I’ve thought long and hard about Ellen White’s amalgamation statements, …

Comment on Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…” by David Read.

I’ve thought long and hard about Ellen White’s amalgamation statements, and the result of my thinking about these statements is in my book, “Dinosaurs — An Adventist View” which is available at Amazon.com and at your local ABC. I’ll try to summarize my thinking here.

There is no question that the Bible consistently frowns upon marriages between believers and unbelievers, as does Ellen White. However, I don’t think she would call such unions a “crime.” Moreover, the first amalgamation statement (“But if there was one sin above another . . .”) comes at the end of a chapter dealing with the sins of the antediluvians. One of the issues White had already discussed, earlier in the chapter, was intermarriage between the godly line of Seth and the rebellious line of Cain:

“The descendants of Seth were called the sons of God—the descendants of Cain, the sons of men. As the sons of God mingled with the sons of men, they became corrupt, and by intermarriage with them, lost, through the influence of their wives, their peculiar, holy character, and united with the sons of Cain in their idolatry. Many cast aside the fear of God, and trampled upon his commandments.”

Having adequately treated the intermarriage issue just four pages earlier, Ellen White would not have revisited, in a vague and inscrutable fashion, an issue that she had just treated so clearly and explicitly.

Second, the second amalgamation passage makes clear that “amalgamation” was something that happened primarily to animals:

“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.”

Amalgamation has to do with animals. The intermarriage of the line of Seth with the line of Cain has nothing to do with animals. There were two classes of animals in existence at the Flood: those that God created and those that were the result of amalgamation. Amalgamation has to do with animals.

Third, in another usage of the term, amalgamation has to do with plants:

“Christ never planted the seeds of death in the system. Satan planted these seeds when he tempted Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge, which meant disobedience to God. Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden, but after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up. In the parable of the sower the question was asked the master, “Didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares?” The master answered, “An enemy hath done this” (Matt. 13:27, 28). All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares.” SM v. 2, p. 288.

So amalgamation was a method Satan used to create noxious herbs and tares. Amalgamation can be done on plants.

Finally, let’s take a look at that troublesome sentence that Adventist racists love so dearly:

“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.”

Here, amalgamation is something associated with the very rapid post-Flood speciation and diversification that is part of every creationist model of earth history. Amalgamation apparently led to or facilitated: (1) an “almost endless variety of species of animals,” and (2) the racial diversification of humanity. Here, just as with the poisonous herbs and tares that Satan made, and just as with the species of animals that the antedilvuians made that were not taken on board the ark but destroyed in the Flood, “amalgamation” has nothing to do with the intermarriage of the sons of Seth with the daughters of Cain.

What the three uses of the term amalgmation have in common is that in every instance the subject is biology, more specifically, genetics. Amalgamation is always a biological, genetic phenomenon that makes, or helps to make, new species. Satan used amalgamation to introduce tares, nuisance species of plants, into the world. The antediluvians used amalgamation to make a class of animals that was destroyed in the Flood. After the Flood, amalgamation is something that facilitated an explosion of diversification and speciation, creating “an almost endless variety of species of animals” and also creating racial diversity in the human family.

The exact technology of amalgamation cannot be determined from the statements, but I would argue that in the cases of Satan and the antediluvians, amalgamation was at type of genetic engineering that enabled them to design and produce species that were not part of God’s original creation and that God never intended. With regard to post-Flood amalgamation, I would speculate that lateral gene transfer among species played a very large large role in the rapid post-Flood speciation that is part of all creationist models. One example is that I think there was probably a gene for marsupialism that spread rapidly among species in Australia, causing animals that were placental in other areas to reproduce using the pouch method in Australia. Just an idea to run up the flag pole.

By the way, the use of the phrase “in certain races of men” is indefensible. According to Ellen White’s own prophetic writing, none of the modern races is anything like how God created Adam and Eve; all have substantially changed, and in fact degenerated, from what humans were originally like. And yet all races still reflect the image of God. Those who are constantly harping that Ellen White never claimed inerrancy can point to this phraseology as a clear case of error, and totally out of character with the general tone of her writings on race and race relations. Yet the concept of amalgamation—particularly the idea that we should expect to find animals in the fossil record that God did not create and that were not preserved on the ark and thus brought into the modern world—is clearly inspired and is of enormous value in rightly interpreting the fossil record.

David Read Also Commented

Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”
Pauluc, I just wanted to add that although I agree with the Adventist and EWG interpretation of Genesis 6:4 as referring to the Sethites marrying Cainites, I thought you raised an excellent point regarding the ubiquity of chimerical or mosaic creatures in ancient statuary and mythology. I mention this same phenomenon in my book, but attribute it not to the products of sons of God/daughters of men but rather to the amalgamation phenomenon:

“Mixed creatures such as chimeras and griffins are prominently featured in ancient mythology. On a trip to the Getty museum in Los Angeles, I was struck by how pervasive is the griffin—a mythical beast that was part eagle and part lion—in ancient Greek art and artifacts. Combinations of humans and animals are also common in ancient mythology, which features centaurs (half horse), harpies (half bird), minotaurs (half bull), satyrs (half goat), and mermaids (half fish). One wonders why human/animal combinations are so common in mythology. Could it be that the ancients had a dim collective memory of a time when human and animal combinations existed? Perhaps Noah and his children told stories of human/animal combinations that existed before the Flood, and, over the millennia, elements of these stories worked their way into the mythologies of the ancient nations. ‘With the revolution in recombinant DNA,’ writes Michio Kaku, ‘we have to re-analyze many of these ancient myths from an entirely different perspective. The ancient dream of being able to control life is gradually becoming a reality via the bio-molecular revolution.'”

Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”
Pauluc, I discuss the Genesis 6 statement in pages 399 to 404 of my book, “Dinosaurs–An Adventist View.” I won’t reproduce all five pages here, but I will reproduce the footnote (FN 26, ch. 18) that deals with the book of Enoch:

“Proponents of the theory of breeding between angels and humans draw support from the pseudepigraphal book of 1 Enoch and from an interpretation of verses in Peter (1 Peter 3:18-20, 2 Peter 2:4, 5) and Jude (verses 6 and 7) that is influenced by 1 Enoch. Although Jude quotes from 1 Enoch, Enoch contains a mixture of truth and error. Pseudepigrapha means ‘falsely superscribed,’ meaning falsely titled or attributed. The book of Enoch was written between 200 B.C. and A.D. 50. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, had nothing to do with writing the book. Moreover, the Book of Enoch makes bizarre and incredible assertions. For example, it claims that the Nephilim were 300 cubits tall (450 feet tall), that the antediluvians exhausted themselves trying to feed these outsized giants, that the giants turned on the antediluvian men and started eating them, and that they then started eating each other and drinking blood. (1 Enoch, chapter 7.) The Book of Enoch was never included in the Hebrew canon, and although the book was well known to the early Christians, they did not include it in their canon, either—the Ethiopian church being a notable exception. After the Council of Laodicea in A.D. 364, the church banned 1 Enoch and suppressed it so vigorously that most copies were destroyed. It was thought to be a lost book until the Scottish explorer James Bruce found a copy in Ethiopia, written in Ethiopian, in the early 1770s. Copies were also found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. For the views of supporters of the theory of breeding between angels and humans, see, e.g., James Montgomery Boice, Genesis, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998); Henry J. Morris, The Genesis Record, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1976); Chuck Missler, Textual Controversy: Mischievous Angels or Sethites?; Ray C. Stedman, Signs of Collapse; Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology, (Chicago: Scripture Press, 1952); John Fleming, The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology, (Dublin: Hodges, Foster & Figgis, 1879).”

Mrs. White: “Don’t send your children to…”
@David Read: Sean, the platypus is a monotreme. I mentioned them already, in a previous post. To deny that the mammal-like reptiles, for example are more class-bending than modern animals seems to me obtuse, but to each his own.

Recent Comments by David Read

The Reptile King
Poor Larry Geraty! He can’t understand why anyone would think him sympathetic to theistic evolution. Well, for starters, he wrote this for Spectrum last year:

“Christ tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.”

“Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference.”

So the traditional Adventist interpretation of Genesis is an “extra-Biblical interpretation” put forward by “the fundamentalist wing” of the SDA Church? What are people supposed to think about Larry Geraty’s views?

It is no mystery how LaSierra got in the condition it is in.

The Reptile King
Professor Kent says:

“I don’t do ‘orgins science.’ Not a single publication on the topic. I study contemporary biology. Plenty of publications.”

So, if you did science that related to origins, you would do it pursuant to the biblical paradigm, that is pursuant to the assumption that Genesis 1-11 is true history, correct?

The Reptile King
Well, Jeff, would it work better for you if we just closed the biology and religion departments? I’m open to that as a possible solution.

The Reptile King
Larry Geraty really did a job on LaSierra. Personally I think it is way gone, compromised beyond hope. The SDA Church should just cut its ties to LaSierra, and cut its losses.

As to the discussion on this thread, round up the usual suspects and their usual arguments.

La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction
It is a remarkably fair and unbiased article, and a pretty fair summary of what was said in the recorded conversation.