God Is the Source of Life for All Things (IV) Part One
Today, we are communing a special topic. For each and every one of you, there are only two main things that you need to know, experience and understand—and what are these two things? The first is people’s personal entry into life, and the second relates to knowing God. Today I give you a choice: Choose one. Would you like to hear about a topic that relates to people’s personal life experience, or would you like to hear one about knowing God Himself? And why do I give you such a choice? Because, today, I have in mind to commune some new things to you about knowing God. But, irrespective, I’ll first let you choose between the two things that I just spoke of. (I choose the one about knowing God.) (We think that communing the knowledge of God is better, too.) Do you think what we’ve been communing recently about knowing God is attainable? (When God held the first communion, we didn’t feel it was. After that, God held several more communions, and when we went back over the first communion, in the environments created by God, the brothers and sisters paid attention to experiencing in this area.) It’s fair to say that it is beyond most people’s reach. You might not be convinced by these words. Why do I say this? Because when you were listening to what I was saying before, regardless of how I said it, or with what words, when you heard it, literally and theoretically you were aware of what I was saying, but a very serious issue with you was, you didn’t understand why I said these things, why I spoke of these topics. This is the crux of the issue. And so, though hearing these things added to and enriched your understanding of God and His deeds, why are you still having trouble knowing God? The reason is this: After hearing what I said, most of you don’t understand why I said this, and what connection it has to knowing God. Is this not so? What does your inability to understand its connection to knowing God relate to? Have you ever thought about this? Perhaps you haven’t. The reason you don’t understand these things is because your life experience is too superficial. If people’s knowledge and experience of God’s words remain at a very shallow level, then most of their knowledge of God will be vague and abstract—it will be rudimental, doctrinal, and theoretical. In theory, it appears or sounds logical and reasonable, but the knowledge of God that comes out of most people’s mouths is empty. And why do I say that it is empty? Because, in fact, in your hearts you are not clear about whether the words about knowing God that come from your mouths are right or not, whether they are accurate or not. And so, even though most people have heard a lot of information and topics about knowing God, their knowledge of God has yet to go beyond theory and vague and abstract doctrine.
So how can this problem be solved? Have you ever thought about that? If someone doesn’t pursue the truth, can they be possessed of reality? (They can’t.) Right. They certainly cannot. If someone doesn’t pursue the truth, then they are unquestionably without reality, and so they definitely have no knowledge or experience of God’s words. And can those who do not know God’s words know God? Absolutely not! The two are interconnected. Thus, most people say, “How could knowing God be so hard? Why is it so difficult? Why can I say nothing of the knowledge of God?” When you speak of knowing yourself you can go on for hours, but when it comes to knowing God you’re lost for words. Even when you can say a little, it is forced, and sounds dull—it even sounds awkward to you when you hear yourself saying it. This is the source. If you feel that knowing God is too difficult, that it’s very strenuous for you, that you have nothing to speak of—nothing real to commune and provide to others, and to provide to yourself—then this proves that you are not someone who has experienced God’s words. What are God’s words? Are God’s words not the expression of what God has and is? If you have not experienced God’s words, could you have any knowledge of what God has and is? Surely not, right? These things are all interconnected. If you have no experience of God’s words, then you cannot grasp God’s will, and won’t know what His disposition is, what He likes, what He loathes, what His requirements are for man, what His attitude toward those who are good is, and toward those who are evil—all of this will certainly be ambiguous and obscure to you. If you believe in God amid such obscurity, when you say you are one of those who pursues the truth and follows God, are these words realistic? They are not! So, now, make your choice: Which topic do you choose today? (Entry into life and one’s personal experience of life.) (We choose entry into life.) Which area of topics do you lack about entry into life? Is your heart telling you anything? You still don’t know, do you? What topic do the other brothers and sisters choose? Do you wish to hear about the knowledge of God, or about life experience? (We wish to hear about knowing God.) (Knowing God.) Alright, most of you have chosen knowing God. So let us continue to commune about the knowledge of God.
You’re all eager to hear the topic we’ll be communing today, right? The topic we’re communing today also relates to the topic of “God is the source of life for all things” that we’ve been talking about recently. We’ve held several talks about “God is the source of life for all things,” the aim of which was to use different means and perspectives to inform people how God rules over all things, by what means He rules over all things, and by what principles He manages all things, so that they might exist on this planet that God created. We also talked a lot about how God provides for mankind: by what means God provides to mankind, what kind of living environment He provides to mankind, and by what means and impetus He provides a stable living environment for man. Although I did not speak directly of the relationship between God’s dominion over all things, His administration of all things, and His management, I indirectly spoke of why He administers all things in this way, and why He provides to and nourishes mankind in this way—all of which relates to God’s management. The content we spoke of was very wide-ranging: from the macro environment to much smaller things like people’s basic necessities and diet; from how God rules over all things and makes them operate in an orderly fashion, to the right and proper living environment He created for the people of every color, and so on. This extensive content all relates to how man lives in the flesh. Which is to say, it all relates to things of the material world that are visible to the naked eye, and which people can feel, for example, mountains, rivers, oceans, plains…. These are all things that can be seen and touched. When I talk of air and temperature, you can use your breath to directly feel the existence of air, and your body to sense whether the temperature is high or low. The trees, grass, and the birds and beasts in the forests, the things that fly in the sky, and walk the land, and the various little animals that emerge from burrows, can all be seen with people’s own eyes and heard with their own ears. Though the scope of such things is vast, among all things they represent only the material world. To people, what are the things that they can see? They are material things. Material things are what people can see and feel, which is to say, when you touch them, you will sense them, and when your eyes see them, your brain will present you with an image, a picture. They are things that are real and actual; to you they are not abstract, but have a shape and form; they may be square, or round, or tall or short, big or small; and each gives you a different impression. All these things represent that part of all things which is the material world. And so, what do the “all things” in “God’s dominion over all things” include to God? They don’t just include the things that people can see and touch, but, moreover, that which is invisible and impalpable. This is one of the true meanings of God’s dominion over all things. Even though these things are invisible and impalpable to people, they are also facts that actually exist. To God, as long as they can be observed by His eyes and are within the scope of His sovereignty, they actually exist. Even though, to mankind, they are abstract and unimaginable—and even though, moreover, they are invisible and impalpable—to God they actually and really exist. Such is the other world of all the things that God rules over, and it is another part of the scope of all the things that He rules over. This is the topic that we’re communing today—how God rules and administers the spiritual world. Since this topic covers how God rules and manages all things, it relates to the world outside of the material world—the spiritual world—and thus it is of the utmost necessity for us to understand it. Only after having communed and understood this content can people genuinely understand the true meaning of the words “God is the source of life for all things.” And the aim of this topic is to complete the theme of “God rules over all things, and God manages all things.” Perhaps, when you hear this topic, it may feel strange or unbelievable to you—but regardless of how you feel, since the spiritual world is one part of all the things ruled by God, you must learn something of this topic. After you do, you will have a deeper appreciation, understanding and knowledge of the words “God is the source of life for all things.”
1. How God Rules and Administers the Spiritual World
For the material world, if people don’t understand certain things or phenomena they can open a book and search for the relevant information, or else they can use various channels to find out their origins and the story behind them. But when it comes to the other world that we are talking about today—the spiritual world that exists outside of the material world—people have absolutely no means or channels of learning about the inside story and truth of it. Why do I say this? Because, in the world of mankind, everything of the material world is inseparable from the physical existence of man, and because people feel that everything in the material world is inseparable from their physical living and physical life, most people are only aware of, or see, the material things before their eyes, the things that are visible to them. Yet when it comes to the spiritual world—which is to say, everything that is of that other world—it is fair to say that most people do not believe. That is because it is invisible to them, and they believe there is no need to understand it, or to know anything about it, to say nothing of how this spiritual world is a completely different world to the material world. To God, it is open, but to mankind it is hidden and not open, and so people have difficulty in finding a channel through which to understand the various aspects of this world. The things I am going to say about the spiritual world only concern God’s administration and sovereignty. Of course, they also relate to man’s outcome and destination—but I am not revealing mysteries, nor am I telling you any of the secrets that you wish to find out, for this concerns God’s sovereignty, God’s administration, and God’s provision, and as such I shall only speak of the part that it is necessary for you to know.
First, let Me ask you a question: In your mind, what is the spiritual world? Broadly speaking, it is a world outside the material world, one that is invisible and impalpable to people. But in your imagination, what kind of world ought the spiritual world to be? Perhaps, as a result of not being able to see it, you are incapable of imagining it. But when you hear legends about it, you’ll still think, you won’t be able to stop yourselves. And why do I say this? There is something that happens to a lot of people when they’re young: When someone tells them a frightening story—about ghosts, souls—they’re scared out of their wits. And why are they scared? Because they’re imagining those things; even though they can’t see them, they feel that they’re all around their room, in somewhere hidden, or somewhere dark, and they’re so scared that they don’t dare sleep. Especially at night, they don’t dare be alone in the room, or alone in the courtyard. That is the spiritual world of your imagination, and it’s a world that people think is frightening. Everyone has some imagination, and everyone can feel something.
Let’s start with the spiritual world. What is the spiritual world? Let Me give you a short and simple explanation. The spiritual world is an important place, one that is different from the material world. And why do I say that it is important? We’re going to talk about this in detail. The existence of the spiritual world is inextricably linked to the material world of mankind. It plays a major role in the cycle of human life and death in God’s dominion over all things; this is its role, and one of the reasons why its existence is important. Because it is a place that is indiscernible to the five senses, no one can accurately judge whether it exists or not. The goings on of the spiritual world are intimately connected to the existence of mankind, as a result of which the way mankind lives is also hugely influenced by the spiritual world. Does this relate to God’s sovereignty? It does. When I say this, you understand why I am discussing this topic: Because it concerns God’s sovereignty, and His administration. In a world such as this—one which is invisible to people—its every heavenly edict, decree, and administrative system is far higher than the laws and systems of any country of the material world, and no being that lives in this world would dare to contravene or arrogate them. Does this relate to God’s sovereignty and administration? In this world, there are clear administrative decrees, clear heavenly edicts, and clear statutes. At different levels and in different areas, bailiffs strictly abide by their duty and observe rules and regulations, for they know what the consequence of violating a heavenly edict is, they are clearly aware of how God punishes evil and rewards good, and of how He administers all things, how He rules all things, and, moreover, they clearly see how God carries out His heavenly edicts and statutes. Are these different from the material world inhabited by mankind? They are hugely different. It is a world that is completely different to the material world. Since there are heavenly edicts, and statutes, it concerns God’s sovereignty, administration, and, moreover, God’s disposition and what He has and is. Having heard this, do you not feel that it is highly necessary for Me to speak of this topic? Do you not wish to learn the secrets within? Such is the concept of the spiritual world. Although it coexists with the material world, and is simultaneously subject to God’s administration and sovereignty, God’s administration and sovereignty of this world are far stricter than that of the material world. When it comes to details, we should begin with how the spiritual world is responsible for the work of mankind’s cycle of life and death, for this work is a major part of the work of the beings of the spiritual world.
Among mankind, I categorize all people into three types. The first type is the unbelievers, who are those without religious beliefs. They are called unbelievers. The overwhelming majority of unbelievers only believe in money, they only pursue their own interests, they are materialistic, and they only believe in the material world, not the cycle of life and death, or any sayings about deities and ghosts. I categorize them as the unbelievers, and they are the first type. The second type is the various people of faith apart from the unbelievers. Among mankind, I divide these people of faith into several major types: The first are Jewish, the second are Catholic, the third are Christian, the fourth are Muslim, and the fifth are Buddhist—there are five types. These are the various types of people of faith. The third type are those who believe in God, which relates to you. This kind of believers are those who follow God today. These people are divided into two types: God’s chosen people and service-doers. Right! These main types have been clearly differentiated. So now, in your minds you are able to clearly differentiate the types and rankings of humans. The first are the unbelievers—I’ve said what the unbelievers are. Many unbelievers only believe in the Old Man in the Sky; they believe that the wind, rain, and thunder are all controlled by this Old Man in the Sky, whom they rely on for the planting of crops and the harvest—yet at the mention of the belief in God they become unwilling. Can this be called belief in God? Such people are included in the unbelievers. Those who don’t believe in God and only believe in the Old Man in the Sky are all unbelievers; all those who don’t believe in God, or follow God, are unbelievers. The second type are those who belong to the five major religions and who believe in a vague God. The third type are those who believe in the practical God who has become flesh during the last days—those who follow God today. And why have I divided all humans into these types? (Because they have a different destination and end.) That’s one aspect. Because, when these different races and types of people return to the spiritual world, they will each have a different place to go, they will be subject to different laws of the cycle of life and death, and this is the reason why I have categorized humans into these major types.
1) The Cycle of Life and Death of the Unbelievers
Let us begin with the cycle of life and death of the unbelievers. After a person dies, they are taken away by a bailiff from the spiritual world. And what of them is taken away? Not their flesh, but their soul. When their soul is taken away, they arrive at a place that is an agency of the spiritual world, one which specially receives the souls of people who have just died. (Note: The first place they go after anyone dies is strange to the soul.) When they are taken to this place, an official carries out the first checks, confirming their name, address, age, and what they did with their life. Everything they did in their life is recorded in a book and verified for accuracy. After it has all been checked, the person’s behavior and actions throughout their life are used to determine whether they will be punished or continue being reincarnated as a person, which is the first stage. Is this first stage frightening? It’s not too frightening, because the only thing that has happened is the person has arrived at a dark and unfamiliar place. That’s not too scary.
In the second stage, if this person has done many bad things throughout their life, if they have committed many wicked deeds, then they will be taken to a place of punishment to be punished. That will be the place they will be taken to, a place expressly for the punishment of people. The specifics of how they are punished depend on the sins they committed, and on how many wicked things they did before they died—which is the first situation that happens in the second stage. Because of the things they did and the evil they committed before they died, when they are reincarnated following their punishment—when they are once more born into the material world—some people will continue to be human, and some will become animals. Which is to say, after a person returns to the spiritual world, they are punished because of the evil they have committed; moreover, because of the wicked things they have done, in their next reincarnation they do not become human, but an animal. The scope of animals that they might become includes cows, horses, pigs, and dogs. Some people might become a bird in the sky, or a duck or goose…. After they have been reincarnated as an animal, when they die they return to the spiritual world, and, as before, based on their behavior before they die the spiritual world will decide whether or not they are reincarnated as a person.
Most people commit too much evil, their sins are too grievous, and so when they are reincarnated they become an animal seven to twelve times. Seven to twelve times—isn’t that frightful? What’s frightening to you? A person becoming an animal, that’s frightening. And for a person, what’s most painful about becoming an animal? Having no language, having only simple thoughts, only being able to do the things that animals do and eat the things that animals eat, having the simple mindset and body language of an animal, not being able to walk upright, not being able to communicate with humans, and none of the behavior and activities of humans bearing any relation to animals. Which is to say, among all things, being an animal makes you the lowest of all living things, and is much more painful than being a human. This is one aspect of the spiritual world’s punishment of those who have done much evil and committed great sins. When it comes to the severity of the punishment, this is decided by the kind of animal that they become. For example, is being a pig better than being a dog? Does a pig live better or worse than a dog? Worse, surely. If people become a cow or a horse, will they live better or worse than a pig? (Better.) It looks as if, given a choice, you have taste. Will it be more comfortable if someone becomes a cat? It will be a lot more comfortable than becoming a horse or cow. If you had a choice between animals, you’d choose becoming a cat, and that’s more comfortable, because you could laze away most of your time in sleep. Becoming a cow or horse is more laborious, and so if people are reincarnated as a cow or horse, they have to work hard—which seems like a harsh punishment. Becoming a dog is a little better than a cow or horse, because a dog has a closer relationship with its master. What’s more, today, a lot of people keep a dog and after three or five years it has learned to understand a lot of what they say! Because a dog can understand many of its master’s words, it has a good understanding of its master, and it can adapt to its master’s mood and requirements, therefore the master treats the dog better, and the dog eats better and drinks better, and when it is in pain it is looked after more—so does the dog not enjoy a happy life? Thus, being a dog is better than a cow or horse. In this, the severity of a person’s punishment determines how many times they are reincarnated as an animal, and as which type of animal they are reincarnated. You understand, yes?
Because they committed so many sins while they were alive, some people will be punished by being reincarnated as an animal seven to twelve times. Having been punished for enough number of times, when they return to the spiritual world they are taken somewhere else. The various souls in this place have already been punished, and are of the type who are preparing to be reincarnated as human. This place categorizes each soul into a type according to what kind of family they will be born into, what kind of role they will play once they have been reincarnated, and so on. For example, some people will become singers when they come to this world, and so they are placed among the singers; some will become businesspeople when they come to this world, and so they are placed among the businesspeople; and if someone is to become a scientific researcher when they become human, then they are placed among the scientific researchers. After they are classified, each is sent out according to a different time and appointed date, just like how people send e-mails today. In this will be completed one cycle of life and death, and it’s very dramatic. From the day that a person arrives at the spiritual world up until when their punishment ends, they may be reincarnated as an animal many times, and then they prepare to be reincarnated as a human; this is a complete process.
And will those who have finished being punished, and will no longer be reincarnated as animals, be quickly sent to the material world to become human? Or how long will it be before they can come among man? What is the frequency with which these people become human?[a] There are temporal restrictions to this. Everything that happens in the spiritual world is subject to the appropriate temporal restrictions and rules—which, if I explain with numbers, you’ll understand. For those who are reincarnated within a short period of time, when they die their rebirth as a human will be prepared. The shortest time is three days. For some people, it is three months, for some it is three years, for some it is thirty years, for some it is three hundred years, for some it is even three thousand years, and so on. So what can be said about these temporal rules, and what are their specifics? A soul’s arrival in the material world, the world of man, is based on need: It is according to the role that this soul is to play in this world. When people are reincarnated as an ordinary person, most of them are reincarnated very soon, because the world of man has a pressing need for such ordinary people, and so three days later they are sent out again to a family that is completely different to the one they were in before they died. But there are some who must play a special role in this world. “Special” means that there isn’t a great demand for these people in the world of man; not many people are needed to play such a role, and so it may be three hundred years before they are reincarnated.[b] Which is to say, this soul will only come once every three hundred years, or even once every three thousand years. And why is it so? Because for three hundred years or three thousand years, such a role is not required in the world of man, and so they are kept somewhere in the spiritual world. Take Confucius, for example. He had a profound impact on traditional Chinese culture. You all probably know him; his arrival had a deep effect on the culture, knowledge, tradition, and thinking of the people of that time. But a person such as this is not needed in every era, and so he had to remain in the spiritual world, waiting there for three hundred or three thousand years before being reincarnated. Because the world of man was not in need of someone like this, he had to wait idly, for there were very few roles such as his, there was little for him to do, and so he had to be kept somewhere in the spiritual world for most of the time, idle, and be sent out when the world of man had need of him. Such are the spiritual realm’s temporal rules for the frequency with which most people are reincarnated. Whether they are someone ordinary or special, the spiritual world has appropriate rules and correct practices for the processing of people’s reincarnation, and these rules and practices come from God, they are sent down from God, and not decided or controlled by any bailiff or being in the spiritual world. Now you understand, yes?
b. The original text omits “before they are reincarnated.”