Further Clues from the Chinese Language


Further clues from the Chinese language
We know what the ancient Chinese believed in not just from early historical writings but also from the formation of Chinese words. This is because the earliest period of Chinese history is also the period when Chinese writing developed. It is only when writing is developed that history can be written down.

From a study of Chinese writing, we know that the early Chinese had the right knowledge about God. They also had an idea on how to have a right relationship with God. They did not depend on their own righteousness but offered animal sacrifices to symbolically atone for their sins.

We know this from the Chinese character for righteousness 義 consists of me 我 covered under the lamb 羊. This is exactly in accordance with Biblical teaching that we can only be righteous before God if we are covered by the blood of the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ.

(John 1:29 NIV)  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

约 翰 福 音
1:29 次日,约翰看见耶稣来到他那里,就说,看哪,神的羔羊,除去(或作背负)世人罪孽的。

Even the story about how sin entered the world (as described in the book of Genesis of the Bible) was understood by the ancient Chinese. The Chinese word for desire 婪 tells of the story of how sin came into this world. It is not coincidence that the two key concepts that are found in this word are forest 林 and women 女. What have forest and woman have to do with desire?

The first book of the Bible – Genesis – tells us that in the forest, the first woman Eve desired to eat of a fruit that she has been warned not to.

(Gen 3:2-6 NIV)  The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, {3} but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" {4} "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. {5} "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." {6} When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.


创 世 纪
3:2 女人对蛇说,园中树上的果子,我们可以吃,
3:3 惟有园当中那棵树上的果子,神曾说,你们不可吃,也不可摸,免得你们死。
3:4 蛇对女人说,你们不一定死,
3:5 因为神知道,你们吃的日子眼睛就明亮了,你们便如神能知道善恶。
3:6 于是女人见那棵树的果子好作食物,也悦人的眼目,且是可喜爱的,能使人有智慧,就摘下果子来吃了。又给她丈夫,她丈夫也吃了。

The Bible tells us that when Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, they became aware that they are naked.

(Gen 3:7-8 NIV)  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. {8} Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

创 世 纪
3:7 他们二人的眼睛就明亮了,才知道自己是赤身露体,便拿无花果树的叶子,为自己编作裙子。
3:8 天起了凉风,耶和华神在园中行走。那人和他妻子听见神的声音,就藏在园里的树木中,躲避耶和华神的面。

It is interesting that the Chinese word for naked is 裸. The left hand side礻stands for God and the right hand side 果 stands for fruit. The first time mankind understood nakedness was after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit. This caused them to hide from God.

After Adam and Eve had sinned, God pronounced His judgment. The ground was cursed and man now had to work and toil for a living.

(Gen 3:17-18 NIV)  To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. {18} It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

创 世 纪
3:17 又对亚当说,你既听从妻子的话,吃了我所吩咐你不可吃的那树上的果子,地必为你的缘故受咒诅。你必终身劳苦,才能从地里得吃的。
3:18 地必给你长出荆棘和蒺藜来,你也要吃田间的菜蔬。

The Chinese word for suffering is 苦. The ancient Chinese understood that the first pronouncement of suffering was from ancient days 古 and it had something to do with the grass 廾.

Even the Chinese word for thorns illustrates this truth. That word is 荆, which incorporates the concepts of grass 廾 and punishment 刑.

The God whom Christians worship
From this we can see that the God of the early Chinese was from above. Shang-Ti 上帝 means “the Ruler from above” and Tien 天 means Heaven. The early Chinese did not deify human beings as gods or worship animals as gods.

Christians too worship only the God who comes from heaven.
(2 Chr 20:6 NIV)  "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God
who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.

历 代 志 下
20:6 说,耶和华我们列祖的神阿,你不是天上的神麽。你不是万邦万国的主宰麽。在你手中有大能大力,无人能抵挡你。