For Ancient Chinese, the moral standard of right or wrong is determined not by man but by God as revealed in the created order of heaven and earth. It can be seen in the ancient writings like i-Ching and more obviously in idiom, such as "天经地义" which is presented here.For something that is fundamentally so right and obvious, the Chinese has an idiom "天经地义" (translated, God's or Heaven's Way and Earth's Rightness) to describe it. It is taken from a history book 左传 written around BC 350 The Warring Period, documenting the Chinese history of BC 722-468. It shows the source of Ancient Chinese Moral Standard.
Unlike Adam (who rebelled against God by taking the forbidden fruit to want to be his own god, see Knowledge Tree of Good and Evil ...), and modern and post-modern men who think right or wrong is situational and relative to be determined by man, the Ancient Chinese let God be the absolute moral standard and consider His laws as revealed in the creation order of heaven and earth as the commandments to be followed by all men.
If we look up a Chinese Dictionary for the idiom, we will get the following definition and explanation:
- 经：规范，原则；Norms, Principles
- 义：正理。correct principle or valid reason or plain truth
The unchanging principles or pathways within heaven and earth.
Referring to absolutely correct, cannot be changed principle or rationale.
Referring to a matter of course. i.e. it should be so.
The way to behave, the ritual, ( 礼) is from the principles of heaven and of earth, the ways that people should walk in.
理所当然 - as the matter of course
千真万确 - absolutely true and correct.
Antonyms: 天理难容 - Heaven/God cannot tolerate it.
岂有此理 - Outrageous