Table of ContentsForeword, Preface, and Introduction
The biblical answer to racism
Now that we understand that the so-called ‘races’ in reality constitute just one race with different people groups (see Chapter 4), what about the issue of so-called ‘interracial marriage’?
If a Chinese person were to marry a Polynesian, or an African with dark skin were to marry a Japanese, or a person from India were to marry a person from America with light skin, would these marriages be in accord with biblical principles?
There are a significant number of Christians (particularly in America) who would claim that such ‘interracial’ marriages violate God’s principles in the Bible, and should not be allowed.
But does the Word of God really condemn such mixes as those above? Is there ultimately any such thing as ‘interracial’ marriage?
True science in the present fits with the biblical view that all people are rather closely related—there is only one ‘race’ biologically. Therefore, there is in essence no such thing as ‘interracial marriage.’ So we are left with this—is there anything in the Bible that speaks clearly against men and women from different people groups marrying?
Origin of people groups
In Genesis 11, we read of the rebellion at the Tower of Babel that resulted in people being scattered over the earth. Because of this dispersion, and the resulting splitting of the gene pool, different cultures formed, with certain features becoming predominant within each group. Some of these (skin ‘color’, eye shape, and so on) became general characteristics of each particular people group.1
Note that the context of Genesis 11 makes it clear that the reason for God’s scattering the people over the earth was that they had united in rebellion against God. Some Christians point to this event in an attempt to provide a basis for their arguments against so-called ‘interracial’ marriage. They believe that it is implied here that to keep the nations apart, God is declaring that people from different people groups can’t marry. However, there is no such indication in this passage that what is called ‘interracial marriage’ is condemned. Besides, there has been so much mixing of people groups over the years, that it would be impossible for every human being today to trace their lineage to know for certain from which group(s) they are descended.
We need to understand that the sovereign Creator God is in charge of the nations of this world. Paul makes this very clear in Acts 17:26. Some people erroneously claim this verse to mean that people from different nations shouldn’t marry. But this passage has nothing to do with marriage. As John Gill makes clear in his classic commentary, the context is that God is in charge of all things—where, how and for how long any person, tribe or nation will live, prosper and perish.2
In all of this, God is working to redeem for himself a people who are one in Christ. The Bible makes it clear in Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11 and Romans 10:12–13 that in regard to salvation, there is no distinction between male or female or Jew or Greek or bond or free. In Christ, any separation between people is broken down. As Christians, we are one in Christ and thus have a common purpose—to live for Him who made us. This oneness in Christ is vital to understanding marriage.
Purpose of marriage
Malachi 2:15 declares that an important purpose of marriage is to produce godly offspring—progeny that are trained in the ways of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 19. Also, Paul, in Ephesians 5, makes it clear that when a man and woman marry, they become one flesh (because they were one flesh historically—Eve was made from Adam). In addition, the man and woman must be one spiritually so they can fulfill the command to produce godly offspring. This is why Paul states in 2 Corinthians 6:14, ‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?’
According to the Bible then, which of the impending marriages in the illustration (below, right) does God counsel against entering into?
The answer is obvious—the third one. According to the Bible, the priority in marriage is that a Christian should marry only a Christian.
Sadly, there are some Christian homes where the parents are more concerned about their children not marrying someone from another ‘race’ than whether or not they are marrying a Christian. When Christians marry non-Christians, it negates the spiritual (not the physical) oneness in marriage, resulting in negative consequences for the couple and their children.
It is true that in some exceptional instances when a Christian has married a non-Christian, the non-Christian spouse, by the grace of God, has become a Christian. This is a praise point, but it does not negate the fact that Scripture indicates that it should not have been entered into in the first place. This does not mean that the marriage is not actually valid, nor does it dilute the responsibilities of the marital union—see also 1 Corinthians 7:12–14, where the context is of one partner becoming a Christian after marriage.
Rahab and Ruth
The examples of Rahab and Ruth help us understand how God views the issue of marriage between those who are from different people groups but trust in the true God.
Rahab was a Canaanite. She came from an ungodly culture—descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. Remember that Canaan was cursed because of his obvious rebellious nature. Unfortunately, many Christians state that Ham was cursed, but this is not true (see Gen. 9:18–27). Some have even said that this non-existent curse of Ham resulted in the black ‘races.’ This is absurd and is the type of false teaching that has reinforced and justified prejudices against people with dark skin (see chapter 6).
In the genealogy in Matthew 1, it is traditionally understood that the same Rahab is listed here as being in the line leading to Christ. Thus Rahab, a descendant of Ham, must have married an Israelite (descended from Shem). Since this was clearly a union approved by God, it underlines the fact that the particular ‘people group’ she came from was irrelevant—what mattered was that she trusted in the true God of the Israelites.
The same can be said of Ruth, who, as a Moabitess, also married an Israelite, and is also listed in the genealogy in Matthew 1 that leads to Christ. Prior to her marriage to Boaz, she had expressed faith in the true God (Ruth 1:16). It is true that the Israelites were told by God not to marry people from surrounding nations (Lev. 18), but this was because these were pagan peoples, and marriages with them would destroy God’s purpose for this sacred institution.
When Rahab and Ruth became children of God, there was no longer any barrier to Israelites marrying them, even though they were from different ‘people groups.’
Real biblical ‘interracial’ marriage
If one wants to use the term ‘interracial,’ then the real ‘interracial’ marriage that God says we should not enter into is when a child of the Last Adam (one who is a new creation in Christ—a Christian) marries one who is an unconverted child of the First Adam (one who is dead in trespasses and sin—a non-Christian).
The family is the first and most fundamental of all human institutions. It is the unit that God uses to transmit His Word from one generation to the next. In Malachi 2:15, when the prophet asked the question, ‘Why did God make two one?’ (alluding to the account of the creation of the first man and woman—the first marriage), the answer was given that God sought a godly seed (godly offspring).
And did He not make you one? Yet the vestige of the Spirit is in him. And what of the one? He was seeking a godly seed. Then guard your spirit, and do not act treacherously with the wife of your youth (Mal. 2:15).
In other words, it is of primary importance in marriage to produce godly offspring, who themselves will then produce godly offspring, generation after generation. Satan knows that if this can be stopped, then the generations to come will not have the knowledge of the Lord.
One of the best ways to destroy the family and its function of producing godly offspring, is to have godly people marry ungodly mates. It is obvious that Satan has attempted to do this right down through history. The Israelites often disobeyed God’s commandments and married those from pagan cultures who then brought their pagan religion into the Israelite culture. This destroyed the purpose of the family.
From Numbers 31 and 25, we find that Balaam counseled the enemies of Israel on how to destroy God’s people. They were to get the Israelite men to marry the women from their pagan culture. Balaam knew that by destroying the godly family, one could ultimately destroy a nation which trusted in God.
Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit sin against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and the plague was on the congregation of the Lord (Num. 31:16).
And Israel lived in Shittim, and the people began to fornicate with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people to the sacrifices of their gods. And the people ate and bowed down to their gods (Num. 25:1–2).
Today, just like the Israelites, many Christian young people date and marry non-Christians, thus destroying the meaning of the family. Parents need to be diligent in teaching their children the true biblical principles of marriage. Sadly, this is not done in many Christian homes. Instead, often non-biblical ideas that engender racial prejudice are imposed on these offspring.
Because many people groups have been separated since the Tower of Babel, they have developed many cultural differences. If two people from very different cultures marry, they can have a number of communication problems, even if both are Christians. Expectations regarding relationships with members of the extended family, for example, can also differ. Even people from different English-speaking countries can have communication problems because words may have different meanings. Counselors should go through this in detail, anticipating the problems and giving specific examples. Some marriages have failed because of such cultural differences. However, such problems have nothing to do with genetics or ‘race.’ And ultimately, if a couple are one spiritually, and believe before the Lord that they should be joined in marriage, there is nothing in the Bible that speaks against this union.
In summary then:
- There is no biblical justification for claiming that people from different so-called ‘races’ (best described as ‘people groups’) should not marry.
- The biblical basis for marriage makes it clear that a Christian should only marry a Christian.
When Christians legalistically impose non-biblical ideas such as ‘no interracial marriage’ onto their culture, they are helping to perpetuate prejudices that have often arisen from evolutionary influences. If we are really honest, in countries like America, the main reason for Christians being against ‘interracial marriage’ is, in most instances, really because of skin ‘color’ (as we have shown, every human being has the same skin color—it just depends on how much of the color one has).
The Christian church could greatly relieve the tensions over racism if only the leaders would teach that all people are descended from one man and woman, and all people are equal before God. Furthermore, all are sinners in need of salvation; all need to build their thinking on God’s Word and judge all their cultural aspects accordingly; all need to be one in Christ, and put an end to their rebellion against their Creator.
References and notes
- Don Batten, D. Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, Carl Wieland, How Did All the Different ‘Races’ Arise (from Noah’s Family)? The Creation Answers Book, 2006, Creation Book Publishers, Brisbane, Australia, chapter 18.
Rugby star ‘proof of evolution’, Creation 18(1):8, December 1995–February 1996.
Races very close, Creation 17(2):9, March–May 1995.
Modern ‘Stone Age’ reconsidered, Creation 15(4): 51, September–November 1993.
Carl Wieland, Shades of Babel, Creation 13(1):23, December 1990–February 1991.
Dennis and Lyn Field (translators), Julmbanu: Aboriginal Babel, Creation 8(2):11, March 1986.
Jerry Bergman, Evolution and the Origins of the Biological Race Theory, Journal of Creation 7(2):155–168, 1993.
- See note on Acts 17:26 in: John Gill, An Exposition of the Old and New Testament; The Whole Illustrated with Notes, Taken from the Most Ancient Jewish Writings (London: printed for Mathews and Leigh, 18 Strand, by W. Clowes, Northumberland-Court, 1809), nine volumes, edited, revised, and updated by Larry Pierce, 1994–1995, for the Online Bible CD-ROM.
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