It seems we cannot get away from the subject of “racism” today. I put the term in quotations because the concept of race being determined by the pigmentation of one’s skin is foreign to the Bible. Some translations use the term “race,” but it is to describe the people of a certain nation or people group—the emphasis is not on skin tone. Racism is an evil sin in our world. The Bible clearly condemns such an attitude toward people of another skin tone.
Here’s three reasons.
1. All humans are made in the image of God. Every human life is valuable and precious for this reason. It doesn’t matter the age, nationality, gend
er, mental capacity, etc. of the person. He or she is made in the image of God with consciousness and the spiritual potential to know and love God and experience the miracle of a saving relationship through faith in Christ. Each person is a living soul, making him or her a unique and special creation of God.
The idea that one person is superior to another because of skin color or nationality, is something that was promoted by Darwin and propagated by early evolutionists. An African man was literally a part of a zoo exhibit at the Bronx zoo in the early 1900’s alongside an orangutan. The evolutionists believed it somehow proved their theory. In that day, many believed that Australian Aborigines tribes were lesser humans and a missing link between apes and humans. The thought is ridiculous in our century, but the damage was done back then, and it supported the idea of slavery. The Bible tells quite a different story of human origins and helps us see ourselves as all being from one Creator.
2. Skin tone is a genetic trait like hair color or eye color. In Genesis 3:20, we clearly see that Eve, Adam’s wife, was the mother of all living. That means that every person on earth, regardless of skin tone, is ultimately from Adam and Eve’s genepool. In addition, we can conclude that the various shades of color that humans possess today, were all present in Adam and Eve’s genetic makeup—just like other physical features that make us all unique. I once heard someone say that Cain’s mark (Genesis 4:15) was dark skin. The idea is preposterous. If I mark an animal by painting a red “X” on his fur, his children are not born with red marks. Likewise, Cain’s mark, whatever it was, was on him alone because he killed a man and the Bible does not say it was passed on to his children.
During the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11), people did divide into language groups, and likely, nationalities at that time. It makes sense that as the people were scattered, groups of darker and lighter skinned people may have been attracted to climate conditions that were favorable to the pigmentation of their skin. Fair-skinned people don’t like to feel the pain of a sunburn, so they headed north to avoid longer, hotter summers. There was nothing superior about one skin tone over the other.
3. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes all people one in Him regardless of skin tone, eye color, gender, nationality, etc. First Corinthians 12:12-13 and many other passages, indicate that in Christ we are all part of one body. There is no spiritual distinction between people of different skin colors in Christ. In fact, I believe that the gospel of Jesus is what our society really needs to see the foolishness of modern racism. In Christ, our access to God is the same. In Christ, our gender or nationality is insignificant. Jesus is truly the answer to the hate and foolish rhetoric of our day. There should never be a race problem for those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dave Frasure is CABA's Disciple-making Catalyst and pastors FBC So. Lebanon.