Evidences of Faith
Some of the evidence supporting the divine authorship of scripture can be found within scripture itself. And this only makes sense, because if the Creator of the universe chose to reveal His will in writing, clearly He could do so in such a way that we could verify its origin. But the internal evidence is not the only kind available to us. There is also external evidence based upon various phenomena we can observe, as well as information provided by various disciplines of science and history. This month, we will consider an example of external evidence which comes from a seemingly unlikely source: the Chinese written language.
Unlike our alphabet, which is a series of characters representing certain sounds, the ancient Chinese "alphabet" consists of characters which represent things or ideas: i.e., words. These characters are combined in various ways to make additional words. When a Chinese person reads a word so constructed, he does not read it as the sum of its parts, but rather as a distinct word. For example, consider the word for "west":
As you can see, the word for "west" is constructed of the symbols for "one" or "first", "man", and "garden enclosure". Now, the Chinese do not read this as "first man in a garden enclosure", but simply as "west". However, it is interesting that the ancient word is constructed out of these particular parts. Indeed, this is an enigmatic assortment of ideas from which to construct "west": how would the ancient Chinese get the idea to put these symbols together this way? The answer to this question begins to emerge when you realize that due west of China lie the Tigris and Euphrates rivers; because according to Genesis 2:14, these were two of the rivers which flowed out of the garden of Eden. So the biblical location of the garden of Eden, where God placed the very first man, is due west of China.
Some of you are thinking, no doubt, that this is just an oddball coincidence. Sure, it may seem strange that the word is so constructed, but it doesn't prove anything. And I agree that, by itself, the word for "west" could be regarded as mere happenstance. But consider the word for "important" or "necessary":
Of course, the helper, whom God deemed important or necessary for the man's well-being, was the woman. So, according to the Bible, it was important, even necessary, for the first man in the garden (which happens to be west of where China would eventually be) to have a woman.
Okay, so now there are two freak coincidences. So what? Even if the above two instances were the only such connections between written Chinese and the opening chapters of the Bible, we would be unwise to dismiss them hastily. But consider the word for "large boat":
Noah had three sons (Genesis 6:10). So, Noah and his wife and his sons and his daughters-in-law add up to eight mouths or persons. The biblical account of the flood describes the ark as a large boat which carried eight persons, and the Chinese character for "large boat" is a boat with eight persons.
Surely all of these correlations cannot reasonably be dismissed out of hand. There is too much here to be mere coincidence. And the instances listed in this article are not exceptional; there are many others similar to these. (In fact, any reader who is interested may contact me, and I will send you several pages of them.) All of these incidents involve biblical events which occurred hundreds of years before the earliest occurrence of Chinese writing, so there was plenty of time in between to allow for the development of the writing. Therefore, we must conclude that the people who developed the ancient Chinese written language were aware of the same account of the creation and earliest history of man that is recorded in the Bible. This is a powerful testimony to the truthfulness and accuracy of the scriptural record.
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