LESSON 57.

THE REAL CAUSE OF EXOGAMY.

440.     A point in the evidence from profane history that exogamy has had its origin in polygyny (the humbler members of a tribe being driven to seek wives outside the tribe because the stronger, or head men, had monopolized the women of the tribe for their harems), is the fact that very generally the royal classes have not been expected to obey such restrictions. In early times even brothers and sisters of royal blood married; and such is the custom among certain African tribes to this day. Dr. Frazer, in his book, Totemism and Exogamy, informs us that in both Assam and Africa, among exogamous tribes, the heads of the tribe marry members of their own tribe. It stands to reason, however, that should exceptionally pretty captive women be brought into a tribe, this would lead even its chiefs to join the next expedition to capture women from the tribe whence the attractive captives came. Thus we are told, Genesis 6:1-2, that it was when the Cainites “saw the daughters of Men (Sethite women) that they were fair” they took them, and their progeny were “mighty men,” “men of renown” (see pars. 158-162).[4]

441.     But of what practical moment is this matter? We answer, it is of great moment to women to grasp the immense difference between the teaching of evolutionists and the Holy Scriptures on the same facts. The teachings of the social evolutionists of the present day are very injurious to the progress of womanhood. The evolutionist rejects the teachings of the early chapters of Genesis, and would lead women to do the same, declaring the Biblical teaching to be degrading to women. But let us remember that what has injured women is the rabbinical and theological perversion of the real teachings of these early chapters. Women are in danger of throwing aside a priceless treasure because it has been presented to them under a repulsive cover; and evolutionists are exhorting them. “Throw it away! Throw it away! It is only rubbish.”

442.     But before we throw our document away, we will tear off the cover (its traditional interpretation and translation), and get to its original contents. And furthermore, we will compare with God’s Word what evolution offers woman in place of it, for the early chapters of Genesis. The social evolutionists, for the most part, would begin the world’s social history with a repulsive promiscuity; the Bible begins it with a picture of purest monogamy. The evolutionists next picture a state of polyandry for women; the Bible nowhere, from Genesis to Revelation, admits a picture of this degrading system of female life; polyandry has existed in this world, and may exist today, but never so extensively as to be a factor in great social problems. The evolutionist “evolves” female kinship out of polyandry,¾a state in which the fatherhood of children cannot be determined; the Bible derives female kinship from an ordinance of God,¾as binding upon Christians today (even though universally disobeyed), as the law against free and easy divorce.

443.     God premised female kinship when He prophesied “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head;” He founded the law of female kinship earlier, when He said, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife.” The evolutionist, by implication if not often by actual statement, pictures the growth of male kinship and the gradual subjugation of the mothers of the human race as progress; the Bible shows that the same is a defiant going against God’s expressed will. The evolutionist is silent as to the part that an initial polygyny has played in bringing about lamentable conditions, but has much to say that is misleading about polyandry; but the Bible shows the very early development of polygyny among men, and gives us a clear picture of its outcome¾the capture of women,¾the beginning of exogamy¾as closely related to the sensuality and violence of men. Women, as a class, have never been pictured in Bible history as given over to the degrading habits of polyandry,¾the nearest approach being an occasional woman of evil life. Such misrepresentations belong to rabbinical misrepresentations of the character of Eve and of women in general; or to pagan conceptions of womanhood; or to the theory of modern evolutionists, who have, once for all, committed themselves to the employment of picturing everything of the past as worse than the present, and cut the foot to fit their shoe,¾in other words, shape the living truth to their dead theory.

444.      McLennan states, in relation to the early dignity of womanhood:  “All those signs of superiority on the woman’s part were the direct consequence (1) of marriage being not monogamous or such as to permit of certainty of fatherhood; and (2) of wives not as yet living in their husband’s houses, but apart from them, in the houses of their own mothers.” Writers on this theme agree with McLennan as to the first point, while we, on Scriptural authority, strongly dissent. Female kinship was not, in early times, kept to the front merely because male kinship could not be determined, owing to the practice of polyandry. God Himself, by express ordinance founded female kinship. Nature also establishes female kinship, and it has only been by a “reform against nature” (that horror which is so odious to the eyes of all believers in masculine domination), that man has ever displaced female kinship and enthroned male kinship,¾by gross cruelty and systematic tyranny, as we shall presently show. We agree in part with McLennan’s second point. Certainly immense advantages accrued to the human race¾primarily to women and children¾by the early practice of disjointing the husband from his kin, and not the wife from her kin in marriage. Some of these are enumerated in paragraph 45.

445.     All these writers seem to agree that exogamy, in its rise, is closely related to the capture of wives, and the capture of wives to a scarcity of women. But none of them, excepting Herbert Spencer so far as we know, suggest that that scarcity might arise out of the practice of polygyny,¾as we believe the Bible clearly shows. The problem with them, is, how to account for exogamy after having once agreed together that female kinship was born of polyandry. Let them once drop this hypothetic polyandry as accounting for female kinship, and accept the belief that nature and nature’s God established female kinship, and a perfectly clear and simple case can be made out. We believe the otherwise objectless, unsavory stories of the blaspheming, polygamous Lamech and his self-vaunting poetry, and of the depredations of Cain’s tribe on the daughters of Seth, have their place in the Bible because they instruct us in the initial steps of social degeneration. They are meant for clues to great social problems. Here (in the opening chapters of Genesis) we trace disease¾the moral disease, sin, back to its initial symptoms. To be able to trace a disease through all its variations back to its inception, generally affords the secret of its conquest.

446.     To review and sum up: Accepting the Biblical account as authoritative, (1) The human race began with the family (not the tribe, or clan, as evolutionists teach) as its unit; (2) it began in pure monogamy, Matthew 19:4; (3) with female kinship. Matthew 19:5: (4) but Cain bequeathed to the race sensual and domineering characteristics; (5) as a result of this bad inheritance, strengthened by bad example (Genesis 4:24) Cain’s descendants invent “cutting instruments” (R. V.), and use them as weapons of warfare, first within the tribe,¾the stronger members of which monopolize more wives than one, if they choose; (6) thus the weaker men are driven to unite themselves to wives in the (at first) friendly Sethite tribe, but still keeping up friendly relations with their Cainite brethren: (7) seeing Sethite women “that they are fair,” the stronger men begin the capture of Sethite women, Genesis 6:1-2, and thus exogamy, as a custom, is established.

447.     Again we emphasize, as a lesson to be drawn from these considerations, the need of women translators and Biblical expositors to collaborate with men. There are, equally in each sex, certain sex prejudices and certain sex limitations that unfit either sex to be the sole custodian of divine truth for the opposite sex. In this instance, as in other instances, the predominance of male expositors of the Bible and the predominance of male expositors of scientific and archaeological facts, lead both bodies astray as to their deductions from plainly demonstrable teachings of nature, ancient history, customs and the Word of God.

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[4] This statement and interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, will not be understood apart from the exposition of Sir J.W. Dawson, given in pars. 158-162.

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