On Race Part 1

I. Definitions. A. race: A group of persons, animals, or plants, connected by common descent or origin. 1. a. The offspring or posterity of a person; a set of children or descendants. Chiefly poet. 2. a. A limited group of persons descended from a common ancestor; a house, family, kindred. b. A tribe, nation, or people, regarded as of common stock. c. A group of several tribes or peoples, regarded as forming a distinct ethnical stock. d. One of the great divisions of mankind, having certain physical peculiarities in common. The term is often used imprecisely; even among anthropologists there is no generally accepted classification or terminology. B. tribe: A group of persons forming a community and claiming descent from a common ancestor; spec. each of the twelve divisions of the people of Israel, claiming descent from the twelve sons of Jacob. C. kindred: The being of kin; relationship by blood or descent (occasionally, but incorrectly, by marriage); kinship. D. nation: An extensive aggregate of persons, so closely associated with each other by common descent, language, or history, as to form a distinct race or people, usually organized as a separate political state and occupying a definite territory. In early examples the racial idea is usually stronger than the political; in recent use the notion of political unity and independence is more prominent. E. racism: The theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by race. b. = racialism. F. racialism: Belief in the superiority of a particular race leading to prejudice and antagonism towards people of other races, esp. those in close proximity who may be felt as a threat to one's cultural and racial integrity or economic well-being. II. The issue of racism/racialism is a sensitive one that raises a number of issues: A. Immutable characteristics v. volitional choices. B. Equality before God and law v. inequality before God and law. C. Character and conduct v. color, creed, ethnicity, etc. D. Darwinian evolution v. Divine creation. E. Full humanity v. quasi-humanity or sub-humanity. F. Stereotyping / group generalization: is it ever justified? G. Are divisions of humanity ever justified? H. Are all cultural systems equally valid? I. Why have some cultures/nations prospered and improved the human condition more than others? J. Interracial marriage: is there such a thing? If so, is right, wrong or what? K. Master – servant relationships: are they always wrong, never wrong, or what? L. Is God to be faulted if He chooses to bless or show mercy to some but not others? M. Is God to be faulted if He imposes punitive burdens on a family or class? N. These matters should be addressed from a Biblical perspective. PSA 119:128; ISA 55:8 c/w PRO 16:25. O. This study seeks to distinguish between prejudice based on immutable characteristics and realistic observations based on Scripture and conduct. III. A Biblical overview of humanity. A. Adam and Eve are the rootstock of all mankind. GEN 3:20. 1. Sin and death came by Adam’s transgression. ROM 5:12. 2. Therefore, the theory that a race of quasi-humans were wiped out by a deadly judgment from God before Adam cannot be true. B. The posterity of Adam provoked God to destroy all mankind except Noah and his household. GEN 6:5-13, 17-18; 7:1. 1. The post-Flood world was entirely repopulated by Noah’s descendants. GEN 9:19. 2. Mankind is therefore of one blood. ACT 17:26. 3. The pre-flood world of the ungodly was wiped out (2PE 2:5), leaving only those whom God had covenanted to save, a figure of the Second Coming. LUK 17:26-30. 4. The theory of Satanic generation of Esau in Rebekah is forbidden by ROM 9:10. 5. There is ultimately only one race: the human race composed of the descendants of Noah. a. Therefore, the notion of inter-racial marriage is a subjective one depending on one’s opinion of what constitutes “race.” b. Is race to be determined by skin color, eye-shape, genetic peculiarities, IQ, descent from a particular person, cultural peculiarities, etc., or a combination of such things? c. Caution is needed lest one conflate the idea of inter-racial marriage with inter-species marriage or international marriage. d. Caution is also needed lest one ignore the implications of inter-religious marriages. They are permissible but do represent potential troubles. MAT 12:25 c/w EPH 6:1-4. C. The Table of Nations in GEN 10 is a valid account of the generations of Noah and they therefore form the three branches of mankind. In overview: 1. Japheth identifies with “...the isles of the Gentiles...” (GEN 10:1-5). 2. Shem’s posterity included Peleg (GEN 10:22-25) from whom Abram descended (GEN 11:18-26) from whom the Jews descended. a. Shem’s posterity is essentially the Semitic peoples. b. Semite: A person belonging to the race of mankind which includes most of the peoples mentioned in Gen. x. as descended from Shem son of Noah, as the Hebrews, Arabs, Assyrians, and Aramæans. Also, a person speaking a Semitic language as his native tongue. c. In time, any non-Jew was deemed a Gentile. ROM 3:9, 29. 3. Ham’s genes seem to be the source of dark-skinned people. GEN 10:6-10. a. Ham translates cham (SRN H2526) which is from a root word meaning “hot” (from the tropical habitat) and in late usage a collective name for Egyptians. c/wPSA105:23. b. Mizraim (SRN H4714) means “double straits” (referring to Egyptians of Upper and Lower Egypt). c. Phut (SRN H6316) means “a bow” and is identified with “a nation and people of northern Africa; probably Libyans” (Brown-Driver-Biggs Hebrew Dictionary) d. Canaan (SRN H3667) means “humiliated” and “lowland” (referring to the land west of the Jordan River peopled by Canaan’s descendants). (1) Canaan was cursed by Noah. GEN 9:24-27. (2) Some have errantly assumed that dark skin is the mark of this curse but see below. e. Cush (SRN H3568) means “black” and is “the progenitor of the southernmost peoples located in Africa” and also refers to “the land occupied by the descendants of Cush located around the southern parts of the Nile (Ethiopia)” (Ibid.) (1) The skin color of the Ethiopian is obviously distinguished from that of the Jew who descended from Shem. JER 13:23. (2) There are notable godly Ethiopians highlighted in both Testaments.JER 39:15-18; ACT 8:27-40. (3) Moses married an Ethiopian woman and God judged his siblings for their displeasure with this. NUM 12:1, 9-10. f. Cush begat Nimrod (SRN H5248) which means “rebellion” or “the valiant” (BDB Hebrew Dictionary). GEN 10:8-10. (1) Nimrod’s power founded an empire in defiance of God which was halted by God’s confounding of languages at Babel (confusion). GEN 11:1-9. (2) This divine scattering created language groups which would have particular genetic traits and customs that would have become somewhat characteristic, almost stereotypical. (3) Mark that this divine scattering was not meant to diminish men but rather to deliver them from tyranny to the establishment of nations of particular value sets so as to seek the Lord (as opposed to relying on a world government by a sinner). ACT 17:26-27.