In the beginning God created the heavens, the earth and all that is in them. The ex nihilo decree of God is immediately followed with a succession of divisions, separations and distinctions imposed upon the previously undifferentiated formlessness—the upper firmament from the earth, water from dry land, and light from dark.
The subsequent generation of living things is likewise punctuated by such divisions, everything reproducing after its own kind.
Then came he whom, as Calvin points out, the ancients called Kidri Kosmov, ‘a world in himself’: Man, a being of vast multiplicity in unity. This is the Trinitarian conception of man, reflecting the Triune God in whose image he was made.
God then set Man about the work of taxonomy; He commissioned him to carefully distinguish between all manner of “kinds”. Morphological scrutiny was thus assigned as a duty to Mankind, requisite to the call of stewardship and dominion.
God created man with a need for creaturely companionship but man found none suitable amongst the animals. God then set about providing such companionship for man by causing him to fall insensate for a time, as he had been in the hour of his own creation (making it the first arranged marriage); rather than creating the female of the species in the same manner which he had other creatures, i.e. from the earth, woman was drawn from man’s own flesh and bone. We are told that this was done in order to show us how close the union of man and wife ought be. The close proximity of flesh between man and wife is thus designated a necessary component of what the Old English terms “Helpmeet”. Rushdoony comments:
“Man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), and woman is the reflected image of God in man, and from man (1 Cor. 11:1-12; Gen. 2:18, 21-23). ‘Helpmeet’ means a reflection or a mirror, an image of man, indicating that a woman must have something religiously and culturally in common with her husband. The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, inter-racial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish.”
(R.J. Rushdoony comments on 2 Cor. 6:14)
Similarity, including a close proximity of physical relation, is integral to the definition of “appropriate Helpmeet” as the bible defines it. This is not mere speculation; this is the definition given us by the text.
Sometime afterward Eve was deceived by the Serpent. He addressed her rather than her husband by reason of her composition as a ‘Helpmeet’. She was created to aid the work of dominion in a masculine counterpart acting as her head. This is over and against the composition of Adam, who bore in physical, psychological and noetic lineaments the prime responsibility of that dominion. Woman to this day is inclined to authority figures of one sort or another. Be they in the home, church or state, women take great comfort in ‘authorities’. Authorities safeguard the security which women so crave. The Serpent cunningly used this attribute against Eve; her deference to this inappropriate and alien authority over the proper in her own husband (and God back of him) was an act of both religious and marital infidelity.
And it was through Woman that Man was most susceptible. Man was thereby seduced to this alien authority by way of feminine persuasions. The fall of Man was a purposeful ambiguation of authority in the family, society in microcosm.
The infidelitous nature of this declension to the family was such a strong metaphor for the rebellion to God back of it that they may be called coterminous, if not almost synonymous.
In this light it is quite natural that Woman would be struck in the soil of her womb, the emblem of her feminine identity which marks her as a Receptor rather than an Effector in matters familial, social and religious.
As a consequence of this infidelity in the first family the offspring were of a mixed harvest. The marital discordance injected by the Devil germinates: While Abel is a true son of Adam, Cain is a son of the Serpent.
And when Cain’s offering, i.e. the fruit of his labor and disposition of his heart, is found to be displeasing to God, Cain slays the virtuous Abel out of wrath for his condition. Cain was the first Sadist of the species but many have followed after him.
But prefiguring the resurrection of Christ, Abel seems reborn and greatly enlarged in the person of Seth. God subsequently declares the first Separatist enactment: He does so by way of marking Cain in his flesh in such a way that all people would know at a glance that he be “other”. There is no overt declaration in-text to the Sethites on the matter yet it says that the mark would ensure that no man would slay him and that he would universally be recognized as an outcast. It is presumed therefore that the psychological reaction to Cain’s appearance would be innate. As Kuyper said in his famous lecture, The Life System of Calvinism, “We cannot recognize any distinction among men, save such as has been imposed by God Himself…”
The descendants of Seth, under the same morphological sciences prescribed by God to Adam, are to discern these obvious differences and insodoing, continue after the creation ordinance (commanded by Jesus in Matt.19 when He restricts marriage to the template of the first union) to seek ‘appropriate Helpmeets’—excluding those whom God Himself has obviated as ‘other’.
Moses, in his telling of the apartheid between the lines of Seth and Cain takes care to assure the reader of Noah’s uninterrupted Sethite heritage: He says “Noah was perfect in his generations.” The fastidious care given the issue by Moses and the Sethites of whom he wrote are telling; as is Moses’ use of the term ‘perfect’, implying that ethnic insularity be a good thing.
But of course there were also Sethites who were drawn away into miscegenation with the Cainites. This is categorically described as a great act of infidelity which led to tyrannical and even bestial offspring. The Bible calls these “Nephilim”, “giants” and “mighty men” but modern vernacular for this phenomenon would be the much acclaimed “hybrid vigor”. Of this primordial integration, Augustine has written:
“…the result was a kind of amalgam of the two communities. This evil again owed its origin to the female sex…the sons of God, who by physical descent belonged to Seth’s lineage, sank down into this society, after abandoning their righteousness.” (Augustine, City Of God, Book XV, chpt.23)
Calvin echoes this point on the topic of national amalgam:
“[M]any, being incensed with wicked lust, have past their bounds… [And] do seem to assault heaven, that they may overthrow God’s providence…” (Calvin’s Commentary on Acts 17:26)
Miscegenation, according to Calvin and Augustine before him, is strictly an act of lust.
But as I’ve said, Moses notes in the most approving terms that Noah’s line was kept holy, which is to say, separate. And his conviction for segregation proved not to be some remote abstraction but a matter of duty in his own life; upon learning his true identity as a Hebrew rather than an Egyptian Moses refused to ever again be called “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (Heb.11). This would have undoubtedly been a heartbreaking resolution but the author of the book of Hebrews credits it to Moses as an act of great faith.
The significance of the Sethite genealogy enjoys unanimity of opinion amongst the historic Exegetes but the Cainite genealogy has not been so fortunate. Nonetheless, I side with Augustine on the matter:
“Now in respect to the line of descent from the seed of Seth the author of Genesis aimed at reaching Noah, and then he was to resume the list in the necessary sequence. But if he had no such aim in respect of the descent of Cain, no person to whom he had to bring down the line…to be brought down as far as the Flood…those through whom the author of Genesis could arrive at the person whom he intended to reach, as in the line from Seth the goal was Noah…the author had fixed as the necessary goal to be reached through the persons recorded…The line of descent then from Adam through Cain the criminal ends with the number eleven, symbolizing sin [as the number ten symbolizes the Law]. And it is a woman who makes up this number…More than this, another result of the sin is physical pleasure with its resistance to the spirit, and Lamech’s daughter was called Naamah which means ‘pleasure’.” (Augustine, City Of God, Book XV, chpt.20)
Augustine astutely observed that the unique divergence of Cain’s genealogy concluding with the sister of Tubal Cain must have some purpose aside from mere historical trivia. Such a reckoning of descent, neither patrilineal nor matrilineal, but seemingly random, would be as nonsensical as it is unique were the purpose of the record anything other than a patent of Naamah herself.
He also acknowledges that the symmetry of the text is set by Noah’s genealogy with the purpose of justifying Noah’s origins. In this light, it would be a natural reading of the text to presume the Cainite genealogy to be performing a similar function for Naamah. He insinuates that Naamah boarded the Ark as a bride of one of Noah’s sons.
Noah, building such a monumentous vessel would likely require metal bolts, joists, chains, etc. And it just so happens that the brother of Naamah was Tubal-Cain, the first Metallurgist. Perhaps Naamah was acquired as a settling of the bill between both parties? However it occurred, the Bible strongly implies that she gained passage.
The question then is which one of Noah’s sons would have taken a Cainite to wife? Both Shem and Japheth are regarded approvingly by their father but Ham’s act of familial treason against his father’s person in the “uncovering of his nakedness” (possibly the rape of his own mother) strongly inclines us to take Ham as the one harboring some great familial antipathy. And we could never assume this breach in his character to have been an isolated incident as people do not bridge the gap from lawful upright citizen to sexual predator in one day. Ham was clearly a Degenerate.
Of the prospect of Cainite admixture on the Ark via Namaah Augustine further opines:
“No one ought to imagine , however, that this account was written for no purpose, or that we are to look here solely for a reliable historical record without any allegorical meaning…Surely it is only a twisted mind that would maintain that books which have been safeguarded by such a concern for so well-ordered a transmission, that such books be written without serious purpose, or that we should consult them simply for historical facts?…only a love of disputation would allow anyone to contend that the elaborate details of the historical narrative are not symbols designed to give a prophetic picture of the Church. For nations have already filled the Church, and the clean and the unclean are contained as it were in the framework of the Church’s unity, until the appointed end is reached. The meaning is so abundantly clear on this particular point, that we must never think of doubting that the other details have their own meanings…” (Augustine, City Of God, Book XV, chpt.27)
And as he says, “Surely it is only a twisted mind that would maintain…” such an occurrence to be less than significant. It cannot be regarded as coincidence that Noah was to take seven (the number of the human occupants minus one) of every clean animal and two (the number of a couple) of every unclean. Ham would’ve been clean by descent but unclean by his troth. And if one marvels at the inclusion of a Cainite on the Ark they do well to recall the parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matt. 13) wherein our Lord explains the persistence of the Wicked alongside the Just until the day of Judgement.
Nor can one overlook the symbolic retelling of the first family’s story—where Cain had committed an act of treason against the family, so too had Ham. Abel prefigured Christ in his religion and his slaughter as an Innocent; wheras, Shem prefigured Christ in his religion and as the direct antescendant of the Messiah Himself. And Seth corresponds to Japheth in whom the Kingdom would eventually blossom and flourish. And just as the original three had ethnic extension so too did the post-Diluvians.
Beyond this, Ham is cursed in his offspring, Canaan, of whom orthodox Exegetes have traditionally made comparison with Cain, saying, “The Canaanites succeeded Cainites as the curse-laden people.” (Footnote commentary on Gen.9:25 from the Geneva Study Bible)
This certainly bolsters the connection to Naamah. As does the fact that the name Canaan itself is an etymological echo of both Cain and Naamah, deriving the consonants from the masculine and vowels from the feminine.
One last but unavoidable observation on this matter is the fact that the descendents of Ham (Africans) are so morphologically, psychologically and intellectually divergent from all other races that they, like the Cainites before the flood, seem overtly ‘marked’. And the nature of this marking of extreme pigmentation is one which carries a universally recognized metaphysical correspondence—darkness is, both in and out of scripture, the symbol of evil and uncertainty.
“Noah commends his sons Shem and Japheth in his prophetic insight, what was to happen in the far-distant future. Hence it was that he also cursed his middle son…because he had sinned against his father…the historical fulfillment of these prophecies has come about in the posterity of these sons, the things which were concealed have been abundantly revealed…The name Shem, as we know, means ‘named’…The name Japheth means ‘enlargement’; and ‘in the houses’ of Christ, that is, in the churches, the ‘enlargement’ of nations dwells. Again, the name Ham means ‘hot’; and Noah’s middle son, separating himself, as it were, from both others, and keeping his position between them, is included neither in the first-fruits of Israel nor in the full harvest of the Gentiles, and he can only stand for the hot breed of heretics. They are hot, because they are on fire not with the spirit of wisdom but with the spirit of impatience; for that is the characteristic fervor in the hearts of heretics; that is what makes them disturb the peace of the saints…Nevertheless it is possible and reasonable to regard Noah’s middle son as typifying not only those in open schism from the Church, but also those who boast the name of Christian and yet live scandalous lives…for this, we may be sure, is the time when ‘Japheth lives in the houses of Shem’ and the wicked brother lives between them…This is the reality symbolized by the fact that Ham went out and published his father’s nakedness outside , while Shem and Japheth came to veil it, that is, to honour it—which means that their action had a more inward character…we all hold confidently to the firm belief that these historical events and the narrative of them have always some foreshadowing of things to come and are always to be interrupted with reference to Christ and his Church, which is the City of God. It has never failed to be foretold in prophesy from the beginning of the human race, and we now see the prophecy being fulfilled in all that happens.” (Augustine, City Of God, Book XVI, chpt.2)
Augustine touches on many excellent points in this passage. He first affirms that Noah’s utterance over his sons was a true prophecy of distinct and separate identities for each and that Noah’s words have manifest themselves rigorously throughout time; he also specifically notes the overt separation, i.e. segregation, of Hamites specifically—even going so far as to say that Ham be ‘…included neither in the first-fruits of Israel nor in the full harvest of the Gentiles, and he can only stand for the hot breed of heretics.’
Moreover, he subsequently tells us that ‘we all (that is, all Christians) hold confidently to the firm belief’ in the perpetual segregation of the City of God.
And on the division between Japheth and Shem Augustine declares with gusto:
‘…hardly anyone of our people has taken it as meaning anything else but that the older people of the Jews was destined to serve the younger people, the Christians…And what can this meaning be except a prophecy which is now being clearly fulfilled in the Jews and the Christians?’ (Augustine, City Of God, Book XVI, chpt.35)
In light of Ham’s disinheritance, Augustine tells us that it was a near universal understanding of the Church that Shem corresponds to the Old Testament as Japheth corresponds to the New. Christendom considered itself a European phenomenon rather exclusively.
Matthew Henry weighs in:
“It is intimated that the church should be built up and continued in the posterity of Shem; for of him came the Jews, who were, for a great while, the only professing people God had in the world. Some think reference is here had to Christ, who was the Lord God that, in his human nature, should descend from the loins of Shem; for of him, as concerning the flesh, Christ came. Canaan is particularly enslaved to him: He shall be his servant… He blesses Japheth, and, in him, the isles of the Gentiles, which were peopled by his seed: God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem… then we should read it, God shall persuade Japheth (for so the word signifies), and then, being so persuaded, he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, that is, Jews and Gentiles shall be united together in the gospel fold. After many of the Gentiles shall have been proselyted to the Jewish religion, both shall be one in Christ (Eph. 2:14-15), and the Christian church, mostly made up of the Gentiles, shall succeed the Jews in the privileges of church-membership; the latter having first cast themselves out by their unbelief, the Gentiles shall dwell in their tents… The birth-right was now to be divided between Shem and Japheth, Ham being utterly discarded. In the principality which they equally share Canaan shall be servant to both. The double portion is given to Japheth, whom God shall enlarge; but the priesthood is given to Shem, for God shall dwell in the tents of Shem…” (Matthew Henry Comm. On Gen. 9:24-27)
At this point it might be asked, “what would necessarily incline the early Church and the Reformed Commentators to interpret the text in this way?” Augustine answers:
“…this, we may be sure, is the time when ‘Japheth lives in the houses of Shem’ and the wicked brother lives between them… we now see the prophecy being fulfilled in all that happens.” (Augustine, City Of God, Book XVI, chpt.2)
Simply put, the Church recognized that the racialist view made far better sense not only of the text but also of God’s providential working in the world. It explained both the attributes and histories of Shemites, Japhethites and Hamites with a precision beyond coincidence. Accordingly, Belloc has written:
“It was all done, so to speak, within the lifetime of a man. The link and cornerstone of Western Europe, the quadrilateral which lies between the Pyrenees and the Rhine, between the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and the Channel, accepted civilization in a manner so final and so immediate that no historian has ever quite been able to explain the phenomenon. ( pg. 29)…This doctrine of personal immortality is the prime mark of the European and stamps his leadership upon the world. Its original seat—long before history begins—lay perhaps in Ireland, later in Britain, certainly reduced to definition either in Britain or Gaul. It increasingly influenced Greece and even had some influence upon the Jews before the Romans subdued them.” (Hillaire Belloc, Europe and the Faith, pg. 94)
And the alternative view offers nothing but an incoherent vision of history and a docetistic theory of the human species.
But inexorably, time went by with the three lines of Noah’s sons attempting to subdue this world seemingly made anew. This was the age of the Titans, the first of which was Nimrod, “a mighty Hunter before the Lord” (Gen.10:9). He was a son of Cush and grandson of Ham whom the scripture compares to the giants and mighty men before the flood, the mixed offspring of Sethite and Cainite extraction known as Nephilim (Gen.6:4). (Incidentally, the Israelite spies entering the land of Canaan for the first time report encounters with descendents of the Nephilim. This would be impossible if Cainites had not survived the flood! (Num.13:33) And it just so happens that they whom the spies encountered were Canaanites, descendants of Ham! It appears that Ham did in fact marry Naamah.)
In the Babylonian tradition the name Nimr[u]d means “pelts” or “skins” and Nimrod is depicted in their tradition as having been a giant who travelled by tiger-drawn chariot. In an age of wild beasts, endless wilderness and few fortified hamlets, people would have had incentive to throw in their lot with such an imposing figure, seeming half animal himself. He is the archetype of all Imperialist war chieftains. He represents man, as the animas bereft of spirit, a paragon of Humanist carnality, a darwinian Zeus, “nature, red in tooth and claw”.
His proposition to the tribes of men was, “Let us make a name for ourselves lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” (Gen. 11:4) This was a direct act of defiance against the cosmology and social order posited by father Noah who had prescribed to them distinct and separate destinies, Shemite, Japhethite and Hamite (Gen.9:26-27).
Of course, people now often choose to interpret Nimrod’s proposition as an attempt to bring notoriety to the massed peoples of the world. But this view is simply absurd as all the people of the world were there, taking part in the blasphemous push toward an undifferentiated world-empire. That means that there were simply no outlying groups amongst whom notoriety could be achieved. To ‘make a name for ourselves’ is clearly a denouncement of Noah’s prophecy. And the call of Nimrod reverberates still from the lips of the Civil Rights ‘Hunters’.
Moreover, the latter half of the call of Nimrod, ‘…lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth’, occurring in Gen.11 is a breach of the Noahic covenant (Gen.8:17; 9:1) in which they’d been commissioned to “fill the whole earth”.
As to the particular reason for God’s outrage at the matter, Henry says:
“He considered: Their oneness, as a reason why they must be scattered: “Behold, the people are one, and they have all one language…it is decreed that they must not be one… The project of some to frame a universal character, in order to a universal language, how desirable soever it may seem, is yet, I think, but a vain thing to attempt; for it is to strive against a divine sentence…” (Matthew Henry Comm. On Genesis 11)
God’s very first charge against them is on the issue of their ‘oneness’. If their unification itself were not sin, God would not preface his indictment with reference to it. Henry rightly concludes, ‘it is decreed that they must not be one’.