Race is part of the good and beautiful creation of God. When God created Adam and Eve all the genes for the different races were in them. These genes were passed on through Noah and his family after the flood. From Adam God created every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation. These words from Acts 17:26 compress Biblical history a bit, because they encompass the scattering and separation of the nations after the tower of Babel (Gen 11:1-9), but they stress the continued unity of mankind.
Race is a beautiful thing for it shows the many varied patterns of God’s creation of mankind in unity. However, with the introduction of sin and corruption into this world differences between people became a source of division instead of joy and praise of God. Racism is only a subset of the hatred born of sin. Hatred exists perhaps first of all among people of the same race, tribe and family (e.g. Cain and Abel; Gen 4). Therefore, it will also exist between races, because all mankind fell into sin and sin is hatred, whether it is individual or communal.
The danger of separation is already felt in the desire to build the tower of Babel. The builders intention was that mankind would not be scattered over the face of all the earth (Gen 11:4). The greatest cause of that would have been disunity.
However, God frustrated their plan to stop them achieving their goal (Gen 11:6) by giving different languages to different groups. This fractured the unity of mankind even further (cf. Isa 33:19). Therefore, God gave each race their own land to minimise this evil, but wars and famines and such disturbances have always unsettled the world and caused races to mingle and racism to escalate.
Nevertheless, ever since Babel, Satan has tried to gather all mankind under one ungodly power and race. That people’s intention is to crush all opposition to enable them to retain the rule and power. Satan’s purpose, however, is to crush the people of God. The intentions of both often coincide. The unity mankind tries to achieve is always achieved by forcing submission and crushing dissension. It idolises itself. It is the way it maintains itself as love for those ruled is not the motivation.
That is, however, not the case with God and His people. God is going to restore creation. The new creation is already signalled in Acts 2 when all people understood the apostles speaking in their own language. This miracle signalled the reunification of the human race under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and in one Spirit. It was the next step in the realisation of Zephaniah 3:9 where God would restore a pure language and all could call upon the Lord with one accord. Although the many languages shows the rich variations of God-created communication, that pure language will be a greater blessing and enable redeemed mankind to achieve a far deeper unity in love than corrupted mankind. Racism will be a thing of the past. Insofar as race might still exist in the new world it will be a cause of celebration and not of division.
Racism is an inbuilt evil in this fallen world. Many in the world realise this and try to fight it for various reasons. However, they are fighting without an adequate foundation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights speaks of the human family and brotherhood, but the world has adopted a theory or origins that supports racism. The theory of evolution has justified such evils as we saw in the slave trade to the new world, as if Negroes and other races were of lesser humanity than whites. It has existed between races of similar skin colour as well. The Nazi philosophy that the Aryan race is superior to all others was part of their propaganda and was used to justify WWII. It also justified the persecution of the Jews. Evolutionary science destroys the unity of mankind by deriving different races from different sources. Ultimately the doctrine of evolution can only produce superiority and inferiority and survival of the fittest, but it is always the more powerful that claim superiority. The Charter of Human Rights stands on a shaky foundation.
That is not so with the Biblical account of mankind. We are all born of one man, Adam and those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, of whatever race they might be, are one in Him. God made all mankind from one man and He saves them in one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. In Him believers are all united in the love of God for sinners and so, in thankfulness, show that love to others. We may all fall short in loving others as we continue to be sinners, but we can all acknowledge the wonderful and varied creation of mankind and rejoice in it because people of every race are saved in Christ. God shows that there is no partiality with Him. All those everywhere who believe in Him God grants repentance to life (Ac 11:18; 15:3).
May we all rejoice in this rich tapestry of humanity that God has created and saves for it points to His wonderful wisdom, grace and power. Above all, let us love each other, of whatever race we are, as that expresses the unity we have in Christ as nothing else can(Jh 13:34,35), a unity that ultimately reflects the unity of God Himself.
Rev John Kroeze