenes? Is Satan’s evil nature manipulating and controlling things? Is Satan controlling all these things? (Yes.) When people live in a traditional culture and celebrate these kinds of traditional holidays, could we say that this is an environment where they are being fooled by Satan and corrupted by Satan? Aren’t they happy to be corrupted by Satan? Isn’t this the way it is? (Yes.) This is something we all acknowledge, right? And something we all know about.
D. How Satan Uses Superstition to Corrupt Man
You’re familiar with the term “superstition,” right? In superstition, what are people often coming into contact with? (False gods.) There are some overlapping similarities with traditional culture here, but we won’t talk about those today, instead I will discuss the most commonly encountered: divination, fortune telling, burning incense, and worshiping Buddha. Some people do divination, others worship Buddha and burn incense, while others have their fortunes read or have their fortunes told by allowing someone to read their facial features. How many of you have had your fortunes told or had a face reading? This is something most people are interested in, right? (Yes.) Why is that? What sort of benefit do people get out of fortune telling and divination? What kind of satisfaction do they get out of it? (Curiosity.) Is it just curiosity? That can’t be it. What is the goal of divination? Why have it done? Isn’t it to see the future? Some people have their face read to predict the future, others do it to see if they’ll have good luck or not. Some people do it to see what their marriage will be like, and yet others do it to see what fortune the year ahead will bring. Some people have their face read to see what the prospects of their sons or daughters will be like and see all aspects of these things, and some business people do it to see how much money they’ll make so they can get some guidance on what they should do. Some people just want to know what their fortune will be like and what the future will bring. Is it just to satisfy curiosity? (No.) When people have their face read or do these sorts of things, it is for their own future personal benefit and they believe that all of this is closely connected with their own fate. Is any of this stuff useful? (No.) Why isn’t it useful? Isn’t it a good thing to know a bit about the future? This helps you know when trouble may strike, so you could avoid it if you knew about it beforehand, right? Having your fortune told might allow you to be guided around it, so that the year ahead may be good and you can get rich doing business. Isn’t that useful? (No.) Whether it’s useful has no connection with us, we won’t fellowship about it today; our discussion doesn’t involve this content and topic. How does Satan use superstition to corrupt man? What people know about things like divination, face reading, and fortune telling is so they can know about what their fortune will be like in the future and what the road ahead looks like, but in the end, whose hands are already controlling these things? (God’s hands.) They are in God’s hands. As for Satan, in using these methods, what does it want people to know? Satan wants to use face reading and fortune telling to tell people that it knows their fortunes ahead, and Satan wants to tell people that it knows these things and is in control of them. Satan wants to take advantage of this opportunity and use these methods to control people, such that people put blind faith in it and obey its every word. For example, if you have a face reading done, if the fortune telling man closes his eyes and tells you everything that’s happened to you in the last few decades with perfect clarity, how would you feel inside? You would suddenly feel, “I really admire this fortune teller, he’s so accurate! I’ve never told my past to anyone before, how did he know about it?” It wouldn’t be too hard for Satan to know your past, right? God has led you to today, and Satan has also corrupted people all along and it has followed you. Satan is an evil spirit; the passage of decades for you is nothing to Satan and it’s not difficult for it to know these things. When you know that what Satan said is accurate, aren’t you giving your heart to it? Your future and fortune, aren’t you depending on its control? In an instant, your heart will feel some respect or reverence for it, and for some people, their souls may already be snatched by it. And you’ll ask the fortune teller immediately: “What should I do next? What should I avoid in the coming year? What things must I not do?” And then, he will say: “You mustn’t go there, you mustn’t do this, don’t wear clothes of a certain color, you shouldn’t go to such and such places very often, and you should do more of certain things….” Won’t you take everything he says immediately to heart? (Yes.) You’d memorize it faster than the word of God. Why would you memorize it so quickly? (It’s beneficial to me.) Because you’d want to rely on Satan for good luck, isn’t this when it grabs a hold of your heart? When you do what it says and its words thereby come true as predicted, wouldn’t you want to go right back to it to find out what fortune the next year will bring? (Yes.) You’ll do whatever Satan tells you to do and you’ll avoid the things it says to avoid, aren’t you obeying everything it says? You will quickly be brought under its wing, led astray, and put under its control. This happens because you believe what it says is the truth and because you believe that it knows about your past lives, your life now, and what the future will bring; this is the method Satan uses to control people. But in reality, who is really in control? It is God Himself, not Satan. Satan is just using its tricks in this case to trick ignorant people, trick people who only see the physical world into believing and relying on it. Then, they will fall into Satan’s grasp and obey its every word. But does Satan ever let up when people want to believe in and follow God? Satan does not let up. In this situation, are people really falling under Satan’s grasp? (Yes.) Could we say that Satan’s behavior in this regard is really shameless? (Yes.) Why would we say that? (Satan uses trickery.) Hmm, because Satan’s tricks are fraudulent and deceitful. Satan is shameless and Satan misleads people into thinking it controls their everything and deceives people into thinking that it controls their fate. This makes ignorant people come to obey it completely and it swindles them with just a sentence or two and in their daze, people bow before it. Is this right? (Yes.) So, what sort of methods does Satan use, what does it say to get you to believe in it? For example, you might not have told Satan how many people are in your family, but it might say that there are three in your family, including a daughter who is 7, as well as the ages of your parents. If you had your suspicions and doubts at the beginning, wouldn’t you feel it’s a little more believable after hearing that? (Yes.) And then Satan might say, “Work has been difficult for you today, your superiors don’t give you the recognition you deserve and are always working against you.” After hearing that, you would think, “That’s exactly right! Things haven’t been going smoothly at work.” So you’d believe Satan a bit more. Then it would say something else to deceive you, making you believe it even more, and little by little, you would find yourself unable to resist or be suspicious of it anymore. Satan merely uses a few trivial tricks, even trifling little tricks, to mesmerize you. As you become mesmerized, you will be unable to get your bearings, you will be at a loss for what to do, and you’ll begin to follow what Satan says. This is the “oh so brilliant” method Satan uses to corrupt man where you unwittingly fall into its trap and are seduced by it. You see, Satan tells you a few things that people imagine to be good things, and then it tells you what to do and what to avoid and that’s how you unwittingly start down that path. Once you go down that path, it’s going to be nothing but trouble for you; you’ll constantly be thinking about what Satan said and what it told you to do, and you will unknowingly be possessed by it. Why is this? It’s because mankind lacks the truth and so they are unable to stand up against Satan’s temptation and seduction. Faced with Satan’s evil and its craftiness, treachery, and malice, mankind is so ignorant, naive and weak, right? Isn’t this one of the ways Satan corrupts man? (Yes.) Man is unwittingly deceived and tricked, little by little, by Satan’s various methods, because they lack the ability to differentiate between the positive and the negative. They lack this stature, and the ability to triumph over Satan.