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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 2 comments

One of the things I love about learning is getting to see God put all the pieces together.  I had that experience recently while reading the novel, "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn. 

The book is set in modern day China and chronicles the reunion between college roommates Quan and Ben.  At one point in the story, Quan shows Ben how Christianity has been imbedded into the ancient Chinese language. 

Randy Alcorn is primarily an author of non-fiction, and one of the things I've enjoyed about his fiction is the amount of spiritual truth woven into the stories.  Because of this background, I have good reason to believe the information about the Chinese characters was factual, and further search on the internet seems to confirm this as well. 

According to Bible Probe, the Chinese language predates Biblical Hebrew anywhere from 700 to 1700 years.  This is the only ancient language still in use today!

The word meaning "to create" is translated, "from the dust, by the mouth was breathed life, and it walked."

Compare that with this verse from first book of the Bible. “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

There are two trees at the top of the character that means "to warn" or "forbidden" and an abbreviated form of God at the bottom.  The hook (bottom center) changes the meaning of the God character to "God commands or notifies."  Scripture records God giving warnings about two trees in the book of Genesis.

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” ~ Genesis 2:16-17

The second warning concerning a tree is found in Genesis 3:22, after Adam and Eve have sinned: And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

"Tempter" is a complex word, and within this character we find the devil. Figures, doesn't it? The devil is secretive and approached Eve in the garden disguised as a serpent but using the voice of a man. He tempted Eve under the cover of the trees.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” ~ Genesis 3:1

We see the two trees again - along with a woman - in the word meaning to desire or covet. The woman did not heed God's warnings and began to desire the forbidden fruit.

“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.” ~ Genesis 3:6

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

“Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.” ~ Genesis 6:10 7:13

“…you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” ~ Genesis 6:18

Noah + his wife (my dad always claimed her name was Yes-ah) + 3 sons + 3 daughters-in-law = 8 people on the ark.

Finally, we have the character for righteousness.  The upper part of this character is the word "lamb" while the lower part is "I" or "me."  There are a lot of different ways to read this one:  I am righteous under the lamb; the lamb over me is righteous; the lamb above changes men below. 

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

The information in this post is based on "Safely Home" by Randy Alcorn.    Photos of the characters came from "Answers in Genesis," and many sources reference "Discovering God in Chinese Characters" by Shirley Eu.


2 Responses so far.

  1. Love this, Lisa..it matches with what I read in another nonfiction book written by a Chinese-born professor (if I recall correctly).

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