Questions From Readers
Is it permissible to cross plants or animals to get hybrids, in view of the Genesis decree that each kind should bring forth after its kind?—F. B., United States.
When Jehovah God created plant life he decreed that it should by shoot or seed reproduce “according to its kind.” When he created the great variety of water creatures they were ordained to propagate themselves “according to their kinds,” and also “every winged flying creature according to its kind.” (Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, NW) The primary requisite in this discussion is the definition of “kind” as the Bible uses it. On pages 112 and 113 of “Make Sure of All Things” a Scriptural definition is given, as follows: “A family or group of living creatures or things that are interfertile among themselves, but not fertile with others outside their family. (That is, whose sex cells will unite to form, or begin to form, an offspring; but with those of another ‘kind’ or family are absolutely incompatible and unable to unite.)” This definition is the same as the old definition once given to “species.” Then “species” was used to mean the offspring of a single specially created pair. But with the advent of the false theory of evolution “species” has changed meaning and according to present-day scientific usage numerous species may all be of the one Biblical kind. When variations occur within the one kind evolutionists speak of some of them as new species and as evidence that species change; according to their narrowed-down definition of “species” it is true, but species do not change if we hold to the old definition of the term and which coincides with the above definition of the Biblical kind.
With this foundation laid, the question can be answered clearly. There is no prohibition against man’s developing of new varieties of plants and animals through selection or mutations or cross-breeding. Any hybrids he may be able to produce through his breeding experiments are not violations of Genesis’ decree that life reproduce according to its kind. Why not? Because if plants or animals are interfertile and produce offspring they are of the same kind; there is no stepping over the kind boundary. It is impossible to overstep this boundary, for Jehovah so created the kinds. Man cannot violate the Genesis decree concerning kinds, because two different kinds are not interfertile and no offspring could result. Through selective breeding and cross-breeding and mutations a great variety of plants or animals may be developed, but they are all within the boundary of their kind. Science is without evidence to successfully dispute this.
The Bible speaks of horses and asses and mules, all of which terms are translated from different Hebrew words. The mule is a cross between a jackass and a mare, and it is a hybrid. Only in a few rare instances have mules been reported to have had offspring. The Jews were not allowed to produce their own mules, but they were allowed to use the mule gotten from non-Jews. It was considered an excellent riding mount, even King David having one for his use. (1 Ki. 1:33, 38, 44) A census taken after the Jews’ return from Babylonian captivity showed 245 mules in their possession. So we cannot object to hybrids as unscriptural.
● What did Jesus mean when he said his followers would do greater works than he had done?—V. W., United States.
Jesus said: “Most truly I say to you, He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do, and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father.” (John 14:12, NW) He did not mean that the works his followers would do would be greater in miraculous power and cause more amazing demonstrations of that power. The subsequent facts show they did not do so; for instance, they performed no miracle surpassing Jesus’ raising of the four-days-dead Lazarus. (John 11:38-44) Jesus gave as the reason for saying they would do greater works the fact that he was going to the Father in heaven. That would stop his personal activity as a preacher on earth, end it, draw to a close the wonderful works he had been doing. The followers, on the other hand, would remain on earth for a long time, during which time they could do the works Jesus did and keep at it much longer than he did, accumulating more of them perhaps, and certainly extending the activity over a much greater area. Jesus had confined himself to Palestine, and for the most part had limited his activities to the Jews; but his followers would work in all nations.
Also by his departure Jesus made possible the outpouring of holy spirit on his followers, and for this reason they were able to preach in many tongues and spread the work, and make use of other gifts of the spirit in performing wonderful works. As Jesus told them at the time of his departure, “You will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NW) So by Jesus’ leaving earth his work on earth as a preacher ended, and by his leaving the holy spirit came upon his followers to empower them to carry on an expanded service, taking in all nations. So they covered a greater area and served a greater length of time than did Jesus, and in this sense they did greater works.