Daniel Kikawa - Perpetuated in Righteousness
Perpetuating a Modern Myth
If you have not read his book it may be hard to grasp the whole concept or the various names used or cited. These refutations are not to be a ridicule of the Hawaiian people, whom I and others love, but we want to address the claims of the author who is using ancient myths to produce a connection with Biblical history and doctrine.
Daniel Kikawa presents to us in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness the concept that the Hawaiians held an accurate belief in God, like the Jews and/or Christians, without it being revealed to them by New Testament revelation! Kikawa’s premise in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness is that when the natives traveled from Polynesia and landed in Hawaii they actually worshipped the true God and that the Hawaiian’s once knew and worshipped the true God accurately until foreign gods were introduced from Tahiti that corrupted their pure worship. Certain priests are said to have continued to worship the true God and yet he writes they also led and allowed the people to practice idolatry. This is a contradiction of action and practice. Are we to believe the same priests corrupted the peoples worship and hid the truth from them while they themselves worshipped in the truth?
Daniel Kikawa has proposed in his book that the Hawaiian’s also knew God from the gospel in the stars. In his book Perpetuated in Righteousness he states that the Hawaiian’s Kane, Ku and Lono were the one God called Io, who is actually Yahweh; that all three are co- equal. Using similarity of sounds for words in the different languages he makes huge leaps in logic and history. He tries to prove that Hawaiian ancestry is connected to Israel by some similar sounding words. While words may at time sound similar, as they do in many languages, they often do not mean the same thing. He does this with names of God from the Hebrew and other languages.
Let me give one example to present what he does with sounds of words in his book: the word Pele in Hebrew means wonderful (incomprehensible) in Isaiah 9:6, this has nothing to do with the Hawaiian goddess Pele of the volcano. Is the Bible saying the goddess Pele is wonderful?Likewise, Amen was a God of Egypt. Certainly when we as believers say amen to something we are not calling on the God of Egypt. Making direct connections with the sound of words (and not their meaning) is hardly a scholarly way of proving facts from language or history.
While I understand his heart for the people of Hawaii, (something I too share) I was concerned that the information he conveys in his book was accurate. Daniel Kikawa writes that his book “is painstakenly documented and footnoted from beginning to end, this is a history book.” Instead, we found a mixture of reinterpreting history with false information. Stories were changed to fit his theory. Apparently some type of misleading means (knowingly or unknowingly) were used to bring about the desired results. It would take an enormous amount of time to read all the books cited. We took the time to research these quotes and references to see if they accurately represented the authors or the historical positions they took. The majority did not.
The subheading of Kikawa’s book is “The Journey of the Hawaiian people from Eden to the present time.” This is something that no one can historically trace. Kikawa tries to connect the Polynesians with ancient monotheistic worship in the Middle East. So how far back are we to go to find remnants of monotheism or some resemblance to truth? The bible records by Noah’s time no one was worshipping the true God except for Noah and his family. According to the Bible the different cultures and nations began after the flood at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-2, Gen. 10:5, 32). The various languages appeared, not because the people were obedient to God, but in rebellion and He judged them.
The fact is: the Hawaiian culture did not worship the same God presented in the Bible as Kikawa claims, but gods, as in “many”. The story Kikawa presents as historical is mostly piecemeal and is his personal revision of history for the purpose of “evangelizing” the Hawaiian people. Kikawa turns history on its head using the numerous authors he quotes. As we looked into the primary resources he cited, we found he misquoted many of the authors. Someone who had a Hawaiian ancestry helped in our research and we couldn’t believe the exaggerations we discovered and the misleading quotes used in Kikawa’s book from other sources. This book truly was a work of his imagination. In 1994-95 our ministry first spent well over 50 hours (many more now) gathering and going over portions of the primary work of the people he cited. Some we found were Mormon publications, such as Renan, who proposed Israel came through the Pacific, a basic belief held in Mormonism which Kikawa upholds as one of the assumptions in his book.
we will attempt to "glean," as Fornander put it, the "Shreds of a purer cult . . . still preserved, soiled in appearance and obscured in sense by the contact, . . . yet standing on the traditional records as heirlooms of the past, as witnesses of a better creed." ( p.54 Perpetuated in Righteousness 4th ed.)
We found that when Kikawa “gleaned” his quotes he often took the weakest theoretical explanations from certain anthropologists and used conjecture to prove his point. This changed the meanings of many of the author’s writings, inserting what he wanted it to say because of his own predilections. For example: a number of times those who were against Israel’s God and denounced the Trinity and Monotheism Kikawa made out to sound like they found relevance for it in Hawaiian history. At one personal meeting with him we explained what we had found in the primary resources and he asked for copies of our research (which I was not willing to hand over). I was perplexed. Why would anyone ask for my research if he himself already quoted these sources in his book? Had he not already done the research? Well we found he did not do it very well. I realized that Daniel Kikawa’s book was not a scholarly work, having only a few accurate portions it is a book filled with “pop history,” “probably's,” “assumptions,” “could be’s” “maybes” and “unwarranted conclusions”.
In fact, we did three radio broadcast interviews on this topic in 1994 with a pastor who made himself familiar with Hawaiian history and the early missionaries to discuss the facts that seemed to be missing from his book. Bob Fields, pastor of Honolulu Bible Church, has responded to the claims of the Hawaiian history by Kikawa in various articles in his newsletters.
After 10 years, this book’s influence has spread and is now responsible as a catalyst for the Indigenous People Movement that is currently being promoted. We need to take notice because Kikawa is popularizing it through YWAM. His book is endorsed by John Dawson (the president of YWAM), Don Richardson (Author of Eternity In Their Hearts). Sosene Le'Au Director of Island Breeze Ministries and Director, Pacific Region, Youth With A Mission. Leon Siu, Chairman, Ka Ohe Ola Hou. David B. Hall Author of "Celebrate Your Heritage" General Manager, KFSH Radio. A number of people from the University of Nations along with other names are used for credibility.
John Dawson states:
“Daniel Kikawa's pen points the way to an exciting new understanding of God's loving preparation of Hawai‘i's native sons and daughters for the coming of the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ.” … (Endorsement forPerpetuated in Righteousness)
Dawson is from New Zealand, so this is not surprising to see him promote this, especially if one reads his book Taking your Cities for God, in it he sees cities having redemptive qualities, gifts and souls.
Kikawa’s also has Play The Cross-Cultural Evangelism Game (a 63 page study guide). The ad says:
“Daniel Kikawa has written an outstanding cross-cultural educational tool. He gives case studies of hypothetical events in the life of a cross-cultural worker in a tribal setting. This is highly recommended by church leaders like John Dawson, Don Richardson, and Lynda Prince .”
John Dawson called Perpetuated in Righteousness and the Cross-Cultural Evangelism Game “essential reading for people in missions” and published ads for both books in a special box ad in University of The Nations “Online Kona Fall 2000” publication. Stating “Marvelous!…This is what we need for every people group.” (http://www.uofnkona.edu/ONline/ONlineFall00.pdf)
Sosene Le'Au Director, Pacific Region, Youth With A Mission also endorsed his book:
John Dawson of YWAM endorsed it saying, “Daniel Kikawa and the Hawaiian’s are showing us the way.”
Because of their approval Kikawa is able to teach this false history to YWAM for evangelism. Kikawa also takes part in YWAM’s International School of Reconciliation Studies (headed by John Dawson) and has had an open door through YWAM bases, here in the Islands, to influence them in his indigenous people concept. In fact, when I interviewed Daniel in 1994, he was already talking about the New Apostolic Reformation/YWAM concept of “redeeming cultures” that is now being popularized by YWAM.
We sat down with Daniel a number of times (and by phone) and spent many hours discussing the things in his book. He showed very little flexibility. Don Richardson, who we contacted, first seemed to agree with our concerns which we had communicated to him by phone. After discussing Hawaiian lore being almost unanimously from oral tradition, he agreed. He has said, “that oral tradition is susceptible to dishonesty, cultures that once had the ability to write are extremely rare in losing that ability and we would see evidence of it. Similarity is not sameness.” I arranged for him to talk to Daniel hoping that some things would be straightened out. Unfortunately, after meeting Daniel, Don Richardson’s endorsement appeared on Kikawa’s next edition, whose endorsement lent credence to Daniel’s work. Only a few changes were made in Daniel’s book from our meeting and some of the more blatant wrong things were excluded in Kikawas 4th edition. On the surface this seemed to be an improvement; but it actually became more deceptive than before. This is because he was able to clean up the more obvious problems while the false premise continued.
What’s it all About?
What Kikawa is proposing in his book is that God did not give special revelation to Israel only. So the very concept Kikawa is proposing is an unbiblical one. For the Bible says: Since the creation of the world they knew of him and refused to worship him. From a biblical perspective, we can all agree upon there being corrupted versions of the truth left in almost every culture; like crumbs from a whole piece of bread they are left decaying.
The Hebrews knew the true God ONLY because of His special revelation to them. The Hebrews were called to be a light to the other nations with the truth because the other nations DID NOT have the truth. Deut 6:14:
There is not one nation, before Christ, other than Israel where God speaks of their culture or priesthood as worshipping Him correctly. Even Israel, with all the commandments given directly and supernaturally, being instructed by God, often fell into idolatry which was influenced by the other cultures around them. God had written in Deut: 18:9:
God did not think the other cultures knew him as the Hebrews did. Isa 45:5, 18: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”
What we do have are rare individuals like the Canaanite named Melchizedek in Abraham’s time, who was a priest of the Most High God. Melchizedek met Abraham and blessed Abraham and the most high God, but this does not mean that the Canaanites knew the most high God or the city Salem that he was priest over. We know this is from Bible history.
We also have the record of Job who obeyed God and had a personal encounter with God, but history does not prove whole cultures and people worshipped God correctly—only scarce individuals. It is for this very reason God took Abraham, a pagan, out from his country to start a nation that He would personally train and instruct him so that they could worship Him correctly (Genesis 12:1-3). What Kikawa is introducing is foreign from the biblical record.
On p.54 of Perpetuated in Righteousness (4th ed.) Kikawa states, “We will be using the most accurate legends available.” Though he states the Bible is his measuring stick of accuracy, he also says “At times, we will use parts of more corrupted versions that contain some important truth.” Unfortunately Kikawa does not distinguish the two or when they are used. Notice that he uses the word “legends”. As we will see, these are stories that can be interpreted in various ways. Can corrupted versions actually communicate truth? This is not the way God would leave his message for mankind.
Kikawa writes in the beginning of his book:
Sorry, I do not bear witness because the Bible does NOT. Similarity in certain parts of a story does not mean sameness. “Water everywhere” in the universe! The Bible does not teach this. Darkness become a light possessing darkness?” Did darkness become light? Scripture does not teach this. The Bible does not say God began being inactive by the words “let there be light”. He had already created the heavens and the earth. Kikawa then says it was 'Io who created man, Atea, and goes into a Hawaiian view of the Genesis account of the fall. There are no references quoted for this story that resembles the Genesis account. One can only wonder where historicity ends and imagination begins. This corrupted story is no closer to the truth of Scripture than the various other fragmented stories of creation scattered throughout the world. This in no way reinforces the idea that the Polynesians-Hawaiians had Biblical truth, as Kikawa claims.
Peter Buck, who did research on the Maori myths, is often probably the most quoted in the book (books-“The Coming of the Maori” and “Vikings of the Pacific”). Buck was renowned anthropologist who made major contributions to Maori public health and became one of the world's leading Polynesian scholars. He joined the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1927 and became the director from 1936 until his death in 1951.
It is with the Maori that we find this creation story. The Matorohanga school states that “'Io” evolved the world out of chaos, created life, and caused all the gods to appear. Support of 'Io's first activities are contained in a cosmogony obtained from the Ngati Maru tribes of Hauraki (101, p. 109). Here is what it states:
Kikawa had presented a portion of this creation chant and ignored the contradictions. Notice, it states afterward “Darkness, become a darkness possessing light” but then adds 'Io reversed his words...”The light returned to darkness.” He spoke three times in reference to light and darkness, the Bible says God spoke this once. What this shows is that the creation story of other cultures are a matter of open interpretation and these myths should not in any way be considered similar to the Bible’s true account.
Kikawa writes in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness, agreeing with Hawaiian historian Martha Beckwith,
“Malo is our most reliable native source for ancient practices, so Fornander is the leading foreign authority” (Perpetuated in Righteousness, p.25, 2nd edition, p.53 4th ed.).
This certainly may be true. Unfortunately he does not read carefully what either wrote. For example, while Kikawa quotes a page on the constellations and the Makahiki festival, he neglects to read what the author Malo, whom he cites, writes:
“Great also was the earnestness and sincerity (hoomaopopo maoli ana) with which these ancients conducted their worship of false gods” (p. 141 David Malo, “Hawaiian Antiquities”) [emphasis mine.]
David Malo was a local convert to Christianity who said:
“The tradition of the Hawaiian Islands handed down from remote antiquity are not entirely definite; there is much obscurity as to the facts, and the traditions themselves are not clear... the larger part are vague.”
Malo makes it absolutely clear where he stood on making any solid connection to ancient history.
"The ancients left no records of the lands of their birth, of what people drove them out, who were their guides and leaders, of the canoes that transported them, what lands they visited in their wanderings, and what gods they worshipped. Certain oral traditions do, however, give us the names of the idols of our ancestors. … 4. Memory was the only means possessed by our ancestors of preserving historical knowledge” “vagueness and uncertainty of the more ancient traditions, of which some are handed down correctly, but the great mass incorrectly.” … Faults of memory in part explain the contradictions that appear in the ancient traditions, for we know by experience that "the hearts is the most deceitful of all things.” … 7. When traditions are carried in the memory it leads to contradictory versions. One set think the way they heard the story is the true version; another set think theirs is the truth; a third set very likely purposely falsify. Thus it comes to pass that the traditions are split up and made worthless. … “each genealogy claiming his own erosion to be the correct one. “ producing contradictions in the historical traditions; one party received the tradition in one way, another party received it in another way.” … 9. In regard to the worship of the gods, different people had different gods, and both the worship and the articles tabued differed the one from he other. Each man did what seemed to him right, thus causing disagreement and confusion” (p.1-2 David Malo Hawaiian Antiquities)
Daniel Kikawa in his book Perpetuated in Righteousness believes that the ancient stories are reliable and that they point to an early Hawaiian civilization that worshipped Jehovah ('Io). Kikawa defends the Kumuhonua legends and uses them as support for his theory about ancient Hawaii. Yet Malo, a man whom Kikawa honors, had a very different view and interpretation of the same history and traditions of early Hawaii. In his book Hawaiian Antiquities, David Malo records the legends and activities of the Hawaiian people including fishing, food and drink, sports, surfing, religious worship, healing the sick, conduct, idolatry, and even necromancy. Malo believed the Bible and the Bible alone was the sole source of doctrine and truth. To attempt to reconcile Hawaiian religion, Hawaiian gods and Hawaiian tradition with Christian belief would have been an offense to him. Regarding the Hawaiian creation and flood accounts, Malo reported that there are several contradictory records which cannot be relied upon as truth. He stated that the Hawaiians were misinformed about the events of the flood and that the story of Noah in Scripture is the only true account. He stated, with regards to Hawaiian matters, that there are no certain traditions and everything is speculative, unclear, and even contradictory. But Kikawa assumes this knowledge arrived pristine and untainted to Hawaii through a priesthood that kept it secret from the masses.
“surviving priests of ''Io who set sail in their canoes from Hawai‘i to preserve the worship of the One True God “(p.43 Perpetuated in Righteousness)
Abraham Fornander and Peter Buck are the most quoted sources in Kikawa's book Perpetuated in Righteousness (Fornander, An Account of the Polynesian Race, Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities; Folk-lore. Peter Buck, and The Coming of the Maori; Vikings of the Pacific). I will cite quotes from these men's work that Kikawa references and quotes from and other works of these same authors. I will also refer to others who have expertise in this field. Best, The Maori As He Was. Handy, The Polynesian Religion. Buck, Vikings of the Pacific, Vikings of the Sunrise. Kepelino's Traditions of Hawaii. History of the People of lsrael by Ernest Renan (A Mormon publication Utah: Genealogical Society, 1961.) Watahoro, Memoirs; The lore of the Whare wananga; Beckwith, The Kumulipo and more.
The Kumuhonua Legends are the writings and genealogies which have been recorded by the Hawaiians Kamakau and Kepelino. Both of these men’s accounts are quoted by Abraham Fornander, (his book Account of the Polynesian Race is referred to over 25 times) and it is on these published writings that Kikawa based a good portion of his book Perpetuated in Righteousness.
Kamakau and Kepelino were collectors and students of Hawaiian legends and traditions. They learned the traditions of Hawaii and were valuable sources on Hawaiian customs and culture. No doubt these men intended to bring the native people to an understanding of the true God and they used their own ancient religious traditions to do so. The Kuhumanua legends, quoted by Catholics Kamakawa and Kepelino, were translated by Fornander during the 1800’s.
Kamakau was trained by the Protestant missionaries and practiced Protestantism until later in his life when he converted to Catholicism. Most are off the opinion Kepelino, an early convert of the Roman Catholic mission revised Hawaiian mythology. The reliability and trustworthiness of the Kumuhonua Legends have always been questioned by both Catholic and Protestant leaders. Catholics have been known to conglomerate other culture’s worship with their own for acceptability.
Peter Buck is cited 19 times in Kikawa’s book (Vikings of the Pacific and The Coming of the Maori). In his book, Vikings of the Sunrise, Buck states:
“Kepelino, After conversion to the Christian faith, revised Hawaiian myth”, ‘Later when men like David Malo, Kepelino, and Kamakau were encouraged to write up their native myths and traditions, they attempted to translate the Creation and Flood of Christian teaching into Hawaiian myth” (pp.246-247).
Coming from Israel to the Pacific?
In his book Perpetuated in Righteousness Kikawa also attempts to implement a new method of evangelization to the Hawaiians. He tells the Hawaiians they are related to Israel and they were called as a group from the other tribes of Israel that were already headed toward the Promised Land. Instead, the Hawaiians were called to the Pacific. The Bible teaches that God Himself led Israel to the Promised Land as promised in Scripture, not elsewhere. Kikawa is going against the clear revelation of Scripture by saying this. This means they left in disobedience because the Bible never says God called a different group away from the Promised Land to the Pacific. If we were to apply a DNA test, we should be able to know if they are from Israel (Semetic) or the Middle East as Kikawa claims.
There is not any one theory he is using for his premise, Kikawa gives a number of options to choose from. He traces the Hawaiians coming from Israel or Egypt or the Tower of Babel or wherever it may fit in ancient history (even though there is no Polynesian account of the Tower of Babel). He writes that it is not clear when all the Polynesian people left for the Pacific. On p.62 he then writes that some left at the time of the scattering at the tower of Babel and others “did not separate themselves at this point but may have been part of the nation of Israel for a time.” He says that they went the other way to the Islands following the stars for God’s call. He also writes:
“It may be the Hawaiian people are descended from these ancient Egyptians” (p.67 2nd ed).
If they are from the Egyptians, then they are not Hebrew. But then he proposes another answer for his Hawaii Israel connection.
“That the Menehunes could be the people of Menes who became part of Israel. That the Hebrew and Polynesian people have a common heritage for a time, are in the genealogies of the Polynesian people.” (p.72 2nd ed)
We know that accurate genealogies go back no further than the 400 years or so. It is impossible to trace them back as far as he claims. In his book, he traced out their route by a map proposing the possible route(s) of the [proto] Polynesians from Israel in the Exodus or from Babylon to the Pacific Ocean. Giving not one shred of historical proof, he maps them out with dates, with two exodus' for the Proto-Polynesians—1500 B.C. to Melanasia and the other in 1400 B.C. to India as Israel entered the Promised Land. He proposes that some of the Hebrews that were being led to the Promise Land were called away to the Pacific by God (Fiji 1300 B.C.). This is beyond speculation. It is pure imagination, not unlike British Israelism. If they came from Babel then they were not Jews (there were none yet). If they left from the wilderness journey they could not be Jews because all the faithful Jews entered the Promised Land under Joshua. Any other conclusion drawn from these theories is wrong.
Disturbed by the concept that some of the Hebrews going to the Promised Land were called to the Pacific, I contacted Dr. Fruchtenbaum on this, who is one of the leading Messianic Jewish scholars on Judaic history and culture. He wrote in response:
“to claim that the Polynesian peoples ‘may have been part of the nation of Israel for a time’ is one of the more horrendous assumptions in the book. There is absolutely no truth to this whatsoever.”
Dr. Fruchtenbaum has written a 10 page review of the book Perpetuaed in Righteousness (2nd ed.) Kikawa must have listened to our concerns because he changed the wording of this in his 4th edition to “may have been part of the people who later became the nation of Israel for a time" (p. 102), which does not change its meaning.
Still another option is given by Kikawa:
“Our Polynesian genealogies also speak of our journey from Uru, called Ur by our Chaldean brothers” “It was ''Io calling them saying, “To the East, in the midst of the great ocean follow the rising sun!” So the course was set to the rising sun, `'Io's creation of light and life” (p.41 4th ed.)
Again he presumes in his story that it was God who called them to the Pacific from the same country that Abraham was called by God in Genesis 12. He was led to the Promised Land to make a nation. Which is it—choice A, B, C or another?
“According to our genealogies, we then moved from our home in Uru, called Ur of the Chaldees by our Arab brothers. Our ancestors sailed down through the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Sea” (p.16, 2nd ed.)
Dr. Fruchtenbaum comments on this (p. 16 2nd ed):
“Here, again, I have to ask if the Hawaiian legend really says that the Hawaiians moved from a place called Uru. What is the source and validity of this legend and how far back can it be traced? His lack of historical finesse comes out in the second paragraph when he says, ". . . called-Ur of the Chaldees by our Arab brothers." Actually, the Arabs never called it that. That is a name found in the Bible and given to it by Chaldeans and Akkadians, and perhaps the Sumerians, It was not a name given "by our Arab brothers." If this is an example of the author's historical accuracy, it already makes me wonder about the other conclusions.” (Note: This quote is removed from his 4th edition).
Ernest Renan who wrote History of the People of Israel, which Kikawa quotes, says:
“The Maoris of New Zealand have editions of all ancient homeland called Uric, which was to the northwest of Irihia. This land of Uric is provably identical with an ancient land known to the Hawaiians as Ulli-nui. An attempt has been made by Abraham Fornander, S. Percy Smith, and others identify the land of Uru with Ur of Chaldea,' but they admit there is not sufficient information to decide. They seem to have overlooked the people of Uru who live in South America” (p.170 History of the People of Israel, Cole W. Jensen) [emphasis mine].
So not everyone agrees with his postulations, even those he refers to!
Kikawa does not show any historical facts about their wilderness to Pacific Ocean journey, but does insinuate his theory is historically true. His history is mixed with wrong information and sprinkled with “choice quotes” that he has pulled from various stories. It becomes apparent that deceptive means (knowingly or unknowingly) are used to bring about the results. His pragmatic approach does seem to justify the goal of evangelizing the native people here that have not had a revival since before the mid 1800’s. Using this methodology will not help to bring a revival from God, as the Lord does not honor falsehood, even with good intentions. The end does not justify the means. Many claim the greatest revival in the history of planet earth happened in Hawaii (where there was a church of 10,000). No doubt, God did do a work here in the Islands for a short time, but those who say this seem to have forgotten the Bible story of Jonah, where a city called Nineveh with over 120,000 violent people in it who repented overnight.
The Bible says there will come a time when the people will believe myths (fables), not the truth.
“and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:4).
1 Timothy 1:3-4:
“As I urged you … you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”
Using fables or endless genealogies—trying to find one’s cultural origins connected to the Hebrews—would certainly fall into this category. This is exactly what we see promoted by this book. Though it may make for interesting reading, when we examine Kikawa’s research more closely it is disappointing. For example, on p.25 of his 2nd edition he states unequivocally quoting Don Richardson (Eternity in their Hearts pp. 113-141)
“In the face of overwhelming evidence, mainstream anthropologists now agree that all primitive cultures began with a belief in one supreme God.”
He cites two books(2nd ed), one is Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson and quotes from Halley’s Bible Commentary on p.24 (which I could not find having this). This discrepancy must have been pointed out to Kikawa because in his 4th edition on p.52 the same quote is altered to:
“In the face of overwhelming evidence, many (not all) mainstream anthropologists now believe (not agree) that (not all) primitive cultures began with a belief in one supreme God.”
He again shows no proof for this statement. The reason is obvious; because very few believe this. It is held among a small group of anthropologists. In fact, the Halley’s Bible Dictionary actually says:
“These Babylonian and Assyrian Creation stories are all grossly polytheistic.” But with so many points of similarity to the Genesis account, it would seem that they must have had a common origin. Are not these corrupted traditions a testimony to the fact of a divine original.” [emphasis mine]
Kikawa acknowledges this in his forward on Halley's reference to original Monotheism: “The Bible represents the human race as starting with a belief in ONE GOD, and that Polytheistic Idolatry was a later development. …citing Dr. Stephen Langdon, Oxford University, and Sir Flinders Petrie. In Biblical circles it is more often agreed upon that mankind was first monotheistic and as time went on became increasingly polytheistic. But this does not prove a monotheistic belief was held in pre-Roman or Greek cultures. In fact the departure into polytheism was early on. How far back should we go to find this monotheism that is supposed to be general knowledge and practice to all? Many assume what is stated by Kikawa (and others) is accurately quoted. People believe what he is saying because it is printed in a book. We need to be more conscientious if we are to arrive at the truth.
Dr. Fruchtenbaum comments on page 25 (2nd ed.) of Perpetuated in Righteousness:
The author's claim that "mainstream anthropologists now agree that all primitive cultures began with a belief in one supreme god" is patently false. That would certainly be the biblical view; here, again, I think the author is trying to read the biblical view into a situation that is simply not true. Certainly, humanity began monotheistic with Adam and Noah, but then degenerated into polytheism. However, mainstream anthropologists do not hold to the biblical view of the origin of man and the origin of societies and cultures and basically believe that man evolved religiously from polytheism to monotheism. The author gives an endnote that assumes the truth of what he says, but sometimes it is wise to see what he is endnoting. The books he quotes are both Christian books and these writers correctly conclude that humanity began monotheistic because the Bible teaches that. But this endnote does not prove that that is the view of mainstream anthropologists, which it does not. A simple telephone call to anthropology teachers in the various Hawaiian universities will, I think, bear this point out.”
Much of Kikawa’s book is put together like this. One does not know what is historical fact or what is his or another writer’s opinion. Even if the Babylonians recorded a belief of a supreme being (called Marduk) it does not mean they worshipped the true God. As a rapid decline occurred the nations did not worship God but gods, yet they still retained a portion of corrupted knowledge of the truth (Romans 1). So thousand of years later the Polynesians couldn’t possibly be worshipping the same God of the Hebrews in the correct manner.
Kikawa has taken general statements of ancient history and inserted his own conclusions on their worship. The earliest records are the Egyptian kings, dating from about the First Dynasty in Egypt between 3200 and 3600 B.C., though new evidence may indicate that these dates should be lowered. The oldest written tablets are Sumerian dating to 3500 B.C. Before this, there were no written records. What we find is that they were worshipping many gods; they were not monotheistic. So to claim confirmation of this fact is going against historical evidence. Abraham arrived in the land of Canaan (ca. 2000 BC.). The Pharaoh of Egypt in the time of Abraham (Gen. 12:14-20; Ps. 105:14.) was not monotheistic. Neither was the Pharaoh at time of Jacob's move to Egypt (1876 BC.) We know from Scripture that before 1500 BC Israel was enslaved by Egypt, that, at the time, was not worshipping the true God. How far back should we go to find monotheism? Exodus is a continuation of Genesis, which ends with Joseph dying at age 110 and being embalmed in Egypt. The Exodus covers the period of Jacob in Egypt in 1875 BC to the erecting of the tabernacle 430 years later in the wilderness. Exodus 8:25-27 states: Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land”. So they obviously had a different god. This is why the true God said “For I will pass through the land of Egypt … against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD” (Exodus 12:12). These are the gods they had from the beginning.
The first books of the Bible were written by Moses from 1510-1450 B.C. as they were in transition to the Promised Land. They are historical in that they trace the human race from its beginning. Their record reads contrary to the nations knowing or worshipping God. From Genesis to Deuteronomy we find God saying the same thing. Deut. 29:16-18: “(for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them-- wood and stone and silver and gold).”
“You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.”
Israel was told in Deut. 18:9:
“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.”
The Bible is clear on the other nations and cultures after the flood. It is all in complete agreement. 1 Chron. 16:26:
“For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.”
Further through history, at the time of the New Testament it did not change, 1 Cor.10:20:
“the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God.”
A Supreme Being in all Cultures
Kikawa inserts a quote (in the 4th edition on p.51) of Wilhelm Schmidt that refers to the pigmies in Asia and Africa as monotheistic without any reference to the book or page. On the next page (p.52) he asserts there is overwhelming evidence, many anthropologists believe primitive cultures began with a belief the one supreme god. Wilhelm Schmidt writes “The names of the Supreme being is called are various and expressive.” But what we need to understand is that every culture had their own interpretation of the supreme and his nature, and there is less, not more to agree on.
To prove this theory he quotes Alfred Metraux in his book History of the Inca’s referring to the Virococha cult, who he states is the Lord, also known in mythology as “the ancient one,” “maker of earth,” “old man of the sky” etc. this does not prove the point he is presenting here of one supreme God being the same as in the Bible. All this makes is a perplexing study when one reads through the quotes or the other references. In doing research like this its imperative to pay attention to details. What Kikawa forgot to include in his quote of Alfred Metraux is “At his side there is usually a second mythological being, the "Transformer," who completes his work and instructs the people in the rudiments of civilization” p.125[emphasis mine].
What Kikawa often exclude are the most important pieces to the puzzle. Viracocha, is known as the feathered serpent god, depicted by a water symbol, that of the serpent or snake. He is depicted as the sun god of creation [wearing a sun crown] and the moon god. The Incas knew him as Viracocha, He is Kukulkan by the Mayas, Quetzalcoatl by the Aztecs, Gucumatz in central America, Votan in Palenque. (The serpent and snake in the Bible are a symbol of Satan, which changes the whole representation of Viracocha).
What is necessary to consider is that those who may have first been monotheistic departed from this belief into Polytheism, Totemism and Animism, just as the Bible states in Romans 1.the major tenets of Animism are basically the same the world over. Animism is the belief that all of nature is inhabited by spirits, i.e. trees, rivers, animals, stones, and people. Some believe they and nature were indwelled by a god that is more powerful than all the rest, sometimes called the “Great Spirit” (this is pantheism or panentheism). Totemism is where certain objects or animals are treated sacred, birds, animals, or plants (like the theory of Gaia for the earth).
Handy writes “In the composition of the Polynesian worship will be found magic, animism, animatism, fetichism, and totemism, as well as phenomena which exemplify all higher phases of religious belief up through polytheism and polydemonism, even to a distinct tendency toward monotheism. But neither the whole nor any part of the Polynesian system of worship is subject to, isolation within” (Polynesian Religion by Craig Hill Handy Published by the Museum 1927)
Of course if one goes back far enough before the tower of Babel when the nations and languages were made they will find that some had a knowledge of Monotheism and had a number of things in common. But this is not where Kikawa is looking for proof, he is finding it much later than this. Abraham Fornander writes "Among the customs, usages, rites of worship, modes of thought, prevalent among the Polynesians, much may be found that still further indicates their connection, ethnic and social, with the races who met and mingled at the early dawn of history in the Mesopotamian basin” (p.102-103 Fornander, The Account of the Polynesian Race). This agrees with a biblical worldview.
The nations were already departed from true knowledge and worship before the flood, this is one of the reasons why God chose Noah and his family to begin a new world (Gen.6:5,11). Afterwards, it did not take long for corruption to settle in the succeeding generations i.e. the Tower of Babel (Gen. 10-11).At this time when the nations and cultures separated the idea of a supreme being found in ancient religions is corrupted and almost unanimously associated with other gods. Centuries go by. Even if they held belief in a supreme being, the name of their god and the ways they worshipped him show they had a different God than the one of the Hebrews. Looking at how cultures conducted themselves is proof to show their god was not YHWH. According to Bible history, the gentile nations had no knowledge of God. One must disregard a large portion of the Old Testament and New to arrive at another conclusion. Outside of the nation of Israel none held to a single God as the creator with adhering to His instructions he gave them. Quotes about numerous gods are abundant along with the mention of a supreme God even in the literature Kikawa quotes. This has become a glaring mistake. As this is not Monotheism in its pure sense but Henotheism; which has a primary god with lesser gods under him (class 1 and lower classes as explained in the spirituality of most of the Polynesians). This is not what the Bible presents as God’s nature but in fact speaks against it.
Kikawa quotes Kepelino's Traditions of Hawaii to prove worship of a supreme being and a trinity, yet he seem to overlook where he writes “Kane, Kanaloa, Lono, this is the great godhead of the forefathers of Hawaii, and these gods belong to class one. They are male gods. They have no source. They made all things and all power was theirs. There were no greater gods than they, and these gods made many gods, the host of gods, man and all things. Therefore they were called by the people of Hawaii the great godhead of the first class. And the forefathers of the people of Hawaii worshipped them” (Kepelino's Traditions of Hawaii, page 10, B. P. Bishop Museum, Bul. 95, Honolulu, 1932). This is what Kikawa is saying is like Christian teaching! Class one and other classes of Gods. These are gods, as in plural, this is not Monotheism.
Kikawa proposes by references in his book (with only a few quotes) that the Polynesians had a concept of a Supreme Being, Io, who was God the creator of the universe. But, again we find the same sources explaining God being both elevated to supreme, one God over other gods. “It was found that the concept of a supreme god was not confined to New Zealand. In the Society Islands, Ta'aroa had been elevated-to a similar supreme position as that of Io in New Zealand” (p.526 The Coming of the Maori, Peter Buck).
Buck who is often quoted explains that the supreme God did not always stay the same “After the pattern had been carried to distant islands, the priests at Opoa elevated Ta'aroa above his brothers and made him creator of all things, not only of his brother Gods and men, but of natural phenomena that had existed before he came into being. … This new god was established as the supreme deity in the great temple named Taputapu-atea. Ta'aroa was then retired and ceased to take an active part in the mundane affairs of men” (Vikings of the Sunrise, P. Buck p.84-85)
“The daring mariners who had steered their ships through the unpierced horizon into the heart of the Pacific received the highest honor from their descendants by being elevated to the rank of gods” (Vikings of the Sunrise p.83, Peter Buck) This means the first people who settled in the Islands were considered for this honor (400 AD). A certain god could be elevated or demoted. “There was a tendency to elevate one of the four above the others. Such a policy, if pursued, could end in the successful god becoming the principal god and even a supreme creator. The status of these four gods throughout Polynesia reveals the -variations which took place in the development of local pantheons (p.527 The Coming of the Maori, Peter Buck)
Dr. Fruchtenbaum gave a response to the claims made especially on the historical and cultural views of Kikawa on page 10 (2nd ed.): The author's forward basically spells out the author's agenda, which is to try to provide a basis for the survival of the Hawaiian culture; not in its crude polytheistic human sacrifice motif, but what the author claims was the original Hawaiian religion of the One God. The author wants the Hawaiian culture to be resurrected. However, being an evangelical Christian, he does not want the Hawaiian culture revived in its religious sense, but only in a “Christianized” sense.”
So, what goes and what stays? Traditions that have religious/ spiritual roots are different then customs that may pertain to clothing, food and expressions of art and music. Although some of these may also be incorporated in a cultures spiritual practice. If one is truly converted to Christ what cultural customs can they keep can be a hard decision to make. It may eventually mean their continuing in the faith or not. I suggest that anything to do with any spiritual practice needs to be discarded as one is built up in the truth. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).