Published in Creation 37(3):30–33, 2015
Wesley and Isabella woke up even more excited about church than usual, because they were going to visit Grandma and Pop’s church. As they climbed into the car Pop said, “You guys are in for a real treat today! We have a visiting pastor from Zimbabwe who will be telling us about his home church.”
When the pastor began to pray in his own language, a lady began to translate his prayer so everyone could understand it. Afterwards, Wesley exclaimed, “That was so cool!” Pop replied, “You know there was a time when an interpreter would not have been necessary.” Wesley and Isabella looked confused, so Pop explained, “Thousands of years ago, our ancestors all spoke the same language!” They started asking lots of questions, but luckily Pop had experience with their ‘family lessons’ and so could keep up!
Why did all people speak the same language?
Because God created Adam and Eve to be the parents of everyone, so we are all related. And Adam’s children, and their children after them, spoke the same language all the way to Noah. And then only Noah’s family survived the Flood. So, all Noah’s descendants spoke the same language even hundreds of years after the Flood.
After the Flood, Noah’s descendants turned away from worshipping God. They did not spread out over the earth as God commanded, but instead built a huge tower to show how mighty they were without God. This made them feel like they didn’t need God or His commandments. So to force them to spread out across the world, God confused their language. Suddenly, people were speaking different languages and couldn’t understand each other. People groups that spoke the same language started to move away from the Tower of Babel and the Tower was abandoned.
If all people are descended from one family, what about apemen?
The idea of apemen is an evolutionary idea, not a biblical one. Some scientists claim that there are fossils that are between humans and apes, but this is really not the case. Some of the claimed apemen are types of ape, and others are a completely different group of animals called australopithecines, which are neither humans or apes. And some, like Neandertals, are fully human. What we don’t see is half-ape, half-man fossils.
What about cavemen and cave drawings?
We do find human remains in caves. We also find cave drawings all over the world. This is what we would expect to find if the biblical account of the Tower of Babel was true. As people moved away from the Tower they would have had to find shelter, a cave could have been viewed as a readymade home. Also, cave drawings would have been a great way for people to communicate as they developed new skills in new areas. Actually, the art, tools, and other artifacts found in some caves show that their inhabitants were very intelligent, and there is even evidence that they organized their homes with different areas for the ‘kitchen’ and ‘living room’!
And did you know that there are still ‘cavemen’ today? Some people still use caves as shelters. In the Australian town of Coober Pedy, the climate is so hot that underground manmade dugouts make ideal homes. These manmade ‘cool caves’ even have electricity!
So where did all the races come from?
The Bible refers to people groups as ‘clans of people’ or ‘nations’, not different races of people like we hear about today. All people alive today are descended from Noah’s family, but as family groups moved away from Babel, they became isolated from everyone else. Over time, different features became dominant in different populations, so that, for instance, people in Africa and the Australian Aborigines have darker skin than people in Europe do, and people in China and Japan have almond-shaped eyes. But all these differences are very minor compared to all we have in common. ‘Race’ is just a convenient word to use for the appearance and customs we associate with different people groups.
Some people think some races are better than others. Is this true?
Because the Bible is so clear that we are one great big family, it teaches that we are really all the same. We may look different from each other, or have different customs or languages, but everyone is equally valuable. The Bible says that in Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, which is another way of saying that all races are brought together. And it also says that in Heaven, people from every “tribe, tongue, and nation” will be there worshipping the Father and Christ. This is why it is so important for the good news about Jesus to be preached in places like Zimbabwe and in our own neighborhoods!