Racism: biblical creation is the only solution
From a newsletter; published online 4 Jan 2022
The issue of race has become extremely contentious in the last few years. Unfortunately, many proposed solutions ignore the real history of humanity, so will just exacerbate the problems. However, the answer is straightforward—returning to the Bible’s history starting in Genesis.
Biblical origin of races highlights a bigger problem
When preaching the Gospel to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Acts 17), Paul went back to creation. This includes the fact that all nations come from “one man” (Acts 17:26), whom Paul affirmed as “the first man Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45). This totally rules out the claim that a population of humans evolved from a population of ape-like creatures that evolved from pond scum. Because God made Adam and his wife Eve in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26–28), all their descendants are God’s image-bearers. That means all other people who have ever lived, regardless of ‘race’ (or sex). Sadly, even many in the church do not believe this.
However, this common descent means that we also inherit the sin nature of Adam that he acquired after the Fall. This came with inevitable physical death (Romans 5:12). So, regardless of race or gender, all humans need to be saved, and the only solution to this is the One who Paul called “the Last Adam”. This is the God-man Jesus Christ, a descendant of Adam via Noah (Luke 3:23–38). Since all other people come from Adam, Jesus can be our promised Kinsman-Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20) by virtue of being related by blood to those He redeems.
The sin nature of man also led to the judgments of the Flood and Babel. For the latter, the descendants of the eight Flood survivors disobeyed God’s command to fill the earth, and built a silly tower instead. So God confused the languages and forced people to spread out. This division was by languages, not race, as different races did not yet exist. Racial distinctions arose because of the division into small, isolated populations. Much more can be said on race, and we have a recent Webinar on the topic1 plus a very inexpensive DVD or video download.2
Another consequence of abandoning biblical teachings is slavery. All ‘races’ have been both victims and perpetrators. But God gave man dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:28), not other people. He told Adam that he would eat by the sweat of his own brow, not by the sweat of other people’s.
Later, God used Moses to free the Israelite people from Egyptian slavery, and later made it a capital crime to kidnap or sell people as slaves or to own such a slave (Exodus 21:16, cf. 1 Timothy 1:10). Thus these passages explicitly forbid the slave trade, including the Middle Passage, and thus the antebellum American slavery. God also forbade the return of escaped slaves (Deuteronomy 23:15–16). This contradicts the antebellum American Fugitive Slave Act.3
Darwinism and racism
Darwin and most of his followers for the next decades pushed racist views. For example, the leading German advocate of Darwinism, Ernst Haeckel, railed against the biblical view that taught descent from a single couple, because this would imply equality of races. Rather, he cited an authority claiming, “if Negroes and Caucasians were snails, zoologists would universally agree that they represented two very distinct species, which could never have originated from one pair by gradual divergence.”4
The 20th-century evolutionist (and staunch anti-racist) Stephen Jay Gould admitted the strong impetus evolution had to foster racism. To do so, it needed to undermine Christian teachings of racial equality:
Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory. The litany is familiar: cold, dispassionate, objective, modern science shows us that races can be ranked on a scale of superiority. If this offends Christian morality or a sentimental belief in human unity, so be it; science must be free to proclaim unpleasant truths.5
Great harms of evolutionary racism
The sordid racist views of early evolutionists couldn’t fail to infect American intelligentsia. Just as today, the ideas of academia in one generation will become public policy of the next. For example, the infamous biology textbook of the Scopes Trial, George William Hunter’s A Civic Biology (1914), taught generations of schoolkids:
At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the others in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.
Another appalling incident was the imprisonment of a human being in NY’s Bronx Zoo, Ota Benga. He was a pygmy from Africa, although not especially short (1.5 m or 4ʹ11ʺ), and had been widowed twice and left with children. This didn’t matter to the zookeepers who used him as an exhibit of human evolution. As intended by the exhibit, some visitors asked:
Was he a man or monkey? Was he something in between? “Ist das ein Mensch?” asked a German spectator. “Is it a man?”
The zoo apologized a mere 144 years too late, but of course would not admit the real evolutionary reason for the exhibit.6
Darwinian racist ideas had some terrible consequences in other countries too. For example, in the 1800s, Australian Aboriginals were killed and their bodies taken to museums around the world for examination and display as ‘missing links’. In April 2019, just one museum in Germany returned the remains of 53 individuals to Australia.7 And later the same year another German museum repatriated the heads of Māori individuals back to New Zealand.8
Too many churches have abandoned the literal history of Genesis, the only solution. Instead, they have embraced evolutionism, a major part of the problem. The best way to counter bad thinking and ideas is not censorship but good ideas. But if people want to tear down statues of perpetrators of racism, then they should start with Darwin’s!
I would also like to thank you for your support of CMI during this difficult period. And you can be sure that we will not shrink from the battle of proclaiming the true origins of our history as recorded in Scripture.
References and notes
- Tay, J., Racism: Only the Bible Has the Answer (Webinar), youtube.com/watch?v=EzBRy2yxmSM, 18 Jun 2020. Return to text.
- Wieland, C. One Human Family, creation.com/s/30-9-681. Return to text.
- Johnson, J., Levitical law condemns American slavery, thecripplegate.com, 5 Sep 2018. Return to text.
- Cited in: van Niekerk, E., Ernst Haeckel: a hostile witness to the truth of the Bible, creation.com/haeckel2, 3 Mar 2011. Return to text.
- Gould, S.J., Ontogeny and Phylogeny, Belknap-Harvard Press, p. 127, 1977. Return to text.
- Bates, G., Bronx Zoo apologizes for putting a man in a monkey house, creation.com/otabenga2, 6 Aug 2020. Return to text.
- German museum returns indigenous remains to Australia, dw.com, 9 Apr 2019. Return to text.
- German museum returns mummified Maori heads to New Zealand, dw.com, 12 Oct 2020. Return to text.