Thursday, June 1, 2017

More on the Curse of Ham

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.  -Colossians 3:11 (NKJV) 

Some have recently brought up the fact that people of the past, and I suppose a few in the present, have used the Curse of Ham in Genesis 9 to justify slavery and racism.  It does not.  Some Southern Baptists used this argument years ago, but none I know of today.  Instead, for years Southern Baptists have spoken against this false idea. 

In a previous article it, was pointed out that Southern Baptist leader T. B. Maston spoke against this viewpoint back in 1959.  His book was published then and today by Southern Baptists. 

Southern Baptists have produced a commentary through LifeWay and Broadman & Holman (B&H); the New American Commentary.  It is presented here as just one of many more examples of Southern Baptists, and conservative Christians, repudiating racism in all its forms, and repudiating the false view that the Curse of Ham justifies racism. 

The New American Commentary on Genesis 9; the Curse of Ham. 

“There are no grounds in our passage for an ethnic reading of the ‘curse’ as some have done, supposing that some peoples are inferior to others.  Here Genesis looks only to the social and religious life of Israel’s ancient rival Canaan, whose immorality defiled their land and threatened Israel’s religious fidelity (cf. Leviticus 18:28; Joshua 23).  It was not an issue of ethnicity but of the wicked practices that characterized Canaanite culture. 

The biblical revelation made it clear that if Israel took up the customs of the Canaanites, they too would suffer expulsion.  It is transparent from Genesis 1-11, especially the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:1-32), that all peoples are of the same parentage (i.e., Noah) and thus are related by ancestry.  This we find at the outset by creation’s imago Dei [man is created in the Image of God], which is reaffirmed in God’s covenant with Noah and his sons, including Ham (Genesis 9:1,5-6). 

The blessing that befalls all peoples is carried forward by the Abrahamic promises, which counter the old curses by the blessing received by all peoples in any era who acknowledge the Lord.  ‘Any attempt to grade the branches of mankind by an appeal to Genesis 9:22-27 is therefore a re-erecting of what God has demolished’* (cf. Colossians 3:11; Galatians 2:18; 3:28).” 
-Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:27, New American Commentary, B&H; 1996. 
*D. Kidner, Genesis, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove: IVP, 1967), 103. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 1, AD 2017. 

 More articles in lower right margin.