My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I came to this this book a tad bit skeptical. The idea that ancient Chinese characters could be pictographs of the Genesis account was a new concept that probably only Christians could see, I imagined. But Kang and Nelson’s discoveries – as a whole – changed my mind. Individually, some characters could be debated, but with so many individual characters conspiring with allusion to the Genesis story, the conclusion cannot be ignored.
The writing is easy to follow, easy enough for someone ignorant of the language, like me, to understand and discover the conclusions. I give it four stars for the occasionally loose argument and short length of context in explanation. (But then again, I love books to tell everything…)
Samples of the wonders revealed through Kang and Nelson’s work include their discovery of the Chinese “border” sacrifice, which looked amazingly similar to the Hebrew’s version. Also, the calculation that the Chinese language was formulated at just about the same time Bible scholars estimate the Tower of Babel’s dispersion. And how the ancient (pre-Taoist, -Confucian, and -Buddhist) monotheistic deity Shang-Ti is described as a benevolent, all-powerful Father is certainly eye-opening. Surely if the Bible is true history, one can find its ideas reaching far back in all cultures. No wonder there is a flood story in almost every ancient civilization. There is always a truth, even just a grain, in multiple attestations.
In terms of characters, the wonders are collectively amazing. Some are argued a bit loosely, but some are quite convincing:
boat = vessel + eight + people
to covet = trees (2) + woman
to create = dust + life + able to walk + mouth (a grown man, able to walk, is revived by the breath of life from God’s mouth)
The symbol for “water” is oddly vertical, indicating some sort of fountain as man’s first encounter with the liquid – either in the Garden, as the mist God gave as irrigation (Genesis 2:6), or in the Flood, from the rain that suddenly debuted upon the world (Genesis 7:11).
And the fact that so many seemingly random characters feature the symbol for “garden” is significant. The four-sided cross-section could easily picture an irrigated plot of land etymologically, but when seen in such pictographs for “devil,” “fruit,” “naked,” “happiness,” and “tempter” – collectively, one has to be convinced.
The Chinese characters are also strikingly revelatory in the realm of Christian doctrine, as the ancient Asian perspective revealed some things the Bible chose to leave out, such as the the Chinese form for “fire” picturing a “man” clothed with “flames.” Moses’ face shone with the glory of the Father when he came in contact with God. Why couldn’t Adam and Eve been clothed with that same sinless glory? No wonder they suddenly realized they were naked when they sinned. And the idea that God is the energy that formed matter (E=mc2) was alluded to in this book, an idea I had been considering for a while now.
In conclusion, I am delighted to have read this book. It is such a new perspective, yet the idea that ancient cultures must have known about the world’s most significant events (namely, Creation, the Fall, the Flood, Babel’s dispersion) makes logical sense. Another book, Eternity in Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World by Don Richardson, illustrates the significance of this book’s theme: When a Christian missionary to China showed how some characters revealed the Genesis story, the Chinese man suddenly realized that Christianity is not a foreign religion. Instead, it is simple historical fact and reality – a history indeed embedded in his very own culture, his very own language.