Ellen G. White and Her Critics

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Chapter 20—“Amalgamation of Man and Beast”

Charge: Mrs. White teaches that before the Flood, and also afterward, men cohabited with beasts and that the offspring constitutes certain depraved races of men today. She is here simply revealing a credulous belief in ancient myths regarding strange creatures produced by unholy alliances between human beings and beasts. If progeny could result from such unions, it would support the antiBiblical doctrine of evolution. But it is an unscientific statement, wholly fanciful. Later on, she suppressed the statement. EGWC 306.1

The only passages in Mrs. White’s writings that are ever cited in support of this charge are found in Spiritual Gifts, volume 3, published in 1864 and republished in Spirit of Prophecy, volume 1, in 1870. The earlier volume is devoted to a recital of the story of man’s early history, beginning at creation. Chapter 6 is entitled “Crime Before the Flood,” and contains this statement: EGWC 306.2

“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 3:64. EGWC 306.3

Chapter 7 is entitled “The Flood,” and contains this statement: EGWC 306.4

“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.”—Page 75. EGWC 306.5

These are Mrs. White’s only statements on the subject of the amalgamation of man and beast. EGWC 306.6

What Mrs. White meant by these passages has been the occasion of some speculation through the years. Her critics have set forth their view of her words in the charge cited. Those who believe in her writings have given two explanations. Some have held that she taught not only that men and beasts have cohabited but also that progeny resulted. However, these defenders have contended that this does not really support the doctrine of evolution. The evolution theory depends for its life on the idea that small, simple living structures can gradually evolve into ever higher forms of life, finally bringing forth man. That more or less closely related forms of life may cross and produce hybrids is not questioned by creationists today. That, in the long ago, when virility was greater, and conditions possibly in some respects different, more diverse forms of life might have crossed—such as man and some higher forms of animals—can be set forth only as an assumption. But this assumption has marshaled against it the whole weight of scientific belief today. Of course, scientists have been wrong, at times, in reasoning that all the past must be understood in terms of the processes we now see going on. EGWC 306.7

We might leave the matter at that, which would do no worse for Mrs. White than to leave her two statements in Spiritual Gifts as being beyond the range of investigation or proof. The Bible itself contains some such statements, as all students of the Scriptures well know. EGWC 307.1

But there is another explanation of these amalgamation passages which we believe is more satisfying and which avoids any conflict with the observable data of science. EGWC 307.2