Table of ContentsForeword, Preface, and Introduction
The biblical answer to racism
Genetics and the human family
Let us now apply this basic understanding of genetics to human beings. How did all the different ‘races’ arise (from Noah’s family)? First, what constitutes a ‘race’?
In the 1800s, before Darwinian evolution was popularized, most people, when talking about ‘races,’ were referring to such groups as the ‘English race,’ ‘Irish race,’ and so on. However, this all changed when Charles Darwin published his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
Darwinian evolution was (and still is) inherently a racist philosophy, teaching that different groups or ‘races’ of people evolved at different times and rates, so some groups are more like their ape-like ancestors than others. The Australian Aborigines, for instance, were considered to be the missing links between an ape-like ancestor and the rest of mankind.1 This resulted in terrible prejudices and injustices towards the Australian Aborigines.2 A leading evolutionary spokesperson, Stephen Jay Gould, stated that ‘Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.’3
Racist attitudes fueled by evolutionary thinking were largely responsible for an African Pygmy actually being displayed, along with an orangutan, in a cage in the Bronx Zoo.4
As a result of Darwinian evolution, many people started thinking in terms of the different people groups around the world representing different ‘races,’ but within the context of evolutionary philosophy. This has resulted in many people today, consciously or unconsciously, having ingrained prejudices against certain other groups of people.
All human beings in the world today, however, are classified as Homo sapiens sapiens. Scientists today admit that, biologically, there really is only one race of humans. For instance, a scientist at the Advancement of Science Convention in Atlanta in 1997 stated, ‘Race is a social construct derived mainly from perceptions conditioned by events of recorded history, and it has no basic biological reality.’ This person went on to say, ‘Curiously enough, the idea comes very close to being of American manufacture.’5
Reporting on research conducted on the concept of race, the American ABC News science page stated, ‘More and more scientists find that the differences that set us apart are cultural, not racial. Some even say that the word “race” should be abandoned because it’s meaningless.’ The article went on to say that ‘we accept the idea of race because it’s a convenient way of putting people into broad categories, frequently to suppress them … . The most hideous example was provided by Hitler’s Germany. And racial prejudice remains common throughout the world.’6
In a 1998 article in the Journal of Counseling and Development, researchers argued that the term ‘race’ is basically so meaningless that it should be discarded.7
Because of the influences of Darwinian evolution and the resulting prejudices, we believe everyone (and especially Christians) should abandon the term ‘races.’ We could refer instead to the different ‘people groups’ around the world.
The Bible and ‘race’
The Bible does not even use the word ‘race’ in reference to people,8 but does describe all human beings as being of ‘one blood’ (Acts 17:26). This, of course, emphasizes that we are all related, for all humans are descendants of the first man Adam (1 Cor. 15:45).9 Because Jesus Christ also became a descendant of Adam, being called the ‘last Adam’ (1 Cor. 15:45), the Gospel should be preached to all tribes and nations. When Jesus Christ became a man (God-man), He became a descendant of Adam. Thus, He became our relative—totally man, a descendant of the first Adam, yet totally God. Any descendant of Adam can be saved, because our mutual relative by blood (Jesus Christ) died and rose again.
Some people think there must be different ‘races’ of people because there appear to be major differences between various groups, such as skin color and eye shape.
The truth, though, is that these so-called ‘racial characteristics’ are only minor variations among the people groups. Scientists have found that if one were to take any two people from anywhere in the world, the basic genetic differences between these two people would typically be around 0.2 percent—even if they came from the same people group.10 But, these so-called ‘racial’ characteristics that many think are major differences (skin color, eye shape, etc.) account for only 6 percent of this 0.2 percent variation, which amounts to a mere 0.012 percent difference genetically.11
In other words, the so-called ‘racial’ differences are absolutely trivial. Overall, there is more variation within any group than there is between one group and another. If a white person is looking for a tissue match for an organ transplant, for instance, the best match may come from a black person, and vice versa. The ABC News science page stated, ‘What the facts show is that there are differences among us, but they stem from culture, not race.’12
The only reason many people think these differences are major is because they’ve been brought up in a culture that has taught them to see the differences this way.
According to the Bible, all people on earth today descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Gen. 1–11). The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah’s family had one language and were living together and disobeying God’s command to ‘fill the earth’ (Gen. 9:1; 11:4).13 God confused their language, causing a breakup of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the earth (Gen. 11:8–9).
Using modern genetics, we will show how, following such a breakup of a population, variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. And there is good evidence to show that the various groups of people we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.14
References and notes
- A.S. Brown, Missing Links with Mankind in Early Dawn of History, New York Tribune, p. 11, 10 February 1924.
- Carl Wieland, Darwin’s Bodysnatchers, Creation 14(2):16–18, March–May 1992. (See chapter 10, also.)
- Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Belknap-Harvard Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 127–128, 1977.
- Jerry Bergman, Ota Benga: The man who was put on display in the zoo! Creation 16(1):48–50, December 1993–February 1994. (See chapter 10 for the shocking details.)
- Robert Lee Hotz, Race Has No Basis in Biology, Researchers Say, Los Angeles Times article reprinted in the Cincinnati Enquirer, p. A3, 20 February 1997.
- We’re All the Same, American Broadcasting Corporation News, <www.abcnews.com/sections/science/DyeHard/dye72.html>, 10 September 1998.
- Susan Chavez Cameron and Susan Macias Wycoff, The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm, Journal of Counseling & Development, 76:277–285, 1998.
- The NIV does use the word in two places. However, in Ezra 9:2 the Hebrew is literally ‘seed,’ and in Romans 9:3 the phrase ‘those of my own race’ is, in the original Greek, literally ‘my relatives according to the flesh’ (KJV: ‘my kinsmen according to the flesh’).
- Ken Ham, Where Did Cain Get His Wife? Answers in Genesis, Florence, KY, 1997.
- J.C. Gutin, End of the Rainbow, Discover, pp. 72–73, November 1994.
- Cameron and Wycoff, The Destructive Nature of the Term Race: Growing Beyond a False Paradigm, pp. 277-285.
- We’re All the Same, ABC News, 10 September 1998.
- The KJV says ‘replenish the earth,’ but replenish simply meant ‘fill’ when the KJV was translated. The word has changed its meaning. See Charles Taylor, What does ‘replenish the earth’ mean? Creation 18(2):44–45, March–May 1996.
- Worldwide variations in mitochondrial DNA (the ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ story) were claimed to show that all people today trace back to a single mother (living in a small population) 70,000 to 800,000 years ago. Recent findings on the rate of mitochondrial DNA mutations shortens this period drastically to put it within the biblical time frame. See L. Lowe and S. Scherer, Mitochondrial Eve: The Plot Thickens, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12(11):422–423, 1997; C. Wieland, A shrinking date for Eve, Journal of Creation 12(1):1–3.
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