Table of ContentsForeword, Preface, and Introduction
The biblical answer to racism
Pseudo-biblical arguments refuted
It should be clear by now that the Bible contains no prohibition against ‘interracial marriages’ (see Chapter 5). This contrasts with the clear biblical arguments against Christians marrying non-Christians, as well as against ‘homosexual marriages’ (a contradiction in terms), despite some groups committing the ‘guilt by association’ fallacy in linking these to interracial marriages. Some people, however, have advanced a number of supposedly scriptural justifications for prohibiting interracial marriages.
It will lead to ‘one-world government’
Some Christian leaders claim that ‘interracial marriage’ should not be allowed because it will help usher in a one-world government. The argument goes something like this:
The fact that God made at least three distinct racial strains on the earth is obvious and indisputable. These ‘races’ are descendants of Noah’s three sons: Ham, Shem, and Japheth. Because of this and the dispersion at the Tower of Babel, no attempt should be made to bring the world together [which ‘interracial marriage’ would supposedly accomplish], as this would be in defiance of God’s plan for the nations to be separate. Such an act of rebellion is a result of man wanting to rule the world apart from God, and would support a one-world government,1 economy, etc. Certain divisions in the earth were put in place by God to keep the world divided until the Lord comes to bring nations together under His rule. One-worlders promote intermarriage.
But there are a number of major problems and inconsistencies with this view. The most obvious fallacy is that just because one-worlders promote something, it is not proof in itself that it is wrong. For example, one-worlders promote healthy diets, and this doesn’t mean that healthy diets are wrong. Right and wrong must be decided by Scripture, not by what other people do.
Nowhere in the Bible do we read any statement that even alludes to a prohibition of marriage among the descendants of the three sons of Noah. It is true that in Genesis 9:26–27, Noah did make some prophetic statements about his three sons: ‘And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem. And Canaan shall be their servant.’ And it is true that the descendants of each of these sons have made contributions in accord with Noah’s statements.2 However, it is also true that we are now some 4,500 years since that time and the boundaries between the descendants of each group are very blurred.
We have previously discussed Matthew’s genealogy of Christ, through Joseph, Jesus’ legal but not biological father (Matt. 1:18–25, Luke 1:34–38). Like all biblical genealogies, Matthew’s genealogy was traced through the father’s line. But even the S(h)emite Messianic line mentioned three Gentile women—the Hamite women Tamar and Rahab, and the Moabitess (Semitic but non-Jewish) Ruth. Neither Rahab’s nor Ruth’s (‘interracial’) marriages with Israelites were in any way condemned by Scripture; rather, they were honored in being named as ancestors of Christ. Matthew’s genealogy also listed the Jewess Bathsheba, who had previously been married to the godly Hittite Uriah, a marriage that God severely judged King David for dishonoring.
Now consider the chronology of the events since the Flood of Noah. It is likely that the reference to the division of the earth in Peleg’s day (Gen. 10:25) refers to the division of languages at Babel. Therefore, a simple addition of the ages of the patriarchs at the birth of their sons (Gen. 11:10–16) shows that Babel must have occurred about 100 years after the Flood.
Because there were around 100 years between the Flood and the Tower of Babel, there was plenty of time for thousands of people to be born before the Babel event. It is, therefore, more than reasonable to assume that the sons and daughters of Ham, Shem, and Japheth married each other. Thus, even though many generations ago one could perhaps trace one’s ancestry back to one of the three sons of Noah, for example Japheth, this would not mean that all the descendants were direct from Japheth only, excluding any ancestors from Shem or Ham.
It is true that God divided the people at the time of the Tower of Babel because of their rebellion.
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it happened, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they lived there. And they said to one another, Come, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build us a city and a tower, and its top in the heavens. And let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.
And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of Adam had built. And the Lord said, Behold! The people is one and they all have one language. And this they begin to do. And now nothing which they have imagined to do will be restrained from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they cannot understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of all the earth. And they quit building the city.
Therefore the name of it is called Babel; because the Lord confused the language of all the earth there. And from there the Lord scattered them abroad on the face of all the earth (Gen. 11:1–9).
Note, however, that the means God used to scatter people over the earth was to ‘confound their language.’ Again, there was no mention of marriage, ‘races’ or skin colors here. In fact, if anything was going to bring nations together again, it would be the reversing of the confusion of language. Thus, to be consistent, if some Christians believe nothing should be done that appears to help bring in what they believe would be a one-world government, then such Christians shouldn’t study or teach foreign languages (or English-speaking Christians shouldn’t teach English to others as a second language).
But the Great Commission tells us:
Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).
In order to teach all nations, we need to learn their languages so we can communicate with them. There is no doubt that crossing the language barrier has done more to bring the nations together than anything else.
We also must remember that God is in charge of the nations, anyway. Nothing man does is going to thwart the plans God has for the nations for the future. There is a sovereignty issue here. As the Scripture states:
Behold, the nations are like a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the scales (Isa. 40:15).
O Lord God of our Fathers, are You not God in Heaven? And do You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? And is there power and might in Your hand, so that none is able to withstand You? (2 Chron. 20:6).
Remember former things from forever; for I am God, and no other is God, even none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from the past things which were not done, saying, My purpose shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken, I will also cause it to come; I have formed; yes, I will do it (Isa. 46:9–11).
When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of Israel (Deut. 32:8).
There is no way that anything man does is going to disrupt God’s sovereign plans for the nations, whether that be so-called ‘interracial marriage,’ learning languages or whatever.
Another point to consider is that so-called ‘interracial marriages’ between Christians, unlike the disobedience at Babel, would not be helping people to rebel against God. Such marriages would be built upon God’s Word, and thus should produce godly offspring (in accordance with the primary importance of marriage—Mal. 2:15 for instance), who would influence the world for Christ, not against Him (whereas a one-world government referred to by the Christian leaders mentioned above would presumably be one of rebellion against God).
False claim: non-white ‘races’ come from ‘pre-Adamites’
Often, ‘Christian’ racists are not literal creationists but hold to combinations of the ‘gap theory’ and ‘pre-Adamites,’ usually distinguishing the people in Genesis 1 from Adam and Eve in Genesis 2. This provides an excuse to claim that non-whites are not descendants of Adam (although it is Genesis 1 that explicitly says that people were created in the image of God). However, Christ made no such distinction in Matthew 19:3–6 where He cited Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 together, and Paul called Adam the first man in 1 Corinthians 15:45. Some have argued against the latter point by claiming that the word ‘man’ is not in the original Greek. A simple check of a Greek New Testament shows that this claim has no textual support whatever—the Textus Receptus, Majority Text and Critical Text3 all have the reading ‘ο πρωτος άνθρωπος Αδαμ (ho prōtos anthrōpos Adam = the first man Adam).
The name of the first man Adam was derived from related Hebrew words meaning ‘red.’ Therefore, if Adam’s name comes from these words, he must have been able to ‘go red’ or blush, so he must have been ‘white’ because ‘we know that blacks can’t blush.’ This is blatant eisegesis, i.e. reading a doctrine into the text rather than out of it. This is like a house of cards where each shaky story is built on a shakier story below.
- Deducing meanings of words from their etymology (derivation), by analyzing common roots, is a very outdated method of Hebrew study. Decades ago, Hebrew scholars termed this sort of analysis ‘root fallacy.’
- The correct explanation is that the name of the first man Adam was a play on words on the dust or clay (Hebrew adamah, אדמה) from which he was made. It is the dust which is important in the Genesis account, not similar words meaning ‘red.’
- Even if we granted that the similarity of his name to words meaning ‘red’ was really significant, then it would surely be more likely to mean that Adam was permanently red, with a complexion more like that of a Native American (‘red Indian’), rather than temporarily red due to blushing. It also makes more genetic sense for him to have had a medium-dark complexion, carrying the genes for a wide variety of amounts of melanin, so he could be the ancestor of all people groups with their wide variation in degree of pigmentation.
- Even if we granted the fanciful story about blushing, it is not true that dark-skinned people cannot blush. They merely have more of the same pigment that all people groups have, so their blushing is harder to detect visually.
False claim: non-white people are the ‘beasts of the field’
Some have claimed that ‘beasts of the field’ mentioned in Genesis actually refers to non-white or ‘black’ people. This is a disgraceful doctrine, and is simply an appeal to prejudice rather than responsible exegesis of the Hebrew, and contradicts the clear teaching that all people are descended from Adam via Noah. The Bible says nothing about the amount of melanin in the skin as a criterion either for being a human or for becoming a child of God through faith in Christ (Gal. 3:25–29). After all, Philip ministered to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26–40) who was almost certainly very dark-skinned.
References and notes
- In this book, the authors are not taking a position on eschatology in relation to a future one-world government, but are referring to an argument used by some Christian leaders who associate ‘interracial marriage’ and a one-world government. This chapter was largely based on a letter by Dr Jonathan Sarfati to a critic of Ken Ham's Creation magazine article Interracial marriage: is it biblical?
- Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, chapter 9, 1976.
- Arthur L. Farstad et al., translators, The NKJV Greek English Interlinear, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 1994.
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