Amalgamation of Man and Beast: Solving the Riddle

Speaker: Categories: Oct 13, 2007


[1hr, 16min, 46sec / 48min, 20sec]


Certainly one of the most"fun"exchanges in college biology and science courses, perhaps also some theology sessions, focused on the perplexing references in the writings of Ellen G. White to"amalgamation"in reference to diversity in animals (including humans) as well as plants. Of course, the after-class discussions in dorm rooms and hallways added further speculations, even citing of presumed examples, and then -"How could this be?"

The answer should be forthcoming at the next SDAF session when T. Joe Willy proposes, actually promises, tosolve the riddle. He, as many readers will recall, made his San Diego Forum debut in April, 2004, in the provocative presentation:Neuroscience, Human Nature, and Redemption.

To stir the minds of the readers, Dr. Willey states:In November, 1863, James White daftly announced that Volume 3 ofSpiritual Gifts(forerunner toThe Great Controversy) would contain"a matter of deep interest in relation to the race of man from creation to the end."A year later whenSpiritual Giftsappeared, Mrs. White claimed that the"great facts of faith, connected with the history of holy men of old, have been opened to me in vision."Some of these facts of faith were unscriptural and later contributed to what became known as the"Iowa Rebellion."An estimated one-third to one-half of the Adventists in Iowa and Ohio (western front) left the church in the 1860s. The visions and amalgamation statements were part of the cause. What was amalgamation? Ellen White wrote;"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."(p. 64.) Even though it was self-contradictory, Mrs. White also presented a few pages later;"Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the endless varieties of species of animals and certain races of men."(p. 75.)

These statements, like most visionary writings from Mrs. White, were not apologized or contravened but maintained from 1864 until 1890 whenPatriarchs and Prophetsappeared. At that time amalgamation was dropped without explanation and"Noah's Curse"inserted to explain the divisions in offspring of Noah, including Ham's son cursed as servant to his brothers. Both"beast"and"Noah's Curse"intemperately played into the biblical proslavery campaign to justify African slavery. Reluctance to abandon monogenesis found in the Mosaic records meant that the question of mankind's racial origins became a constituent part of the nineteenth-century crisis of faith. The amalgamation statements appear to fly in the face of the unity of the human race and Paul's statement that"God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth."In defending Mrs. White in 1868, Uriah Smith justified the amalgamation of man and beast silencing disputations by referring to the wild Bushmen of Africa, some tribes of Hottentots, and perhaps the Digger Indians of America. The church's long held position has sought to explain amalgamation as referring to possible marriage between believers and non-believers or between certain races. Critical historical analysis points in a different direction.


T. Joe Willey holds a master's in biology from Walla Walla College and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1969 to 1985 he was a professor in the department of physiology Loma Linda School of Medicine. In 1985 T. Joe took a leave of absence from LLU to form Staffing Services, Inc., a professional employer organization. Since that time he has been very successful in numerous business ventures - and, it should be noted, has provided numerous observations and posed many questions in SDA publications,Spectrum, andAdventist Today.

In preparing for the October 13 presentation, the speaker notes that he spent three months gathering out of print publications (books and pamphlets) published during the period when these amalgamation statements arose (1820-1880). For those involved in research it's worthy to note that Google (on the Internet) is scanning out-of-print books and making them available for research. They mostly come from Stanford, University of Michigan, Harvard, and the Public Library in New York. As a result, he has located over 200 (on race and slavery) so far and has read or glanced at them. Once you get them onto your hard drive, you can convert them to OCR and begin searching. If Fred Veltman had this option available when he studied literary dependence in Desire of Ages, how fast could he have worked?

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