The Biblical Worldview of Race
“And He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…”
Have the daily reports of turmoil in our nation over race relations alarmed you? If so, it is a good time to ask: what is the biblical worldview of race? Acts 17:26 tells us that all people are of one blood, originating from one man (Adam). Therefore, God created one biological race—not many! We are all relatives! Multiple scientific studies have confirmed that there is only one biological race, as we would expect.
If we are all relatives, why do we have so much strife? The answer is the corruption of mankind due to the fall (Genesis 3). As we are all descendants of Adam (Genesis 1:26-28), we all carry his sin nature (Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12). After a while, God’s tolerance of the sinful mess mankind created ran out, and He sent a catastrophe (the worldwide flood) to destroy the evil culture except for the few who were righteous (Noah’s family).
In their seminal book on the topic, One Race, One Blood, Charles Ware and Ken Ham describe the biblical worldview of race. Ken Ham is the CEO of Answers in Genesis (AiG) and Charles Ware is Executive Director of Grace Relations and Special Assistant to the president at AiG. If this is important to you, Ken Ham has relatively light skin and Charles Ware has relatively dark skin. The material in this article is based largely on their book and other materials from AiG.
After the flood, humans continued to be disobedient. They did not spread out and fill the earth as God desired. Instead they built a tower for their own glory. God caused confusion by creating different languages, so they separated and spread across the world (Genesis 11).
The explanation for the external differences we see in people can be understood based on the incredible genetic diversity that God gave Adam and Eve in the beginning. We believe that Adam and Eve likely had medium brown skin because God gave them maximum genetic diversity. When people separated as discussed in Genesis 11, they adapted to their environment, and distinct biological traits (e.g., skin “color”) that were advantageous in their environment predominated and became perceivable. We all have the same pigments in our skin but in different combinations. This leads to darker or lighter skin shades. There are no “black” people or “white” people. We are not different “colors”—we are different shades of brown. Other biological characteristics can be explained in the same way.
The fact that our outward appearance and some internal biological characteristics are different contributed to the concept of multiple biological races. Due to our fallen sinful nature many people consider some “races” to be superior to others or consider some “races” objectionable. Even though we have minor biological differences, our biological similarities far outweigh these differences. There is only one biological race and all humans are of the same race. The biblical worldview would suggest we should eliminate the term “race” and talk about different “people groups” all of whom are equal in God’s eyes.
God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34). He looks on the inside, not the outside. Christ died at the Cross for all people who turn to him (John 3:16). It is our spiritual, faith-based relationship with Christ that is important to him (John 3:3). There is only one biological race, but there are two spiritual races. Those who accept Christ as their personal savior due to his grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) are saved from the ultimate justice—death due to our sin nature (Romans 6:23). As a result of his grace to us, we should strive to live in harmony (Romans 15:5) and love (John 13-34-35).
Although there is only one biological race, racism is alive and well. What is the biblical solution? We should get back to the true biblical history of the world as given in Genesis and understand we are all one race and all of the same family. Yes, we can point to evils in the past and current wrongs that should be corrected, but who of us is deserving of salvation and living with God in eternity? None of us—we are all sinners deserving of eternal separation from God. Race relations as defined by fallen humans is based on the worldly definition of race and has failed miserably. It is time to turn to the biblical worldview and strive for Grace Relations as exemplified by our Creator, Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ.
Want more information? Get the One Race, One Blood book or search the internet for the One Race One Blood video given by Ken Ham or the Grace Relations video given by Charles Ware.
Chris Basel is Chair of the STEM Department, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Calvary University.