The Curse Of Canaan

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. ” (Genesis 9:20–28, KJV)

Does This Passage Teach That The Black People Are Cursed?

There are some who, to this day, teach that the black people are cursed and should be servants because of the sin of Ham which brought a curse upon Canaan1. Does the above passage of Scripture teach that the black peoples are cursed? To put it concisely, no.  The Scripture does not teach that the black people are cursed. 

When one reads further in Genesis (See Genesis 10:6-20) he will find that the descendants of Canaan settled in the land called Canaan. One will also find that those who have been called Negro (black) peoples are the descendants of Ham’s son Cush. The Cushites settled in North Africa and not in Canaan.

Sadly, this passage has been used to encourage slavery, racism, and white supremacy. That is unbecoming a Christian people. Neither does it edify anyone. It simply needs to be discarded as inaccurate and sinful. 

What is truly interesting is that there are parents who have born children of different colors. In fact, there have been twins born and one of them was white and the other black.2 Is one cursed and one ok? One could run into some very strange problems holding to this foolish doctrine of the Hamite/Canaanite curse being on the black people.

The Hamite/Canaanite Curse Being Upon The Negro Peoples Has More in Common With Darwinism Than With The Bible

The good folk at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have the following to say:

Social Darwinism, with its imperialist and racist emphases, became exceedingly strong in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and, even though it went into partial eclipse after World War II, its tragic aftereffects are with us still. Racism reached its zenith under Hitler in Nazi Germany, and the “biogenetic law” of Ernst Haeckel was largely responsible.

“Recapitulation was Haeckel’s favorite argument … Haeckel and his colleagues also invoked recapitulation to affirm the racial superiority of northern European whites, … Herbert Spencer wrote that ‘the intellectual traits of the uncivilized … are traits recurring in the children of the civilized.’ Carl Vogt said it more strongly in 1864: ‘The grown up Negro partakes, as regards his intellectual faculties, of the nature of the child…. ’ “

“(Haeckel) became one of Germany’s major ideologists for racism, nationalism, and imperialism.”

“In essence, Haeckel and his fellow social Darwinists advanced the ideas that were to become the core assumptions of national socialism.” Lest anyone misunderstand, although all the above authorities (as well as all those quoted previously in this paper) are evolutionists, they do not

 believe in either recapitulationism or racism. The quotations are necessarily brief, but they do not misrepresent their authors. Much more documentation to the same effect could be provided if space permitted. 3

Racism is a Darwinist idea. The last thing Bible-believing Christians should do is embrace a theology that has more in common with evolutionary theory than with the Bible. The Scriptures remind us that we all have one ancestor; Adam. In fact, the apostle Paul spoke of our descent in this fashion:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 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; ” (Acts 17:24–26, KJV)

Inspired Scripture says that we are all from one ancestor. We are all made of one blood!

What Should Our View Truly Be?

There are a few important things that Christians should keep in mind while considering the issue of our associations with others:

  1. We should mistreat no one. We are to love our neighbor as ourself. (See Matthew 22:35-40)
  2. There is a need to be culturally conscious instead of color conscious. The division of people groups was so that we would seek God (See Acts 17:24-27). Multiculturalism does much damage. All cultures are not the same.  Some cultures are have a greater connection to the Scriptures, having been influenced for many years by God-fearing people. Other cultures are more godless when it comes to the influences upon them.Culture is a vehicle that God can and will use as a tool to bring people to Christ. Mingling various cultures and individuals from various cultures could lead to confusion and strife. Cultural distinctions and practices can be difficult to learn, thus making it relationships difficult and stressed because of communications problems and problems understanding one another. We must be conscious of culture when interacting with people so that we do not offend or take offense. Cross-cultural marriages will be very likely to be beset with extra difficulties, too. The Bible does not prohibit cross-cultural relationships, but we would do well to carefully consider culture when entering into relationships due to the difficulties that may arise due to cultural differences.
  3. Christians should be concerned that their children marry Christians. This is the most important issue that we see in Scriptures regarding whom to marry. (See 2Corinthians 6:14-18) That should be the distinction that concerns us.

1One can see an example of this in the following Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham Accessed 04/26/2010

2See http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v3/n2/twins-black-and-white Accesssed 04/26/2010 See alsohttp://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2082429.ece http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,384862,00.html

http://bodyodd.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/07/17/1205061.aspx http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15447465/ Accessed 04/26/2010

3http://www.icr.org/article/heritage-recapitulation-theory/ Accessed 04/26/2010