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Race, Science & Scripture

Is race a biological reality or merely a social construct? And what does the Bible teach about race and racism? In this article, I analyze the hot-button topics of race and racism from both scientific and Biblical perspectives.

by William L. Nowell
Content of Character
For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

Race as a Social Construct

The concept of race divides people into distinct groups; oftentimes for nefarious reasons. But racial differences such as skin color, hair texture, facial features, and bone structure are simply the result of genetic ancestry and geographical isolation. What's more, the mainstream belief among scientists today is that race is merely a social construct without any biological meaning. So as a social construct, “race” is simply a classification system that has been widely accepted by modern society; even though the ideology of race has no basis in science.

As humans, we share the vast majority (roughly 99.8%) of our DNA in common. In other words, if we compare any two people from any race or from anywhere around the world, the genetic differences between them would only be about 0.2%. Furthermore, only 0.012% of our total genetic makeup accounts for the physical (or phenotypic) variation we call "race." Hence, 99.988% of who we are has nothing to do with race. Any perceived racial differences stem from culture, and not from biology.

Evolution is Inherently Racist

Racism: prejudice against someone because of their race and a belief in the inherent superiority and inferiority of different racial groups.

Since Cain murdered his brother Abel (see Genesis 4:8), man has needed little excuse to mistreat his neighbor. The Bible clearly tells us that “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Consequently, racist attitudes have long existed. However, racist attitudes escalated after the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin's infamous book On the Origin of Species. His theory of evolution is inherently racist in that it teaches that some races are more evolved, and hence superior to others. Thus, the philosophy of evolution justified racism and the atrocities that flowed from it.

Of course, as a scientific Biblical creationist, I know that evolution is complete and utter nonsense. But unfortunately, that is no so for everyone. The public education system, from elementary school through college, indoctrinates our young people in the ideology of evolution. In addition, evolutionary ideas completely saturate our society. There's no escape! From movies and books, museum displays, music, social media, etc the teachings of evolution are everywhere.

Yeshua and the Samaritan Woman

Samaritan Woman

The Bible does not use the term “racism”; nevertheless, it clearly addresses the differential treatment of people groups. To see this, all we need to do is to study the relationship between the Jews and Samaritans in Yeshua's (Jesus') day. But first, we need to put this relationship into its proper historical context.

In 722 B.C. Assyria invaded the northern kingdom of Israel. Upon conquering the land, including the capital city of Samaria, the Assyrians carried away as captives all but the poorest people. Next, they proceeded to resettle the land with foreign captives taken from across the Assyrian Empire. In the course of time, the foreigners and the remaining Israelites intermarried to form a “mixed-race” of people who became known as Samaritans.

The Jews of the southern kingdom viewed their fellow Jews who intermarried with foreigners as sell-outs, having betrayed their people and nation. Subsequently, the Jews of the southern kingdom hated the “impure” mixed-race Samaritans. Likewise, the Samaritans hated the “purebred” Jews. The animosity between the two groups grew progressively worse through the centuries; lasting through the time of Yeshua (Jesus) and His disciples.

In Yeshua's (Jesus') time, Israel was divided into three main regions—Galilee in the north, Samaria in the middle, and Judea in the south. And so, the most direct path from Judea to Galilee meant passing through Samaria. However, most Jewish travelers took a much longer route around Samaria rather than through it. Clearly, they wanted nothing to do with Samaritans. This brings us to the story of Yeshua (Jesus) and the Samaritan woman at the well.

Most Jews did everything they could to avoid passing Samaria; but not Yeshua (Jesus). Instead of going around Samaria, He went through it. Not only did He go through Samaria, He asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water then proceeded to have a conversation with her. That is something no “self-respecting” Jewish man would do, but Yeshua (Jesus) did not let that stand in His way. (See John 4:1-26).

Later, when His disciples returned, they were amazed to find Yeshua (Jesus) talking with a Samaritan woman. No doubt, their national pride, and deeply ingrained prejudice would not have allowed them to associate with a “lowly” Samaritan. Yet, Yeshua's (Jesus') actions demonstrated a spirit of unity better than mere words could ever do. Yeshua (Jesus) set aside centuries of strife and division between Jews and Samaritans and simply shared the gospel.

Racism from a Christian Perspective

The Bible never directly addresses the topic of racism because the Bible never mentions race. For instance, in Genesis God separated mankind by nations, lands, families, and languages (e.g. see Genesis 10:5). And in the Book of Revelation, the saints of God gathered in heaven are from every nation, tribe, people and language (see Revelation 7:9). From Genesis to Revelation there is no mention of race. And so it seems that race is so insignificant to God that it is simply not worth mentioning. However, the Bible does indirectly address the topic of racism in terms of favoritism.

No matter how we define the term racism, it always involves preferential treatment of one people group versus another. The Bible tells us, in no uncertain terms, that if we show partiality [favoritism, prejudice], then we are committing sin (see James 2:9). It's quite that clear that racism is favoritism, and favoritism is sin, therefore racism is sin.

Just to be clear, James 2:9, in context, addresses the treatment of the rich versus the poor. However, James is only applying the commandment to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” to the rich vs. the poor (see Matthew 22:39). Indeed, if we truly love our neighbors as we love ourselves, then we will treat them the same way we want them to treat us. (See Matthew 7:12, the “Golden Rule”). But, if we show favoritism (prejudice or partiality), then we are breaking Yeshua's (Jesus') “Golden Rule” Consequently, whether we apply the Golden Rule to socio-economic status (as in James 2:9), or to political affiliation, nationality, race or any other socially defined box we use to divide people, favoritism is still sin.

Rev 7:9

Conclusion

Democrat politicians and the mainstream news media, along with leftists, in general, have a sick obsession with race and racism. They are relentless at dividing people into racial groups and pitting them against each other. But, according to Acts 12:26, “From one man, God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” That makes us all descendants of Adam through Noah. And as such we ought to see ourselves simply as one race, the human race.

Furthermore, the human body is analogous to a house in the sense that we live in our bodies just as we live in our houses. Also, inside our houses are multiple rooms each serving its own unique purpose(s)—kitchen, bedroom bathroom, exercise room, study, etc. The rooms hold various furnishings and appliances, such as tables & chairs, stove, refrigerator, bed, computer, and smartphones. In addition, the heating/cooling system, electrical wiring, plumbing, etc interconnects the house as a whole. Now imagine someone who overlooks absolutely everything about the house as unimportant except for the external paint color! In my opinion, that person is insane. But that person is no different from anyone who obsesses over race, i.e. external paint color.

Remember that only 0.012% of a person's genetic makeup determines their race. And so to obsess over 0.012% of a person while ignoring the remaining 99.988% is both insane and stupid. Also remember that in the eyes of God, favoritism is sin, i.e. racism is sin. So if an insanely stupid unrepentant hell-bound sinner is racist, that is to be expected. But among God's people, there ought not to be even a hint of racism. There will be no racism in the Kingdom of God.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Three Crosses