For any soul, its reincarnation, what its role is in this life, what family it is born into, and what its life is like are closely related to the soul’s previous lifetime. All kinds of people come into the world of man, and the roles they play vary, as do the tasks they carry out. And what tasks are these? Some people have come to repay debts: If they owed others too much money in their past lives, they come to repay those debts in this life. Some people, meanwhile, have come to collect debts: They were scammed out of too many things and too much money in their previous lifetimes; as a result, after they arrive in the spiritual world, it gives them justice and allows them to collect their debts in this lifetime. Some people have come to repay debts of gratitude: During the previous lifetime—that is, their previous reincarnation—someone was kind to them, and due to having been given the great opportunity to be reincarnated in this life, they are reborn to repay those debts of gratitude. Others, meanwhile, have been reborn into this life to claim lives. And whose lives do they claim? They claim that of the people who killed them in their previous lives. In sum, every person’s present life bears a strong connection to their previous lifetimes; this connection is inseverable. That is to say, every person’s present life is hugely affected by the previous one. For example, let us say that before he died, Zhang cheated Li out of a large amount of money. Does Zhang then owe Li a debt? He does, so is it then natural that Li should collect his debt from Zhang? As a result, after they die, there is a debt between them that must be settled. When they are reincarnated and Zhang becomes human, how does Li collect his debt from him? One method is to be reborn as Zhang’s son; Zhang earns a large amount of money, which is then squandered by Li. No matter how much money Zhang earns, his son Li squanders it. No matter how much Zhang earns, it is never enough; and meanwhile, his son, for some reason, always ends up spending his father’s money by various means. Zhang is mystified, wondering, “Why does this son of mine always bring such bad luck? Why is it that other people’s sons are so well-behaved? Why does my own son have no ambition, why is he so useless and incapable of earning any money, and why do I always have to support him? Since I have to support him, I will—but why is it that no matter how much money I give him, he always needs more? Why is he incapable of doing an honest day’s work, and instead does all kinds of things such as loafing around, eating, drinking, whoring, and betting? What on earth is going on?” Zhang then thinks for a while, “It could be that I owe him a debt from a previous lifetime. Well then, I’ll pay it off! This won’t end until I pay it in full!” The day might come when Li really has recouped his debt, and by the time he is in his forties or fifties, he might suddenly come to his senses, realizing, “I haven’t done a single good thing in the entire first half of my life! I’ve squandered all the money my father earned, so I should start being a good person! I’ll steel myself; I’ll be someone who is honest and lives properly, and I will never bring grief to my father again!” Why does he think this? Why does he suddenly change for the better? Is there a reason for this? What is the reason? (It is because Li has collected his debt; Zhang has paid his debt.) In this, there is cause and effect. The story began long, long ago, before their current lifetimes; this story of their past lives has been brought to the present, and neither can blame the other. No matter what Zhang taught his son, his son never listened nor did an honest day’s work. Yet on the day the debt was repaid, there was no need to teach his son—he naturally understood. This is a simple example. Are there many such examples? (Yes, there are.) What does it tell people? (That they should be good and not commit evil.) That they should do no evil, and that there will be retribution for their wrongdoings! Most unbelievers commit much evil, and their wrongdoings are met with retribution, correct? However, is such retribution arbitrary? For every act, there is a background and a reason behind its retribution. Do you think nothing will happen to you after you have cheated someone out of money? Do you think that after having swindled that money away, you will not face any consequences? Such would be impossible; there will indeed be consequences! Regardless of who they are or whether or not they believe that there is a God, all individuals must take responsibility for their own behavior and bear the consequences of their actions. With regard to this simple example—Zhang’s being punished, and Li’s being repaid—is this not fair? When people do such things, this is the sort of result that occurs. It is inseparable from the administration of the spiritual world. Despite their being unbelievers, the existence of those who do not believe in God is subject to these sorts of heavenly edicts and decrees. No one can escape from them, and no one can avoid this reality.
Those who have no faith often believe that everything visible to humans exists, while everything that cannot be seen, or which is very distant from people, does not. They prefer to believe that there is no “cycle of life and death,” and that there is no “punishment”; as such, they sin and commit evil without compunction. Afterward, they are punished, or they reincarnate as animals. Most of the various sorts of people among unbelievers fall into this vicious circle. This is because they do not know that the spiritual world is strict in its administration of all living beings. Whether you believe or not, this fact exists, for not a single person or object can escape the scope of what God observes with His eyes, and not a single person or object can escape the rules and limitations of His heavenly edicts and decrees. Thus, this simple example tells everyone that regardless of whether or not you believe in God, it is unacceptable to sin and commit evil, and that all actions bear consequences. When someone who cheated another out of money is punished, such punishment is fair. Commonly seen behavior such as this is penalized in the spiritual world, and such punishment is delivered by the decrees and heavenly edicts of God. Therefore, grievously criminal and wicked behavior—raping and looting, fraud and deception, theft and robbery, murder and arson, and so on—is even further subject to an array of punishments of varying severity. What do these punishments of varying severity include? Some of them establish the level of severity using time, whereas some do so through differing methodologies; still others do by determining where people go when they are reincarnated. For example, some people are foul-mouthed. What does being “foul-mouthed” refer to? It means frequently swearing at others and using malicious language that curses others. What does malicious language signify? It indicates that the person has a malicious heart. Foul language that curses others often comes from the mouths of such people, and such malicious language brings severe consequences. After these people have died and received the appropriate punishment, they may be reborn as mutes. Some people are very calculating while still alive; they often take advantage of others, their little schemes are particularly well-planned, and they do much harm to people. When they are reborn, it could be as half-wits or people who are mentally disabled. Some people often peer into the private business of others; their eyes see much that they should not have been privy to, and they learn much that they ought not to know. As a result, when they are reborn, they may be blind. Some people are very nimble when they are alive; they often fight and do much that is evil. Because of this, they might be reborn disabled, lame, or missing an arm; otherwise they might reincarnate as hunchbacks or wrynecks, walk with a limp, have one leg shorter than the other, and so on. In these, they have been subjected to various punishments based on the levels of evil they committed while alive. Why do you think some people have lazy eye? Are there many such people? These days there are more than just a few. Some people have lazy eye because in their past lives, they made too much use of their eyes and did too many bad things, so they were born into this life with lazy eye, and in serious cases, they were even born blind. This is retribution! Some people get on well with others before they die; they do many good things for their relatives, friends, colleagues, or the people connected to them. They give charity and care to others, or assist them financially, and people think very highly of them. When such people return to the spiritual world, they are not punished. For an unbeliever to not be punished in any way means they were a very good person. Instead of believing in the existence of God, they only believe in the Old Man in the Sky. Such a person only believes that there is a spirit above them, watching everything they do—that is all this person believes in. The result is that this person is much better-behaved. Such people are kindhearted and charitable, and when they ultimately return to the spiritual world, it will treat them very well, and they will soon be reincarnated. When they are reborn, what sorts of families will they arrive in? Though such families will not be rich, they will be free from any harm, with harmony among their members; there, these reincarnated people will pass safe, happy days, and everyone will be joyous and live good lives. When these people reach adulthood, they will have large, extended families, their children will be talented and enjoy success, and their families will enjoy good fortune—and such an outcome is hugely connected to these people’s past lives. That is, where people go after they die and are reincarnated, whether they are male or female, what their missions are, what they will go through in life, what setbacks they will endure, what blessings they will enjoy, whom they will meet, and what will happen to them—no one can predict these things, avoid them, or hide from them. Which is to say, once your life has been set, whatever happens to you—however you try to avoid it, and by whatever means—you have no way of violating the life course that God set out for you in the spiritual world. For when you are reincarnated, your life’s fate has already been set. Whether it be good or bad, everyone should face up to this and keep moving forward. This is an issue that no one who lives in this world can avoid, and no issue is more real. You have all understood everything I have been saying, right?
Having understood these things, have you now seen that God has very exacting and rigorous checks and administration for the cycle of life and death of unbelievers? Firstly, He has established various heavenly edicts, decrees, and systems in the spiritual realm, and once these have been declared, they are very strictly carried out, as set by God, by beings in various official positions in the spiritual world, and no one would dare violate them. Therefore, in the cycle of life and death of mankind in the world of man, whether someone is reincarnated as an animal or a human, there are laws for both. Because these laws come from God, no one dares to break them, nor is anyone able to break them. It is only due to this sovereignty of God, and because such laws exist, that the material world that people see is regular and orderly; it is only because of this sovereignty of God that humans are able to coexist peacefully with the other world that is completely invisible to them, and able to live in harmony with it—all of which is inextricable from God’s sovereignty. After a person’s fleshly life dies, the soul still has life, and so what would happen if it were not under God’s administration? The soul would wander all over the place, intruding everywhere, and would even harm the living things in the human world. Such harm would not only be done to mankind but could also be done to plants and animals—however, the first to be harmed would be people. Were this to happen—if such a soul were without administration, genuinely harmed people, and actually did wicked things—then this soul would also be properly handled in the spiritual world: If things were serious, the soul would soon cease to exist, and would be destroyed. If possible, it would be placed somewhere and then reincarnated. That is to say, the spiritual world’s administration of various souls is ordered, and is carried out in accordance with steps and rules. It is only because of such administration that the material world of man has not fallen into chaos, that the humans of the material world possess a normal mentality, a normal rationality, and an ordered fleshly life. Only after mankind has such a normal life will those who live in the flesh be able to continue to thrive and reproduce throughout the generations.
…When it comes to unbelievers, is the principle behind God’s actions one of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked? Are there any exceptions? (No.) Do you see that there is a principle behind God’s actions? Unbelievers do not actually believe in God, nor do they submit to His orchestrations. In addition, they are unaware of His sovereignty, much less do they acknowledge Him. More seriously, they profane against God, and curse Him, and are hostile toward those who believe in God. Despite this attitude of theirs toward God, His administration of them still does not deviate from His principles; He administers them in an orderly manner, in accordance with His principles and His disposition. How does He regard their hostility? As ignorance! As a result, He has caused these people—that is, the vast majority of unbelievers—to reincarnate as animals in the past. So, in God’s eyes, what exactly are unbelievers? They are all beasts. God administers beasts as well as mankind, and for such people He has the same principles. Even in His administration of these people and His actions toward them, His disposition can still be seen, as can His laws behind His dominion over all things. And so, do you see God’s sovereignty in the principles by which He administers the unbelievers I just mentioned? Do you see God’s righteous disposition? (We do.) In other words, no matter which out of all the things He deals with, God acts according to His own principles and disposition. This is God’s essence; He would never casually break with the decrees or heavenly edicts that He has set just because He regards such people as beasts. God acts on principle, not recklessly in the least, and His actions are totally unaffected by any factor. Everything He does abides by His own principles. This is because God possesses the essence of God Himself; this is an aspect of His essence not possessed by any created being. God is conscientious and responsible in His handling of, approach to, management of, administration of, and ruling over every object, person, and living thing among all the things He created, and in this, He has never been careless. To those who are good, He is gracious and kind; upon those who are wicked, He inflicts remorseless punishment; and for the various living beings, He makes appropriate arrangements in a timely and regular manner according to the varying requirements of the human world at different times, such that these various living beings are reincarnated according to the roles they play in an orderly manner and move between the material world and spiritual world in a methodical way.
The death of a living being—the termination of a physical life—signifies that the living being has passed from the material world into the spiritual world, whereas the birth of a new physical life signifies that a living being has come from the spiritual world into the material world and begun to undertake and play its role. Whether it be the departure or arrival of a being, both are inseparable from the work of the spiritual world. By the time someone comes into the material world, suitable arrangements and definitions have already been formed by God in the spiritual world as to which family that person will go to, the era in which they will arrive, the hour at which they will arrive, and the role they will play. As such, this person’s entire life—the things they do, and the paths they take—will proceed according to the arrangements made in the spiritual world, without the slightest deviation. Furthermore, the time when a physical life terminates and the manner and place in which it ends are clear and discernable to the spiritual world. God rules the material world, and He also rules the spiritual world, and He will not delay a soul’s normal cycle of life and death, nor could He ever commit any errors in the arrangements of that cycle. Each of the attendants in the official posts of the spiritual world carries out their individual tasks, and does that which they ought to do, in accordance with the instructions and rules of God. Thus, in the world of mankind, every material phenomenon beheld by man is in order, and contains no chaos. All of this is due to God’s orderly rule over all things, as well as the fact that His authority rules over everything. His dominion includes the material world that man lives in and, moreover, the invisible spiritual world behind mankind. Therefore, if humans wish to have a good life, and hope to live in nice surroundings, in addition to being provided with the entire visible material world, they must also be provided with the spiritual world, which no one can see, which governs every living being on behalf of mankind, and which is orderly. Thus, having said that God is the source of life for all things, have we not heightened our awareness and understanding of “all things”? (Yes.)
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique X” in The Word Appears in the Flesh