Story 2. A Great Mountain, a Little Stream, a Fierce Wind, and a Gigantic Wave
There was a little stream that meandered to and fro, finally arriving at the foot of a great mountain. The mountain blocked the tiny stream’s path, so the stream said to the mountain in its weak, little voice, “Please let me pass. You are standing in my way and blocking my path forward.” “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. “I am looking for my home,” the stream responded. “Alright, go ahead and flow right over me!” But the tiny stream was too weak and too young, so it had no way to flow over such a great mountain. It could only continue to flow there against the foot of the mountain …
A fierce wind swept by, carrying sand and detritus to where the mountain stood. The wind bellowed at the mountain, “Let me pass!” “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. “I want to go over to the other side of the mountain,” howled the wind in response. “Alright, if you can break through my waist, then you can go!” The fierce wind howled this way and that, but no matter how furiously it blew, it could not break through the mountain’s waist. The wind grew tired and stopped to rest—and on the other side of the mountain, a breeze began to blow, pleasing the people there. This was the mountain’s greeting to the people …
At the seashore, the ocean spray rolled gently against the rocky shore. Suddenly, a gigantic wave arose and roared its way toward the mountain. “Move over!” shouted the gigantic wave. “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. Unable to stop its advance, the wave bellowed, “I am expanding my territory! I want to stretch out my arms!” “Alright, if you can pass over my peak, I will let you through.” The great wave retreated some distance, then once again surged toward the mountain. But no matter how hard it tried, it could not get over the mountain’s peak. The wave could only roll slowly back out to sea …
For thousands of years, the little stream trickled gently around the foot of the mountain. Following the mountain’s directions, the little stream made its way back home, where it joined a river, which in turn joined the sea. Under the mountain’s care, the little stream never lost its way. The stream and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
For thousands of years, the fierce wind howled, as was its habit. It still came often to “visit” the mountain, with great swirls of sand spun into its gusts. It threatened the mountain, but never broke through its waist. The wind and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
For thousands of years, the gigantic wave never stopped to rest, and it marched relentlessly forward, continuously expanding its territory. It roared and surged time and again toward the mountain, yet the mountain never moved an inch. The mountain watched over the sea, and in this way, the creatures in the sea multiplied and thrived. The wave and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
So our story ends. First, tell Me, what was this story about? To begin, there were a great mountain, a little stream, a fierce wind, and a gigantic wave. What happened in the first passage, with the little stream and the great mountain? Why have I chosen to talk about a stream and a mountain? (Under the mountain’s care, the stream never lost its way. They relied on each other.) Would you say the mountain protected or obstructed the little stream? (It protected it.) But did it not obstruct it? It and the stream watched out for each other; the mountain protected the stream and obstructed it, too. The mountain protected the stream as it joined the river, but obstructed it to keep it from flowing where it would, causing floods and bringing disaster to the people. Is this not what the passage was about? By protecting the stream and by blocking it, the mountain safeguarded the homes of the people. The little stream then joined the river at the foot of the mountain and flowed on into the sea. Is this not the rule that governs the stream’s existence? What enabled the stream to join the river and the sea? Was it not the mountain? The stream relied on the mountain’s protection and its obstruction. So, is this not the main point? Do you see in this the importance of mountains to water? Did God have His purpose in making every mountain, great and small? (Yes.) This short passage, with nothing but a little stream and a great mountain, lets us see the value and significance of God’s creation of those two things; it shows us, too, the wisdom and purpose in His rule over them. Is that not so?
What was the story’s second passage about? (A fierce wind and the great mountain.) Is wind a good thing? (Yes.) Not necessarily—sometimes the wind is too strong and causes disaster. How would you feel if you were made to stand in the fierce wind? It depends on its strength, no? If it were a level three or four wind, it would be tolerable. At most, a person might have trouble keeping their eyes open. But if the wind fiercened and became a hurricane, would you be able to withstand it? You would not. So, it is wrong for people to say that the wind is always good, or that it is always bad, because this depends on its strength. Now, what is the mountain’s function here? Is its function not to filter the wind? What does the mountain reduce the fierce wind to? (A breeze.) Now, in the environment that humans inhabit, do most people experience gales or breezes? (Breezes.) Was this not one of God’s purposes, one of His intentions in creating mountains? How would it be if people lived in an environment where sand flew wildly in the wind, unimpeded and unfiltered? Might it be that a land beset by flying sand and stone would be uninhabitable? The stones might strike people, and the sand might blind them. The wind might sweep people off their feet or carry them into the air. Houses might be destroyed, and all manner of disasters would happen. Yet is there value in the existence of fierce wind? I said it was bad, so one might feel it has no value, but is that so? Does it not have value once it has turned into a breeze? What do people need most when the weather is humid or stifling? They need a light breeze, to blow on them gently, to refresh them and clear their heads, to sharpen their thinking, to repair and improve their state of mind. Now, for example, you all sit in a room with many people and stuffy air—what do you need most? (A light breeze.) Going to a place where the air is turbid and filthy can slow one’s thinking, reduce one’s circulation, and diminish one’s clarity of mind. However, a bit of movement and circulation freshen the air, and people feel differently in fresh air. Though the little stream could cause disaster, though the fierce wind could cause disaster, as long as the mountain is there, it will turn that danger into a force that benefits people. Is that not so?
What was the story’s third passage about? (The great mountain and the gigantic wave.) The great mountain and the gigantic wave. This passage is set at the seashore at the foot of the mountain. We see the mountain, the ocean spray, and a huge wave. What is the mountain to the wave in this instance? (A protector and a barrier.) It is both a protector and a barrier. As a protector, it keeps the sea from disappearing, so that the creatures that live in it may multiply and thrive. As a barrier, the mountain keeps the sea’s waters from overflowing and causing disaster, from causing harm and destroying people’s homes. So, we can say that the mountain is both a protector and a barrier.
This is the significance of the interconnection between the great mountain and the little stream, the great mountain and the fierce wind, and the great mountain and the gigantic wave; this is the significance of their strengthening and counteracting each other, and of their coexistence. These things, which God created, are governed in their existence by a rule and a law. So, what deeds of God did you see in this story? Has God been ignoring all things since He created them? Did He create rules and design the ways that all things function, only to ignore them after that? Is that what happened? (No.) Then what did happen? God is still in control. He controls the water, the wind, and the waves. He does not let them run rampant, nor does He let them cause harm or destroy the homes people live in. Because of this, people can live on and multiply and thrive on the land. This means that when He created all things, God had already planned their rules for existence. When God made each thing, He ensured it would benefit mankind, and He took control over it, so that it might not trouble mankind or cause him disaster. Were it not for God’s management, would the waters not flow without restraint? Would the wind not blow without restraint? Do the water and the wind follow rules? If God did not manage them, no rules would govern them, and the wind would howl and the waters would be unrestrained and cause floods. If the wave had been higher than the mountain, would the sea be able to exist? It would not. If the mountain were not as high as the wave, the sea would not exist, and the mountain would lose its value and significance.
Do you see God’s wisdom within these two stories? God created everything that exists, and He is sovereign of everything that exists; He manages all of it and He makes provision for all of it, and within all things, He sees and scrutinizes every word and action of everything that exists. So, too, does God see and scrutinize every corner of human life. Thus, God knows intimately each detail of everything that exists within His creation, from each thing’s function, its nature, and its rules for survival to the significance of its life and the value of its existence, all of this is known to God in its entirety. God created all things—do you think He needs to study the rules that govern them? Does God need to study human knowledge or science to learn about and understand them? (No.) Is there one among mankind with the learning and erudition to understand all things as God does? There is not, right? Are there any astronomers or biologists who truly understand the rules by which all things live and grow? Can they truly understand the value of the existence of each thing? (No, they cannot.) This is because all things were created by God, and no matter how much or how deeply mankind studies this knowledge, or how long they endeavor to learn it, they will never be able to fathom the mystery or the purpose of God’s creation of all things. Is that not the case? Now, from our discussion thus far, do you feel that you have gained a partial understanding of the true meaning of the phrase: “God Is the Source of Life for All Things”? (Yes.) I knew that when I discussed this topic—God Is the Source of Life for All Things—many people would immediately think of another phrase: “God is truth, and God uses His word to provide for us,” and nothing beyond that level of the topic’s meaning. Some might even feel that God’s provision of human life, of daily food and drink and every daily necessity does not count as His providing for man. Are there not some who feel this way? Yet, is not God’s intent in His creation obvious—to allow mankind to exist and live normally? God maintains the environment in which people live and He provides all of the things needed by mankind for their survival. Furthermore, He manages and holds sovereignty over all things. All of this allows mankind to live and thrive and multiply normally; it is in this way that God provides for all of creation and for mankind. Is it not true that people need to recognize and understand these things? Perhaps some may say, “This topic is too far from our knowledge of the true God Himself, and we do not want to know this because we do not live by bread alone, but instead live by the word of God.” Is this understanding correct? (No.) Why is it incorrect? Can you have a complete understanding of God if you only have knowledge of the things God has said? If you only accept God’s work and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, can you have a complete understanding of God? If you only know a small part of God’s disposition, a small part of God’s authority, would you consider that enough to achieve an understanding of God? (No.) God’s actions began with His creation of all things, and they continue today—God’s actions are apparent at all times, from moment to moment. If one believes God exists only because He has chosen a group of people to perform His work upon and to save, and that nothing else has anything to do with God, neither His authority, His status, nor His actions, then can one be considered to have a true knowledge of God? People who have this so-called “knowledge of God” have only a one-sided understanding, according to which they confine His deeds to one group of people. Is this a true knowledge of God? Are people with this kind of knowledge not denying God’s creation of all things and His sovereignty over them? Some people do not wish to engage with this point, instead thinking to themselves: “I haven’t seen God’s sovereignty over all things. The idea is so removed, and I don’t care to understand it. God does what He wants, and it has nothing to do with me. I only accept God’s leadership and His word so that I can be saved and made perfect by God. Nothing else matters to me. The rules God made when He created all things and what He does to provide for all things and for mankind have nothing to do with me.” What kind of talk is this? Is this not an act of rebellion? Are there any among you with an understanding like this? I know, even without your saying so, that a great many of you here do. By-the-book people like this look at everything from their own “spiritual” point of view. They want only to limit God to the Bible, limit God by the words He has spoken, to the sense derived from the literal written word. They do not wish to know God more and they do not want God to split His attention by doing other things. This type of thinking is childish, and it is also excessively religious. Can people who hold these views know God? It would be very difficult for them to know God. Today I have told two stories, each addressing a different aspect. You might feel, having just come into contact with them, that they are profound or a bit abstract, difficult to comprehend and understand. It might be difficult to connect them with God’s actions and God Himself. However, all of God’s actions and all He has done within creation and among mankind should be known, clearly and accurately, by every person, by everyone who seeks to know God. This knowledge will give you surety in your belief in the true existence of God. It will also give you accurate knowledge of God’s wisdom, His power, and the manner by which He provides for all things. It will allow you to clearly conceive God’s true existence and see that His existence is not fictional, not a myth, not vague, not a theory, and certainly not a sort of spiritual consolation, but a real existence. Furthermore, it will allow people to know that God has always provided for all creation and for mankind; God does this in His own way and in accordance with His own rhythm. So, it is because God created all things and gave them rules that they are each able, under His preordination, to perform their allotted tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, and perform their own roles; under His preordination, each thing has its own use in service of mankind and the space and environment mankind inhabits. If God had not done so and mankind had no such environment to inhabit, then believing in God or following Him would be impossible for mankind; it would all amount to nothing more than empty talk. Is that not so?
Let us look again at the story of the great mountain and the little stream. What is the function of the mountain? Living things flourish on the mountain, so its existence has inherent value, and it also obstructs the little stream, preventing it from flowing as it will and bringing disaster to the people. Is that not the case? The mountain exists in its own way of being, allowing the myriad living things upon it to flourish—the trees and grasses and all the other plants and animals on the mountain. It also directs the course of the little stream’s flow—the mountain gathers up the waters of the stream and guides them naturally around its foot where they may flow into the river and eventually the sea. These rules did not occur naturally, but were put in place especially by God at the time of creation. As for the great mountain and the fierce wind, the mountain, too, needs the wind. The mountain needs the wind to caress the living things that live upon it, while at the same time restricting the fierce wind’s force so that it does not blow wantonly. This rule embodies, in a certain respect, the duty of the great mountain; so, did this rule regarding the mountain’s duty take form on its own? (No.) It was made by God. The great mountain has its duty and the fierce wind has its duty as well. Now, let us turn to the great mountain and the huge wave. Without the mountain’s existence, would the water find a direction of flow on its own? (No.) The water would flood. The mountain has its own existential value as a mountain, and the sea has its own existential value as a sea; however, under circumstances in which they are able to exist together normally and do not interfere with one another, they also confine one another—the great mountain confines the sea so that it does not flood, thereby protecting the people’s homes, and confining the sea also allows it to nurture the living things that dwell within it. Did this landscape take form on its own? (No.) It too was created by God. We see from this image that when God created all things, He predetermined where the mountain would stand, where the stream would flow, from which direction the fierce wind would begin to blow and where it would go, and how high the huge waves should be. All of these things contain God’s intentions and purpose—they are God’s deeds. Now, can you see that God’s deeds are present in all things? (Yes.)
What is our purpose in discussing these things? Is it to make people study the rules by which God created all things? Is it to encourage interest in astronomy and geography? (No.) Then what is it? It is to make people understand the deeds of God. In God’s actions, people can affirm and verify that God is the source of life for all things. If you can understand this, then you will be truly able to confirm God’s place in your heart, and you will be able to confirm that God is God Himself, the unique, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all things. So, is it useful to your understanding of God to know the rules of all things and to know God’s deeds? (Yes.) How useful is it? First of all, when you have understood the deeds of God, can you still be interested in astronomy and geography? Can you still have the heart of a skeptic and doubt that God is the Creator of all things? Can you still have the heart of a researcher and doubt that God is the Creator of all things? (No.) When you have confirmed that God is the Creator of all things and understood some of the rules of God’s creation, will you truly believe in your heart that God provides for all things? (Yes.) Does “provision” here have a particular significance, or does its use refer to a specific circumstance? “God provides for all things” is a phrase with very broad significance and scope. God does not merely provide people with their daily food and drink; He provides mankind with everything they need, including everything that people can see, but also things that cannot be seen. God upholds, manages, and reigns over this living environment, which is essential to mankind. That is to say, whatever environment mankind needs for each season, God has prepared it. God also manages the type of air and the temperature so that they may be suitable for human survival. The rules that govern these things do not occur by themselves or at random; they are the result of God’s sovereignty and His deeds. God Himself is the source of all of these rules and the source of life for all things. Regardless of whether or not you believe it, whether or not you can see it, or whether or not you can understand it, this remains an established and unassailable fact.
I know that the vast majority of people only have faith in the words and work of God that are included in the Bible. For a minority of people, God has revealed His deeds and allowed people to see the value of His existence. He has also let them have some understanding of His status and confirmed the fact of His existence. However, for many more people, the fact that God created all things and that He manages and provides for all things seems vague or unspecific; such people may even maintain an attitude of doubt. This attitude causes them to consistently believe that the laws of the natural world formed spontaneously, that nature’s changes, transitions, phenomena, and the very laws that govern it arose out of nature itself. People cannot conceive in their hearts of how God created all things and reigns over them; they cannot understand how God manages and provides for all things. Under the limits of this premise, people cannot believe that God created, reigns over, and provides for all things; even those who believe are limited in their belief to the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom: They believe that God’s deeds and His provisions for mankind are exclusively for His chosen people. This is something I am most loath to see, and something that causes so much pain, because even as mankind enjoys all that God brings, they deny all He does and all He gives them. People only believe that the heavens and earth and all things are governed by their own, natural rules and their own, natural laws for survival, and that they are without any ruler to manage them or sovereign to provide for them and keep them. Even if you believe in God, you might not believe that all these are His deeds; indeed, this is one of the things most often neglected by every believer in God, everyone who accepts God’s word, and everyone who follows God. So, as soon as I begin discussing something that is unrelated to the Bible or so-called spiritual terminology, some people become bored or weary or even uncomfortable. They feel that My words seem disconnected from spiritual people and spiritual things. That is a terrible thing. When it comes to knowing the deeds of God, though we do not mention astronomy, nor do we research geography or biology, yet we must understand God’s sovereignty over all things, we must know of His provision for all things, and that He is the source of all things. This is a necessary lesson and one that must be studied. I believe you have understood My words!
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique VII” in The Word Appears in the Flesh