Amalgamation: A Denominational Embarrassment

By Dirk Anderson

Your Questions Answered

QUESTION: The White Estate web site says the word "amalgamation" is not defined in any dictionary to mean the combination of man with beast. Therefore, aren't you wrong to say Ellen White could have used it that way?

ANSWER: Although the White Estate cannot seem to provide a definitive explanation as to what Mrs. White was talking about, they assure us on their web site that it was not the union between man and beast:

"No dictionary has ever used 'amalgamation' to describe the cohabitation of man with beast. ... Mrs. White never hinted of subhuman beings or any kind of hybrid animal-human relationship. ... The burden of proof rests on those who affirm that Mrs. White gave a new and alien meaning to the term."1

The word "amalgamation" comes from "amalgam" which has two primary meanings:

1 : an alloy of mercury with another metal that is solid or liquid at room temperature according to the proportion of mercury present and is used especially in making tooth cements
2 : a mixture of different elements2

How was the word used in the 1800s? Webster's 1828 dictionary:

Amalgamation - The mixing or blending of different things.3

Webster's 1913 dictionary:

A*mal`ga*ma"tion (#), n. [Cf. F. amalgamation.]
The mixing or blending of different elements, races, societies, etc.; also, the result of such combination or blending; a homogeneous union.4

The article on amalgamation proves definitively that "amalgamation" was used by Christians in the nineteenth century to describe intermarriage between man and beast, where "beast" was a derogatory term for those of African descent.

The word can also be used to describe the union between man and animals. While dictionaries do not explicitly describe amalgamation as the union of man and animals, they certainly allow for that usage. The word "amalgamation" is widely used in the English language to describe a mixture of any two or more different elements. For example, the word is used today to describe the following combination of the human with the non-human:5

  • The mythical creature called a Werewolf--a being that is part human and part wolf--has been described as an "amalgamation".
  • The Sphinx is described as an amalgamation of a lion and a human.
  • Science Fiction buffs use the word to describe the offspring of the union between human and alien beings!

The best proof is the SDA pioneers themselves, who were perfectly satisfied in accepting the word "amalgamation" as meaning the mixture of animals with humans up until 1947, when they found out it was impossible. Thus, it seems the burden of proof is now upon the White Estate to explain why the pioneers accepted that definition for 80+ years even though it was not in a dictionary!

Let us examine some of Mrs. White's other uses of the word to determine whether or not they appear in the dictionary:

"Every noxious herb is of his [Satan's] sowing, and by his ingenious methods of amalgamation he has corrupted the earth with tares."6

" union with the world, the character of God's people becomes tarnished, and through amalgamation with the corrupt, the fine gold becomes dim."7

No dictionary specifically describes amalgamation as Satan mixing evil properties into herbs to produce tares. Neither does any dictionary specifically describe amalgamation as the union of Christians with the world. Therefore, is Mrs. White giving a "new and alien meaning to the word" by such uses? Of course not! All of Mrs. White's usages of the word amalgamation clearly fit within the dictionary's definition of the word. The word is used in thousands of ways to describe the hybrid union of any two things that are different. How could a dictionary possibly list every potential use of the word amalgamation? It would take thousands of pages for just a single word! Just because a particular usage of a word does not appear in the dictionary does not prove that the usage is incorrect!

In conclusion, Mrs. White's use of the word to describe the union of man and beast is not "new and alien," nor is it without precedent.

QUESTION: Could Ellen White have meant genetic amalgamation?

ANSWER: A recent, and even more outlandish defense of Mrs. White's amalgamation statement has arisen with the advent of genetic engineering. Some have suggested the ancients performed manipulation on human genes in the laboratory in order to produce genetically altered humans. Perhaps this idea was spawned by Adventist viewers of Hollywood Science Fiction movies such as Jurassic Park. Regardless, this defense does not take into consideration the great difficulties of genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering is an extremely complex process that science is only now beginning to grasp. It requires the use of super-computers and highly advanced technology. While there is no evidence that the people before the flood possessed this type of enabling technology, Mrs. White says this amalgamation also happened after the flood! There is absolutely no evidence that the advanced technology needed to accomplish genetic engineering ever existed in any society after the flood. It is pure conjecture--mental gymnastics at its best.

QUESTION: Maybe she saw some half-animal half-human creatures that are now extinct?

ANSWER: In order for this to be true, it must be shown that humans can mate with animals and produce offspring, and this is a scientific impossibility.

Furthermore, Ellen White said the results of amalgamation could be observed "in certain races of men." If we take this statement at face-value, then in the 1800s, these animal features were observable in certain humans. Ellen and James seemed satisfied with Uriah Smith's explanation (Bushmen, Hottentots, Digger Indians). His explanation was believable in that era. We have no reason to think Mrs. White was referring to extinct creatures because she said it occurred after the flood. Even if she was, that explanation would be no more plausible than Smith's explanation.

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1. See web site, "Comments Regarding Unusual Statements Found In Ellen G. White's Writings". White Estate is quoting F.D. Nichol, Ellen G. White and Her Critics, p. 308.

2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary © 1999 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

3. Webster's 1828 Dictionary.

4. Webster's 1913 Dictionary.

5. For example, in a review of the book Blood of the Wolf, the reviewer makes this statement: "This has nothing to do with Tribes or Auspices, just the physical and psychological aspects of being spirit, flesh, human and wolf all rolled up into a single disturbing amalgamation." (reference found on on the date Nov. 26, 2006). A second example is the Sphinx: "Some scholars believe that the famous Sphinx, with its lion's body and human head, was an amalgamation of Leo and the nearby constellation of Virgo, the Maiden." ("Leo the Lion may have inspired the Great Sphinx", Feb. 19, 2006, For an example of the word "amalgamation" used to describe human-alien union, see Christ Links forum posting #25114, March 14, 2006: "There are people in hiding, underground cities and such, who are amalgamating man and beast. ... The grays appear to be a human/animal amalgamation of some kind." (

6. Ellen White, Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 288.

7. Ellen White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, August 23, 1892.

Category: Shocking Statements
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