Gttingen School Of History
Scholars at the Göttingen School of History, which played an important role in creating a “scientific” basis for historical research, coined the modern racial definitions of the terms Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic. The primary scholars were Johann Christoph Gatterer, and Johann Gottfried Eichhorn.
Gatterer’s 1771 Einleitung in die Synchronistische Universalhistorie was the first publication to use these terms in an ethnic sense. Gatterer’s description was as follows:
The Dispersion At Babel
Note that the context of Genesis 11 makes it clear that the reason forGods scattering the people over the earth was that they had united in rebellionagainst Him. Some Christians point to this event in an attempt to provide abasis for their arguments against so-called interracial marriage. They believethat this passage implies that God is declaring that people from different peoplegroups cant marry so that the nations are kept apart. However, there isno such indication in this passage that what is called interracial marriage iscondemned. Besides, there has been so much mixing of people groups over theyears, that it would be impossible for every human being today to trace theirlineage back to know for certain which group they are descended from.
We need to understand that the sovereign creator God is in charge of thenations of this world. Paul makes this very clear in Acts 17:26. Some peopleerroneously claim this verse to mean that people from different nationsshouldnt marry. However, this passage has nothing to do with marriage. AsJohn Gill makes clear in his classic commentary, the context is that God isin charge of all thingswhere, how, and for how long any person, tribe, ornation will live, prosper, and perish.33
Moses Married A Cushite Woman
In Numbers 12, Moses, while walking faithfully with the Lord and in the power of the Lord, marries a woman from Cush. There is little doubt that this woman was a Black African. And in the story, God seems to give his total approval to this marriage.
This is a strong statement on the biblical acceptability of interracial marriage. In other Old Testament texts there are prohibitions against marrying Canaanites and other inhabitants of Canaan, but these prohibitions werent due to ethnic differences but theological differences, since the Canaanites worshiped pagan gods. The prohibition was against marrying outside of the faith.
Read Also: Born Sinners Bible Verse
What About Skin Colors
It is easy to think that since different groups of people have yellow skin, red skin, black skin, white skin, and brown skin, there must be many different skin pigments or colorings. And since different chemicals for coloring would mean a different genetic recipe or code in the hereditary blueprint in each people group, it appears to be a real problem. How could all those differences develop within a short time?
However, we all have the same coloring pigment in our skinmelanin. This is a dark-brownish pigment that is produced in different amounts in special cells in our skin. If we had none , then we would have a very white or pink skin coloring. If we produced a little melanin, we would be European white. If our skin produced a great deal of melanin, we would be a very dark black. And in between, of course, are all shades of brown. There are no other significant skin pigments.4
In summary, from currently available information, the really important factor in determining skin color is melaninthe amount produced.
This situation is true not only for skin color. Generally, whatever feature we may look at, no people group has anything that is essentially different from that possessed by any other. For example, the Asian, or almond, eye differs from a typical Caucasian eye in having more fat around them. Both Asian and Caucasian eyes have fatthe latter simply have less.
The Nature Of Evolution
Anthropologists and other evolutionists accept the ample evidence that not only are plants and animals the products of evolution, but so also is Homo sapiens. By “evolution” we mean that living forms are ultimately related through shared ancestry and that they have changed from their ancestral forms. We do not assume that this change has necessarily led to greater complexity or “progress” — merely that change has taken place. The earth is billions of years old, but life has not existed for this whole period. Some change takes place rapidly, some slowly, and evidence exists for both types of evolution. Although modern science no longer questions the evidence that change through time has taken place, the rate and mechanisms are vigorously debated. New discoveries from both the fossil record and the laboratory require the rethinking and possible replacement of old ideas. This of course is the essence of vigorous science: the challenging and reworking of hypotheses and theories in the light of new data.
Also Check: How Many Times Does The Bible Say Fear Not
Just Apes And True Man
It is essential to the scientific creationist viewpoint that modern humans lived before or at the same time as more primitive humans, and so they proclaim a number of fossils to be “modern,” even when the evidence refutes this view. Various fossils have been proclaimed modern, but they do not show the brain size or head and facial characteristics of modern humans. Others have been dismissed as “just apes,” when in reality the bones used for locomotion are very different from those of apes and are much more similar to those of humans. Peking Man, discussed below, is also dismissed as an ape and proclaimed a fraud. However, fossils of this same type, called Homo erectus, are found at many sites and could not possibly be mistaken for apes in brain size, teeth, skulls, or bones of the body. Ironically, some scientific creationists consider Homo erectus a “true man.” That creationists have trouble classifying intermediate forms only supports the status of these fossils as transitional.
Can The Bible Be Used To Justify Racist Attitudes
The inevitable question arises, If the Bible teaches all humans are thesame, where was the church during the eras of slavery and segregation? Doesntthe Bible actually condone the enslavement of a human being by another?
Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible mention slaves and slavery.As with all other biblical passages, these must be understood in theirgrammatical-historical context.
Dr. Walter Kaiser, former president of Gordon-Conwell TheologicalSeminary and Old Testament scholar, states:
The laws concerning slavery in the Old Testament appear to function tomoderate a practice that worked as a means of loaning money for Jewishpeople to one another or for handling the problem of the prisonersof war. Nowhere was the institution of slavery as such condemned butthen, neither did it have anything like the connotations it grew to haveduring the days of those who traded human life as if it were a mere commodityfor sale. . . . In all cases the institution was closely watched anddivine judgment was declared by the prophets and others for all abusesthey spotted.17
Job recognized that all were equal before God, and all should be treatedas image-bearers of the Creator.
If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant when theycomplained against me, what then shall I do when God rises up? WhenHe punishes, how shall I answer Him? Did not He who made me inthe womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
Recommended Reading: What Is The Order Of The Bible
How Did Different Races Come Into Existence As God’s Wonderful Created Image
In Gods eyes, there is no worth associated with the color of ones skin. We are all life, breath, existence, and worth. All people across the globe are individually, lovingly created in person by God and all believers are also one body in Christ.
- Candice LuceyContributing Writer
- 202015 Jun
Race is defined as a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock or a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics or a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.
We often think race has to do with the color of ones skin, yet that idea is not rooted in Scripture but in a sociological construct. Trillia Newbell argues that God did not separate people by the color of their skin: We created that distinction.
Diversity exists and it is in the Lords glorious plan. Where did racial diversity begin and how does it demonstrate Gods glory?
Origin Of Ethnic People Groups
According to the Bible, all humans on Earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve . But today we have many different groups, often called races by Evolutionists, with what seem to be greatly differing features. The most obvious of these is skin color. Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible’s record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years. However, as we shall see, this does not follow from the biological evidence.
The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah’s family had one language and by living in one place were disobeying God’s command to fill the earth . God confused their language, causing a break-up of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the Earth . Modern genetics show how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is good evidence that the various people groups we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.1
Don’t Miss: What The Bible Says About Strong Woman
Are There White People In The Bible
By Tim Gee
Left: Nicodemus and Jesus on a Rooftop , oil on canvas, by Henry Ossawa Tanner. Joseph E. Temple Fund, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. Public domain. Below: Black Lives Matter protest, Nashville, Tenn., June 4, 2020.
The Swiss anti-fascist theologian Karl Barth is well-known for advising people to read Scripture with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. If he lived today, would he have advised the same when using our smartphones and scrolling through social media feeds?Thats what I was doing when I came across one of the popular images of 2020: a White woman at a Black Lives Matter demonstration with a placard that read There are no White people in the Bible . That seemed like something worth taking time over.
White Christianity has often depicted characters in biblical scenes as pale-skinned. Given the peoples origins and location, this is unlikely. Christianity in its origins was a movement consisting principally of colonized people who suffered under military occupation in the Middle East and Africa. The opening lines of Matthew even give us a family tree that shows Joseph, a many-times grandchild of Abraham and Sarah, as the descendent of migrants from what is now Iraq.
Cone didnt live to see the global reaction to the killing of George Floyd, but his words have gained a new life among Christians concerned about racism:
More from Friends Journal on the Bible
All People Are Created In Gods Image
Interestingly, the Bible doesnt begin with the creation of a special race of people. In Genesis 1 and 2, the first human is simply identified as dm, which means humankind. Adam and Eve are not Hebrews or Egyptians or Canaanites. Their race or ethnicity is not identified. And they become the mother and father of all peoples and all ethnicities. The beginning of the biblical story, then, is not about white people or black people or brown people. It is a story about all people.
Further, Genesis 1:2627 tells us that God created them in his image. This truth has profound implications, for it insists that people of all races and ethnicities are created in the image of God. And since all bear his image, all deserve to be treated with special dignity and respect.
Also Check: What Does God Say About Being Lonely
Evolution And The Origin Of Races
The movement called “scientific creationism” promotes the idea that a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis is scientifically demonstrable. Several organizations are attempting to have this view taught in American public school science classrooms. Rather than dealing with the general positions of the scientific creationists, I consider in this brochure some parts of the scientific creationist position dealing with the human fossil record and racial origins.
What Does Scripture Say
Genesis 4:1617, which The Golden Childrens Bible attempted to paraphrase:
Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his sonEnoch.
The Bible does not say that Cain went to Nod and later found a wife there. Rather, the implication in Scripture is that he already had a wife when he went to Nod. The event that took place in Nod was that he knew his wife, had sexual relations with her, and she conceived and gave birth to a son.
If Cain didnt marry someone living in the land of Nod, we still have the question, Where did Cain get his wife? or, Whom did Cain marry? Again, we need to look to Scripture for the answer.
Genesis 2:2122 recounts the creation of Eve, And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
And in we read Gods command to Adam and Eve, Then God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply fill the earth and subdue it.
Genesis 5:4 Makes it clear that Adam and Eve had muliple Sons and Daughters.
After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years and he had sons and daughters.
In addition, states,
You May Like: Bible Books In Chronological Order
The Bible Never Uses Skin Colors As Indicators Of Racial Affiliation
The premise that people of skin tone other than white as an indicator of racial or ethnic affiliation first appeared in the Bible is false. The Bible never uses any skin colors or tones as indicators of racial or ethnic affiliation.
The table of nations is listed for us in Genesis 10. By the way, this listing of nations occurs before the Tower of Babel story of the scattering of the races as related in Genesis 11. The order here is of little significance. The list is given and then the next chapters detail how the migrations began.
In the listing, we see that the descendants of Noahs three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, migrated to different parts of the world after the subsiding of the Flood.
We know from the countries mentioned that Shem fathered the Semitic peoples who are considered Jewish or Arabic. His descendants settled throughout the Mideast and southern Asia.
Japheth fathered the Japhethite peoples who moved northward into Turkey and Russia and then migrated into Europe and across much of Asia. Today, most of these people are identified as white-skinned Caucasian or brown-skinned Asians and Mongolians or more yellow-skinned Chinese.
Ham fathered the Hamitic peoples. His descendants settled from Canaan southward into Egypt and Africa.
Not A Scale Of Humanity
Gods plan for unity was always vibrant and exciting: We see in Revelation the fourfold formula of tribe, language, people, and nation, stresses the ethnic diversity of the people of God who will worship around the throne. All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord .
The curse upon Ham in Genesis 9:25 was not an indication that the nations would break off into groups of higher or lower human forms. There is no such thing as evolutionary ascendancy. According to Wayne Jackson, the Bible does not classify human beings along the racial lines that are common to modern thought.
That heart is the I AM, given to each person by the Lord Himself: Life, breath, existence, worth. All people across the globe share the same original parents, the same God , and our roots are equally tainted by sin but also equally beautiful. We were individually, lovingly created in person by God and all believers are also one body in Christ.
Also Check: Old Testament Stories In Chronological Order
How Should Christians Look Upon Racial Differences
The Bible does not reveal the specific details of how the races began, but it shows that all ethnic groups descended from Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:20Genesis 3:20And Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living.American King James Version×says Eve is “the mother of all living.” The fact that different races exist is clear evidence of the fact that God values and desires racial variety within the human race.
Some have taught that racial characteristics are the result of some curse placed upon people as a result of sin. This teaching has no biblical support whatsoever. God clearly knew of and planned for the various racial groups when He created our human parents.
Further, the Bible shows that no race is superior or inferior to any other. God doesnt make any distinction between the races in calling people to salvation (Galatians 3:28-29Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.