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Amalgamation: EGW & the “Science” of Race

October 29, 2007

Ellen White’s statements concerning “amalgamation” are among her most troubling & difficult to understand. Recently I came across a .pdf of a Powerpoint presentation by Dr T. Joe Willey at the Association of Adventist Forums meeting on the 13th of October, 2007; in the Tierrasanta SDA church in San Diego, USA, that examines this issue in some detail. Willey’s presentation is available in .pdf form here. The original webpage raising the issue was For the Gospel.

For those unfamilar with the quotations in question:

“But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before Him.” (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p 64.)

“Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.” (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p 75.)

This volume was published in 1864 & republished in 1870; though it is no longer being published by an SDA press. It forms the basis for her later “Conflict of the Ages” series.

Willey does an excellent job of locating White’s comments on race within Antebellum culture–focussing more broadly on White’s anthropology as a whole. I highly recommend it.

Other resources on the topic include the less well researched http://ellenwhiteexposed.com/critica.htm; and the White Estate’s official response: http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/faq-unus.html#note-c1-1 The White Estate’s response argues from semantics that White did not actually mean what she says but rather meant something else. It is a quite superficial & inadequate response.

12 comments

  1. The fear of being accused of homophobia has led some Christians today to consider homosexuality a lifestyle that is equally acceptable and to feel embarrassed and do a lot of explaining about what the Bible says on the subject.

    In the same way the fear of being accused of racisim, has led to not being willing to examine any possibility that these highly embarrassing statements by EGW could be true. I have two questions:

    1. Has anyone ever done a DNA test to examine this issue? Being angry about it is not good enough, in my opinion. Instead, we need to just calmly look at the science.

    2. The next question would be impossible to test, of course. Does anyone know if a cross between humans and any other simian species is possible? You can cross horses and donkeys, tigers and lions. If you could collect a gorilla ovum, for example, and expose it to human sperm in a laboratory, what would happen?


  2. All species of animal and mankind possessed a vitality and strength, in those days, that dwarfs that of any creature now living. Assuming that something that is impossible for us now was also impossible in that vastly different biosphere, and for the vastly superior life forms then, is tantamount to arrogant presumption.

    However, in today’s research, human genes and hormones are used in conjunction with animal tissue to create new medicines and lord knows what else in the laboratory. Who is to say that beings that were only a few centuries away from the creation, and in E.G. White’s words: “Possessed 20 times the vitality and intellect of men now living” couldn’t have engineered some form of sub-species in many of the animals then in existence?

    I don’t believe the inference of amalgamation was toward freakish offspring resultant of human/animal sexual acts so much as interbreeding different species of animals, and/or some form of microbiological tampering. Perhaps the means of understanding all of this involves thinking outside of the box of our own self-importance and arrogance in assuming that 21st.Century man is the culmination of all things good!


  3. 1. Has anyone ever done a DNA test to examine this issue? Being angry about it is not good enough, in my opinion. Instead, we need to just calmly look at the science.

    In humans? Yes, it’s been done. We humans are one race — all colors, all creeds, all faiths, all nationalities, just one race.

    One wag noted there is less diversity in the entire human population than there is in the average troop of chimpanzees.

    We’re all so closely related, wars are family fights.

    2. The next question would be impossible to test, of course. Does anyone know if a cross between humans and any other simian species is possible? You can cross horses and donkeys, tigers and lions. If you could collect a gorilla ovum, for example, and expose it to human sperm in a laboratory, what would happen?

    There’s a good case to be made that humans are just another group of chimpanzees. In fact, Jared Diamond wrote a vastly informing book with a title that reflected that: The Third Chimpanzee. Since the book, however, another chimp species has been identified in Congo. A chimpanzee-human cross might offer the best chance of success. But that would be unlikely.

    I don’t think any reputable researcher would seriously try it today. The Institutional Review Boards would be brutal, and I doubt such an experiment could get approval. Among key difficulties, humans have lost a chromosome — actually, two chromosomes fused. While such differences don’t seem to bother plants a lot, they do appear to bother mammals. Apart from that, a natural cross is virtually impossible. Human males have the largest sexual apparatus of all the great apes. The parts don’t fit. True speciation.

    There are reports that Soviet group conducted cross-breeding tests in the Stalin era, including artificial insemination, with no success.

    It should be noted that most mules are sterile, in both jenny and jack. Ligers (between lions and tigers) also have been sterile. Lion-tiger crosses are possible only in zoos, of course, since they share no close habitat in nature any more, if they ever did.


  4. amalgamation is DEFINITELY taking place at the cellular and molecular levels, in the laboratory…e.g. the drug Herceptin making use of mouse antibodies
    As far as “reputable researcher”, in the human realm what can be done will be done..it’s interesting that the 19/20th centuries produced an entire literary genre devoted to the excesses of the “mad scientist”
    rogue researchers are not unknown!
    What is this fusion of chromosomes, per E. Darrell which I find no reference to in genetics books?


  5. Fused chromosomes? Go see this:
    http://www.thetech.org/genetics/ask.php?id=229

    I didn’t think it was so new that it wouldn’t be in genetics books, but the paper confirming the fact was published in 2005 — so you might not find it in any but the more recent texts. It’ll be in the next set of high school texts for sure, though; Ken Miller, who co-authors the best-selling text, explains the thing in his speeches on the Kitzmiller case. Here’s a site that explains it, and features a great video of Miller explaining the fusion and how it confirms evolution:
    http://www.teachersdomain.org/resources/evol07/sci/life/evo/genconnect/index.html


  6. We must consider the real fact that a much superior race of humans who constructed the ark for all of God s creation to live there and the great piramyths of Egypt after the flood must have had superior knowledge as well about genetics which we at present time are barely scratching its surface. Those who critized sister White or so ambarresing defend her just do not have a slightest idea of what they are dealing with.


  7. Let’s not contort our minds in an effort to wring highly improbable and, frankly, ludicrous meanings from very clear words. She meant what her words conveyed and on more than one occasion she claimed that all her writings expressed revelations from God. Therefore, let’s assume that she knew what she was saying and meant to say what she said.

    According to emphatic statements on the EG White estate’s website, Mrs. White was absolutely not referring to the mixing of man and beast. Yet in 1868 another Adventist leader, Uriah Smith, published a book in which he surmised that the union of man with beast had created “such cases as the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of the Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of our own country”. EG White and her husband reviewed, approved, recommended and _sold_ this book. Therefore
    the statement on the estate’s website directly contradicts the statements and actions of Mrs. White herself. Who are we to believe: the writer or the estate?

    Per dictionary.com, amalgamation=”The mixing or blending of different elements, races, societies, etc.; also, the result of such combination or blending; a homogeneous union”. BTW, the meaning of amalgamation has not changed from 1828 (the earliest reference I found in a casual search) to now so let’s not pretend that it meant something different when she used it.

    Per EG White’s ‘inspired’ statement, the amalgamation she was referring to “defaced the image of God”. Therefore she was specifically referring to an amalgamation that affected man. Otherwise she would not have made mention of its impact on the “image of God”.

    Biblically, man=image of God. So, what exactly was being amalgamated with man, into man or within man? Was it the mixing of ‘races’ that was the “one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood”? Was it, perhaps, the mixing of beast and man, the interpretation assented to by Mrs. White and her husband?

    So, we’re left with a conundrum: if we believe the estate, then according to EG White the mixing of races was the “base crime” that “called for the destruction of the race”; if instead we take meaning from EG White’s words and supporting actions then we must acccept that she believed that inter-breeding between humans and beasts is possible and that such cross-species breeding resulted in the Hottentots and Bushmen of Africa. To accept the former is to believe that God considered the marriage between Moses and his wife to be a “base” crime, while to accept the latter, we must relegate Africans and their descendants to the status of hybridized beast-humans or human-beasts.

    Do _any_ of you believe that this teaching really came from the God of the bible? I would honestly appreciate if someone could show me where my analysis has erred because I’m having a really tough time reconciling the obvious and disturbing incongruities between this “revelation” and the Yahweh revealed in the bible.


  8. Those who comment so confidently about the competence of the ancients (and what they think they know about them) would do well to make their way carefully through Anatoly Fomenko’s eight volume work, “History: Fiction or Science” (Delamere Resources Ltd, 2003).


  9. Thank you HS for your comments of Aug 16 2008 and Brother Hackleman Sept 3 2008
    .Why is it so difficult for some people to even consider the possibility,that She was wrong!!The statement could not have come from the Creator Himself.She simply copied the best information available at the time.Must we sound like evolutionest in Her defense?We do not have a female Pope.


  10. Thank you too Jim Snelling. Whoever reads the Scriptures well and is inspired by the Holy Spirit cannot utter such words. How different am I from Adam in molecular structure, or was Jesus not crucified for the Hottentots, my African Brethren. If salvation was for the Whites, then let Jesus stay. Since the Holy Writ does not support such nonsense, I am a Christian. ThAnK you brethren for being straight to the point. I need not add anything as Ellen did add to the Scriptures, AN ABOMINATION.


  11. I raised this issue 40 years ago and was met with a stony silence. It is good to see people finally getting around to talking about the issue


  12. Amalgamation was an integral part of pagan practice in prechristian Europe. And such practices are condenmed in the book of Leviticus. So how come Uriah Smith never concluded that his own white people are the subhumans ? Instead he points the finger at southern African blacks and native Americans in the way of white settlers. Then there are claims in The Southern Worker by EGW that God is against black Americans marrying white Americans. In contrast there is the OT story about God covering Miriam from head to toe with leprosy for criticizing Moses for marrying a black woman. It’s also of interest to note that The Book of Mormon teaches that “The Mark of Cain is the African’s black skin and flat nose”. 16th & 17th century theologians in Europe argued that Africans don’t have souls so aren’t worthy of salvation. Yet inspite of all that I can’t see why Uriah Smith and EGW were debating whether or not blacks are worthy of salvation when they must have read the story of the Ethiopian convert in Acts of the Apostles hundreds of times.



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