The Possibility of Genetic Engineering
Technological advances in the 1970's enable scientists today to mix the genes of
different animals, and the genes of animals and plants. Some of Ellen White's earlier writings
from 1864 suggest just such technology:
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.—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.—Ibid., p. 75.
What she describes here would have to be something akin to genetic engineering for the simple
reason that "amalgamation" through natural means is impossible,
except in animals that are very similar, like horses and donkeys. Why "amalgamation" is impossible
though natural means is this: Every egg has two outer membranes,
the zona pellucida and the vitelline membrane. These membranes form a barrier that prevents
|A cross between a mallard and a lemur, created by a photo editing program.|
If scientists remove the zona pellucida, they can produce some cross-species fertilization,
as in humans and hamsters. In fact, such a procedure is routinely used in order to test male
fertility in humans. The zona pellucida of hamster eggs is removed, and then the percentage of
eggs fertilized by human spermatazoa is determined. If that percentage is below a certain level,
then a diagnosis of infertility is reached.
(One might wonder whether Ellen White would object to such a test, on the grounds that it might constitute
the "amalgamation" of man with beast. But whether she would or not is impossible to verify, since she died 99 years ago.)
Yet the removal of the zona pellucida only facilitates cross-species fertilization to a point.
Scientific experiments have demonstrated that even then, the vitelline membrane still prevents the crossing
of certain species, such as the fertilization of mouse or rat eggs by human spermatazoa, and
the fertilization of rat, mouse, or rabbit eggs by guinea-pig spermatozoa
(J Exp Zool.
1979 Dec; 210(3):497-505;
1978 Feb; 203(2):277-85).
Thus, since such crossings between species are naturally impossible, Ellen White's statements
appear to suggest some sort of technologically advanced process in the pre-Flood civilization.
As we shall see later in another statement, she referred to amalgamation being done
through "ingenious methods."
But, were the antediluvians really that bright? According to Ellen White they were:
In the antediluvian world there were many wonderful works of art and science.
Fresh from the hand of the Creator, these descendants of Adam possessed capabilities
that we do not now see.—Signs of the Times Feb. 1, 1899.
Notwithstanding the wickedness of the antediluvian world,
that age was not, as has often been supposed, an era of ignorance
and barbarism. . . . They possessed great physical and mental strength, and their
advantages for acquiring both religious and scientific knowledge
were unrivaled. . . . their mental powers were
early developed . . . . Could illustrious scholars
of our time be placed in contrast with men of the same age who
lived before the Flood, they would appear as greatly inferior in
mental as in physical strength. As the years of man have
decreased, and his physical strength has diminished, so his mental
capacities have lessened. There are men who now apply themselves
to study during a period of from twenty to fifty years, and
the world is filled with admiration of their attainments. But how
limited are these acquirements in comparison with those of men
whose mental and physical powers were developing for
centuries!—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 82, 83.
The evolutionist who believes that man is gradually becoming more and more advanced might
scoff at the above, but we should remember that Ellen G. White did not believe in evolution.
She was a biblicist, and as such believed that the human race is "devolving" rather than evolving.
For that reason, she believed that man is getting dumber and dumber, not smarter and smarter.
We also take note that while she indicates that the pre-Flood amalgamation was
something done by man, she doesn't explicitly implicate man as the perpetrator of the post-Flood
amalgamation. Another statement by Ellen White, alluding to some sort of genetic tampering
and written in 1899, suggests another possibility as to the culprit: Satan engineered some of the amalgamation
using his "ingenious methods":
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.—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 288.
Ellen G. White's writings are by no means the only source that suggests that some sort of genetic engineering
and mixing of species took place in the distant past. Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman myths and
architecture abound with creatures that are a cross between humans and horses, goats, fish,
snakes, bulls, lions, and hawks. All these amalgamated creatures are evidence of either overactive imaginations,
or genetic engineering conducted by ancient peoples.
The Book of Enoch speaks of ravenous, man-eating giants that resulted
from the pre-Flood crossing of fallen angels and people (chs. 6, 7, 85-89). Maybe this idea was inspired by a
mistaken interpretation of Genesis 6:2-4. Or perhaps the Book of Enoch
contains a garbled account of how fallen angels worked with human beings
to genetically engineer such strange and ravenous creatures as Tyrannosaurus rex.
Whatever was going on before the Flood, Ellen White called it a "base crime," and the sin above
all others that brought down the divine judgment of the Flood. That something had gone awry even in the
animal world is clear from the following Bible verse. Not only was man evil, but even "all flesh"
had become corrupted:
And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for
all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. (Gen. 6:12)
Would it really be a sin, a base crime, to cross a camel and a turkey? Moses, the writer of Genesis, definitely
thought so, for he recorded God's prohibitions against the crossing of divergent species:
Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender
with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled
seed. (Lev. 19:19)
Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds:
lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit
of thy vineyard, be defiled. (Deut. 22:9)
There are a lot of people today that are skittish about genetic engineering. They worry about
the potential hazards if something goes awry, for example. Now if it be true that Ellen White wrote about
genetic engineering more than a century before it was scientifically possible, and if
God got upset at the antediluvian race for tinkering with the genetic code, then there may be more
hazards to genetic engineering than what most people think.
We should also consider the possibility that Ellen White was describing other
technologies as well, such as the adding of cells of one species to the embryos of another species.
What this procedure does is produce composite creatures called chimeras that have parts of both species.
No, we didn't get the following from The National Enquirer. We got it from a January 25, 2005
article on NationalGeographic.com:
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University
in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The
embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully
created. . . .
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created
pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies. . . .
What's caused the uproar is the mixing of human stem cells with embryonic
animals to create new species. . . .
Weissman has already created mice with brains that are about
one percent human.
Later this year he may conduct another experiment where the
mice have 100 percent human brains. This would be done, he said,
by injecting human neurons into the brains of embryonic
Hybrids Spark Controversy."
Weird, huh? You'd think the world was coming to an end. . . . Well, maybe it is.
Give Us Your Opinion
|What do you think of Ellen White's amalgamation comments?