James Flory's MEMORY-HOLED BOOK REVIEWS

The Majority is Always Wrong.

Category: Every Tribe, Tongue, People, and Nation

THE DISCOVERY OF GENESIS by C.H. Kang and Ethel R. Nelson

“How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language”

Published in 1979, I recall that this book and the claims of its authors did indeed make a noteworthy splash across evangelical Christian circles, but for some reason I seem to remember that splash as having taken place later on, say, in the late 1980s or even early 1990s. That is when I distinctly recall evangelical friends, and a few evangelical teachers to whom I was listening at the time, praising this. Perhaps I was just feeling the ripples of the original splash. Hmm, yes, that could very well be, as I did yet not know Christ in the 1980s.

At any rate, I finally got around to picking up a used copy of this. The authors’ claims are gigantic, and they are intriguing; nevertheless, it is a brief work, only 121 pages. The authors propose to show that the account of the Book of Genesis can be substantiated in many of the symbols, or ideograms, of the Chinese language still used today; that unlike all more modern languages with their respective abstract letters in place of symbols, each Chinese ideogram represents a visual image, universally understood from antiquity, and when one takes apart each part or “radical” of a given ideogram, and isolates the meaning of each, and then adds each part together and then considers the meaning of the whole ideogram, many of the accounts of Genesis can be appreciated: The Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, The Nature of Satan, The Temptation and the Serpent, The Fall from Grace, The Hiding and Covering with Fig Leaves, Cain and Able, The Noahic Deluge, The Tower of Babel, and others. In the epilogue, the authors claim to show how the New Testament Gospel of Jesus Christ can be visually ascertained in a few Chinese characters. Unlike the authors’ more numerous Chinese symbols which purportedly confirm Genesis, where the ancient Chinese scribes would ostensibly have been creating these symbols to record events which they or their immediate ancestors had physically experienced, the authors conjecture regarding the supposed New Testament-confirming Chinese characters reads thus:  “…it would seem that the ancient Chinese sage was truly inspired…He surely appears to have been thinking God’s thoughts after Him!”

That is, of course, a very assuming statement. But it is consistent with the method of these authors throughout. The claims they make are a bit too bold, too assuming from beginning to end. They provide diagrams in the margins for all of the Chinese characters they are describing, alongside their explanations of which character correlates to which Genesis account. For roughly half of these, it seems to this reader that the authors are engaging in eisegesis rather than exegesis; that is, they are expressing their own idea, their own bias, and presenting that as some sort of obvious conclusion. This is especially evident when the authors attempt to explain the meaning of commonplace verbs like “to come” or “to go” or “to converse.” To assume that the ancient Chinese scribes would go to the trouble of fashioning such general, everyday parts of speech according to the Genesis account, that they would be that assiduously careful even in very mundane matters to render it faithful to Genesis, begins to get a little harder to believe–though, according to the diagram of each symbol as given by the authors, the respective explanations as given by the authors certainly do match up. What do they match up with?—Ah, here we get into the part that does make this book very worthwhile, for even the more hard-to-believe symbols/explanations are in accord with some other symbols/explanations that would seem to be of a much more apparent nature—and there are actually quite a few of these, from the symbol for “spirit” to the symbol for “to create” to the symbol for “west” to the symbol for “finish/complete” to the symbol for “garden” to the symbol for “to covet” to the symbols for “forbidden” and “devil” to the symbols for “tempter” and “to hide” to the symbols for “sorrow” and “suffering” to the symbols for “thorns” and “righteousness” and “sacrificial animals” to the symbol for “boat” to the symbol “altogether” and then “to hand down,” then to the symbols for “tower” to the symbol for “rebellion/confusion” to the symbol for “scatter/disperse,” and a few others. That is, assuming these authors’ basic claims as to the elementary meanings of each character and components are true; I will have to take their word for the time being as I do not read or speak Chinese.

So, assumimg the authors are telling the truth here, then this is indeed a very eyebrow-raising little book. And the authors do indeed provide enough evidence to show that their theory is surprisingly plausible. This reader would have preferred that they temper their enthusiasm just a bit, though, and put forward their findings with more objectivity and less certainty, in order to not make themselves so susceptible to the charge of “jumping to a desired conclusion.”

One more thing that this book briefly imparts is a bit of intriguing and little-known history about ancient China. The authors tell us that in very ancient China, before the time of Confucius and Buddha and Taoism, and for the centuries immediately following the approximate Scriptural date for the aftermath of the Tower of Babel enterprise, there was a long tradition of monotheistic worship and a ritual of sacrifice under the very first Chinese Emperors that was peculiarly similar to the accounts of worship and sacrifice outlined in the Book of Genesis as having been practiced by the generations of Adam down through Noah and Abraham. This tantalizing bit of history crops up a few times in the book, the authors do not go beyond a superficial relating of it, and it would seem that this deserves an investigation and a book (of greater length and depth than this one) of its own. Has someone already written such a book? Has someone already carried out such a study into this claim? I should like to read such a book about such a study. Is there such a thing out there?

Bottom line: This book is very recommendable indeed. The ambitious, and outright shocking, claims of the authors may very well be correct. But just do not look for anything definitive here; not in such a skimpy book as this. Let’s not jump to any conclusions just yet.

Addendum: Let it be noted that when these authors cite verses from the Bible, they do not cite from an authoritative text like the Tyndale or the KJB: They cite from the N.E.B., one of the plethora of bogus, paraphrasing, copyrighted, Alexandrian “new bible versions” that duped believers are unwisely using nowadays.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ
6/2014

INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF INSPIRATION by Harry Rimmer

This was written in the 1930s. It might be called a so-called “defense” of the Scriptures, although the author candidly and rightly acknowledges at the outset that the Scriptures need no defense; they defend themselves. Author Harry Rimmer had a Doctor of Divinity Degree. The fact that this book is, so far as this reader can tell, totally free from doctrinal error is a fascinating sign which shows that, unlike today, American seminaries were not completely polluted with secular and pagan heresies back in the 1930s.

There is not anything that really stands out about this book: It is written in a straightforward fashion, and the thoughts it contains are not terribly penetrating or unique–many Christian thinkers have put forward many of the same arguments, before and after. The book’s main strength is that it gives sound, scripturally backed apologetics at a reading level that most any Joe Six-Pack could understand.

Perhaps the last 1/3 of the book stands out as a kind of highlight, however, for here Mr. Rimmer examines the nature of prophecy, explaining why biblical prophecy is totally unique, and he also goes into much detail over a number of the famous prophecies of the Lord of Scripture that came true in later history in astounding fashion.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ
6/2010

A HISTORY OF THE MORAVIAN CHURCH by J.E. Hutton

A most insightful and rather comprehensive account of one of Christianity’s “finest historical hours,” so to speak. That is, in the church of the Bohemian Brethren, which later came to be known as the Moravian Church, we find a congregation of called-out remnant believers who persisted against all odds and against all persecution.
Hutton rightfully begins with the martyred John Hus of Bohemia (a part of modern Czechoslovakia), who was a forerunner of later “church reformers” like Luther and Calvin. Hus’s legacy became the foundation for this segment of God’s True Church.

It is a highly irregular history, though, even for a group of God’s persecuted people. Here was a church that always stayed small in numbers, but always remained pure in action and deed and quality of faith; here was a church which, several times, seemed to die away, to disappear from history; yet God miraculously seemed to resurrect them each time.

The most significant time the Moravian Church was resurrected was when the now-renowned Count Zinzendorf, an apparently rare Godly European nobleman (though the author “Lady Queensborough” decades ago claimed he was an occultist?), rather inadvertantly gave his life and his finances towards resurrecting it. Zinzendorf was deliberately founding a congregation of believers in his homeland of Saxony, but what he didn’t know till later was that he was resurrecting a century-long “extinct” church, formerly known as the Brethren, in neighboring Bohemia. The whole account is extraordinary and has God’s fingerprints all over it.
Hutton depicts Zinzendorf, probably rightfully so, as a conflicted genius of a man who, in saving the Bohemian Brethren from extinction, also inadvertantly and ironically was the man most responsible for holding them back from ever expanding their numbers beyond a paltry few remnant parties in several scattered though unified locations; for Zinzendorf staunchly held to a self-imposed rule of not proselytizing to Christians of other denominations, often to the point of turning away multitudes of applicants.

But the main achievement of this little band of believers is this: The Moravian Church pioneered any and all modern missionary work among protestant churches. Unlike nearly all protestant churches at the time, the Moravians believed that God wanted other peoples of the world to hear the Gospel and be saved. They sent missions to Greenland, to South Africa, to North America, to Ireland, and other lands. The saddest moment for the reader of this true account comes when the reader is struck with the realization that, though these Moravian missions all met with wonderful results, and many true converts were made among Eskimos, North American Indians, South African Blacks, and Roman catholic Irishmen, the world and the god of this world soon arrived to snuff out their gains. In South Africa, the racist Calvinist Boers evicted the Moravians for stooping to convert blacks whom they believed were predestined for hell; in North America, freemasons and groups posing as Christians began the ugly history of debauching the Indians with alcohol and systematically murdering and evicting them instead of carrying on the Moravian method of converting them for God’s Kingdom; in Ireland, where a Moravian with great zeal named John Cennick had made great inroads, John Wesley soon arrived with his ideas of Methodism and took all the credit for Cennick’s work. At any rate, Moravian or Methodist, pagan-catholic Rome eventually recouped as it always does and eradicated the budding biblical revival in Ireland.

Hutton is an excellent historian. Occasionally he may let his own biases show here and there, and he tends toward the state church/corporate church side of things in his narration, but only occasionally and in minor ways is this evinced. Hutton is a thorough, straightforward, and rather transparent writer, and occasionally he can be quite memorable in his succinct descriptions, such as when he describes the manner and methodology of the Moravians/Brethren as being, roughly, a “cross between the Puritans and the Quakers.”

We consistently are reminded and shown that the Brethren were always careful to avoid theological disputes, emphasizing instead an adherence to plain Scripture and appealing to human hearts instead of arguing with human heads. We could sure use more of that today.

This is a most wonderful account of a very unique branch of God’s True Ecclesia and every modern-day “evangelical” should read it, especially since the Moravians/Brethren abstained from warfare. They sought to convert the enemy, even at great peril to themselves, but they would not take up arms to destroy any fleshly “enemy” on behalf of any earthly king. Nothing could be so dramatically different in outlook from nearly all crusading/war-mongering “evangelical Christians” in America nowadays than this particular main tenet of the blessed Moravian Church.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ

HE WALKED AMONG US by Josh McDowell

REVIEW: Amateurish Writing but Essential Information

The writing is sometimes a little amateurish as it includes hand-tipping phrases like “in the next chapter we will be getting into…” etc., etc. Nevertheless, the factual/historical information itself is such that it still renders it worthy of very high marks. It pretty much blows the doors off so-called “higher-criticism” and shows you that Jesus was real, is real, and was and is exactly who He said He was/is. If an unbeliever reads this book and still goes away an unbeliever, he seriously has only himself to blame. They are truly without excuse (Romans 1).

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ
3/2004

ETERNITY IN THEIR HEARTS by Don Richardson

REVIEW: A Gentle Read that Supports Genesis Gigantically

The slim expanse of this book (only 192 pages) belies its staggeringly profound message: that there are a great many tribes of peoples all around the world which have a vestigial monotheistic belief system in a “sky god” who sounds an awfully lot like the God of the Bible; and, moreover, that this belief in a single, invisible, all-powerful “sky god” (as secular anthropologists call it) actually pre-dates the other competing, grafted-on religious systems such as Buddhism,

Confucianism, Taoism, et al, which surround these archaic and isolated multitudes. Thus, if Richardson’s claims are true, all other religions which do not adhere to the book of Genesis are immediately exposed as imposters.

Huge stuff from such a little book: There is even a corresponding expectation among a great many of these ancient cut-off peoples that someday their monotheistic Creator God (who is known by many names in many languages the world over) will send them a “book” which will reconcile them with him at long last after many millenia. Yes, there is also a widespread belief in these peoples that, at some point in the distant past, their ancestors violated and offended their “sky god” by trusting and following what basically amounts to various description of Satan. The details of the accounts differ, but the theme is universal, and this meshes impeccably with the account of Noah and the subsequent Tower of Babel.

Don Richardson draws upon decades of missionary experience, drawing first-hand knowledge from isolated and ancient tribes of peoples all around the world. He’ll strengthen your faith in the book of Genesis in rapid order, and how. Praise God.

Rating: Δ Δ Δ Δ Δ
3/2008