Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, by Witness Lee

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Moreover, have you realized that all the lives in God’s creation are not real lives? All these lives are figures, types, and shadows; they are not the real life. If we desire to understand the Scriptures and the spiritual matters, we must remember well that all the items in God’s creation are not the real items. They are simply figures, symbols, types, and shadows of the real thing. What is the real thing? The real thing is Christ Himself. The heavens are a type of Christ, and the earth is a type of Christ. Everything good, everything on the positive side, is a type of Christ. We do not sit on a real chair; we are seated in Christ. It is the Lord who upholds us; He is the real seat to us, on whom we rest. The only real item is the Lord Christ Himself. The vegetable life, animal life, and human life are figures of the one real life, that is, Christ.

With all lives there is a beauty. The most beautiful things are the things with life. Look at the flowers, the birds, the fishes, and all the animals. When we go to the ocean, we can see how beautiful the lives in the water are. All the beauties of the different lives are types of the beauty of Christ. With Christ as life there is the real beauty.

In addition, have you realized how many different kinds of life there are? These are the riches of life. Simply with trees alone, we can never exhaust naming the different kinds. When I was very young, I thought that I had seen every kind of tree, but when I left my home, I saw many more different trees in the north and in the south of China. With life there are the riches. How many kinds of animals, beasts, birds, and fishes there are! We cannot exhaust telling the names of all the varieties. These are the riches of life, which are a type of the riches of Christ.

Furthermore, there is the power of life. If we bury a tiny seed under the earth, after a few weeks it will break through the earth, grow up, and bring forth many beautiful items. This is the power of life. With Christ as life there is power, which is the resurrection power, the power of resurrection. Nothing can hold or restrict it. The more we restrict it, the more it becomes stronger and more powerful. Remember well that with life there is beauty, riches, and power.

What do we mean by the term life? It is hard to give a definition of life. Life is something mysterious. If we go to the scientists, they cannot tell us, and if we go to the medical doctors, they cannot give an adequate definition. I have had a number of good talks with medical doctors about the physical life, and I asked them what the difference is between a dead person and a living person. From the medical point of view there is little difference with respect to the physical body. A dead body and a living body are nearly the same. To me, however, there is a great difference. When a person is dead, he is dead, and when he is living, he is living. How then can we define life, and in the whole universe, what is life?

As Christians we must know what life is. There is a verse in the Scriptures which says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:12). If we have the Son of God, we have life, and if we do not have the Son of God, we do not have life. What then is life? Christ, the Son of God, is life. As we have seen, all the different lives in God’s creation are not the real lives; they are types and shadows. The real life is Christ.

As humans, we have a life. Why then do the Scriptures say that if we do not have the Son of God, we do not have life? We must answer by saying that we have a life in figure, a life in shadow. Yes, we received a life from our parents, but that life is not the real life. That is a life in figure, a shadow of the real life. The real life is Christ. If we do not have Christ, we do not have life, and we are still in darkness. Now we may realize what life is. Life is Christ, the Son of God.

We must know the verses which support this thought. Besides 1 John 5:12 there is Colossians 3:4, which speaks of “Christ our life.” Moreover, in John 11:25 the Lord says, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and in 14:6 He says, “I am the way and the reality and the life.” In addition, John 1:4 says, “In Him was life,” and 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” John 3:16 and 36 also support the divine thought that life is simply Christ Himself, the Son of God, as life to us. With Christ as life there is beauty, there are riches, and there is the power of resurrection.

(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)