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Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. Genesis 11:1

Many Chinese view Judeo-Christianity as a “Western” religion with no relationship or relevance to the modern Chinese mind. Even Christians often hold to this same conception. A look at history and the Chinese language shows that such an assumption is ill founded.

The common history of mankind, from creation through the Tower of Babel, was captured by the Chinese and Hebrew languages in written form close in time to those original events as a testimonial throughout the ages that the Word of God is true. The Chinese language and Chinese culture are actually closer to the original early Judeo-Christian history than that of the rest of the western world with its more recently evolved spoken and written languages and culture.

According to the Bible, “the whole world had one language and a common speech.” (Genesis 11:1 NIV) God turned the one common language into multiple languages so that sinful mankind could not communicate one with another. “That is why it is called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.” (Genesis 11:9) The ancestors of the modern Chinese people migrated from Babel to what is now called China with their new language.

The Chinese language did not initially have a written form. History shows that Moses wrote the Genesis account using a well-developed written language at the same time that the Chinese were just creating their written language. Both written languages provide evidence that the account of Genesis is true. Two examples illustrate this.

The first comes from a point in time close to when language became confused. The Chinese and Hebrews represent two different people groups, physically separated in early history by both language and location. In the Hebrew language, Moses wrote that eight people boarded the ark. The same story is revealed in the Chinese character for boat. The Chinese character for boat is “chuan.” It is a complex character made up of the three simple characters, “zhou” meaning small vessel, “ba” meaning eight, and “kou” meaning mouth or representing a person. The character for “chaun,” therefore, is a pictograph of a vessel containing eight people.

The creator of the Chinese character for boat had to convey in a written form a meaning that already existed in a spoken form. By making a pictograph of a vessel containing eight people, the Chinese people were able to understand the meaning of the written character because their common history told them that the first big boat was one that contained their eight ancestors, Noah and his family.

Another example is the Chinese character for “create.” As Moses described the event, “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 NIV) The Chinese character for “create” contains the separate simple characters and independent strokes for “tu,” meaning dust of the ground, “kou” meaning mouth or breath, a pieh—a stroke used to indicate life—and a series of strokes indicating the ability to move around. The first two characters and the pieh combine together to form the more complex character “gao” meaning to speak. Beneath this character is placed the strokes evidencing the ability to move around, thus forming the complex character “zao” meaning to create.

Man is God’s special creation. The Chinese character representing the idea of create is a pictograph of a living, walking, talking, dust person. For those Chinese, seeing the character reminded them that man became a living being, able to walk and talk, after God formed man from the dust and breathed into him the breath of life.

Judeo-Christianity is much closer to Chinese culture than “Western” cultures. Just as the Hebrew language captured events of early history, Chinese characters have locked within them those same events. Character after character reveals the creation of the world, the Garden of Eden, the temptation of Satan, the fall of man, Adam and Eve’s hide-and-seek with God, the flood, the Tower of Babel, and the confusion of language. The testimony of the Chinese and Hebrew written languages establish that Judeo-Christianity is relevant to all people groups in the world, regardless of historical time, location, language or culture. God’s fingerprints are clearly visible for those with eyes to see what God is saying to his special creation.
Arthur Edward Lees

– This article comes from AI’s “No Higher Calling,” a devotional for lawyers.

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