05 May 2014

The Way is the Son said Lao Zi (DaoDeJing 4)

This is part 4 of a series of my postings on Lao Zi's Dao De Jing (The Bible of Moral). Chapter 4 introduces the concept of Son as the Way (Dao) and explains his working. He does it in the reverse order - describes the work first and then reveals to us the answer like a detective novel. It does create a greater impact.
Lao Zi's Dao De Jing (The Bible of Moral) attempts to explain and describe the great Way (Dao) to us that we may follow it for us to achieve peace and abundant life together. In Chapter 4, he strangely uses the word 子 Son to describe the Way and even says that he is before our ancestors! Here are the details.
(Please be forewarned that the author is a Christ believer.)

Original Chinese Text English Translation Remarks
1 道 冲而用之,或不盈。  The Way is so vast and wide such that in there is no limits in its use; no matter how you fill it, it will not be full. The Way provides all energy and maintains the natural order endlessly.
2 渊兮似万物之宗;  It is so deep to be the root of all creation/things. It is the source or the original Force
3 挫其锐、解其纷、和其光、 Blunt its sharpness, resolve the tangles,  follow its light, It is so powerful and yet not harmful to give and support lives
4 同其尘,湛兮似或存。  agree with its traces,  it is so transparent/clear as if not there(it is invisible). It works invisibly and claims no credit.
5 吾不知谁之子,象帝之先。 I don't know whose son is it. Look like it is before the ancestors. The Son is before the creation of man.

It begins with The Way (Dao) is ...
It describes the Way as vast and wide and provides for every usage without any limit.
It says the Way is the root of all creations.
It describes its sharpness, intricacies, light, traces/paths of it work, ... yet so quietly and almost invisible. (It is not so invisible that we cannot tell its work. We can find its traces if we bother to look carefully).
It ends strangely with "I don't know whose Son is it? Like before our ancestors". 

Lao Zi could have just ends it with, just like any ancient Chinese classics, as the Heaven 天. The Way is Heaven. Or The Way is God or the Creator. 天 refers to God or Creator for the ancient Chinese. 
Or, The Way is the order created by the Creator.
There is no need to say 'whose son?'. 
Using the word Son means that there is a Father to give rise to the Son. 
So one way to interpret this is to say the Father/God of Creation creates the Way (the Son) and through it does all the creating and maintaining the living order by his power.
But then, he says "I don't know whose Son?". He could have said God's son or Heaven's Son. 
Saying "I don't know" implies there could be may Gods - but ancient Chinese believe only in one God of Heaven (later Chinese generations deify the deceased).
So, if there be only one God and Laozi did not know 'whose Son', it means that the Father and Son relationship is not the common one of giving birth. This is then related to the Christian concept of Trinity God with the co-existence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I can see many verses in the Bible telling us similar things. 
As example: This John 1v1-4 has many parallels to 
Joh 1:1-4 , In the beginning, was the Word(Dao 道), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2  The same was in the beginning with God.  3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

1Jn 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word(Son), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 

1Jn 1:1  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life

Very strange indeed that Lao Zi has written chapter 4 that are similar to John chapter 1. 

But it may be due to my bias of wanting to see what I want to see.

What do you think?

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