Anyone who either denies or doubts the authenticity of the True Life in God messages has to confront the question: where, then, do the messages come from? There are only four alternatives: :
(1) Vassula Ryden has made the messages up herself and is passing them off as message from God.
(2) Vassula Ryden is insane and the messages are a product of her insane delusions that she is receiving messages from God.
(3)The True Life in God messages come from the Devil, or some equivalent ‘bad spirit’.
(4) The True Life in God messages are exactly what they purport to be – messages from God; ; – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit.
We can quickly dismiss possibilities (1) and (2) as completely impossible. The messages that have been published so far – from 1985 to 2003 – come to roughly 600,000 words (by comparison the King James Bible is about 800,000 words). Even Vassula Ryden’s fiercest opponents have never been able to discover more than a few lines which they claim to be theologically incorrect. The idea that Vassula Ryden – who before 1985 had hardly ever gone to Church, had no theological training, no real knowledge of the Bible – could have made these messages up herself is completely impossible. And why would she have wanted to make these messages up and pass herself off as a prophet from God? Until 1985, she lived a perfectly normal, contented family life, devoting her time to painting, tennis, and socialising. She had no reason to want to change her life, let alone start lying to everyone she knew and everyone she met that she was receiving messages from God. So that disposes of option (1). Similarly, option (2) must be dismissed. The idea that someone who suffers insane delusions could produce 600,000 words of either faultless – or, as her opponents would contend, near faultless – theology is impossible. So that leaves options (3) and (4).
Because options (1) and (2) are impossible, Vassula’s fiercest opponents are forced to contend – when they confront the question of the origin of the messages at all – that Vassula is receiving these messages from the Devil, or as they would probably prefer to put it, a ‘bad spirit’. But again this option must be dismissed. While it is possible that Vassula is the subject of a 20 year old con trick – where the Devil has consistently managed to fool her into thinking that the messages she is receiving are from God, when in fact they are from him – one has to ask: Why on earth would the Devil do this? Consider the following facts:
Reading the messages leads to conversion
People who read True Life in God seriously are never led to believe that God does not exist, or that they should lead a non-Christian lifestyle, or that they should start up a religion or cult based around worship of some false God. Instead, non-practising Christians who read the messages and believe that they are authentic are led to repent their sins, start reading the Bible, start going to Church, stop doing things which are displeasing to God, and try to convince fellow non-Christians to follow their example. Practising Christians who read the messages and believe that they are authentic find that their faith and understanding of God is deepened and their lives as Christians become more intense and connected with God. Why would the Devil want to change the lives of non-practising Christians and practising Christians in these kinds of ways, through the True Life in God messages?
The True Life in God messages consistently warn people against Satan and being either tricked or trapped by him into acting contrary to God’s wishes. The first mention of Satan in the published True Life in God messages is on February 21, 1987::‘I am among you all; but, nevertheless, Satan is escorting you, for he has found means to seduce you and make you fall into his impious nets’. Why would the Devil want to warn us about this? OnMarch 7, 1987, , Vassula is given a terrifying vision of Hell and of the Devil, following which the True Life in God messages say: ‘I want My children to understand that their souls live and that evil exists; all that is written in My Blessed Word is not a myth; Satan exists and seeks to ruin your souls; I suffer to see you slumbering and unaware of his existence; I come giving you warnings, giving you signs, but how many of you will read My warnings as fairy-tales?’ Again, why would the Devil try to give us this warning?
Some messages against the Devil
The portrait of the Devil in the True Life in God messages is hardly flattering. There are 274 references to ‘Satan’ in the True Life in God messages. All of them are negative .Satan is depicted as a ‘madman, fuming with rage’ (March 7, 1987 , also September 9, 1987),as deceitful, blinding people to the truth (December 12, 1987 ), as ‘pompous...and...vain » (October 14, 1988), as constantly attacking Vassula Ryden and seeking to stop the messages being read by people or believed (April 27, 1988 ), as trying to leave mankind ‘without light, without happiness, without mercy’ (January 31, 1991), , as ‘jealous’ of Vassula and mankind generally February 12, 2000). Why would the Devil want us to think that he is all of these things?
Warning of the Hell
The True Life in God messages consistently warn that there is a Hell and there is a very real danger that people who are walking around on the Earth today will go there after they die unless they change their lives.
A True Life in God message received on October 22, 1996 said, ‘I tell you solemnly the man who will thrust himself voluntarily at the Beast’s feet, worshipping him and accepting his kingdoms of the world, will be cast into the fires of hell’. ’. Another message received on August 9, 1988 said, ‘if only you knew how many souls fall every single day into hell! the amount is alarming... from Cardinals to young children’. Whether we like the idea that there is a Hell or not, and whether we find the idea that so many people go to Hell offensive or not, the question remains – why would the Devil want to make us so scared of the possibility of going to Hell?
Encouragement to conversion
The True Life in God messages consistently encourage people to do things that we would expect the Devil not to want people to do. On February 9, 1990,Vassula Ryden received the following message, intended for everyone in the world: ‘I desire you to pray for all the bishops and priests; I desire you to listen to all the teachings of those who represent Me; I desire you to fast and do penitence; I desire you to receive My Holy Eucharist as often as you can; I desire you to go for confession at least once a month; I desire you to read daily a part out of Scriptures; I desire you to repair for others by sacrificing; I desire them to pray the Rosary and, if possible, all three Mysteries’. Why would the Devil want to encourage people to do these things?
Encouragement to pray St Michael
People who believe in the authenticity of the True Life in God messages are encouraged to pray three prayers a day: one is a prayer to Jesus, one is a prayer to the Virgin Mary, and one is a prayer to St Michael the Archangel. (See the message delivered on May 4, 1988.) Leaving aside the obvious question of why the Devil would want to encourage us to say any of these prayers, why would he – in particular – encourage people to pray the prayer to St Michael the Archangel, which goes: ‘St Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle, be our safeguard against the lures and wickedness of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of Almighty God, cast into Hell Satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.’ Why would the Devil want anyone to pray a prayer like that?
The Devil’s interests
Given all this, it is almost impossible to believe that the True Life in God messages come from the Devil, or some other ‘bad spirit’. Vassula’s fiercest opponents might try to argue in response that the messages do come from the Devil, but the Devil does all of the things above so as to fool people into thinking that they come from God. After all, he has to make it look as though the messages come from God if they are going to be accepted.
But – we can ask in turn – what exactly does the Devil gain from spreading the True Life in God messages? What is the benefit that he gets, that he is willing to incur the risk that through them people will be converted to believing in God, , believe that the Devil is repulsive and is to be avoided at all costs, believe in Hell and the necessity of avoiding doing anything that might result in their living there for eternity, start leading lives that most people would regard as extremely pious, and pray every day for protection against the Devil? What, exactly, is the upside for the Devil of having people believe in the True Life in God messages? The question has never been addressed by Vassula Ryden’s critics – so far as we can see – because there is no convincing answer.
The best any of her critics would be able to contend, if they addressed the issue, is that there are one or two doctrinal errors contained in the True Life in God messages – which we, of course, would deny – and that the messages have been communicated by the Devil in order to trap people into falling into these errors. But this response is totally unconvincing. No one is going to go to Hell – the Devil’s ultimate objective – because their theology contains one or two errors. But thousands and thousands of people who read the True Life in God messages and believe in them will avoid going to Hell because of the change in their lives that reading and believing those messages has brought about. If the True Life in God messages did come from the Devil, they would represent a spectacular error of judgement on his part. And no one has ever been able to say that the Devil is not intelligent. And finally we can ask anyone who still – against all reason and logic – contends that the True Life in God messages come from the Devil: Where is God in all this? Here we have a woman who was leading up until 1985 a perfectly contented, normal, happy life. And – according to you – the Devil then fools her into thinking that she is receiving messages from God; and over 20 years later, she and thousands and thousands of other people – theologians, priests and laypeople – are still being fooled. Where is God? Why would He allow something like this to happen? Every day, Vassula and those thousands and thousands of people who believe in the True Life in God messages pray ‘…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ Would God not answer these prayers, and make the true origin of the True Life in God messages abundantly clear? Again, no convincing answer can possibly be given.
Option (3) is simply not tenable. And that leaves us with only one other explanation as to the origin of the True Life in God messages. That is option (4) – that the True Life in God messages do indeed come from God. This is the only rational explanation for the origin of the True Life in God messages. There is no other explanation available that we could sensibly adopt.
Those who reject the True Life in God messages because they object to the ‘tone’ of the messages or because they disagree with something they say are like the ‘blind guides’ of the Bible, who ‘strain at a gnat, but swallow a camel’ (Matthew 23:24). They are unwilling to believe something that is quite easy to believe – such as that Jesus can talk in such an intimate way to someone like Vassula Ryden as he does in the True Life in God messages, or that Jesus would say some of the things He says in the True Life in God messages. At the same time they are willing to believe something that is literally incredible – that the True Life in God messages were made up by Vassula Ryden, or that they are the product of her insane delusions, or that they come from the Devil.