Click here to view CMI's position on climate change.

‘Race mixing’ and animal hybrids—condemned by God?

Published: 19 April 2014 (GMT+10)

Terry S. submitted a comment on the article Breeding unicorns, claiming that God is opposed to “race mixing” and the hybridization of animals. We chose to publish here in order to give a thorough response.

iStockphoto interracial-marriage
There is one thing that you failed’t mention in your article about unicorns. First of all, when a breeder mates a donkey with a horse he has to blind fold the horse. The reason?? Very simple. It is unnatural for a horse to mate with a donkey. If the horse see’s that it is a donkey that it is suppose to mate with, the horse will kick the donkey to death. Hence, the horse has to be blind folded. Also, Mules are the off spring of a donkey and a horse; that is true, but mules cannot reproduce. They are born without sex organs. The Bible condemns hybridity; and in fact, condemns interracial marriage. The reason is because it causes confusion and a lot of diseases. Hispanics have many blood diseases. The Jews, who are the most hybrid people in the world today, have at least 112 different genetic diseases. Doberman Pincers are hybrids. They are a cross between two different species of dogs. When a Doberman Pincer has a litter of say 6 pup’s, two will be German Shepherd. After the third and fourth generation there is no Doberman Pincer pup’s. The breeder has to separate the first of the litter in order to produce more Doberman Pincer’s. God condemns hybridity of any kind. Whether it is animal or people. God does not want his people Israel (the white Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, and kindred people) to be racial mixed. He wants his people to be separated from other races. According to the Old Testament, race mixing is punishable by death. Phineas the priest is a classic example in Numbers when he killed an Israelite man with a Midianite women. They were race mixing; he killed them, and God stopped the plague.

CMI’s  replies:

Dear Terry S.,

I hope that you are truly open to hearing what the Bible has to say on this subject, because I think a closer look will show that you have misunderstood and misapplied the biblical teaching. If I’m off target, I mean no offense, but some of your statements make it sound like you could be part of the ‘Christian Identity’ white supremacist movement. If that’s the case, I encourage you to read our refutation of that heresy. But I’ll also respond to your specific claims.

It is true that horses and donkeys can be reluctant to mate with each other, and that mules often have biological defects. But these problems can be understood as a result of degeneration in a fallen world. CMI’s Speciation Q&A page contains many articles which explain how an original interbreeding population can split into smaller groups that have difficulty reproducing. So even though horses and donkeys had a common ancestor, now that they’ve been differentiated into separate breeds with significant genetic disparities between them, hybridizing them may not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, so to speak. All this makes perfect sense from a creationist perspective.

However, you have actually overstated the problems with hybridization. For example, coercion or pressure from humans is not always required. Hybridization can happen in the wild as the pizzly bear shows, and in captivity without further human prompting as in the case of the wolphin. Also, the hybrids themselves are not always sterile. Mules do not lack reproductive organs as you claim; the reason they typically can’t reproduce is because their chromosome number and arrangement causes problems with embryogenesis. But occasionally mules can bear offspring, and so can other hybrids like the wolphin mentioned above. Furthermore, hybrids are not necessarily genetically ‘inferior’ to their parents. The phenomenon of hybrid vigor (heterosis) suggests that sometimes hybridization does restore some of the original robustness that has been lost through the partitioning of the original gene pool. By contrast, keeping a lineage ‘pure’, as in purebred dogs, may create greater genetic damage, since ‘purebred’ really means ‘inbred’. Indeed, many purebred dogs suffer from all sorts of genetic defects that are absent in the genetically more robust mongrels. See ‘Parade of mutants’—Pedigree dogs and artificial selection.

But let’s also examine your claims about Scripture. You say that "[t]he Bible condemns hybridity". Presumably you are thinking of Leviticus 19:19: "You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with any different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material." However, these ritual purity laws were meant to symbolize the spiritual separation of the ancient Israelites from their Gentile neighbors until the time of Christ, who then broke down the barrier between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14–15). Also, note that the Hebrew word here for "kinds" (kil’ayîm) is not the same as that used in Genesis 1 for a created "kind" (mîn). Instructing the Israelites to refrain from breeding these varieties implies that it was possible to breed them. Hence, Leviticus 19:19 likely is prohibiting the crossing of horses with donkeys, but given that this law was intended to represent the spiritual separation of Jews from Gentiles, and that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek" (Galatians 3:28), such a prohibition is not binding on Christians today any more than we are prohibited from wearing shirts made of a cotton/polyester blend.

More importantly, there is never any prohibition in the Bible about mixing human ‘races’. See The Bible and interracial marriage. In the case of Phinehas in Numbers 25, the problem was clearly that the Moabite and Midianite women were causing the Israelites to worship and sacrifice to idols, not the issue of race. The same is true throughout the Old Testament, including Ezra 9, which emphasizes the great spiritual wickedness of Israel’s neighbors as the reason they were not to intermarry. By the way, the Moabites were actually close relatives of Israel, both nations having descended from Terah, Abraham’s father (cf. Genesis 11:27; 19:37), and the Midianites were even closer relatives, tracing their ancestry to Abraham (Genesis 25:1–2). So these were different nations, but to call them different races imposes an idea not in the text. Plus, there was clearly no problem with a Jewish man marrying a foreign woman as long as she adopted Israel’s spiritual practices and abandoned those of her people. The Bible celebrates the marriages of Rahab (a Canaanite) and Ruth (a Moabite) to Israelite men, and both were ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:5). Moses even married a Cushite (presumably a dark-skinned African) with God’s approval (Numbers 12:1 ff.).

In the big picture, the Bible clearly teaches that all human beings go back to Adam and Eve just a few thousand years ago (Acts 17:26), so we are all part of the same family. Modern genetics vindicates this truth in a variety of ways, some of which are spelled out in The Creation Answers Book chapter 18: How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family)? Also, the Y-chromosomes of Jewish men from around the world show that they are very closely related to one another and also to the descendants of Ishmael, just like the Bible says. See Genesis correctly predicts Y-chromosome pattern. It’s actually quite remarkable how the Jews have retained their separate identity as a people despite being dispersed around the world, in contrast to your dubious claim that they are "the most hybrid people in the world today".

But I also have to wonder how you determine the criteria by which to draw boundary lines around different races. Humans constitute a single species because our subpopulations are interfertile. Your parallel with horses and donkeys fails because people of two different ‘races’ ordinarily can produce fertile offspring, and nobody has to blindfold them to get them to marry. Modern DNA studies reveal that the overall genetic variation between any two individuals swamps any racial variations between them (again, see How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family)?). This explains why two people with very different skin shades can be the closest match for organ donation, as we point out in Blood brothers. Plus, the boundaries between traditional racial groups are blurred, since people have intermingled throughout history. I suspect that hard boundaries will have difficulty categorizing the many cases of two-tone twins, for example.

So, while the Bible doesn’t use terms like ‘races’ or ‘species’, it does clearly indicate that all humans are part of the same family, descended from Adam and made in the image of God. We would do well to remember that “the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). Terry, I strongly encourage you to read the articles I’ve linked to above, and I also highly recommend the book One Human Family: The Bible, Science, Race, and Culture for an in-depth, careful treatment of these issues.

I hope this response has challenged you to divest yourself of these mistaken ideas about the Bible prohibiting hybridization and interracial marriage, because bad theology leads to bad consequences. Racism is an ugly, sinful phenomenon, but God’s Word is the best antidote! May we all be more faithful to Scripture.

In Christ,

Keaton Halley

Editor’s note: We did receive several more emails in response that confirmed Terry’s association with the racist Christian Identity cult. Terry made a few additional claims, most of which have already been answered in the links provided above. But we did also refer Terry to One Blood chapter 7: Pseudo-biblical arguments refuted, which further exposes the fallacious nature of these arguments.

Readers’ comments

Nancy .
But what about the Tower of Babel.....afterall God choose to change man, languages, tribes, cultures, etc for a reason. There are savage races and bad seed and good seed...DNA. Shouldn't this be considered as very important? According to some DNA scientific studies I have read, whites and blacks have differences of intellect and or physical capacities. Are these tests false or creating a Heinz 57 genealogy considered trivia? Everyone screams racism but seemingly apparent there are significant reasons why God allowed certain genealogies to be evil and others good. Of course every good basket of apples can have one rotten apple so this is a complex issue.
Keaton Halley
I recommend you read chapter 18 of The Creation Answers Book: How did all the different 'races' arise (from Noah's family)?, because it explains how the Tower of Babel is relevant and answers some of your other questions. For example, God's reason for giving different languages was because the people were united in sinful defiance of God, not to prevent 'good DNA' and 'bad DNA' from mixing. Also, genetic differences between races are largely insignificant and superficial compared to the differences between any two individuals. If there are physical/intellectual differences between racial groups, they are generalizations and this would imply nothing about whether we should enforce separation. Most differences between people groups, especially moral and technological differences, have more to do with culture than genetics.
N. B.
I can't stand this article because even if there is a "smiggen" of scientific truth to the original article, the political correctness of our time will immediately crush all opposition with labels of racism. ESPECIALLY if the person making a logical point is non-black.
Keaton Halley
Well, notice I didn't rely on political correctness, but marshaled biblical and scientific evidence in support of my arguments. Racism is sinful regardless of which way the winds of cultural pressure are blowing.
Mike M.
I noticed that you wrote the following about the laws of the Torah:

"but given that this law was intended to represent the spiritual separation of Jews from Gentiles, and that in Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek" (Galatians 3:28), such a prohibition is not binding on Christians today any more than we are prohibited from wearing shirts made of a cotton/polyester blend."

Galatians 3:28 reads in full: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Is it your interpretation also that since "there is neither Jew nor Gentile" does away with the laws that are part of God's covenant with the Jews, "nor is there male nor female" also does away with distinction between men and women? At the time Paul wrote that, was he also denying the existence of slavery? Or could it be that Paul was simply calling for unity in Christ, no matter if one was Jewish, Gentile, male, female, slave or free?
Keaton Halley
I did not say that Christ annihilated all distinctions between Jew and Gentile. Rather, I said he broke down the barrier of spiritual separation that had been established under the old covenant. The distinctions may remain, but they are irrelevant as far as our spiritual blessings are concerned.

In Galatians 3:28, Paul is not so much calling for unity as he is saying that Christ has established unity, because all those who are in Christ by faith inherit God's blessings. Believers are God's sons, and so not under the law which was like a guardian (see Galatians 3:23–29). So Paul's flow of thought is consistent with my argument.
Vern R.
Whenever a race comes up in a discussion, I always ask the question; "What part of the Human race are you?" There are no "sub-races" in the Human Race. Those who are atheists and believers in evolution seem to be the only ones I find who differentiate the races. It is easy to educate most people that there is only one Human Race.
Derek L.
It's really sad to see people take the Bible so completely out of context. Wonderful job shutting these issues down, though. Well-written responses to each point to show where he was in error, yet nowhere making him out to be an idiot, or any disparagement of his person. I don't know how you do it. I get worked up over this sometimes, when I share God's Word, and I wish I knew how to be so calm and understanding! God bless you people, and by any and every means available, please keep up the good work!
David B.
I have never heard of having to blindfold a donkey before, so that it will breed with a horse, and I have seen a lot of mules in my time on this earth. It is just my opinion, but it seems to me that mules, in general, are smarter than horses or donkeys. There are some exceptions to my observations of course, there always are exceptions. And I am truly amazed at some of the stuff that people say about animals and there behavior. To CMI, keep up the good work, God Bless You,
karl M.
Seems that some people don’t know that a horse and a donkey are two different types of animals, regardless of their colour while humans are the same type of beings and it does not matter if you are of different colour. In medical emergencies, if you need blood, bone marrow or an organ transplant, would your race or even family matter? What would the medical personel be trying to match to save your life? What makes people the same or different? Is it only the colour of your skin, eyes or hair? When Aaron and his sister spoke ill words about their brother Moses for having an Egyptian for his wife, was god pleased? What happened to Mariam? Num 12 1-15
Keaton Halley
That depends what you mean by "different types of animals". See Zenkey, zonkey, zebra, donkey!
Terence T.
I loved this article as do I most I read. Thank you for being such faithful servants and warriors for Holy Scripture!! I have a question because of a passage in Ezra which I found very sad. I may be misunderstanding but it seems men who had married foreign women were told to separate themselves from their wives. Ezra 10:11. In light of this article I would love to read your thoughts on the chapter of Ezra 10

Kind Regards

Keaton Halley
Ezra 10 follows on from Ezra 9, and I mentioned how that chapter "emphasizes the great spiritual wickedness of Israel’s neighbors as the reason they were not to intermarry." For example, Ezra 9:14: "shall we break your commandments again and intermarry with these peoples who practice these abominations?"
Pat G.
I used to breed various animals. I can attest to the fact that interbreeding strengthens organisms, and that producing breeds means inbreeding, which weakens them. We have many different races in our family. I see no difference in vigor between the ones who are "pure" and the ones who are mixed race. They are all human beings. We are all one blood. We need to trash the idea that there are different races of human beings. Racism will continue to be a problem until we do. Consequently, if someone asks me my race, I always decline to tell them, and this includes on government forms or surveys, or any other place. And in fact, if two individuals can interbreed, they're one species, fertile or not. Thus, dogs, coyotes, and wolves are all the same species. Your article is excellent and the facts are entirely correct.
tony B.
This question leads to another passage in Leviticus, that banning the cultivation of different crops in the same field. When Moses wrote Leviticus he could not have known about crops such as potatoes, tomatoes and maize, though one assumes God would be aware.
As I am anxious to avoid the fiery pit, should I alter my horticultural policy?
Keaton Halley
If you had read more carefully you would have seen that I already dealt with Lev. 19:19 in the article. You were not a signatory to the Mosaic covenant and you live in the new covenant era, so you are misapplying this law. But if you really want to avoid the fiery pit you might think twice about attacking the Bible with your acontextual interpretation and instead consider the evidence that it is the Word of God. See also Hoax 'Testimony'.
Dave P.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Martin Luther King

When our Creator brings this current politically divided system of things down (Daniel 2:41-45). We can rest assured in knowing that though his son Jesus Christ's sacrifice. That he has given us all the wonderful hope to live in not a nation, but a world like Martin Luther King envisioned for his children.
Joe T.
Keaton Halley: Mixing of linnen and wool is what the law forbade. Test have shown that linsey-woollsey can cause some sort of static that is not good for the wearer. Mixed plants are probably not as good as the originals. Donkeys are asses, horses are horses. Both are equids, but they are different species, both were probably on the ark.
Keaton Halley
Even if these claims are correct, I do not think such mixing is prohibited today, for the reasons I gave. But note that speciation is an important part of the creation model. See Speciation conference brings good news for creationists.
Joseph M.
We are “…of one blood all nations of men …” Acts 17:26. First from Adam and Eve, then from the bottleneck of Noah and his family survivors. Disease is inflicted on all nations as a result of our separation from God. Correct me if I am wrong but the bible never describes “race” but describes nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, etc. Color is part of the natural process of variation instituted by God.

Biologically we are fundamentally a recombination of our DNA or crossover of chromosomes inherited from Adam and Eve then the bottleneck of Noah and family.

Terry S, fight the right fight, we are either sinner or saved that’s where the battle is.
Sas E.
Great refutation. It is a shame that so many people who profess to be Christians are easily mislead by false doctrines. We are living in the last days people always be ready
Deon B.
I am no scientist - but only this as far as the human race is concerned: Blood transfusion - any human being's blood can be used for transfusion to any other human being, to save a life. We are all of one stock, so to speak.
Keaton Halley
Actually, there are different blood types, so not any two people are compatible. But people of different ethnicities can be compatible. See also Blood Brothers.
Eddy K.
A very well written response to some very ignorant and childish claims.

It is not possible to call yourself a christian and yet look down upon other races.

As it is written:

"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen."
1 John 4:20

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.