God Shows No Partiality

by Bryan Matthew Dockens

Racial discrimination is senseless and ungodly. God's plan for salvation has always been open to all. Centuries before Christ came to fulfill the divine promise, Isaiah prophesied of the church that "all nations shall flow into it" (Isaiah 2:2). Indeed, the very day it was established, the church included members "from every nation under heaven" (Acts 2:5): "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs" (Acts 2:9-11). With so many nations represented, a variety of skin colors was inevitable, particularly considering the inclusion of Egyptians and Arabs.

Among the many conversion stories recorded in scripture is the account of an Ethiopian man taught and baptized by Philip the evangelist (Acts 8:26-38). For the record, skin tone is a visible identifier of Ethiopians (Jeremiah 13:23).

On another occasion, the apostle Peter was sent by God to preach to the first Gentiles who would obey the gospel. He concluded, "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him" (Acts 10:34-35). Regardless of race or nationality, God's standard of judgment is nothing other than obedience.

The apostle Paul repeatedly emphasized that salvation is meant for all people (Romans 1:16), irrespective of nationality, gender, or economic status (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11). And Jesus instructed the apostles to proclaim His gospel to all people everywhere (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). This being so, it should come as no surprise that heaven itself will be populated by "a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues" (Revelation 7:9).

God's equal love and acceptance toward all races stands to reason since "He has made from one… every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), which is to say that all people share the same original ancestors, so variations among the races are ultimately meaningless. Our brother Don Martin explains:

It would appear that Adam and Eve were of the same "race". Actually, there is no indication of any "racial" differences until about 2,000 years later (Genesis 10-11). What is known by geneticists and then our deduction of their inductions appear to be sound. We know that melanin controls skin coloration. In humans, the production of melanin is controlled by two pairs of genes. Geneticists refer to these genes as Aa and Bb. The capital letters represent the dominant genes (dark color) and the small letters the recessive genes (lighter color). If Adam and Eve were AABB (all dominant genes), they would have been black to the degree black can be black and they would have produced only children with the darkest of skin coloration. AABB genes in the first couple would have only produced black coloration throughout all generations of their offspring. On the other hand, if Adam and Eve had both been aabb (only the recessive genes), they would have produced offspring with the lightest possible skin coloration. Therefore, it appears safe to conclude that Adam and Eve possessed a balance of the skin coloration genes; in other words: AaBb (Geneticists refer to this as heterozygous, the perfect balance of the genes producing melanin). If Adam and Eve were AaBb, which seems to be a necessary conclusion, they would have been middle-brown in skin color. Based on the AaBb condition of Adam and Eve, within a short time (perhaps one generation) skin color variations would have occurred.

Notwithstanding the love God has toward all, bigotry persists. This is evident in the bias some have toward interracial marriage, but God has no such objection.

Moses, the inimitable leader of God's people and the man through whom was delivered the law to Israel (Deuteronomy 34:10-12; Acts 7:20-37), "married an Ethiopian woman" (Numbers 12:1). Recall that skin tone is a visible identifier of Ethiopians (Jeremiah 13:23). Moses' brother and sister criticized him for it, but in doing so evoked the wrath of God (Numbers 12:1-16). Implicitly, the Lord approves of mixed marriage.

Earlier, God's servant Joseph was married to an Egyptian woman named Asenath (Genesis 41:45), who bore him his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 41:50-52; 46:20). The biracial sons of Joseph were the patriarchs of two tribes in Israel bearing their respective names (Numbers 1:32-35). From the tribe of Ephraim arose great leaders in Israel. Hoshea (Numbers 13:8), also known as Joshua (Numbers 13:16), was one of only two spies out of twelve who gave a faithful and encouraging report concerning Israel's prospects in conquering the promised land (Numbers 14:6-9). This man of mixed heritage was commander over the army of Israel (Exodus 17:8-14), assistant to Moses (Exodus 33:11), and eventually succeeded Moses as leader of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 34:9; Joshua 1:1-2). Another notable Ephraimite was Samuel (I Samuel 1:1-20), who "ministered to the Lord, even as a child" (I Samuel 2:18). At a time when "the word of the Lord was rare," the child Samuel received revelations from God (I Samuel 3:1-18). As he grew, it came to be known throughout the land that he had been "established as a prophet of the Lord" (I Samuel 3:19). Moreover, "Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life" (I Samuel 7:15). This prophet and judge from the racially mixed tribe of Ephraim anointed the first two kings of Israel (I Samuel 10:1; 16:13). The tribe of Manasseh also produced leaders over Israel, including the judges Gideon (Judges 6:11-8:35), Jair (Judges 10:3-5; Numbers 26:29), and Jephthah (Judges 11:1-12:7; Numbers 26:29).

There is nothing so uselessly judgmental as racism, "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (I Samuel 16:7).