Does the Chinese language hold secrets that point to the one true Creator? Does this ancient language hold the key to pointing the Chinese people to the One true God? There are so many Chinese characters that we can use to tell the Gospel story.
If we look at the Chinese word for culture, 文化, 文 (wen) means either character, script, writing, or it can mean language, but if we dig a little deeper and look at it from a historical perspective, it takes on an entirely new meaning. The way the character 文 used to be written was as a man with a tattoo on his chest.
Here, we have a depiction of something being written upon the chest or heart. This is highly reminiscent of what the apostle Paul said in his letter to the church in Rome:
Romans 2:14-15: “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law instinctively perform the requirements of the Law, these, though not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”
This character indicates that they are aware that something is written upon their hearts.
The last word 化 (hua) is a bi-character word. The first part of this bi-character is the character for man or person 亻(ren) followed by it being turned upside down with the character 七 (qi), indicating that we have the indwelling spirit of the Lord, we become new creatures who see the world upside down.
Historically, the characters had the same attributes of being turned upside down like this:
This idea of turning the world upside down strongly reflects a story in the Bible: “…they dragged Jason and some of the brothers in front of the city at authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here.” The followers of Jesus were accused of “turning the world upside down.” Therefore, the Chinese characters reflects the kingdom of God reversing the order of the world and turning it upside down.
When we think of the word “culture,” let’s point to the Chinese characters and develop a culture that both represents the Lord and, as the Chinese have written in their word for culture, allow the words written on our hearts to change the world and turn it upside down.