GOD CREATING MAN WITH A SPIRIT TO CONTAIN HIM
The stomach in our body gives rise not only to the need to eat but also to the need to cook. We need to cook and to eat because we have a stomach. In the same way, why do we believe in God? Why do we need God? It is because we have a “stomach” to contain God, just as we have a stomach to contain food. This “stomach” for containing God is called the spirit, which was created especially for man when God created him.
Zechariah 12:1 says, “Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.” This shows that Jehovah not only stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth but also forms the spirit of man within him. This indicates that these three items—the heavens, the earth, and man—are equally important. Furthermore, instead of saying “forms man,” the verse says, “forms the spirit of man within him.” This clearly indicates that the emphasis is not on man but on the spirit of man. Therefore, strictly speaking, the heavens, the earth, and the spirit are of equal importance. God created the heavens, the earth, and the human spirit which distinguishes us from the animals. If we human beings did not have a spirit within, then we would be no different from the animals. We are different from animals because we have a spirit created by God.
Since the beginning of history, there have never been any sheep, dogs, or any other animals that have worshipped God or made an idol for worship. However, throughout human history from the ancient ages to the present, in human communities that were either civilized or barbaric, intelligent or foolish, rich or poor, there has been no lack of temples and idols for man to worship. This is because God created a spirit in man, and man therefore has a need to worship God.
In 1953 or 1954 an English newspaper in the Philippines reported a story about Lavrenti Beria, the chief secret agent during the rule of the former Soviet leader Stalin. According to this report Beria had murdered innumerable people during Stalin’s rule. After Stalin passed away, however, Kruschev took power and immediately arrested Beria in order to execute him. When Beria was on the execution field, the execution officer told him, “Now I will give you a few minutes of freedom; whatever you ask for will be granted.” Incredibly, the request of this heinous sinner before he was executed was, “Please give me a Bible.” It is amazing that a chief secret agent who killed thousands of people would request to have the Bible before his execution. This story proves that deep within man there is a desire to worship God.
There is an ancient Chinese saying: “When a man is dying, his words are good.” Actually, the good that is in the human heart is due to the fact that man has a spirit. There is an ancient Chinese book called The Great Learning, which says that the principle of great learning is to develop the “bright virtue.” What is the bright virtue? The bright virtue is the conscience of man. To develop the bright virtue is to make manifest or to magnify the human conscience. The conscience is a part of the human spirit. Paul said in the New Testament that he exercised himself to always have a conscience without offense toward God and men (Acts 24:16). Therefore, within man there is something called the spirit. Like the stomach, the human spirit is an organ; the human spirit is an organ to contain God.
In the New Testament the Lord told His disciples to take Him in as food (John 6:55-57). Concerning this matter, the unbelievers, and even the Christians—the believers in the Lord, do not understand how they can eat God as food. In John 6 the Lord Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.…He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (vv. 35, 57). The concept of eating the Lord is not in our natural mentality. Instead, it is revealed in God’s word and is gradually worked into us over a period of time.
In the spring of 1958, I spoke for the first time on the Lord Jesus being edible. The message was based on John 6:57 where the Lord said, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me.” After hearing that message, a saint, who was a professor at National Taiwan University and who usually was very hungry for the truth and zealous for the church, came to me and said, “This message was very good, but using such an expression as ‘eating the Lord’ sounds a little barbaric. How can we ‘eat’ the Lord?” I pointed out to him that this was what the Lord Himself said and that this was neither invented nor created by me but was recorded in the Scriptures.
In the book of Numbers the people of Israel were told that if they feared and trusted in Jehovah, then He would give their enemies to them as food (14:9). When the children of Israel entered into Canaan, they indeed “ate” their enemies. The New Testament also says something similar to this. In 1 Peter 5:8 Peter says, “Your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking someone to devour.” Satan is on earth seeking someone not to deceive but to devour. He does not only want to deceive us; rather, he wants to devour us. Therefore, we must not wait for Satan to devour us. We have to tell Satan, “You roaring lion, slow down a little. I will eat you first. Within me I have a spirit which you do not have; I will eat you up first.”
(Speaking for God, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)