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Was there a curse of Ham?

Published: 13 June 2020 (GMT+10)
different-shades-skin
Different shades of skin

In response to the UEFA anti-racism campaign concedes an own goal article published on 27 December 2019, CMI received the following feedback, to which Lucien Tuinstra responds. Mushet S. (US) wrote:

Original Message

I agree with the word of God that all people come from Adam and Eve and after the Global Noah Flood, the sons of Noah and their wives. However, where you and I may disagree with is on this: While I do believe that in Christ, spiritually, we are all one in the body of Christ, and there is no difference in that sense, I believe also that Genesis 9:20-27 clearly proves and shows and explains the history of the human race onwards: Hamites = Africans (Arabs and Blacks), Shem = Asians and Jews, Japheth =Europeans/Whites. The line of Ham is cursed in their flesh. While all people have a sin nature, the line of Ham has an “extra large curse” in them: Hamites/Blacks/Arabs are more prone to sexual and violent sins. This is why they “go ape” on people and have such gangster thug tribalism. CMI and Answers in Genesis should admit this and not try to cover it up. We all need Jesus but the Hamite needs to be Lovingly Governed by the Shemite and Japhethite. Not enslaved or abused, understand, but, governed and controlled with love, compassion, empathy, and firmness. Ham = Servant. Shem = Thinker. Japheth = Builder/Explorer. Exceptions exist but do not change the rule. Darwinism is wrong. But these distinctions between the three branches of man exist whether you admit it or not.

Response

Dear Mushet,

Thank you for your comments. In my reply to the feedback your message is in red, my reply in black.

I agree with the word of God that all people come from Adam and Eve and after the Global Noah Flood, the sons of Noah and their wives.

Indeed.

However, where you and I may disagree with is on this: While I do believe that in Christ, spiritually, we are all one in the body of Christ, and there is no difference in that sense,

We still agree; all who have genuine faith in Christ are part of his church—his bride (Ephesians 5:25).

I believe also that Genesis 9:20-27 clearly proves and shows and explains the history of the human race onwards: Hamites = Africans (Arabs and Blacks), Shem = Asians and Jews, Japheth = Europeans/Whites.

You mention “Africans (Arabs and Blacks)”, but many Arabs are ‘black’ (figure 1) and, more importantly, numerous Arabs live in the Middle East, which is not Africa.1 Not all Ham’s descendants migrated to Egypt and further afield. Take for example the Canaanites who lived in the area we today call Israel (Genesis 10:19–20). Canaan’s nephew Nimrod started in the land of Shinar and moved north to Assyria (Genesis 10:10–11). Other (undisclosed) progeny settled in Gedor, the hills of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:39–40).

Arab-black
Figure 1 Venn diagram of Arabs and ‘blacks’. (not to scale)

You mention “Asians and Jews”, yet modern day Israel (Middle East) with its Jewish citizens is in Asia, therefore many (but not all) Jews are Asians (figure 2). Although Jews are nowadays referred to as Semites (from Shem), the covenant associated with the Jews was with Abraham, the ninth generation from Shem. The word Jew itself comes from Judah, the 12th from Shem. In other words, if you descend from Abraham (or Judah) you also descend from Shem, but if you descend from Shem, you do not necessarily descend from Abraham (or Judah). Many people think that ’Jewishness’ is passed down via the mother, but this certainly was not the case in biblical times. The main reason for this is that it can without doubt be established who someone’s mother is (due to her presence at birth), but it is not always possible to ascertain the father’s identity (in case of absence). The point is, Jewish people do not necessarily know if they descend from Shem because records were lost with the destruction of the Temple.

And what about the people that convert to the Jewish religion? Consider Romans 9:6–7:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”

Do they fall into this category of converts or would they still be grouped according to their family tree? Lastly, the Semitic languages (named after Shem) include both Arabic and Hebrew (and many others), another overlap of your categories.

Asian-jew
Figure 2 Venn diagram of Asians and Jews. (not to scale)

These statements show that your comments are too simplistic, and quite frankly, wrong. To illustrate this, consider marriage. Jacob’s family went to Egypt where Joseph served under Pharaoh. Joseph married Asenath the daughter of Potiphera priest of On (Genesis 41:45). She was a local. Another case in point was Solomon making a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt (1 Kings 3:1). One final example is a descendant of Judah (through Jerahmeel):

Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters, but Sheshan had an Egyptian slave whose name was Jarha. So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to Jarha his slave, and she bore him Attai (1 Chronicles 2:34–35).

The Bible explains that some marriages are forbidden (2 Corinthians 6:14–15), but not because of so-called racial mixing.

Not all Europeans were ‘white’; in fact, no ancient Europeans, as far as we can tell from the genetics, were ‘white’.2 Note that continent borders came much later, and Europe stretches into Turkey. What about people who live near the border (Istanbul)? ‘Border-dweller’ skin tone does not change dependent on which side of the ‘border’ they live on. Skin shades exist on a spectrum; to distinguish three groups (according to Noah’s sons) is rather short-sighted.

You correctly state that, “all people come from Adam and Eve and after the Global Noah Flood, the sons of Noah and their wives”; therefore the information for all shades would have been present from the beginning. That is, unless you believe God altered DNA information around the Flood, but this would be an argument from silence. Even if He did, people were not scattered until at least a century later at Babel (the birth of Peleg, the fourth from Shem); i.e. before then, the descendants of Noah’s sons were free to intermarry. Genetically one could argue that we are all descended from Ham! This is because there is no way to separate Ham’s genetic or genealogical contribution from all of humanity, due both to pre-Babel and post-Babel mixing. By cursing Ham, you are inadvertently cursing yourself.

You use the words “clearly proves and shows”, but you read a lot into the text that simply isn’t stated.3 If it is not in the text, where is it coming from? Interestingly, you start your sentence with “I believe”. Is it proven or not? If so, then you no longer have to believe, do you?

The line of Ham is cursed in their flesh.

This is a regurgitation of the infamous ‘curse of Ham’? The ‘curse of Ham’—allegedly a dark skin—has been around for a while (mostly in America) but seemed to be on its way out. Some people are loathe to let this fallacious idea go; if not in its original form, then some variant of it.

While all people have a sin nature, the line of Ham has an “extra large curse” in them: Hamites/Blacks/Arabs are more prone to sexual and violent sins. This is why they “go ape” on people and have such gangster thug tribalism.

This appears to be a variant of the ‘curse of Ham’, one which, simply put, is wildly racist. It is wholly fabricated with a view to suppress certain people groups. As Angela Saini put it:

“… those committed to the biological reality of race won’t back down if the data proves them wrong.

… They will simply keep reaching for fresher, more elaborate theories when the old ones fail.

All this to prove what they have always really wanted to know: that they are superior.”4

Your view is not based on any real statistics nor, more importantly, Scripture. Where in the Bible does it teach this? I agree that 100% of people are prone to sin (Romans 3:23), but you suggest that around a third of all people have this proneness “to sexual and violent sins”? And this third of the world’s population “go ape” and have “gangster thug tribalism”. Is “go ape” a reference to them being less evolved, or one of your own terms, since it certainly is not biblical teaching? If I have surmised correctly, this somehow is genetically determined in your thinking. Yet nowhere in the Bible do we read of a Hamitic curse. Further, you should realise that gangsters and thugs can also be found among ‘non-African tribes’. It is important to look at the heart, rather than someone’s outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).

CMI and Answers in Genesis should admit this and not try to cover it up.

Why should we admit to something not found in the Bible and clearly fallacious? Just because you say so? No, we need hard evidence. Also, to cover something up means to hide the (inconvenient) truth so others will not discover it. Clearly, this is nonsensical for imaginary stories. It’s a strawman argument.

We all need Jesus

Agreed.

but the Hamite needs to be Lovingly Governed by the Shemite and Japhethite. Not enslaved or abused, understand, but, governed and controlled with love, compassion, empathy, and firmness.

Enslaving or abusing anyone is immoral; that is not the issue here. Why should all descendants of Ham be governed by descendants of Shem and Japheth? Let’s assume Ham was cursed—which he wasn’t—so that this somehow meant he could not govern. Why would all Ham’s progeny be affected in the same way? Moses wrote that God visits “the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7). Clearly, more than four generations have passed since the days of Ham.5

Ham = Servant. Shem = Thinker. Japheth = Builder/Explorer. Exceptions exist but do not change the rule.

But you cannot point us to a relevant Bible passage to show where you get this idea from. Genesis 9:25–27 states the following:

[Noah] said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”

He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.

May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

The Hebrew words behind the names in the pronouncement of Noah

Canaan: servant of servants

Twice the Hebrew `ebed (עֶבֶד) is used. These two appearances of the word are the same as used in verses 26 and 27. It is almost always translated as servant. It comes from the root `abad (עָבַד), mostly translated as to serve. The word is first used in Genesis 2:15 where it is translated ‘to work’.

The Hebrew for Canaan is Kĕna`an (כְּנַעַן, humiliated) and comes from the root kana` (כָּנַע) which means to bend the knee. The Hebrews subdued the people living in Canaan (the region) when they entered their land (Joshua 17:13).

Shem: owner (or maker) of tents

“in the tents” is the Hebrew plural form of ‘ohel (אֹהֶל), which means tent, home, dwelling, habitation.

Shem (שֵׁם) means name (reputation). It also denotes a person’s whole selfhood, their presence, which is why it was God’s “name” (shem) that dwelt in the temple (2 Chronicles 7:16). How fitting that Jesus came from the one called “name” as the perfect and whole representation of God, to dwell among us?

Japheth: enlarged, tent dweller

For “shall enlarge”, the Hebrew pathah (פָּתָה) is used. This root means to open, or to make roomy, spacious or wide. Brown, Driver, and Briggs6 (BDB) 834 states that the meaning here is to give Japheth an extensive inheritance (“make wide for Japheth”).

Out of interest

The name Ham (Hebrew Cham [חָם]) means warm/hot. BDB 325 [incorrectly generalizing] adds that descendants of Ham were inhabitants of southern countries and in Psalms (105 & 106) it refers to Egypt.

For “he shall dwell” the Hebrew shakan (שָׁכַן) is used. This root conveys the idea of settling down, or residing. Mostly translated to dwell, but other translations include abide, place, remain, inhabit, and rest. BDB 1015 places this reference under the definition of abide or dwell.

Japheth is the Hebrew Yepheth (יֶפֶת) and comes from the root pathah (פָּתָה), translated earlier as enlarge. This wordplay will not have gone unnoticed by Hebrew readers. It is interesting to note that verses 25 and 27 each use a repetition, wedging in verse 26 containing the Lord God of Shem. As mentioned, Shem was the ancestor of the Semitic people, and a patriarch in the line of Jesus. Of course, Christ was the servant of servants as he was humbled beyond measure. Yet He was also enlarged to sit at the right hand of God the Father and is rightfully called Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 17:14). In Him we have our inheritance.

This does not mean per se that Ham was not a servant, or Shem was not a thinker, or Japheth was not a builder/explorer. But all your statements are contrived; they certainly do not come from Scripture (see box). To boot, you imply in an earlier statement that all Hamites are servants. Yet now you say, “Exceptions exist but do not change the rule”. This is evidently a fallacy of generalisation.

Darwinism is wrong.

Yes. See for instance The Darwin Effect review.

But these distinctions between the three branches of man exist whether you admit it or not.

This is the burden of proof fallacy. You have simply stated what you believe to be true, without making any case—let alone a biblical one—for it. Then you have insisted others should believe likewise. Essentially, this is equivalent to “Because I say so”. As per our motto, we rather take our doctrine from the Bible.

I urge you to meticulously read Genesis 9:20–27 again (particularly verse 25), because a lot of your argumentation seems to hinge on a curse of Ham, whereas this passage clearly names Canaan as the cursed one. I am surprised you have not (consciously) noticed this, since you brought up the passage as the basis for your thinking. Somehow you have imbibed false teaching, either from a book by an author you esteem, or perhaps a person whose teaching you esteem (even a pastor). However, I beseech you to let go of this false teaching and stand upon the unadulterated truths of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16). Take God at His Word.

Kind regards,
Lucien Tuinstra

Acknowledgements

I thank my wife and our dear friend Elizabeth Backfish, PhD, for help with checking the Hebrew text.

References and notes

  1. The words black and white in this article are placed in scare quotes when referring to people groups implied by the feedback sender. CMI knows people are not truly black or white, but rather have different amounts of the pigment melanin. Outward appearances are in many ways irrelevant, for one example, see creation.com/blood-brothers. Return to text.
  2. Without buying into the evolutionary undertones, there are people that suggest that ‘Cheddar Man’ (found in a Somerset cave) who, allegedly, lived around 10,000 years ago, was deemed to have skin pigmentation more commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Saini, A., Superior: The return of race science, 4th Estate, London, p. 167, 2019. See also: Reade, B., Dark-skinned Cheddar Man is hard cheese for the racist morons of the far right, mirror.co.uk, 10 February 2018. The allele that causes light skin does not appear in Europe until the farmers move in from Anatolia. All people older than that carry markers for dark skin. Return to text.
  3. This is called eisegesis. Return to text.
  4. Saini, A., Superior: The return of race science, 4th Estate, London, p. 292, 2019. Return to text.
  5. An exception would be the curse because of Adam’s sin. He was the head of mankind and so we still suffer—and will, until Jesus returns—the consequences of that original sin. Return to text.
  6. Brown, F., Driver, S., and Briggs, C., The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Hendrickson Publishers Inc., Peabody, Massachusetts, 2004. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

How did all the different 'races' arise?
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One Big Family
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The Genesis Account
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Readers’ comments

John M.
Why do people keep using the term race as if being black, white, or yellow makes people a different race? We are all Homo Sapiens with different physical attributes. Wouldn't the proper term be ethnicity?
Dan M.
Some of these OT passages are obscure to moderns who lack the mindset of the covenantal Patriarchal religions. The eldest son in the line from Adam on received the blessing to be the High Priest of their religion and pass on that knowledge of God to the next generation. So understood in that family context, the incident of Ham's sin can be seen this way: Ham was jealous of Shem for receiving that blessing as the eldest son, and the result of Ham's sin was Canaan, whom Ham wanted to "jump the line" in front of Shem's son to become the leader and blessed line. This is why it is said that Canaan would serve Shem, showing that Ham's plan had not succeeded. Ham thought that by having a son from Noah's wife, his mother, he would out rank Shem's son. We see this happen again among Jacob's sons, when Reuben, already a first-born, does the same thing with his father's wife, because he was afraid of Joseph, the other first-born in the family. Joseph's selection by Jacob was indicated, among other things, by giving him the special coat.
Lucien Tuinstra
Much of your argument is based on Shem being Noah's oldest son. Yet, Shem is almost certainly the middle son.

When Shem was 100 years old, he fathered Arpachshad two years after the flood. (Genesis 11:10)
Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. (Genesis 7:6)
Rounding the duration of the Flood to one year, I would argue that Arphaxad was born when Noah was 603: 600 (years old when the flood came) + 1 (year duration) + 2 (years after the flood).
When Noah was 603, Shem was 100. Thus Shem was born when Noah was 503.

After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Genesis 5:32)
Taken all this in (allowing for some rounding errors of days, weeks, and perhaps months), it strongly suggests that Shem was the middle son (and Japheth the oldest).
For further reading, see Timing of events in Noah’s life.
Canyon S.
While I stand firmly against racism and the racist nature of the letter which was addressed, the Bible makes too much of the Shem/Ham/Japheth division for us to discount it completely. For example:

The wives of Abram: Sarah (Shemite), Hagar (Hamite), Ketureh (Japhethite), the seekers of Jesus: Shepherds (Shemites), Magi (Hamites), Gentiles of John 12 (Japhethites), the synoptic gospels Matthew (Shemites: Jesus is King), Mark (Hamites: Jesus is Servant), Luke (Japhethites: Jesus is Scientific (This one is arguably hard to summarize succintly, but Luke has a specific people (Doctors/Researchers) in mind in his writing)), and the conversion of the world in Acts: Jews, Samaritans, Greeks, in that order.

Now, this is in no way defending racism, or even saying we should make a huge deal out of these three distinctions, but they are biblical and they do exist. I believe that much of the New Testament is meant to blur these lines and say that Jesus came to save all nations and reconcile all people in him (See especially Revelation 5:9-10), but that apart from him there are many ways people will find to war against each other and discriminate against each other.

Finally, something to at least consider, when Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Christ for the Romans, he was serving both the Semites and the Japhethites. Was that the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 9:26-27, or just a portion of the fulfillment? Regardless, it's impossible not to see that fulfillment in some shape or form. Some would say that Simon later became an important church figure serving the King of kings for the rest of his life, as we all should as we take up our crosses and follow him.
Lucien Tuinstra
If “the Shem/Ham/Japheth division” is of great importance, one thing we must not do is read into Scripture and then say it is biblical.
Whilst a case can be made for Sarah’s descent, all we know about Hagar is that she was an Egyptian. It is conjecture to say Keturah descended from Japheth. It gets even worse when talking about shepherds, magi, and gentiles, of whom we do not even know their identities.
To label the synoptic gospels as if they can be grouped as such (nothing to do with descent, but rather symbolism) seems a bit of a stretch. You say “these three distinctions, (…) are biblical”, yet no Scriptural backing is given.
Later you suggest that Simon of Cyrene is a “fulfilment in some shape or form” of Genesis 9:26–27 and how it is “impossible not to see that”. I think your closing statement sums up where you might get these ideas: “Some would say…”.
David J.
In Genesis 11 God divided the families at Babel in order to prevent them from uniting in their idolatry, but interestingly, the division itself is given in chapter 10. It's out of order. This informs us that it was always God's intention to divide mankind. God was not responding to Nimrod, Nimrod was responding to God.

God was not surprised that the division of the families led to geographic separation and the attendant formation of races. This was the purpose and was the inevitable result of the families forming isolated breeding pools. We see this in numerous other animals, as well.

Because the families became separate breeding populations with distinct, identifiable morphologies and characteristics, they are necessarily not equal in their capabilities. The fastest Inuit long-distance runner cannot compete with the fastest Africa, for example. To insist otherwise is simply a fantasy. It would like insisting that daschsunds can run with greyhounds.

Races exist. Relabeling them as "people groups" or other snowflake-approved terms to comply with modern political sensitivities doesn't change the underlying reality. Humans are all one species, but they are not all one race. If a police department paid a forensic expert to identify someone's race from partial remains, they wouldn't be too happy with a response of "human race". Races also vary in their susceptibility to certain diseases.

However impolitic it may be to say so, all races are not equal in all things. The very name of Ham (Hebrew Cham) indicates this. It suggests hot or burnt, and has a connotation of lust and violence. Hametz means non-kosher. Putting political correctness ahead of Scriptural truths will always lead to bad outcomes in the end.
Lucien Tuinstra
Not everything is printed in chronological order. Don’t read ideas into it.
Genesis 10 lists a genealogical overview of Noah's descendants (Table of Nations). Genesis 11 lists more details, about a key historical event, as well as the chrono-genealogy (ultimately) leading to Jesus. Similarly, Genesis 1 gives an overview of creation week, where most of Genesis 2 goes into detail relating to day 6 events. That God knew in advance what was going to happen is without dispute.
The words "other animals" imply that humans are animals, which only seems suitable if you are referring to the kingdom Animalia in Linnaean taxonomy. Biblically speaking humans are distinct from animals.
You insist races exist. Do you also believe then that the rainbow is made up of seven (and only seven) distinct colours corresponding to seven wavelengths? But of course you know there are many more wavelengths, there’s a colour spectrum. At what precise wavelength does yellow become green? Bringing it back to 'races', let's use crude (incorrect) terminology, such as a 'white' (not truly white) person and a 'black' (not truly black) person have children. The children are mid-brown (not 'black', not 'white'), is this now a new race? How many races will there be in the end? About a century ago there allegedly were about 16 species for people, based on 'races', but they called it quits as they saw it would soon be spiralling out of control. E.g. what would you get if a Homo sapiens albus nordicus would have children with a Homo indo-europaeus dolichomorphus mediterraneus? And what do you do with the Two Tone Twins? What 'race' is the one girl? What about her sister?
You do have a fair point that "someone" belongs to the "human race". In your example the police department seemingly already know they want a human being identified. Would they go to such trouble if it were not so? But to identify someone, means to determine his or her identity. Saying the individual could be categorised to a certain people group (I’m sure you’d agree that CMI is not quite the epitome of being ‘politically correct’) only narrows it down a bit, but will not close the case. To uniquely identify someone, fingerprints are used, or in more extreme situations dental information may be required.
Of course it goes without saying that humans are not equal in all things. Older people are more susceptible to Covid-19 too, so are they a different race? Supposedly BAME people (Black, Asian and Minor Ethnicities) are more susceptible to get infected by this virus. Maybe they are just more social than non-BAME people? Or even if it turned out to be genetic, how would we determine if they were Shemite, Hamite, or Japhethite ‘race’?
Where does the connotation "lust and violence" come from? you say, "Hametz means non-kosher”. Strong’s H2557 (Chametz) is not from the same root as is Ham and its first use is Exodus 12:15, so not sure how this relates to a passage in Genesis? Chametz means leavened (bread). A Jew must never eat something non-kosher, but a Jew may eat leavened bread, just not at Passover, for example.
We should put Scripture before political (in)correctness or any other thinking. I notice that those who hold on to the idea of ‘race’, don't make a biblical case. Some people don’t want to let go of the notion of ‘race’.
Alistair H.
I am a white African and so were my parents and their parents. Those of us who are born and bred and work in Africa will, without exception have better insight into how Africa works than anyone else in spite of those in western countries who decide we don't. I agree with the contributors statement in the Original Message with his statement of "an extra large curse." How else do you explain the state of Africa when the first Europeans arrived here? And how do you explain the fact that all African countries without exception simply reverted back to barbarism once "freedom" had been attained? There has been an inherent spiritual problem larger than in other countries that has been plaguing Africa for hundreds and hundreds of years. This cannot be denied. Nothing whatsoever invented, no wheel, no woven cloth, no writing, nothing. Please note that I am referring to Sub-Saharan Africa here. I write this a Christian who understands that ALL of us have sinned and will one day stand before God in judgement but let's get things right here. Reality cannot be denied.
Lucien Tuinstra
I was born and bred Dutch and therefore probably have a better understanding of how things work in the Netherlands than most readers of this website. Yet, undoubtedly, there will be Dutch people who will differ in their opinion. How I perceive things to be, may be different than people even from my own circle of friends and family.
With that said, there is some flawed thinking in your post, which you may want to consider. Your response is a bit off-topic. Notice the title and read Genesis 9:25ff. Canaan was cursed; the land we now call Israel is in the middle East (Genesis 10:19–20), which is Asia. Canaan's most (in)famous relative was his nephew Nimrod, who lived in (or close to) Iraq: Asia (Genesis 10:10–11).
I am sure that someone born and bred in Africa will much better know how Africa works (in the present) than an outsider. But the article is about the past, and supposedly, as some seem to think, an ongoing curse in the future. All we 'know' about the past is what we have learned from others, possibly filtered through someone’s ‘lens’.
You are from Zimbabwe, but to generalise your expertise/experience to "all African countries without exception" is quite a sweeping statement. The only way that can be justified is to define barbarism as sinfulness. Otherwise, who defines what “barbarism” exactly entails? Atrocities have happened (and continue to) in most of the world.
How do you know that the "spiritual problem [is] larger than in other countries"? Do you "have better insight into how" the other countries work? That contradicts your opening statement.
You claim "nothing whatsoever [was] invented" in Sub-Saharan African countries. That is not my—limited—experience, as I have seen creative things that I had never witnessed before. Of course, I am not omniscient; perhaps somehow these people copied it from somewhere outside of Africa (unlikely). But to make such an absolute statement seems driven by opinion rather than fact. And in my opinion, The Great Zimbabwe actually looks rather interesting.
Reality indeed cannot be denied, but remember to distinguish between cause and effect (if we can).
Maybe a lot of Africans would have done a lot better if the not-Good-News Europeans had stayed at home, rather than pillaging African countries and people. Could it be that this caused the “state” African countries are now in? And what state would that be? Economical? Behavioural? Moral? Social? Of course, corrupt leaders don’t help. If they lived consistently according to biblical principles their countries would be in a much better place. The best place for us to start is with ourselves. Let’s live and think biblically. I think that is a good way to conclude the feedback section of this article.
For those wanting to learn more, I strongly recommend downloading One Human Family.
David T.
Anyone who bothers to look at the Genesis passage, verse 25, will see that the curse fell on CANAAN! so how did Ham fit into all this argument? by osmosis?
Ray N.
If you think about it, 4 couples came out of the ark. Unless Shem, Ham and Japheth's children kept to marrying their own siblings only, it's likely they married their cousins. Separation of people groups would've been post-Babel.
Lucien Tuinstra
Yes, as the article states, because of pre- and post-Babel mixing "There is no way to separate Ham’s genetic or genealogical contribution from all of humanity. … By cursing Ham, you are inadvertently cursing yourself.".
Jean P.
As I understand it, God knows the beginning from the end, which means that from His perspective of Eternity, He is aware of the results of sin on the culture of the different ethnic groups.
E.g. In the beginning, He foretold that women would be attracted to men but men would use their superior strength to subjugate women. This has been misused by men both inside and outside the church ever since. But it wasn't a prescription that men and women must follow, simply a statement of what followed Sin
So too with future writings. It became cultural for those living in very hot/humid climates to slow down and not rush about, whereas in cold climes, the people groups who settled there would be more active to keep warm.
Over time, traits of behaviour and skill would, and have, emerged, so some groups tend towards musical ability, some groups to mechanical skills etc.
It doesn't mean these traits are exclusive to them but that, generally speaking, they are there.
None of this is a rigid curse by God, simply statements of inevitable outcomes of the sin nature in us all.
S. James F.
Isn't the issue one of behavior and not race? Caanan rejected God ..not Ham who was a blessed believer. All of any race, color, creed, counsel or religion who reject the Gospel of our Lord are under a curse..that is the judgement of our creator God ..not a curse of Noah who rather, perhaps, prophesied what would happen to Caanan. Rom 2 etc etc.
Margaret K.
Q Why is it so hard to "in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3)?. A. Because the sin is within our own hearts. (Matthew 15:19)
Jesus came to be a servant to all and we are called to follow Him. No superiority, just humble service. Don't try to impose the servant state on others, it is for ourselves as followers of Christ. Simple but hard.
Christopher H.
There are many more than 3 races. It's also unfair to lump anyone with light skin into the white or caucasian category. Not all white people are caucasian. Not all blacks are African. Not all Asians are Oriental. Hair colors include black, brown, yellow, orange, grey, and white. Eye colors include brown, sky blue, deep blue, green, bluegreen, hazel, pink, yellow, and grey. Skin ranges from whitish pink, to light tan, to brown, to black. God likes diversity. He made the rainbow.
Lucien Tuinstra
Well, God established the natural laws that cause a rainbow to appear if the circumstances are right.
But more related to the article, the point that has been made is:
1) there is only one race, the human race (Acts 17:26).
2) if you want to keep tabs on different people groups, you'll have more and more difficulty as there is so much mixing going on, and has been (pre-Babel, post-Babel, and lots in the last century due to ever increased international travel).
3) I think it is more pertinent to look at the heart than the outward appearance, in line what God said in 1 Samuel 16:7.
Richard L.
This so-called "curse" on Ham was uttered by his angry father, and not by God. It is fallacious to believe that God is duty-bound to legitimise it on Noah's behalf. It is also important to distinguish the difference between proscriptive and predictive statements. It would not be difficult for Noah to discern (predictive), the consequences of Ham's behaviour at the hands of his brothers and the continuing abuse at the hands of unforgiving generations. Nowhere in this narrative did God give white people the authority (proscriptive),to dominate and denigrate people of differing skin colours. It is only the fallen sin nature that leads people to take advantage of people groups that they perceive in some way to be inferior. This behaviour is abhorrent to the New Testament, and should be to any thinking person.

Additionally, as to the injunction by the apostle Paul for servants to remain with their masters, there are two points to note.

1. For new Christians to walk out on their masters and cause immediate financial hardship or ruin would hardly be a significant Christian witness.

2. Paul encouraged those in similar circumstances to take their freedom as the opportunity to do it arose in way which honoured both parties and disadvantaged neither.

What is at issue here is the Second greatest commandment from the lips of Jesus - love your neighbour as yourself.
Pete B B.
> I think there is a lot more complexity to it, as suggested in the article.

No doubt. But God did inspire Noah with a long range prophecy which I take as still having some meaning today. Additionally there are as yet many unfulfilled prophecies addressed to nations which God sees as distinct according to his definition.

Interestingly I am half dutch and was raised in the UK so I can personally appreciate the same problem of defining nationality. The Bible appears to be a bit loose as to how you define a nation, but clearly they begin based on genetics and ancestry, and I would argue generally maintain this ethnic 'core', while other ethnicities are also married in over time due to interaction, conflict or immigration, and become part of a nation too.

I prime example would be the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, both born of an Egyptian woman yet there is no hint that these tribes are any less of the posterity of Israel/Jacob.
Lucien Tuinstra
What if a child of, say, Ham, married a child of, say, Shem, whose "ethnic 'core'" would be maintained?
You admit that you "appreciate the same problem of defining nationality" from your own experience, which involves you, in the present.
Then in the very next sentence you say the "Bible appears to be a bit loose as to how you define a nation", but somehow you know that "clearly they begin based on genetics and ancestry".
Don't think God is overly concerned with ones genome. For instance, Ruth was a Moabites, but she became part of the line to Jesus, through marriage with Boaz.

It may be useful for people to remind themselves again how little genetic difference there is between people, and a smaller percentage still, determining what some might call 'racial' differences. Check out Chapter 18 of the Creation Answers Book.
These minute differences are completely irrelevant compared to much greater questions, such as "How do people respond to the gospel"?
In the end, there will be only two types of people: those who accepted Jesus, and those who rejected Him.
David G.
Two points:
1. the questioner seems to not understand the depth of human sin. The Bible is clear: no one is free of sin and sin runs deep in all of us. It is so deep that there can be no group 'deeper' than another.
2. the mention of Exodus and the iniquity of the fathers being passed to the third and fourth generation is usually mentioned without its counterpart: God showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. There may be some instrumental truth to the observation about the iniquity of the fathers, but I think this is more a theological point. Iniquity is limited to the few, but God's love floods through the generations for those who keep his commandants (which is precisely none of us). Once more, people find the 'vindictive' god they look for and fail to see the loving creator at work in the comparison.
Lucien Tuinstra
It's just as well then that our God is a very gracious God, otherwise none would receive any love!
Brian J.
This was a great article, and much a needed response (in grace & love) to an erroneous pattern of thinking that unfortunately lingers within the Body of Christ to this day. I did wish to point out a minor mistake in Biblical referencing, concerning the account of Sheshan, which can be found in [I Chronicles 2:34,35] - article had it listed as being in [Chapter 10].

Always refreshing to see sound apologetics in today's plethora of otherwise polluted information. May God continue to bless & use Creation Ministries to edify His Body, and lead the lost to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Lucien Tuinstra
Thanks for the correction. Well-spotted!
Lawrence M.
Ham was not cursed, but he received no blessing, bc he "uncovered his father's nakedness", aka *slept with his mother, Leviticus 18:8, Genesis 9: 25, 26, 27. From what I'm understanding is that is how a son usurped authority from his father. As in Reuben, and Absalom. Why else would one brag about such a shameful act to his brothers. Ham had 4 sons:Ken'an(son of Ham and his mother), Mitzrayim, Put, and Kush. Kush fathered Nimrod. He was the first world ruler after the flood. He was a Hamite. Genesis 10: 6, 7, 8. *Didn't see that one coming did ya? Or did you know?
Lucien Tuinstra
* No, I did not see that one coming, since it is not apparent from the biblical text. Leviticus 18:8 mentions "father's wife". Nowhere in the passage of Genesis 9 do I see Noah's wife mentioned (I think it is important to quote the relevant passage at length):

20 Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,

Noah planted, Noah drank the wine, Noah became drunk, Noah lay uncovered.
Ham saw the nakedness, Ham told his brothers.
Shem and Japeth covered the nakedness of their father. They did not see their father's nakedness.
Noah awoke and Noah knew what had been done to him.

To infer that this is about about Ham having intimacy with his mother goes beyond what the text reveals.
Ham did not uncover, Noah was already uncovered. Ham saw it.
The question then rises 'what did Shem and Japeth cover?'. Their mother?

I know this passage has been speculated about for a long time, but we need to be careful not to read into the text.
Dan M.
Sounds to me like the age-old attempt to justify one's sinful prejudice thinking? I first heard this myth when I had just become a Christian and it sounded wrong then and it is definitely wrong now that I know my gospel. We always try to justify our sin, ever since the garden. Think about it, what did Adam say when he was caught in his sin? That woman, YOU GAVE ME, made me do it! The first cop-out! What culture or ethnic group you belong to does not determine your thinking, and as Richard said, that curse did not come from God so it has no real authority. That's just the same old evolutionary thinking of, "you're a moist robot" and your genes control your thinking which has no basis. The flesh is flesh and the spirit is spirit and if you were cloned your clone would not have your memories, that's Hollywood!
Italian mafia, white gang, Hells angels, white gang, Russian mafia, white gang, and the Nazis, white gang again, (who almost took over the world) and that's just a few. Shall I go on? Sin is sin and until we all, light brown to dark brown, (and all shades in between) renew our minds with the gospel of truth, there can be no peace in our lives. Just a point about the modern manifestation of this faulty thinking. The fact is, all lives matter because we are created in God's image, and police brutality is a sin no matter what ethnic group you belong to. It is a simple abuse of power given by God and those who abuse it need to be held accountable. My prayer is that God would heal our land, 2CH 7:14. Of course, we need to be His, (called by His name) before He will do it.
Lucien Tuinstra
Hi Dan


I would respond to you and Richard that Noah was a father, grandfather, patriarch in the line of Jesus, and a herald (preacher) of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5). Not God directly speaking indeed, but still very serious I suggest. For instance, why would Joseph be displeased if it was only a few words by Jacob when he blessed Ephraim instead of the older Manasseh (Genesis 48:17)? Words (certainly spoken by fathers and grandfathers over their children/grandchildren) have power and a curse is very serious. We are not even to curse those who persecute us (Romans 12:14).
Deon B.
Acts 17 v 26: "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed,and the bounds of their habitation; ..."
It is also a scientific fact that the blood of any nation or tribe can be transfused to peoples of all races and tribes.
Some time ago I saw a photo of two beautiful identical twin sisters - one "white", the other dark skinned. I think we are today only beginning to understand the genetic codes in our DNA - all wonderfully and fearfully created by our ever loving Creator.
Lucien Tuinstra
Check out the two tone twins.
Michael B.
It is extraordinarily unlikely that there is anyone alive today that is not an admix of all three of the sons of Noah.
Thank you for your faithful ministry to the Truth of Scripture.
Your Brother in Christ,
Michael
Tim L.
You say, "Let’s assume Ham was cursed—which he wasn’t—so that this somehow meant he could not govern. Why would all Ham’s progeny be affected in the same way? Moses wrote that God visits 'the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation' (Exodus 34:7). Clearly, more than four generations have passed since the days of Ham."

But Ezekiel 18:20 provides more clarity: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

The point is, the reason Exodus describes the iniquity of the fathers being passed to the third and fourth generation is because children tend to learn their morality (or lack thereof) from their parents. It is because of the sin the offspring personally commit that they are punished. So even if Ham was cursed, that curse would not apply even to his immediate children (though they may suffer some hardships).
Pete B.
As a point of clarification. Arabs by definition are from Shem (Esau and Ishmael) and not Ham. Linguistics support this in the close relationship between Arabic and Hebrew ערבית / עברית
Lucien Tuinstra
I think there is a lot more complexity to it, as suggested in the article.
Yes, Arabic and Hebrew are Semitic languages as indicated, but is an Arab defined by his/her native language? If so, it has no longer to do with descent. My daughter was Dutch for the first few months of her life, but she will probably grow up feeling more affiliated with being British and speaking it much better.
Is it area then? Born and raised on the Arabian peninsula? I once had a Muslim friend whose native language was Arab, but he was born and raised in Morocco. Wiki suggests that this is considered an Arab nation also, but what about missionaries from western countries that have a child in such a nation?
Is it religion then? I met an Arab once who was a born-again Christian.

To come back to your point about Arabs being from Shem, I'd like to draw your attention to the pull-out quote: "There is no way to separate Ham’s genetic or genealogical contribution from all of humanity. …". The same would apply to Shem and Japheth.

Michael B.'s comment sums it up well: "It is extraordinarily unlikely that there is anyone alive today that is not an admix of all three of the sons of Noah.".
Terry D P.
Seems to me that all the so-called races that exist on earth were engineered by God at the Tower of Babel, which occurred after the Noah incident.
«/ ONCE UPON A TIME all the world spoke a single language and used the same words. […] ‘Come,’ they said, ‘let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and make a name for ourselves; or we shall be dispersed all over the earth.’ Then the LORD came down to see the city and tower which mortal men had built, and he said, […] Come, let us go down there and confuse their speech, so that they will not understand what they say to one another.’ So the LORD dispersed them from there all over the earth, and they left off building the city. That is why it is called Babel, because the LORD there made a babble of the language of all the world; from that place the LORD scattered men all over the face of the earth. —Gn§11:1-9 /»
So, as men were scattered all over the face of the earth, many distinct countries/cultural/god/racial/skin-colour/language groups “evolved”.
Lucien Tuinstra
The engineering happened at creation, where great genetic diversity was created in Adam and Eve. The dispersion at Babel would cause isolated groups that later expressed more of that variety (although only from what was left in the sons of Noah and their three wives).

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