Tag Archives: Chinese New Year

The Christian Equivalent of Chinese Gods 基督教与华人民间神明的对比

As the Chinese New Year draws near, I think it would be appropriate to come out with a list denoting the Christian Equivalent to the top 7 most popular Chinese gods in South East Asia. And since it is Chinese New Year, I think it’d be best to write this post in both Chinese and English.

春年即将来到,让我们看看基督教与华人民间最出名的七大神明的一些对比。也因为是春节的缘故,这文章会用中英文双语写成。


Guanyin

Guanyin 观音 (观世音菩萨)

Guanyin, also known as Guanyin Pusa (or Guan Shi Yin Pusa), is Chinese “Goddess of Mercy”. According to myths, she is considered to always provide help for the distressed and hungry, offering comfort and aid wherever it is needed.

观音,也被称为观音菩萨 (或观世音菩萨),是中华民间信仰的怜悯女神。传说,她通常会帮助在急难当中和饥饿当中的人。若有需要,她会安慰并实行适当的帮助来帮助有需要的人。

The Christian Equivalent:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. — Psalms 34:18-19, NIV.

基督:
耶和华靠近伤心的人,拯救灵性痛悔的人 。义人多有苦难,但耶和华救他脱离这一切。诗篇34:18-19,和合本。


Jade-Emperor

Jade Emperor 玉皇大帝

Jade Emperor (or Yuhuang Dadi in mandarin Chinese) is considered the highest deity ruling the universe in Chinese world. In Chinese mythological tales, he controls all gods from the Buddhist and Taoist and other religions.

玉皇大帝在华人民间信仰里是被称为最高的神明。在中华民间信仰里面,玉皇大帝掌控佛教、道教、和其他宗教的所有神明。

The Christian Equivalent:
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. — Psalms 95:3, 135:5, NIV.

基督:
因耶和华为大神,为大王,超乎万神之上。诗篇95:3135:5,和合本。


caishen

Caishen 财神 (或财神爷)

Caishen (or Caishenye) is the god in charge of wealth in Chinese mythology. Chinese people, especially businessmen, often offer sacrifices to Caishen at home or in their shops in the hopes of becoming richer. He is usually depicted in red clothes holding a golden rod.

财神在华人民间信仰里是掌控所有财富的神。为了想要发财,生意人通常会在家里或者在工作场所向财神爷献祭。财神爷通常穿着红衣服,拿着一个金银子。

The Christian Equivalent:
‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. And He will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. — Haggai 2:8, Philippians 4:19, NIV

基督:
万军之耶和华说:银子是我的,金子也是我的。祂必照祂荣耀的丰富,在基督耶稣里,使你们一切所需用的都充足。哈该书2:8,腓立比书4:19,和合本

 


nvwa

Nüwa 女娲

Nüwa is the Chinese goddess who created human beings. It was said she moulded yellow mud into a figure like her, which was then alive and became the first human being.

在中华民间信仰里,女娲是创造人类的神明。传说,她用黄土造了一个向她的像,像就有了生命,成为人间第一个人。

The Christian Equivalent:
The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. — Genesis 2:7, NIV.

基督:
耶和华神用地上的尘土造人,将生气吹在他鼻孔里,他就成了有灵的活人,名叫亚当。创世纪2:7,和合本。


 

Wangmu-Niangniang

Wangmu Niangniang 王母娘娘

Wangmu Niangniang, or the Queen Mother of the West, is the highest-ranking goddess and is the wife of the Jade Emperor in Taoism. She commands all female gods and is also a god of happiness and longevity. She has magic pills which can make people live forever. She owns a Heavenly Peach Garden in which magic peach trees grow. The peach can make people perpetually young.

王母娘娘,又称:太华西真万炁祖母元君,是神明当中最高的其中一位。在道教传说中,也是玉皇大帝的老婆。所有女神都要向她敬拜。传说中,她的主要成就包括生育万物,主管所有女仙的女神,掌管不死药、长生的上古女神,保护妇女,婚育、长寿的女神。她掌管蟠桃会。传说,吃了蟠桃会的桃就会永远保持年轻美貌。

The Christian Equivalent:
Christ offers us living water that will well up to eternal life (John 4:13-14). He plants the tree of life in the New Heaven by the banks of the river. The leaves of the tree of life will heal all nations (Revelations 22:1-2) and all who eat from the fruit of the tree of life will live forever (Genesis 3:22). He shared all that He shared with us so that His joy may be in us and our joy may be complete (John 15:11).

基督:
基督会给所有相信祂的人活水。这活水会在信徒里面成为泉源,直涌到永生(约翰福音4:13-14)。祂在新天新地中间的生命河栽种了生命树。树上的叶子能够医治列国(启示录22:1-2),生命树的果子能够给永生(创世纪3:22)。耶和华把这一切与我们分享是为了要叫祂的喜乐存在我们心里,并叫我们的喜乐可以满足(约翰福音15:11)。

 


 

Yan-Wang

Yan Wang 阎王

Yan Wang is Chinese king of death who commands all the gods of the underworld. He has a filing book which records the life and death of every person. He gives appropriate punishment according to the conduct of each’s acts during his lifetime.

在华人民间信仰里面,阎王是掌管地狱所有神明的神。在他手中有生命册。他会按照册上的记录惩罚众人。

The Christian Equivalent:
He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. — Revelations 1:17b-18, NIV.

基督:
祂用右手按着我,说:不要惧怕!我是首先的,我是末後的,又是那存活的;我曾死过,现在又活了,直活到永永远远;并且拿着死亡和阴间的钥匙。启示录1:17b-18,和合本。

 


 

fuxi

Fuxi 伏羲

It is said that Fuxi is the husband of Nuwa. While Nuwa is the one to create human being, Fuxi is the one giving them the knowledge since human was created with no knowledge in the beginning.

传说,伏羲是女娲的丈夫。造华人民间信仰传说,当女娲在造人的时候,伏羲给人知识和智慧。

The Christian Equivalent:
The Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. — Proverbs 2:6, NIV.

基督:
耶和华赐人智慧;知识和聪明都由祂口而出。箴言2:6,和合本


 

There are many more gods in Chinese mythologies. The above are only some of the more prominent ones in the South East Asian Chinese communities. However, the point of the comparison is to point out that these gods in Chinese mythologies aren’t real gods but an attribute of the One who created them. They were not there at the beginning of time. If we were to trace Chinese mythical beliefs, all of them have a certain birth date. Even the highest of deity was formed by a larger, more powerful, Being who does not has a form. As Christians, we all know Who that is. Through this comparison, I hope that you would be able to see past superstitious belief and to share the Great Love of the God who created the heavens and the earth to our unbelieving family and friends this New Year. May God bless you, and Happy Lunar New Year.

在中华民间信仰当中还有很多不同的神明。以上的这7位只是在东南亚华人民族里面比较常见的几位。写这文章的目的是要指出中华民间信仰的神明不真的完全是神,而是创造他们的那位神的一些特质。在太初,他们都不在。如果我们细读中华民间信仰,我们会发现这些神明都有一定的生日。连最高的神明都是 一个,更大,更有能力,无形,的神明所造。身为基督徒,我们都知道这在太初以前,有创造能力的神明叫什么。透过这个简单的对比,我希望大家在这来临的新年能够看透迷信,勇敢的把创造主宇宙万物真神的大爱分享给未信的亲朋戚友们。祝大家,农历新快乐,上帝赐福。

Image by Jan Dyrda from Pixabay
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Other references:
http://www.chinawhisper.com/top-10-most-well-known-chinese-gods-and-goddesses/
https://topancienthistory.com/chinese-mythology-gods/history/
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%8E%8B%E6%AF%8D%E5%A8%98%E5%A8%98/564293?fromtitle=%E9%87%91%E6%AF%8D&fromid=4877333