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Shangdi and El Shaddai


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#16 somechineseperson

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 02:55 PM

by the way I never heard of Chinese deity as "supereme creator".


Well sorry to say this, but there are probably a lot of things you haven't heard. I've never heard of many things too. This cannot be a criteria for judging whether or not I am right.

From another thread I saw you wrote you have edited the Wikipedia entry majorly... But by the way Jade Emperor does not seem Buddhism invention.. More like Dao or Confucian. :rolleyes:
And how could Jade Emperor be human being? :D

It certainly isn't a Confucian invention. There are both religious Daoist and Buddhist elements in this.

According to myths, the jade emperor was indeed a human being who rose to the heavenly court as its ruler as the reward after an extremely long period of Buddhist-type 修炼.

Hm... Isn't it "Tian" that is the earliest "deity"?


I think Tian and Di/Shangdi refer to the same Supereme Deity. "Di" was used earlier though.

I've never heard anyone worshipping Buddha as "supereme creator of universe".

That's because Buddhist philosophy thinks that the universe had no beginning in time. (Which by the way is an idea that is not supported by current scientific evidence) But actually in ancient Chinese myths the buddha had more authority than the jade emperor.

The two "novels" were made by "altering" the true stories.


Greatly altered, I would add.

:g: never heard of this.


See for example http://www.newadvent...then/04223b.htm

#17 naruwan

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 08:49 PM

I thought the original Jewish El Shaddai is a golden bull?
mudanin kata mudanin kata. kata siki-a kata siki-a. muhaiv ludun muhaiv ludun. kanta sipal tas-tas kanta sipal tas-tas. kanta sipal tunuh kanta sipal tunuh. sikavilun vini daingaz sikavilun vini daingaz.

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#18 DaMo

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 01:52 AM

DaMo, Somechineseperson can hardly be considered an evangelist. He is not even sure if he wants to be a Christian. Call him a theological theorist if you will, but to use him as an example of overzealous evangelists is to set up a straw man to knock down.

I was not referring to any particular CHF member. This uninformed claim of connection between Shaddai and ShangDi is featured on other Christian websites that want to recruit Chinese by convincing them of shared spiritual origins and then sneaking in J.C. when their guard is down.
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#19 Yun

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 02:02 AM

This uninformed claim of connection between Shaddai and ShangDi is featured on other Christian websites that want to recruit Chinese by convincing them of shared spiritual origins and then sneaking in J.C. when their guard is down.


I understand your distaste for such weak arguments. I personally don't see 'shared spiritual origins' as very neccesary for evangelism - the Romans had no shared spiritual origins with the Jews, for example, but they converted in the end.

I find that a lot of this theorizing is actually based more on a kind of Chinese pride that insists that if Christianity is the true religion, the Chinese can't have been wrong for so long. So they must have been right at first and then went wrong along the way.
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#20 Mok

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 05:51 AM

I read an interesting book about the ancient chinese characters caring biblical accounts of the fall and the flood (even salvations or sacrifice). When you think of it though, it make sense if the language is confused during the tower of babel and all people spread out after that, then they'll be caring the traditions and the stories with them (their "oral" traditions about the creation, the fall, the flood, etc). Anyway, El Shaddai already means "God Almighty" ^^ Nothing is "mere coincidence".


That would be a theory propounded by one Chinese Christian who collaborated with a Westerner (can't remember the name). They even suggest that Confucius was a believer in the one true God i.e. Jehovah, Yahweh, etc. because Daoism and other non-Christian/Jewish religions had yet to influence China. Pretty far-fetched if you ask me, because oral tradition without the benefit of written record can be faulty. Not that I don't believe in the Flood, the Fall, or Creation though. But then again, we will never know if the ancient Chinese before and during the Shang dynasty actually worshipped the Christian/Jewish God. I prefer to find out for real when I'm in glory and have all the time in the world to pursue these topics with the luminaries of Heaven. Who knows I might even meet Confucius himself. :haha:

I was not referring to any particular CHF member. This uninformed claim of connection between Shaddai and ShangDi is featured on other Christian websites that want to recruit Chinese by convincing them of shared spiritual origins and then sneaking in J.C. when their guard is down.


I can understand how you feel. I, too, like Yun, detest these kind of means for evangelising. You accept Jesus Christ not because of your ethnic origins but because you realise your need for Him. IMO those sites have lost sight of the proper methods of evangelism.

This issue is interesting and is much better studied when one is already a Christian. To be converted because of this theory is just...well...
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#21 somechineseperson

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 03:47 PM

I understand your distaste for such weak arguments. I personally don't see 'shared spiritual origins' as very neccesary for evangelism - the Romans had no shared spiritual origins with the Jews, for example, but they converted in the end.


Though you could argue the Greco-Roman Logos is the True God for Logos is the Greek term used for Word in the Greek New Testament.

Paul seems to have also agreed that the Greek "unknown god" is like a precursor to the Christian God in the Epistles.

Now I don't actually think such "redemptive analogies" (that's what they are called I think) are totally useless from a Christian point of view. If you read The City of God by St. Augustine for example you would see that he used certain manners of writing that are in a sense similar to what Yuan Zhiming and Wang Jingzhi used, (of course St. Augustine is a much better writer, there is no one even approaching him among Chinese Christians) praising certain elements of pagan Roman culture (e.g. the philosopher Varro and the Platonists) while countering others (e.g. worship of the pagan idols). Of course, where the Platonists differed from Christianity, he insisted that Christianity is ultimately correct.

Of course one could argue that the situations in the late Roman era is different from that of the modern PRC. For one thing, traditional Chinese culture is no longer such a big player in pagan Chinese culture as a whole, whereas in St. Augustine's day, classical Greco-Roman culture was pretty much all there was in the Greco-Roman world. Redemptive analogies would not be so useful to a pagan population that doesn't care about Shangdi and Confucius anyway. However, there are still some Chinese people at least who uphold certain aspects of traditional culture and take them seriously.

Lastly, from the point of view of the philosophy and history of religion, such issues might also be of interest.

But I do absolutely agree that one cannot decide to be a Christian based on redemptive analogies alone, or even based on it primarily. It is Jesus Christ, and must always be Jesus Christ that comes foremost in every kind of evangelism, for that is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. However, I don't think this means redemptive analogies are useless and meaningless, they do play a certain role in certain circumstances.

Edited by somechineseperson, 09 November 2005 - 04:07 PM.


#22 LYY

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 01:49 AM

But I do absolutely agree that one cannot decide to be a Christian based on redemptive analogies alone, or even based on it primarily. It is Jesus Christ, and must always be Jesus Christ that comes foremost in every kind of evangelism, for that is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. However, I don't think this means redemptive analogies are useless and meaningless, they do play a certain role in certain circumstances.


Sorry to interrupt in the middle of the discussion.

What is the significance of Jesus Christ to a Christian?
My Christian friends told me it is because Jesus sacrificed his life for the sins of his fellow mankind?

#23 esse

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 02:09 AM

1. The Judaic God is the Creator of the universe. So is Shangdi. Read the wikipedia entry on Shangdi. Shangdi is not a human being. You have confused Him with the "jade emperor", which is a later Buddhist invention.


wikipedia is useful, but I wouldn't rely on it entirely as a reference. Even I edited the ***** thing sometimes :P

2. Shangdi was not "invented" by Daoism. Read the wikipedia entry on Shangdi. Shangdi is China's earliest deity, dating back to more than a thousand years before Daoism came into existence.

Any source other than wikipedia?

Sure, there was some old Chinese myth about how heaven and earth were formed, but that's not even remotely in the same vincinity as Judaistic god.

3. "Shangdi sharing authority with Buddha" was a much later Buddhist invention. Buddhism wasn't around when Shangdi was first worshipped.


Perhaps you should go back and read my statement again. Taoism was popularized before Buddhism had a footing, d'uh.

4. If the "lores" are merely myths that do not reflect on reality, then the "lores" are ultimately meaningless and useless no matter how "fun" they are. "Fun" is not a criteria when searching for the Truth. "Journey to the West" and "Feng Shen Yan Yi" are just novels, perhaps interesting to read, but have no real significance. The Bible on the other hand, is not meant to be read as a fatansy novel. That is not the purpose of the Bible.

My life is a journey to seek truths. The bibble is a nice book, but it's still just a book -- a product of other humanbeings. I don't attach any holy value to it.

5. Shangdi govern over a multitude of natural and ancestral spirits who act as His ministers. In a similar way the Judaic God also govern over a multitude of angelic beings who act as His messengers.


That's just the superficial side.


I think Tian and Di/Shangdi refer to the same Supereme Deity.


Did you just have a weird intepretation of Taotejing or what?

Taotejing mentioned about the forming of heaven and earth -- there was no deity, especially one with a mission.

Edited by metronomad, 10 November 2005 - 02:44 AM.

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#24 esse

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 02:31 AM

Sorry to interrupt in the middle of the discussion.

What is the significance of Jesus Christ to a Christian?
My Christian friends told me it is because Jesus sacrificed his life for the sins of his fellow mankind?


It's rather complicate and confusing. Since I am an atheist, my understanding of this might be a little off, so feel free to correct me anytime.

1. Jesus is the son of God, but he IS God. Since there is one and only one God -- this is dogma number 1. You have to accept this in order to understand Christianity.
2. Jesus descended from heaven to understand human pains and sins (the sin part doubly emphasized by Catholics), hence he took human form to go through all that, including the ultimate sacrifice -- his own mortal life (experiencing death). From those experiences, he offered us a way out (to skip, er, hell), by repenting our sins and offer outselves to him. We have to appreciate his sacrifice ( in trying to sympathize with the sins and pain of a mortal being that a supreme being like him didn't really have to) to deserve that "second chance".


On an unrelated note, the Jews thought Jesus was a nice guy and a great person, but god he ain't. The Muslims thought (1) was total bull and Jesus was just another prophet, like Moses and their own Muhammad, except that Muhammad is THE final one. Hong Xiuquan claimed himself a prophet and a son of god and created the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace.

Edited by Yun, 10 November 2005 - 02:37 AM.

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#25 esse

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 02:42 AM

I understand your distaste for such weak arguments. I personally don't see 'shared spiritual origins' as very neccesary for evangelism - the Romans had no shared spiritual origins with the Jews, for example, but they converted in the end.



Accelerated by endorsement from the very emperor himself <_< Romans were worshipping a pretty generic pagan god -- the sun god, who was in no way could compete with this new and very sophisticated religion in the long run anyway.

It must also be said that the one most responsible for speading early Christianity, one of Christ's most senior and important disciples wasn't a Jew, but a Roman. After Christ was killed, he and his followers hung around Israel and Syria for a while, and finally settled in Rome.
"When all you've got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

#26 Yun

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 03:00 AM

Christian (including Catholic) view: Jesus Christ was part of the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore he was both God and Son of God. Because he was borne by a human mother through the power of the Holy Spirit, he also called himself the Son of Man. This dual nature as Son of God and Son of Man meant that he was both fully divine and fully human at the same time. He was the Messiah (savior) prophesised by the Jewish prophets, but the leaders of the Jews did not recognise him as such, and had him crucified as a blasphemer for claiming to be the Son of God. However, the crucifixion was the real purpose for him coming in the first place, because the Original Sin of Adam (eating the forbidden Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) had to be expiated by the shedding of the blood of a man who was sinless (as Adam was before he ate the fruit). Jesus was human but committed no sin because of his divine nature, thus his crucifixion made it possible for all who believed in the truth of his act of expiation/redemption to be freed from the curse of Original Sin. Jesus was dead for three days and then rose from the dead in both body and spirit. He ascended to Heaven, and will return at the end of the world as we know it, to defeat the power of the Devil, judge the people of the world (living and dead), and bring all believers to Heaven.

Jewish view: Jesus was an impostor. The real Messiah has yet to arrive.

Islamic view: Jesus was a prophet like Muhammad, a messenger of God and not God himself. Jesus was not really crucified - another man died in his place. He was taken up into heaven without dying, and 600 years after him came the final prophet, Muhammad, who completed the revelation of God (Allah). At the end of the world as we know it, Jesus will return along with the Mahdi (the Islamic version of the Messiah) to establish the supremacy of Islam in the world and prepare people for the last judgment by Allah.

Taiping Heavenly Kingdom view: Jesus was everything the Christians say he was, but Hong Xiuquan is the younger brother of Jesus and was sent to earth to eradicate the demonic Manchus and establish a Heavenly Kingdom in China.

I don't think I need to go into the Arian, Rastafarian, Manichaean, and Gnostic views here, because these will be of less importance to readers.
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#27 LYY

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 03:13 AM

Christian (including Catholic) view: Jesus Christ was part of the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore he was both God and Son of God. Because he was borne by a human mother through the power of the Holy Spirit, he also called himself the Son of Man. This dual nature as Son of God and Son of Man meant that he was both fully divine and fully human at the same time. He was the Messiah (savior) prophesised by the Jewish prophets, but the leaders of the Jews did not recognise him as such, and had him crucified him as a blasphemer for claiming to be the Son of God. However, the crucifixion was the real purpose for him coming in the first place, because the Original Sin of Adam (eating the forbidden Fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) had to be expiated by the shedding of the blood of a man who was sinless (as Adam was when he ate the fruit). Jesus was human but committed no sin because of his divine nature, thus his crucifixion made it possible for all who believed in the truth of his act of expiation/redemption to be freed from the curse of Original Sin. Jesus was dead for three days and then rose from the dead in both body and spirit. He ascended to Heaven, and will return at the end of the world as we know it, to defeat the power of the Devil, judge the people of the world (living and dead), and bring all believers to Heaven.


Where is LOVE?
Isn't LOVE an important element in the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit besides SINs?


Edited by LYY, 10 November 2005 - 03:15 AM.


#28 Yun

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 03:48 AM

Where is LOVE?
Isn't LOVE an important element in the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit besides SINs?

Of course it is. John 3:16 is the classic statement of this: "For God so loved the world that He gave his only son so that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life." 1 John puts it even more directly: "God is love, and whoever does not love does not know God." But the concept of Original Sin is important, because otherwise one could not answer the question of why God would not allow all human beings whom He loves into Heaven, whether they believe in Him or not. The same would go for the question of why a loving God considers man to be sinful, and holds man responsible for it, when man was created by God. The Original Sin of Adam, however, put into humanity a sinful nature that separated them from the holiness (i.e. sinlessness) of God, unless they made sacrifices of animal blood for their sins (before the time of Jesus) or are spiritually cleaned and covered by the blood of Jesus (after the crucifixion of Jesus).

Please do not interpret my words as proselytism. I am merely stating Christian doctrine, having been asked.

It must also be said that the one most responsible for speading early Christianity, one of Christ's most senior and important disciples wasn't a Jew, but a Roman. After Christ was killed, he and his followers hung around Israel and Syria for a while, and finally settled in Rome.


You're referring to Paul. He was not one of Christ's 12 disciples, and he was not ethnically a Roman. He was a Jewish Pharisee, but a Roman citizen. He was a leading figure in persecuting Christians after Jesus' death (and resurrection if you believe in it), but had a vision of Jesus when travelling to Damascus and converted. Most of the missionary work in Rome was done or led by Paul, and not by the disciples.
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#29 somechineseperson

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 07:32 AM

Sorry to interrupt in the middle of the discussion.

What is the significance of Jesus Christ to a Christian?
My Christian friends told me it is because Jesus sacrificed his life for the sins of his fellow mankind?


Essentially, (I think - correct me if I'm wrong or have deviated from orthodoxy)

1. Our world is sinful i.e. imperfect. From sin comes suffering.
2. A sufficient sacrifice is required for the imperfection of the world to be removed and for sin and consequent suffering to cease.
3. Human and animal sacrifices are not sufficient to bring the world to perfection.
4. God became human (i.e. Jesus Christ) and offered Himself as a sacrifice to God so that the sin of the world can be removed and perfection restored.
5. Why can't God just remove sin anyway without any sacrifices since He loves people? Because God is both loving and just, and God's Justice requires a sufficient sacrifice before sin can be forgiven and removed.

#30 somechineseperson

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 07:44 AM

wikipedia is useful, but I wouldn't rely on it entirely as a reference. Even I edited the ***** thing sometimes :P
Any source other than wikipedia?


Sure. For example the "China" section in the article http://www.homestead...s/universal.pdf

Sure, there was some old Chinese myth about how heaven and earth were formed, but that's not even remotely in the same vincinity as Judaistic god.

While there are numerous Chinese myths regarding creation, as there are many variants of creation myths in the Western world, the official and in a sense orthodox version of how the universe was created in ancient China comes from the ceremonial texts used in the annual sacrificial ceremonies conducted by the Chinese rulers for Shangdi. It is from these texts that we know in the official religion of ancient China, Shangdi is held up as the Creator of everything.

Perhaps you should go back and read my statement again. Taoism was popularized before Buddhism had a footing, d'uh.


Not really. Religious Daoism only came into existence as a native Chinese response to the arrival of Buddhism, and its institutional structure was closely modelled on that of the Buddhists. Before religious Daoism there was only philosophical Daoism, which was not really a religion but a philosophical system like Platonism in the ancient Greco-Roman world. At any rate the worship of Shangdi predates both by many centuries.

Did you just have a weird intepretation of Taotejing or what?

Taotejing mentioned about the forming of heaven and earth -- there was no deity, especially one with a mission.


My ideas are not primarily based on the Daode Jing. However, it would be wrong in my view to say that there was certainly "no deity" in Daoism. For in the Daode Jing it is said:

Before the creation of heaven and earth,
There existed an incomprehensible One.

The "One" is what Laozi would call Dao, which is the Mother of the universe.

The concept of Dao is in many ways similar to the concept of Logos in Greek philosophy, and literally in the Bible it is said:

In the beginning there was the Logos.
The Logos is with God, the Logos is God. He was with God at the very beginning.




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