It has been asserted that the author of the Chinese alphabet could very well been knowledgeable of the accounts in Genesis 1-11--those that occurred prior to the division of peoples and languages at Babel. It is stated that many Chinese characters intrinsically reflect the peculiarities of the Genesis account.

What is the nature of these characters? What is the evidence that would suggest that the author of the Chinese script was, in fact, familiar with the Genesis account?

See this as an example

  • We really need to know if these are from an ancient script or a modern one.
    – Ryan Frame
    Jun 17, 2013 at 21:48
  • @RyanFrame They are based on the Oracle Bone scripts--the oldest known to exist.
    – Narnian
    Jun 17, 2013 at 21:59
  • Chinese.SE (It seems there is one): Can someone verify the meanings and age of these ancient Chinese characters?
    – user3961
    Jun 17, 2013 at 23:41
  • @jackweinbender Why not read both sides of the issue? If you make up your mind by reading only one side, you really do not have the authority to comment on it. This is what Luke commended the Bereans for doing--investigating to see for themselves. Of course, you will be able to find someone who already agrees with your opinion, but excluding all evidence that contradicts preconceived notions will never lead to learning and is certainly not scholarship of any sort.
    – Narnian
    Jun 20, 2013 at 16:06
  • As I implied--there aren't two sides. These are fringe voices from people unqualified to make the claims they espouse. But this won't get us anywhere. Jun 20, 2013 at 16:40

2 Answers 2



As missionaries have gone to China over the centuries to proclaim the gospel. Learning the script as an adult can sometimes involve breaking the symbols down into their components to remember them more easily. In doing so, some missionaries have found some curiosities in the characters that seemed to point to things found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis.

Indeed, if the Bible is true, the creation of languages and the spreading of mankind over the face of the earth began at the Tower of Babel. All of those people at that time would have had a common history that included the accounts found in Genesis 1-11. (The account of the Tower of Babel occurs in Genesis 11.)

Ethel Nelson has written a few books on this, the last and best of which is entitled God's Promise to the Chinese.



The word for create is interesting, combining the characters for speak, dust, life, and walk. Genesis records that God "spoke" things into existence and specifically formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 NAS

To Create


The word for covet or desire is the combination of two symbols (or three): two trees and a woman. This references the account in Genesis 3. There were two trees, one of which was forbidden.

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. She also gave some to her husband. Genesis 3:6 NIV

Covet, Desire


The word "forbidden" is also interesting, being the combination the characters for two trees adn God.



The word boat is the combination of three other characters: the number eight, person, and vessel. So, the boat character is "an eight person vessel". Of course, Noah's ark was populated by him and his wife, his three sons and their three wives. Thus, the first and only boat recorded in Genesis 1-11 was "an eight person vessel".


Many others

In God's Promise to the Chinese many more characters are examined. A few characters can be explained away, but after seeing dozens of characters that so closely reflect the Genesis account, it is much more plausible to conclude that the author of the Chinese script was likely quite familiar with the Genesis account.

As a note, Nelson's latest work analyzes the oldest known script.

  • 2
    +1 Interesting to consider. I actually have three books tracing the origin of various Chinese words (living in Hong Kong I am naturally interested) but have never thought about it from this line before. On the other hand I am not convinced. For example 8 according to my book stems from the meaning to make an even opening, or divide, so one could say a vessel with an even sided 'mouth' (also means opening) is a boat. This gets pretty tricky to really argue. Covet is interesting! 'Good' is a women with child, guess that sort of fits. Interesting subject, I would not discount it as a possibility.
    – Mike
    Jul 4, 2013 at 13:23

I am far from an expert on this topic, and this is anything but a complete answer. In fact, your question got me interested in reading the book Genesis and the Mystery Confucius Couldn’t Solve, referenced by your link. So I pulled it up on Amazon, and some of the reviews address the credibility of the author:

Ethel Nelson's previous book on this subject, "The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Languages" was based on modern Kaishu forms, which are often totally different from the original forms, so that the elements into which the characters were analyzed did not even exist in the original forms.

When this was pointed out to Nelson after the publication of that book, she then came out with this one, scrapping most of her previous contentions and producing new ones, using older character forms as a basis. However, the authors are careful to pick and choose forms that support their analysis, even if other forms are far more common. You can find lots of samples of oracle bone characters on the Web. See for yourself. In fact, it appears that some may be made up on the basis of related forms, as I can't find any examples of them.

Also, this book and the previous one share another set of problems. Nelson and her co-authors seem to have no idea that the origins of specific Chinese characters have been well understood for quite some time.


  • 2
    This appears to be an answer to a different question or a comment.
    – Narnian
    Jun 19, 2013 at 13:37
  • @Narnian: If I could put it in a comment, I would have.
    – Flimzy
    Jun 19, 2013 at 18:42

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