How Does the Bible Explain the Origin of Different Races?
The concept of “race” is biological, not Biblical. There is no mention of different races, as such, in the Bible, nor even of the very concept of a “race.” Evidently, there is no Biblical or theological meaning to the term, and we must conclude, therefore, that races are purely arbitrary entities invented by man for his own convenience in biological and anthropological studies.
Biologically a race is generally thought of as a variety, or sub-species, within a given species. In terms of evolutionary philosophy, it may represent a stage in the evolution of a new species. Thus different sub-species within a species may vary in their respective degrees of evolutionary advance over the ancestral species, depending upon the relative efficiencies with which the postulated evolutionary mechanisms of mutation, segregation, natural selection, etc., have been functioning in each case.
This leads to the observation that racism, in the sense of struggle between races and the conviction that one race is superior to others, must be based on evolutionism, not on theism. Evolutionary scientists may not all be “racist” in their personal or political philosophies. Nevertheless, the various philosophies that have promoted racism have, quite understandably, used the supposed universal evolutionary process as their intellectual framework for such a position. Nazism and Marxism are two notable examples.
The testimony of the Bible, however, is that all men who have ever lived in the world are descendants of Adam and, therefore, are of essentially the same race—the human race. “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Furthermore, all men in the present world are also descendants of Noah, after the great Flood. Before the Flood, God had said: “The end of all flesh is come before me; . . . behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13). Then, later the Bible says: “All flesh died that moved upon the earth . . . and every man” (Genesis 7:21). After the Flood, “God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth” (Genesis 9:1). Finally the Bible says: “And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the Ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: . . . and of them was the whole earth overspread” (Genesis 9:18, 19).
Now although the Scriptures do not mention races, they do have a great deal to say about nations and languages. These distinctions are even noted in heaven. In Revelation 7:9, the vision of the heavenly throng was given as of “a great multitude, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” The description of the eternal city includes this remarkable statement: “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it” (Revelation 21:24). Thus, in some sense, national identities are to be retained, even in the ages to come.
The most distinctive characteristic, and the most divisive, possessed by various groups among men, is not skin color or physical size, or some other physical trait, but language. Communication is of paramount importance for understanding and harmony, and language is certainly the most basic element in communication.
The origin of human language, and especially of the tremendous diversity of human languages, is as yet quite inexplicable to the evolutionist. 6-4 There is nothing even remotely comparable to such an ability among the higher animals. That human speech and language are divine creations is by far the most reasonable explanation. Furthermore, the fact that the great variety of languages reflects a divine judgment on early man, as the Bible teaches, is also the most reasonable explanation we have.
After the Flood, when “the whole earth was one language and one speech” (Genesis 11:1), men disobeyed God’s command to scatter and fill the earth, preferring to remain together and erect a single great world empire, with its capital at the first Babylon, and centered in the worship of the “host of heaven.” For this purpose they erected a gigantic temple tower, or ziggurat, at whose apex was a shrine dedicated “unto heaven,” undoubtedly inscribed with the signs of the Zodiac and other astrological emblems. The “host of heaven,” frequently mentioned in the Bible, refers both to the stars and to the angelic and demonic hosts identified with the heavenly bodies. The great Tower of Babel, therefore (part of which may still be standing in or near the ruins of Babylon), was essentially a temple dedicated to Satan worship and evolutionary pantheism.
God’s judgment on this great rebellion was to “scatter them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth,” through “confounding their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11:7, 8). This must have been some kind of physiologic miracle, an instant change in those centers of the brain controlling speech, so that each family suddenly found itself identifying various objects and actions with different words and tones than other families used. The confusion and incoherent arguments which resulted finally led each family to go its own way and eventually to establish its own national and linguistic identity.
Since physiologic changes were necessarily involved in this sudden confusion of tongues, it may well have been that still other physiologic changes were also induced by God at the same time, in order to hasten the establishment of each group as a distinct national entity. Whether or not this is the case, it is certainly true that the development of specific national, or even what we call “racial” traits, could not take place as long as men lived together and inter-married freely. A certain amount of isolation and national inbreeding is genetically essential for the establishment of particular characteristics in a nation or race. Thus, these could not have developed until after mankind was dispersed from its first post-diluvian home in Babylon.
Even apart from the miraculous changes suggested above, such characteristics could have developed quite rapidly, assuming that the different genetic factors (for skin color, stature, hair texture, and the like) were present in the ancestral stock, and that isolation and selection pressures of some kind—whether climatic or social or others—operated in favor of certain characteristics in each tribe. These, however, are all basically superficial and could never result in a new “kind” of man.
All nations are alike before God in that all are in need of a Savior, and in that all can come to the Savior if they will. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The Bible has the Answers
by Henry Morris