How do you embrace people of all races and remain different? Is racism a sin? Is Jesus white or is Adam black?


Webster's dictionary defines racism as, "the belief in the superiority or dominance of one race over another."

The Bible teaches that there are many nationalities, but there is one genetic race known as mankind. When Eve was named by Adam, she was named so because "she was the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). The "all" is significant. It means that every man and woman can trace their ancestry back to Adam and Eve. As Paul told the Athenians, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26). While many of their children sinned against God, one man, Noah, remained faithful. When God destroyed the world Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their three wives were saved. Hence, every person in this world can trace their lineage back to Noah and to one of his three sons. "Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated" (Genesis 9:18-19).

Genesis 11:1-9 records the origin of our various nationalities and languages. After the flood, mankind violated God's command to fill the earth; instead, they attempted to settle in one area. They formed a building project to create a name for themselves, possibly to further encourage people to remain. "And they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4). God stopped the project by altering the language of each family. Since communication then became impossible, mankind began to scatter across the earth. Genesis 10 records the various nations that result from this scattering. Over 95% of these founding fathers have been located in our histories.

People sometimes wonder how we can gain such a diverse set of looks from one set of parents. The answer is found in genetics. I would recommend the article "The Origin of 'Races'" by Dr. Bert Thompson, for a good explanation of how this came to be. Since our genes are made up of pairs. The simple explanation is that Adam and Eve would have had a blend of every possible pair. In scientific terms, they would have been heterozygous. From them, they would have had children of a wide variety of colors and characteristics. As families became isolated due to the language barrier, certain characteristics became dominant in each family. Today we label these variations as "races," but in reality they are stagnated characteristics caused by regional inbreeding. Hence Adam could not have been black skinned because all of mankind would have been black. Nor could Adam have been white skinned because all of mankind would have been white. Adam and Eve's skin color would have been somewhere in the middle.

Since Jesus by birth was an Israelite, he would have had the skinned color typical of that nationality, which again is somewhere between black and white.

But it really doesn't matter what the skin color is of any of our ancestors because to God we are all one. "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:35). We are all offered the same hope of salvation. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). This was the promise of the new covenant, the people from every nation would flow into the kingdom of Christ. "Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him" (Daniel 7:14). The gospel is preached "to those who dwell on the earth--to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" (Revealtion 14:6). John's vision of heaven was one of "a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands" (Revelation 7:9).

The gospel is to be taught all. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). No one is to be excluded. For one nationality to place itself above any other would be sinful. As God is no respector of people, neither can be His people. Rather than seeking to divide, we must seek to fulfill Christ's dream of becoming one. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20-21).

February 13, 2009