What will of God is concealed within the Lord Jesus’ refusal to observe the Sabbath? And what inspiration does it bring to us today?
God Himself, the Unique IX
God Is the Source of Life for All Things (III)
Over this period of time, we’ve spoken about many things related to knowing God and recently we talked about something very important on this topic: God Is the Source of Life for All Things. Last time we talked about a few aspects of the environment for survival that God created for mankind, as well as God preparing all sorts of sustenance necessary for people in their lives. In fact, what God does is not only to prepare an environment for people’s survival nor is it only to prepare their daily sustenance, but it is to complete various aspects of a great deal of mysterious and necessary work for people’s survival and for mankind’s lives. These are all God’s actions. These actions by God are not only limited to His preparation of an environment for people’s survival and their daily sustenance—they have a much broader scope than that. Aside from these two types of work, He also prepares many environments and conditions for survival that are necessary for man’s lives. This is another topic that we are going to discuss today, which is also related to God’s actions. Otherwise, talking about it here would be meaningless. If people want to know God but they only have a literal and doctrinal understanding of “God,” of that word, or of all aspects of what God has and is, that is not a true understanding. So what is the path for knowledge of God? It is knowing Him, knowing every aspect of Him through His actions. So, we must next have fellowship on God’s actions when He created all things.
Ever since God created them, based on the laws that He determined, all things have been operating and have been continuing to develop regularly. Under His gaze, under His rule, all things have been developing regularly alongside the survival of humans. Not a single thing is able to change these laws, and not a single thing can destroy these laws. It is because of God’s rule that all beings can multiply, and because of His rule and management that all beings can survive. This is to say that under God’s rule, all beings come into existence, thrive, disappear, and reincarnate in an orderly fashion. When spring arrives, drizzling rain brings that feeling of spring and moistens the earth. The ground begins to thaw, grass germinates and pushes its way up through the soil and the trees gradually turn green. All these living things bring fresh vitality to the earth. This is the sight of all beings coming into existence and thriving. All sorts of animals also come out of their burrows to feel the warmth of spring and start a new year. All beings bask in the heat during the summer and enjoy the warmth brought by the season. They grow rapidly; trees, grass, and all types of plants are growing very quickly, then they bloom and bear fruit. All beings are very busy during the summer, including humans. In the fall, rains bring autumn’s coolness, and all types of living beings start to experience the harvest season. All beings bear fruit, and humans also begin to harvest all kinds of things because of the fall production of these beings, in order to prepare food for the winter. In the winter all beings gradually begin to rest in the coldness, to become quiet, and people also take a break during this season. These transitions from spring to summer to fall and to winter—these changes all occur according to the laws established by God. He leads all beings and humans using these laws and has established for mankind a rich and colorful way of life, preparing an environment for survival that has different temperatures and different seasons. Under these orderly environments for survival, humans can also survive and multiply in an orderly way. Humans cannot change these laws and not a single person or being can break them. No matter what radical changes occur in the world, these laws continue to exist and they exist because God does. It is because of God’s rule and His management. With this type of orderly, larger environment, people’s lives go forward within these laws and rules. These laws cultivated generation after generation of people and generation after generation of people have survived within these laws. People have enjoyed the beings and this orderly environment for survival created by God for generation after generation of humans. Even though people feel that these types of laws are innate, even though they are entirely dismissive of them, and even though they cannot feel that God is orchestrating these laws, that God is ruling over these laws, no matter what, God is always engaged in this unchanging work. His purpose in this unchanging work is for the survival of mankind, and so that humans may continue on.
1. God Sets Boundaries for All Things to Nurture All of Mankind
Today I’m going to talk about the topic of how these kinds of laws that God brings to mankind and all beings nurture mankind. So what is this topic? It is how these types of laws that God has brought to all beings nurture man. This is a huge topic, so we can divide it into several parts and discuss them one at a time so that they can be clearly delineated for you. This way it’ll be easier for you to grasp and you can gradually understand it.
First, when God created all things, He drew boundaries for mountains, plains, deserts, hills, rivers, and lakes. On the earth there are mountains, plains, deserts, hills, as well as various bodies of water—what are all of these? Aren’t they different terrains? God drew boundaries between all these different terrains. When we speak of drawing boundaries, what does that mean? It means that mountains have their delineations, plains have their own delineations, deserts have a certain scope, and hills have a fixed area. There is also a fixed quantity of bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. That is, when God created all things He divided everything very clearly. God has already determined how many kilometers the radius of a mountain is, what its scope is. He has also determined how many kilometers the radius of a plain is and what its scope is. When creating all beings He also determined the scope of the desert as well as the scope of the hills and their proportions, and what they are bordered by—He also determined all of this. He determined the scope of rivers and lakes when He was creating them—they all have their boundaries. So what does it mean when we say “boundaries”? We just talked about how God’s rule over all beings is establishing laws for all beings. For example, the scope and boundaries of mountains will not expand or decrease because of the rotation of the earth or the passing of time. This is fixed: This “fixed” is God’s rule. As for the areas of the plains, what their scope is, what they are bounded by, this has been fixed by God. They have a boundary, and a bump won’t just arbitrarily come up in the middle of a plain. The plain won’t suddenly turn into a mountain—this won’t happen. The laws and boundaries we just talked about refer to this. As for the desert, we won’t mention the roles of the desert or any other terrain or geographical location here, only its boundaries. Under God’s rule the scope of the desert won’t expand either. This is because God has given it its law, its scope. How large its area is and what its role is, what it is bounded by, and where it’s located—this has already been set by God. It won’t exceed its scope, shift its position, and it won’t just arbitrarily expand its area. Although the flows of waters such as rivers and lakes are all orderly and continuous, they have never gone outside of their scope or gone beyond their boundaries. They all flow in one direction in an orderly way, flowing in the direction they are supposed to. So under the laws of God’s rule, no river or lake will arbitrarily dry up, or arbitrarily change the direction or quantity of its flow due to the rotation of the earth or the passing of time. This is all within God’s grasp, within His rule. That is to say, all beings created by God in this mankind’s midst have their fixed places, areas, and scopes. That is, when God created all beings, their boundaries were established and these cannot be arbitrarily altered, renewed, or changed. What does “arbitrarily” refer to? It means that they will not randomly shift, expand, or change their original form due to the weather, temperature, or the rotational speed of the earth. For example, a mountain is of a certain height, its base is of a certain area, it has a certain altitude, and it has a certain amount of vegetation. This is all planned and calculated by God and its height or area won’t just be arbitrarily changed. As for plains, the majority of humans reside in the plains, and no shifts in the climate will impact their areas or the value of their existence. Not even what is contained in these various terrains and geographical environments that were created by God will be arbitrarily changed. For example, what the components of the desert are, what mineral deposits are underground, how much sand it contains and the color of the sand, its thickness—these will not arbitrarily change. Why is it that they will not arbitrarily change? It is because of God’s rule and His management. Within all of these different terrains and geographical environments created by God, He is managing everything in a planned and orderly way. So all of these geographical environments still exist several thousand years, tens of thousands of years after they were created by God. They are still playing each of their roles. Although during certain periods volcanoes erupt, during certain periods earthquakes occur, and there are major shifts of the land, God absolutely will not allow any type of terrain to lose its original function. It is only because of this management by God, His rule over and grasp of these laws, that all of this—all of this enjoyed by mankind and seen by mankind—can survive on the earth in an orderly way. So why does God manage all these various terrains that exist on the earth in this way? The purpose is so that the living things that survive in various geographical environments will all have a stable environment, and so that they are able to continue to live and multiply in that stable environment. All of these beings—ones that are mobile and those that are immobile, those that breathe through their nostrils and those that don’t—make up a unique environment for the survival of mankind. Only this kind of environment is able to nurture generation after generation of humans, and only this kind of environment can allow humans to continue to peacefully survive, generation after generation.
What have you seen from what I’ve just talked about? It is that God’s laws in His dominion over all things are very important—very important! What is the precondition for all beings growing within these laws? It is because of God’s rule. It is because of His rule that all beings carry out their own functions within His rule. For example, the mountains nurture the forests, the forests then in turn nurture and protect the various birds and beasts that live within them. The plains are a stage prepared for humans to plant crops as well as for various birds and beasts. They allow the majority of mankind to live on flat land and provide convenience in people’s lives. And the plains also include the grasslands—huge swaths of grassland. The grasslands are the earth’s vegetation. They protect the soil and nurture the cattle, sheep and horses that live on the grasslands. The desert also carries out its own function. It’s not a place for humans to live; its role is to make humid climates drier. The flows of the rivers and lakes are convenient for people’s drinking water and for the water needs of all beings. Wherever they flow, people will have water to drink. These are the boundaries drawn by God for the various terrains. Because of these boundaries that God has drawn, various terrains have produced different environments for survival, and these environments for survival have been convenient for various kinds of birds and beasts as well as brought a space for survival. From this the boundaries for the environments for survival of the various living beings have been developed. This is just what we’re going to talk about next.
Second, what kind of environment do the birds and the beasts and the insects live within? Aside from establishing boundaries for the various geographical environments, He also drew boundaries for the various birds and beasts, fish, insects, and all the plants. He also established laws. Because of the differences between various geographical environments and because of the existence of different geographical environments, different types of birds and beasts, fish, insects, and plants have different environments for survival. The birds and the beasts and the insects live amongst the various plants, the fish live in the water, and the plants grow in the land. What does the land include? Various areas such as the mountains, plains, and hills. So, the birds and the beasts have their own fixed homelands and won’t wander all over the place. Their homelands are the forests and the mountains. If, one day, their homelands were destroyed, this order would be thrown into chaos. As soon as that order is thrown into chaos, what are the consequences? Who are the first to be hurt? (Mankind.) It is mankind! Within these laws and limits that God has established, have you seen any peculiar phenomena? For example, elephants just casually wandering around in the desert. Have you seen that? If that were the case, it would be a very strange phenomenon. This is because the environment that elephants live in is the forest, and the forest is the environment for living, for survival that God prepared for them. It has its own environment for survival and its own fixed home, so why would it go running around? Has anyone seen lions or tigers wandering around by the ocean? The homeland of the lions and tigers is the forest and the mountains. Has anyone seen whales or sharks from the ocean just hanging out in the desert? Whales and sharks make their homes in the ocean and they have no way to live on land. In humans’ living environment, are there people who live alongside brown bears? Are there people who are always surrounded by peacocks or other birds, inside and outside of their homes? Has anyone seen cattle and sheep inside of forests? Has anyone seen eagles or wild geese playing with monkeys? If so, these would all be peculiar phenomena. This is the reason I speak of these things that are peculiar phenomena in your eyes. It’s to have you understand that all beings created by God—no matter if they are fixed in one place or have breath and can walk—they all have their laws for survival. Long before God created these living beings He had prepared for them their own homelands, their own environments for survival. These living beings had their own fixed environments for survival, their own food, their own fixed homelands, their own fixed places suitable for their survival, places with temperatures suitable for their survival. That way they wouldn’t wander around or undermine mankind’s survival or impact their lives. This is how God manages all beings. It is to provide for mankind the best environment for survival. The living beings within all beings each have life-sustaining food within their own environments for survival. With that food, they are fixed within their native environment for survival; they are fixed in that environment. In that kind of environment, they are still surviving, multiplying, and continuing on according to the laws God has established for them. Because of these types of laws, because of God’s predestination, all beings interact harmoniously with mankind, and mankind and all beings are interdependent.
God created all beings and established boundaries for them, and among them nurtured all kinds of living things. As all beings were nurturing all kinds of living things, He also prepared different survival methods for humans, so you can see that human beings don’t just have one way to survive. They also don’t have just one type of environment for survival. We talked before about God preparing various types of food and water sources for humans, which is something that is critical for allowing mankind’s life in the flesh to continue. However, among this mankind, not all people subsist on grains. People have different survival methods due to differences in geographical environments and terrains. These survival methods have all been prepared by God. So not all humans are primarily engaged in farming. That is, not all people get their food from growing crops. This is the third point that we’re going to talk about: Boundaries have been developed from mankind’s various lifestyles. So what other types of lifestyles do humans have? What other different types of food sources do humans have? There are several primary types:
The first is a hunting lifestyle. Everyone knows of it. Do any of you hunt for your living? You are all modern people—you don’t know how to hunt, how to carry a gun. Your food sources are produced from the earth. What do people who live by hunting eat? (Game.) They eat the birds and the beasts of the forest. “Game” is a modern word. Hunters don’t think of it as game; they think of it as food, as their daily sustenance. For example, they would be happy if they got a deer. “Great, this deer is enough food for the family for several days.” When they get this deer it’s just like a farmer getting crops from the soil. A farmer gets crops from the soil, and when he sees his crops he’s happy and feels at ease. “For now there’s something to eat; we don’t need to fear going hungry.” The family won’t be hungry with crops to eat. His heart is at ease and he feels satisfied. And a hunter also feels at ease and satisfied when looking at what he’s caught because he doesn’t have to worry about food anymore. There’s something to eat for the next meal, there’s no need to go hungry. This is someone who hunts for a living. What kind of environments do people who subsist on hunting usually live in? They live in the mountain forests. For the most part they do not farm or plant crops; they live in the mountain forests. Is there arable land in the mountain forests? It’s not easy to find arable land, so they survive on various living things, various types of prey. This is the first lifestyle that’s different from regular people.
The second type is a herding lifestyle. Those who herd for a living don’t farm, so what do they do? Just herd? If anyone here is ethnically Mongolian, you can talk a bit about your nomadic lifestyle. (For the most part, we herd cattle and sheep for a living, no farming, and in the winter we slaughter and eat our livestock. Our main food is made up of beef and mutton, we drink milk tea, eat parched rice, and very few vegetables. Now all types of transportation are convenient and we have all sorts of vegetables and grains. Mongolians drink milk tea, and Tibetans drink butter tea. Although herders are busy all four seasons, they eat well. They do not lack milk, dairy products, or meat. They used to live in yurts but now they all build houses.) Mongolians primarily eat beef and mutton, drink milk, and ride horses to herd their animals. This is the herder lifestyle. The herder lifestyle isn’t bad—they ride bulls and horses in the field with the wind in their hair, the sun on their faces, and they don’t have the stress of modern lives. All day they just see the broad expanses of blue skies and grassy plains. People who tend herds for a living all live on grasslands and they are able to continue their nomadic lifestyles for generation after generation. Although life on the grasslands is a little lonely, it’s also a very happy life. It’s not a bad lifestyle!
The third type is a fishing lifestyle. There is a small portion of humans that live by the ocean or on small islands. They are surrounded by water, facing the ocean. This type of people fish for a living. What do these people who fish for a living rely on for food? What is the source of their food? It’s all types of fish and seafood. When Hong Kong was just a little fishing village, the people who lived there would fish for a living. They didn’t farm—they went fishing every day. Their primary food was various types of fish, meat, and seafood. They would also occasionally trade some fish for rice, flour, and daily necessities. People who subsist on fishing all live by the ocean, and some live on boats. This is a different lifestyle of people who live by the water. Those who live by the water rely on fishing; it is the source of their livelihood as well as their source of food.
Aside from those who farm for a living, there are primarily the three different lifestyles mentioned above. Aside from those who subsist on herding, fishing, and hunting, the majority of people farm for a living. And what do people who farm for a living need? They need soil. Those who rely on farming for their livelihood primarily grow crops for generations. They get their food from the earth. Whether they plant vegetables, fruits or grains, they all get their daily necessities from the earth.
What are the basic conditions for these different human lifestyles? Don’t they require basic maintenance of their environments for survival? That is to say, if hunters were to lose the mountain forests or the birds and the beasts, they would no longer have their livelihood. So if people who subsist on hunting lost the mountain forests and no longer had the birds and the beasts, they would no longer have a source for their livelihood. In which direction would that kind of ethnicity head; where would that kind of people go? The ability to survive or not is an unknown quantity and they could just disappear. And those who herd for their livelihood—they rely on the grasslands. What they truly depend on is not their livestock, but it is the environment in which their livestock survive—the grasslands. If there were no grasslands, where would they graze their livestock? What would the cattle and sheep eat? Without the livestock, what livelihood would the nomadic peoples have? They wouldn’t have one. Without a source for their livelihood, where would a people go? Ongoing survival would become very difficult; they wouldn’t have a future. With no water sources, rivers and lakes would dry up. Would all those fish that rely on water for their lives still exist? Those fish would not exist. Would those people who rely on the water and the fish for their livelihood continue to survive? If they didn’t have food, if they didn’t have the source of their livelihoods, those peoples would not be able to continue to survive. As soon as there is a problem with their livelihoods or their survival, those races would no longer continue. They wouldn’t be able to survive—they could disappear, be obliterated from the earth. And if those who farm for their livelihood lost their soil, what would the outcome be? They wouldn’t be able to plant things, they wouldn’t be able to get their food from various plants. What would the outcome be? Without food, wouldn’t people starve to death? If people starved to death, wouldn’t that type of human be wiped out? So this is God’s purpose in maintaining various ecological environments. He only has one purpose in maintaining various environments and ecosystems, maintaining the different living beings within each environment—it is to nurture all kinds of people, to nurture people with lives in different geographical environments.