Does the Bible forbid animal hybridization?

Some people have argued that the Bible condemns hybridization, presumably thinking of Leviticus 19:19: “You shall keep my statutes. You are not allowed to breed your cattle with any other species. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, and you shall not wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of cloth.” Note, however, that the Hebrew word here for “species” (Kil’ayîm) is not the same as that used in Genesis 1 for a created “kind” (mîn). Instructing the Israelites not to grow these varieties implies that it was possible to grow them.

At the Ark Encounter you can see a zorse and a zonkey.

Since different created species (such as cattle and equines) cannot produce offspring with each other even if they try, those who believe that the Bible forbids the crossbreeding of animals in this passage do not think that God is referring to the crossbreeding of different created species. Instead, they believe that this passage prevents the crossing of species belonging to the same created species (such as donkeys and horses).

Probably the most common hybrid is the mule, a cross between a male donkey and a female horse (the opposite being a hinny). Mules have been purposely bred by humans since at least 1000 BC. Because they are usually (but not always) sterile, there is a common belief that all hybrids are sterile and therefore inferior to “pure” species. But that’s not the case – often the hybrid offspring are fertile and may even be healthier than their parent strain. Humans have crossed many species throughout history, but they are always species within the same created species. For example, American bison and domestic cattle (bovine species) are crossed to create “beefalo”, alpacas and llamas (came-like species) are crossed to create “huarizos”, and domestic cats are crossed with servals (cat species) to create “Savannah”. cats.”

Sometimes animals unintentionally hybridize under human care. In 1978, a hybrid between an African and Asian elephant was born at Chester Zoo in England. In 1985, a whale was born at Sea Life Park in Hawaii – a cross between a false killer whale and a bottlenose dolphin. In 2012, a bongo was crossed with a sitatunga at Safari Park Fasano in Italy.

Natural, Hybrids

However, animal hybrids also occur everywhere in nature without any influence from humans. Coyotes breed with wolves to create “coywolves”. Grizzly bears breed with polar bears to create “grolar” or “pizzly” bears. Narwhals breed with belugas to create “narlugas”. Interestingly, in 2014 it was discovered that the Clymene dolphin species was actually a hybrid between spinner and striped dolphins!

Hybrids are also not limited to mammals. Domestic geese mate with whooper swans, American crocodiles breed with Cuban crocodiles, striped tiger salamanders hybridize with California tiger salamanders, Australian blacktip sharks mate with common blacktip sharks – the list goes on. In fact, Africanized honey bees, often called “killer bees” because of their aggression, are hybrids between African and European honey bees. Sometimes animals that we thought had nothing to do with each other surprise! In 2020, Hungarian scientists discovered that the American paddlefish and Russian sturgeon they worked with reproduced to create “sturddlefish”! Now we know that, despite being classified in different families, they belong to one created species.

A breed apart?

Ever since God animals according to their species (Genesis 1), it makes sense that they could hybridize within their species. Why wouldn’t they, since they share the same ancestors created 6,000 years ago? While Leviticus 19:19 might forbid the Israelites from intentionally crossing animals within a species, we must keep the context of the rest of the verse in mind. God further prohibits mixing two (or more) kinds of fabric for clothing and mixing different seeds in the field for sowing.

It is likely that God gave these commandments to Israel to clearly distinguish them visually from the surrounding Gentile nations.

It is likely God gave these orders to Israel to clearly distinguish them visually from the surrounding Gentile nations. Even the hair and beards of Israelite men were regulated (Leviticus 19:27). This would, of course, lead to non-Israelites asking them why they farmed, looked, dressed, and farmed differently than they did. This could then lead to discussions about the one and only God from Israel.

There is no command in Scripture to eradicate naturally occurring hybrids, which you would expect if: God their existence prohibited. also not God ever give such an order to pre-Israelite people like Noah. That this non-hybridization law was given only to Israel is clearly stated in Leviticus 19:2 through the rest of the chapter. Finally, the ceremonial and civil laws of the Old Testament no longer apply today. They were given to a specific people and nation (Israel) ruled by a theocracy, not to people of different ethnicities who make up the local and universal church today and who are governed by national laws that ultimately fall under the rule of Christ (Matthew 28: 18–20; Romans 13:1–7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13–17). Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus Christ fulfilled the old covenant, and the ceremonial and civil laws are now non-binding. Therefore, crossing animals within a created species is no longer prohibited. In fact, animal hybrids support a biblical worldview!

A problem for evolution

Evolutionists dislike the existence of hybrids because it challenges one of the foundations of their worldview: the isolation of species. In the evolutionary worldview, species should remain genetically separate from each other and not interbreed. After all, the “goal” of evolution is to create different species that have evolved for their environment. Believing that the “tree of life” descended from a mysterious single-celled common ancestor billions of years ago, the resulting species must split into individual “branches” that stop sharing genetic information in order to see the vast differences between the many species of life that exist. we have. see today. However, those branches keep getting tangled in the form of hybrids!

Unlike, Genesis tells us that animals were created according to their species and indicates that they were pre-endowed with great genetic diversity so that they could reproduce and thrive (even in a post-Autumn and post-Flood world). So why wouldn’t they reproduce within their species? Hybrids fit well into the biblical history of our world, and they glorify the design of our great Creator!

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