Old Doxoblogy

Friday, August 26, 2005

Thursday Theology-Racism

What does racism have to do with theology? Nothing...and everything.
Nothing because racism is based on a lie, and as it is based on a lie, it does not really exist apart from that lie.
And everything because this lie attacks our most fundamental knowledge of God as our Creator.
Here's the lie: There are different 'races' of human beings.
This is an out and out lie. Growing up in the south among fundamentalist Christians I have seen this lie projected onto the pages of Scripture, but I have never found it in the Scriptures. And that is really something because I was told for the first twenty years of my life that it was there.

(Some disclosure is in order. I am a caucasian, southern, redneck, hillbilly. It gets better. My wife is from Mexico. I still live in the south. So I am going to step back and try to look at this as objectively as I can.)

I was told for the first twenty years of my life that racism was a biblical concept. I married at the age of twenty-one. (For the record, I never heard anything like this from my own parents. I am thankful that God spared my family from this sin.)
The simple fact of the matter, as we get back on topic, is that the idea of racism is not found in Scripture. We find different families, ethnicities, nationalities, and different 'colors', but never any kind of reference to different 'races'. That is because there is only one race, the Human Race. Adam's Race. We are all part of Adam's Race.
Biblically speaking, we need to be constantly reminded that Genesis 1-3 really happened. Those chapters are not outlines of symbolic language that explain creation in a mystical fashion. Those chapters give us the details of creation and the current state of mankind.
As regarding mankind what do we find? We find that God created man out of the dust of the earth. He then breathed into man the breath of life. (Chapter 2:7) This is after God states His intent in the creation of man as in the image of God for the domination of earth. (Genesis 1:26-30)
First, we find that God created the first man Adam. Adam was the only one. There wasn't any more. No monkey men who would later marry into family of Adam. Just Adam. His creation is unique. There has never been another man made in same way that Adam was made. Adam's wife was made from the rib of Adam, and later, in Genesis 3:20 it is stated that she is the mother of all living. That's ALL mankind.
Second, we see that not only the creation of Adam was unique, but the creation of mankind was unique. We are made in the image of God. Granted, the image is broken, but it is still there. There is not a lesser image of God in different nationalities or colors. We all are made in the image of God, and we all have broken that image.

Where did Cain get his wife?

Who cares? We know that he married a wife, and if the above statements are all true, then he married another descendant of Adam and Eve.

What about the curse pronounced on the children of Noah's son, Ham?

That curse did not change the chemical make-up of Ham or his descendants in any way.

What about the tower of Babel?

Languages were confused, no races were created.

Why did God tell the Israelites not to intermarry with the Canaanites?

It is true that God told the children of Israel not to intermarry with certain nations that surrounded them. And yet God allowed Rahab and Ruth to marry Israelites. Esther was encouraged to marry a Persian. The weighty matter we are able to discern is not nationality but worship. This is further supported in the New Testament by a parallel command for Christians not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
The New Testament writers also tell us that Christ's death broke down any wall between nationalities that may or may not have existed in previous generations. Jews and Gentiles are equal in Christ.

Conclusion: The idea of various races is not supported or taught by the pages of Scripture.

7 comments:

Bhedr said...

Amen brother! Hey i grew up in the Bob Jones Community in my adolescence and you know the deal there. No intermarrying. They have since changed the rules but Jr. would do a rollover in the tomb if he knew.

Hey my best buddy and fellow Marine in the Gulf war was a Mexican from San Antonio. Luis Castenada Jr.

This is one of the rare areas where I champion Billy Graham. He understands this problem better than anyone.

I also work with Mexicans and Black Americans. I too am a converted redneck hillbilly in this area. Born in the southern drop of West Virginia. Of course everyone makes fun of us and calls us inbreeders so carry on brother.

Joe said...

In fact, Jesus, by example and by parable, taught exactly the opposite of racism.

Empirically, there do seem to be some differences between the "races." "Blacks" get Syckle Cell Anemia, etc. Nevertheless, we do not understand where these so-called differences come from nor are they evidence of biologic racism.

Your premise is entirely correct. The Bible does not teach race or racism.

Shawn L said...

Jeremy,

Thanks I haven't considered this before. I guess I don't hear much about racism and the bible in the north.

There is mostly unwritten racism we have that is so prevalent. For example, associations and friends we don't make with those of different races as much. I have had good friends from different races, but sometimes I'm not amune.

I remember being on campus and being afraid walking around for my safety at night. It was sad to see that those were just friends of mine I could have met during the day if I wouldn't have been so fearful. There seems to be something so internal in the north in our racism sometimes that is frightning and we need to bring it to light. Also communities with say 30% of minorities people from 95% white communites seem to think of it being so full of violence more than is actually happening.

John said...

Excellent post Jeremy! I hate the idea of racism and the even worst any attempt to justify racism. I am half Persian and have to deal with racism (in my case hearing about people being racist to my Persian side of the family, it seems most people consider me "white"). Racism does show its ugly head now in some sublte and less sublte ways. There is no place for racism with a Christian. I wonder what Adam and Eve would think if they saw their children fight over who had superior blood. Thanks for your post.
-John

mike said...

Now here is something I totally agree with you on!
An interesting note:
the item in our skin which gives it color is the same for all people - it is called melanin.
Some people have more than others, but we all have it.
"Answers in Genesis" is a great sorce for information on all topics related to creation, of which man is a part. I have learned much from Ken Ham's materials. Are you familiar with that ministry?

Jeremy Weaver said...

Mike,
Yes I've read some of Ham's stuff.
MacArthur's book, 'Battle for the Beginning' is also a good resource.
I've also got a 'Defender's Study Bible' here that Henry Morris either wrote the articles in or edited, I'm not sure. But it's got some good stuff in it.

Rose~ said...

Hey Jeremy, I was reading this post again and ... look at Bhedr comment - there is where you get the "hillbilly inreeders"!

(No, I'm not blog-stalking you, I just knew I remembered you doing a post on racism once and I am putting together some thoughts on it, so I wanted to re-read your ideas.) Bless you.