There is a lot of conflict today related to the concept of race. And there are a lot of accusations flying around. But what exactly does the bible say about race? Or better yet, what does the bible NOT say? Below are 4 things the bible does not say about race. (This post contains affiliate links).
1. The Bible does not say there are separate races.
What would you say if I told you there is no such thing as race? And that differences in the color of our skin, have nothing to do with “race?”
First of all, the bible says we all descended from Adam and Eve:
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” Acts 17:26 NIV
This means Adam and Eve carried the entire original gene pool. All of the genetic potential wrapped up in two people. And it went downhill from there with the Fall of Mankind.
By the way, Adam and Eve were highly unlikely to have been light skinned or blue-eyed. In fact, I bet you didn’t know that blue eyes are actually the result of a genetic mutation. That’s right!
But what exactly is a genetic mutation?
“Put simply, a genetic mutation is when something in our DNA doesn’t quite do what it’s supposed to do. People generally associate the term with birth defects and, indeed, conditions such as albinism, deformities and even some mental conditions.” (Reference below)
So, what does this mean? This means that blonde hair and blue eyes are not superior like Hitler believed.
Second of all, we are all descended from Noah and his sons.
It says in the bible that the only survivors of the Biblical Worldwide Flood were Noah, his wife, his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their 3 wives.
“And Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Genesis 6:10
“On that very day Noah entered the ark, along with his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and his wife, and the three wives of his sons.” Genesis 7:13
“And every living thing on the face of the earth was destroyed—man and livestock, crawling creatures and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth, and only Noah remained, and those with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23
“Then God said to Noah, “’Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives.'” Genesis 8:16
“So Noah came out, along with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. Every living creature, every creeping thing, and every bird—everything that moves upon the earth—came out of the ark, kind by kind.” Genesis 8:18-19
Thus, we are all descended from one of the three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth. We are all from the same family.
Third of all, the bible never uses the word “race” in reference to people. Plus it says in the New Testament that all people are “One Blood.” Acts 17:26
2. The Bible does not say that “races should not mix.”
I think some of the confusion regarding this idea comes from God’s order in the book of Genesis for the people to scatter as a result of their rebellion at the Tower of Babel.
“When God scattered the people of the time, he also confused languages. As a result, they could not communicate with each other. That is why it was called Babel –because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 11:9
It says nothing here about changing genes
So the people who were given the Chinese language, for example, scattered in the same direction as other people who spoke the same language.
I can’t imagine that God would have given an entirely different language to each individual person. I believe there would have been a group of people who were given the same language. As a result of sharing the same language, they separated themselves from others who didn’t speak the same language. Thus, they carried their unique genes with them.
This is NOT an example of race.
When people scattered throughout the earth, they took their own unique “gene pool” with them. In other words, whatever innate genetic characteristics they contained in their DNA would have affected the way their children looked. This explains why people who live in different geographic regions have a similar outer appearance.
And scientifically speaking, skin color is mainly the result of different amounts of melanin, the pigment that adds color to your skin.
3. The Bible does not say that slavery based on skin color and perceived inferiority is okay.
Some people think the bible supports slavery. This is most definitely not true.
It is true that slavery existed in the bible. For example, Abraham and Sarai had at least one slave, Hagar (Genesis 16:8). However, this does not mean that God condones it. Slavery in the bible existed as the result of sin. Not only that, but the slavery that existed in the bible was not the result of “race” OR color of skin. Click here for an excellent article on this subject.
4. The bible does not say one race is superior to another race.
Darwin’s theory of evolution played a big part in the propagation of the idea of certain races being inferior. For example, he taught in his “Origin of Species” book that the “negro” was lower on the evolutionary scale than the white man (I read those words myself years ago when I had access to the actual book). Also, Ernst Haeckel popularized the idea of “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.”
“Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” basically says that during embryonic development, the fetus repeats “historical” evolutionary development until it becomes fully human, just before birth.
NOTE: This theory has been disproved, though there are still secular textbooks showing Haeckel’s famous pictures. And, unfortunately, it is still holding sway towards belief in evolution.
(No doubt this is why our society is becoming more and more calloused against the idea of abortion–but I digress…)
Back to Haeckel. His quote from 1876 is insightful:
“At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes. Nothing, however, is perhaps more remarkable in this respect, than that some of the wildest tribes in southern Asia and eastern Africa have no trace whatever of the first foundations of all human civilization, of family life, and marriage. They live together in herds, like apes.”
One concrete example of the influence of Darwin’s and Haeckel’s ideas was an African pygmy man named Ota Benga who was kept in a zoo on display as an example of evolution in progress.
“Ota Benga later ended up at the Bronx Zoo, where he was put on display in the monkey house. Although zoo director Hornaday insisted he was merely offering an ‘intriguing exhibit’ for the public’s edification, he ‘apparently saw no difference between a wild beast and the little Black man; for the first time in any American zoo, a human being was displayed in a cage. Benga was given cage-mates to keep him company in his captivity—a parrot and an Orangutan named Dohong’.” (Ota Benga, The Man Who Was Put on Display at the Zoo)
Back to the Tower of Babel story in the Book of Genesis. It says that the people were dispersed and separated. History shows that some people groups are more isolated, and as a direct result, less developed. This gives the appearance to that these isolated people are more primitive. Not even close. So called “primitive” tribes are just as capable as “civilized” tribes once they are introduced to modern knowledge.
Ask any missionary who has spent time around “primitive” tribes. Which reminds me. One of the most AMAZING books I have ever read is, “Eternity in Their Hearts.” This book was written by a man named Don Richardson, a missionary who worked with cannibalistic tribes in Papua New Guinea back in the 1960s.
Don Richardson also wrote the book “Peace Child.” In this book he talks about how difficult it was for the tribe members to understand the gospel because they idealized treachery and they had never seen a sheep. So he had to use other means to get the gospel message across. But the point is, they were NOT INFERIOR INTELLECTUALLY or in any other way.
The good news is that most scientists today admit that, biologically speaking, there is only one “race” of humans.
Scientists recognize that different skin colors are the result of different amounts of melanin. And they acknowledge that differences between “races” are primarily cultural.
Don’t you just love it when science finally catches up with the bible? 🙂
Click here for a mini-workbook your kids can use to further study this subject.
Until next time…xooxxoxox