What The Bible Says
People may be questioning what the Bible says about interracial marriage because of this passage in Deuteronomy.
You shall not intermarry with , giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.
At first glance, this may be confusing and make it seems like the Lord wants the Israelites to not intermarry ever. However, this passage has nothing to do with race and everything to do with religion.
God does not want for the Israelites to turn away from Him, but instead to continue to worship and follow him. If the Israelites were to marry the inhabitants of Canaan, they would be tempted to worship their false gods. By the Lord declaring to not marry these people, He is protecting Israel from idolatry.
All Races Come From A Common Source
All humans descended from the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, whom the Bible calls the mother of everyone living. For this reason, the Bible says of God: He made out of one man every nation of men. Regardless of their race, all humans are part of just one family. What, though, if racial prejudice or class distinctions are strong where you live?
Race Mixing And Animal Hybridscondemned By God
Terry S. submitted a comment on the article Breeding unicorns, claiming that God is opposed to race mixing and the hybridization of animals. We chose to publish here in order to give a thorough response.
CMIs Keaton Halley replies:
Dear Terry S.,
I hope that you are truly open to hearing what the Bible has to say on this subject, because I think a closer look will show that you have misunderstood and misapplied the biblical teaching. If Im off target, I mean no offense, but some of your statements make it sound like you could be part of the Christian Identity white supremacist movement. If thats the case, I encourage you to read our refutation of that heresy. But Ill also respond to your specific claims.
It is true that horses and donkeys can be reluctant to mate with each other, and that mules often have biological defects. But these problems can be understood as a result of degeneration in a fallen world. CMIs Speciation Q& A page contains many articles which explain how an original interbreeding population can split into smaller groups that have difficulty reproducing. So even though horses and donkeys had a common ancestor, now that theyve been differentiated into separate breeds with significant genetic disparities between them, hybridizing them may not be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, so to speak. All this makes perfect sense from a creationist perspective.
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Claim : Jesus Didnt Speak About Same
This is an argument from silence, but the silence doesnt take place in a vacuum. Jesus addresses and defines marriage in Matthew 19:46 and Mark 10:69 using both Genesis 1:2627 and Genesis 2:24 to parse it out. Here Jesus defines and affirms marriage as between a man and a woman, a reflection of the fact that God made us male and female to care for creation together. With this definition, same-sex marriage is excluded. Had Jesus wished to extend the right of marriage beyond this definition, here was his opportunity. But he didnt take it.
Jesus never discussed same-sex marriage because the way he defined marriage already excluded it. He was not as silent on the topic as some claim.
Origin Of People Groups
In Genesis 11, we read of the rebellion at the tower of Babel which resulted in people being scattered over the earth. Because of this dispersion, and the resulting splitting of the gene pool, different cultures formed, with certain features becoming predominant within each group. Some of these became general characteristics of each particular people group.15
Note that the context of Genesis 11 makes it clear that the reason for Gods scattering the people over the earth was that they had united in rebellion against God. Some Christians point to this event in an attempt to provide a basis for their arguments against so-called inter-racial marriage. They believe that it is implied here that to keep the nations apart, God is declaring that people from different people groups cant marry. However, there is no such indication in this passage that what is called inter-racial marriage is condemned. Besides, there has been so much mixing of people groups over the years, that it would be impossible for every human being today to trace their lineage back to know for certain which group they are descended from.
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Interracial Marriage: Is It A Sin What The Bible Says
When I was growing up, I would sometimes hear people in my family talk about interracial marriage, and whether different cultures colliding could work within marriage. I decided to do a little research about this topic to clear up some questions that I had and that others may have about this.
What does the Bible say about interracial marriage? There is nowhere in the Bible that forbids or discourages interracial marriage. Interracial marriage is not a sin in any way. Every human is created in Gods image , and we all come from the same ancestors, Adam and Eve.
So where did all of these questions about interracial marriage come from? I will be diving into further details about this topic, and what the other requirements for marriage that are given to Christians.
Questions In This Episode
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Does The Bible Say Anything About Mixing Of The Races
When God called Israel out of Egypt, He warned them about having anything to do with the other nations. For example, if the nations began marrying people of other nations, they would begin to follow their practices. Their hearts would go after other gods and worship idols which were really not gods at all. The Lord warned Israel time and time again. The Moabites tried repeatedly to have Balaam curse Israel, but he could not. They even offered to pay him to curse them but he refused, instead, Balaam spoke his message: Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. Come, he said, curse Jacob for me come, denounce Israel. How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced ?
Claim : The Ancient World Didnt Understand Genuine Same
Apparently neither Jesus nor Paul nor even God the Fatherwho inspired Scripturerecognized this potential category. But this claim ignores how widespread same-sex relationships were in the ancient world. Not all of them were abusive or exercises of raw social power. This is a classic example of chronological snobbery, which C. S. Lewis described as the uncritical acceptance of the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date is on that account discredited , and which his friend Owen Barfield explained as the belief that, intellectually, humanity languished for countless generations in the most childish errors on all sorts of crucial subjects until it was redeemed by some simple scientific dictum of the last century .
Such a claim drastically underestimates the options ancient life presented, and it ignores the fact that ancient culture fairly uniformly rejected the idea of same-sex marriage. This point is important for understanding Pauls inclusion of such relationships in the category of porneia . The infidelity in view isnt just to another person, but to the complementary divine design of man and woman in Gods image.
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Biblical Traits Of A Good Husband Or Wife
Proverbs 31 has been called a description of The Ideal Wife. And its true that the chapter, as written, focuses on the wife. But in reality the ideal qualities given in this chapter apply equally to a husband as well as to a wife.
So how does the Bible define a good wife ? Here is a list of characteristics based on Proverbs 31. Look up the verses and see for yourself how they are described. Can you find other qualities in this chapter that are not listed here?
Does The Bible Forbid Interracial Marriages
Absolutely not! Racist Christians used to argue against interracial marriage by quoting Old Testament passages that prohibited Jews from marrying non-Jews. This prohibition had nothing to do with race, however. In fact, there was no concept of different races until white Europeans invented it during the Colonial period, partly to justify their enslavement of other people groups. The Bible recognizes only one race the human race.
The prohibitions in the Old Testament were given because God didnt want his people influenced by pagan beliefs and practices. This is still a concern, which is why Paul warns Christians not to be bound together with non-believers . But this has nothing to do with race.
In fact, one could argue that interracial marriages manifest the Kingdom in a uniquely beautiful way. Follow me on this.
The origin of different people groups goes back to the Tower of Babel . God had to divide people by giving them different languages because, at this point in history, they were working together for evil purposes. But this judgment was always intended to be provisional. Throughout the Old Testament God looked forward to a time when all tribes and nations would come back together, united under his loving Lordship.
Since interracial marriages obviously reverse the division of Babel, they should, from a Kingdom point of view, not only be allowed. They should be encouraged.
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The Old Testament Reasoning
There are verses in the Old Testament instructing the Israelites not to intermarry with people from other nations. Here is the passage:
When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nationsthe Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lords anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. Deuteronomy 7:1-4
Unfortunately, some use this passage to justify their opposition to interracial marriage. In these cases, they are not considering the passage in its full context or its entire meaning.
This decree was not based on race or skin color. Instead, it is all about religion.
The entire reason God tells the Israelites not to intermarry with these nations is described in verse 4, they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods.
In other words, Deuteronomy 7 is an Old Testament law reiterated in the New Testament when the apostle Paul tells Jesus followers not to be unequally yoked.
Claim : The Old Testament Allows All Sorts Of Prohibited Marriage Including Polygamy And What Would Today Qualify As Incest If Those Were Permitted Surely Monogamous Same
Heres where a look at trajectory helps us. If we observe what Scripture actually teaches, we see that such past marriages are consistently portrayed as resulting in social chaos and arent so much prescribed as described and that Scriptures expansion into the New Testament narrows down the scope of options to the standard of one monogamous union between a man and woman in which the marriage bed is to be honored but porneiasexual infidelity in all its manifestationsis to be avoided . Additionally, elders are to show the community what it looks like to be the husband of one wife .
So opening up marriage to a new category actually works against Scriptures trajectory on marriage.
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Are There Examples Of Interracial Marriage In The Bible
I would ask that anyone believing interracial marriage is wrong to look up Scriptures about Rahab and Salmon, Ruth and Boaz, and let us not forget that Gods book on marriage, Song of Solomon was potentially written about an interracial couple .
One of the most well-known examples of a diverse marriage in Scripture is Moses the Hebrew/Egyptian and Zipporah a Midianite.
Exodus 2:21-22 says, Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage. Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, I have become a foreigner in a foreign land.
Someone might argue that these were people who made mistakes, but there is nowhere in the whole Bible where God condemns marrying from another people group unless it was about a greater issue of faith. Jesus Himself was a Jew who had Gentiles in His genealogy.
Examples Of Interracial Marriage In The Bible
In Numbers 12:1-15, Moses, who was a Jew, married a woman who was a Cushite Cush was a southern region of Ethiopia, where people were known for their black skin. The Lord approved of this marriage, but Aaron and Miriam criticized this marriage, to which God was angered by. He gave Miriam leprosy for seven days as a punishment to her criticism of Moses and his wife.
Ruth is another example of an interracial marriage. Ruth, from Moab, moved to Bethlehem when her land was struck with famine. When she met Boaz, he did not hesitate to take her as his wife because of her faith in God if Israel.
Ruth was not a Jew. She was a Moabite. Even though many discriminated against her, God loved her just the same. God does not discriminate, and He loves all people just the same.
Chris Russell from biblestudytools.com
In Colossians 3:11, Paul writes, Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free but Christ is all, and in all. We are all the same in Christ, and skin tone or different cultural backgrounds cannot hinder the mission of the followers of Jesus Christ.
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Close Bond In Marriage
The Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone I will make a helper comparable to him . After each of the six days of Creation week, God reviewed what He had made and saw that it was good. But there was one thing in Eden that very first week that was not good! All the animals God had created, came in pairsa male and a female. But there was no female for Adam! That is when God created Eve and performed the very first marriage .
God made men and women to complement each otherphysically, mentally, and socially. He built into our being a desire for the companionship of a husband or wife. Thats why the Bible says, He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord .
Claim : The Move To Prohibit Recognition Of Same
Its fair to point out that some views that used to be considered clear in Scripture have actually turned out to not be so clearand even wrong. Hermeneutical humility for all is not a bad thing. But it cuts both ways. Whereas with creation/slavery/women one can point to passages where counter-tensions existed with what was clear , no OT or NT text is even neutral on same-sex issues. Every single text that mentions the topic does so negatively.
So here also trajectory helps us, since with same-sex passages there is no trajectory. The reading is consistent. That should count for something.
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No Place For Racism In Christianity
Heres the final answer – the Bible does not say interracial marriage is wrong, and those who suggest it have misinterpreted Scripture.
That being said, anyone who suggests interracial marriage is wrong needs to check their heart for any hold racism may have on it.
Racism is sinful and evil, down to the very core. It is ignorant, judgmental hatred, and it grieves Gods heart. No human deserves any suffering due to the color of their skin.
Racism and hatred are not of God. God is love, and racism is not.
We are all sons and daughters of the King and made in Gods image.
When it comes to Christian marriages, the priority is the couples shared faith in Jesus Christ.
As Got Questions explains, Faith in Christ, not skin color, is the biblical standard for choosing a spouse.