Discovering God in Chinese Characters

There was no Moms BSF today, we were encouraged by Aunty Judy to attend the Senior Adults Fellowship (SAF), which conducted a talk on “Discovering God in Chinese Characters” delivered by an elder from Faith BP Church. As usual, SAF was very well-attended by the senior adults in Zion BPC.

SAF 26022015

The Chinese writing is the oldest form of writing system that is still currently in use today. In fact, Chinese characters are not merely used by the Chinese, but also in Japanese and Korean writing.

As we read in the Bible, God scattered and divided humanity into many different languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11). Is it possible that the Chinese people of ancient times made a historical record of the events of Creation, the Fall of Man and the Flood of Noah by developing the Chinese characters according to events, long before they were documented in Jewish scriptures?

The following are some Chinese characters, along with accompanying Bible verse(s), that were mentioned to us in today’s class.

1. Create, Creation

Create in Chinese

According to the book of Genesis, The LORD God created man with the ability to talk. He also created man with the ability to walk. This first man in history was given life, by His breath, from the dust of the ground. The word meaning “to create” is translated → “from the dust (ground), by the mouth was breathed life, and it walked.”

Create in Chinese

“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)

2. Blessedness

Genesis 1:31 tells us that God’s creation was very good. All that God had created had the blessing of God.

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

The “Fu” character takes dominance as a decoration in many homes, business companies, and cities as the Chinese New Year approaches every year. In fact, “Fu” is the most auspicious character in Chinese. It represents blessedness, happiness, riches, and success. Unfortunately, most Chinese are not aware of the wonderful message the character itself teaches about the Source of true blessing, riches, and success.

Blessing in Chinese

All humanity, regardless where we are, seek to be happy. However, many pursuits to attain happiness in life often end in unfulfilled dreams and despair. But there is yet hope for all of us, for God seek to bless us with true blessedness.

Imagine a life of blessedness: All our needs are fully provided without the need of having to work, no worries and unhappiness or discontentment. That was the life of Adam before the Fall. God created him in His own image and appointed him as the keeper of the Garden of Eden. He had fellowship with God his Creator, thus glorifying and enjoying Him. This was the true happiness which man had at the beginning.

Blessing in chinese

Interestingly, the Chinese character “Fu” comprised of four characters, is an iconographic record of the original blessedness of man preserved beautifully in the Chinese character. Blessedness is one man (referring to Adam, the representative head of the human race) in the garden/field with God.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

3. Suffering 

After the Fall when both Adam and Eve sinned against God, by disobeying His command, God, who was fair and just, expelled them out of the Garden of Eden, to work the ground from which Adam was taken and made.

Suffering in Chinese

“… the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

“Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:23)

4. Boat, Ark, Ship, Vessel

The word for boat is a combination of three characters: vessel, eight, and people. The vessel makes sense, but why eight people?

Boat in chinese

“Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.” (Genesis 6:10)

“On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.” (Genesis 7:13)

Noah + his wife + 3 sons + 3 daughters-in-law = 8 people on the ark.

5. Righteousness

The upper part of this character is the word “lamb” while the lower part is “I” or “me.”  It can be interpreted as: I am righteous under the lamb; the lamb who covers me made me righteous; the lamb covered me and I became righteous in Him.

Righteousness in Chinese

Jesus is called the Lamb of God because He is the perfect sacrifice offered to God. In 1 Peter 1:18-19 we are told, “You were ransomed . . . not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.”

Paul states, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus’ death on the cross was a passover from death to life for Himself and for all of us.

“John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

In the Gospel of John it was John the Baptist who gave Jesus the title Lamb of God (John 1:29). The Book of Revelation speaks of the Lamb at least 29 times. In a vision John sees a lamb. Four living creatures and 24 elders fall before the Lamb and sing praise because He purchased all people with His blood (Revelation 5:9).

If we are honest with ourselves, on our own and by our own efforts, we cannot possibly be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. We do not love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We do not love our neighbors as ourselves. We have a problem, and it’s called sin. We are born with it, and we cannot overcome the effects of it on our own. Sin radically affects us to our core. Sin affects what we do, say, and think. Sin taints everything about us. Therefore, no matter how good we try to be, we will never meet God’s standard of perfection. The Bible says that all of our righteous deeds are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Our own righteousness is simply not good enough and never will be, no matter how hard we try.

However, through our faith in Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to us. When we place our faith in Christ, God ascribes and attributes the perfect righteousness of Christ to our account so that we become perfect in His sight.

For God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

6.  Peaceful, Contentment, Safe, Secure

We were asked by our speaker what gives a woman security and contentment, and many agreed on the answer → a roof over her head.

Peaceful in Chinese

The character “An” originates from a pictogram denoting a woman underneath a roof and means “peaceful, tranquil, quiet, content”. As a noun, it also means safe; secure.

7. Faith, Believe

The Chinese character for faith “xin” means to believe. It also means to trust, as it shows a man (“man” radical at left) standing by his words (at right).

Faith in Chinese

Conclusion

These are the 7 Chinese characters we learnt today. Put together, they tell the story of salvation.

Conclusion

In the beginning, God created (造) the world. He was pleased with His creation and had blessed (福) it. God’s intent is to bless His creation for eternity, until sin entered the world through the deception of the cunning and scheming devil, which eventually caused the Fall, and brought about suffering (苦) of the entire creation (humanity, animals, plants etc.), in that all things that has life will die, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

God came to our rescue by providing us a way of salvation. In fact, Noah’s Ark (船) represents a picture of His salvation (read more here: http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/noahs-ark-a-picture-of-salvation/). Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, He who knew no sin, bore all our sin upon Himself at the cross. As a result, His righteousness was imputed to us. We are made right with God, and God now sees us as righteous (義) in Christ. Hence, we have peace in our hearts and are safe and secured (安) in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, who purchased us by His blood.

All it takes to receive this gift of salvation is to have faith (信) in Jesus Christ i.e. to believe in Him.

Little E at SAF

Throughout the 1-hr SAF talk, Little E was playing by herself. She pretended to serve and feed her teddy bear with her high-iron and fibrous oat bran and Nutrigrain, while finishing all of them by herself eventually. She is a darling. ❤

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