Speaking of Racism
Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Is the concept of race biblical?
"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; "
The word race is never once applied to people in the scriptures. I say that to be clear from the start, that the Bible only speaks of one race, the human race. Obviously we are all descendants of Adam and Eve; as well as Noah and his wife. Where many struggle, is in the belief: that when God separated mankind after the Tower of Babel; that He then created separate races. This is not once mentioned in the passage however, nor does anything in the bible support this belief. Not even basic genetics would seem to support this theory; since what we recognize as racial differences, are simple environmental adaptations.
"Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
As seen in our foundational passage, God recognizes certain divisions amongst people; but race is not one of them. Even in the context of people in Heaven, God acknowledges one's kindred, or family background as a legitimate distinction. He also recognizes one's tongue or language, one's people or culture/community, and nationality. These four things are recognized by God, as shaping people and making them distinct. When emphasizing the all reaching power of the gospel, He says it reaches people from every family, language, culture, and nation; but nowhere in this is skin color acknowledged.
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness,
is accepted with him."
Acts 10:34, 35
Your culture, your family, your nation, and your language; have power to shape you and determine who you are. The color of one's skin should have no weight in your personality or self-value. When facing the salvation of Cornelius, Peter had to accept that God is not a respecter of persons. Cornelius was from another nationality, as clearly noted in the passage, but not even this changed God's value of him. Think about that, God recognizes nationality as a legitimate division, yet is not a respecter of it.
"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.... But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced
of the law as transgressors."
James 2:1, 9
If God doesn't measure a man, by something He recognizes as real source of division; then how can we measure by something that is entirely unbiblical in the first place? If esteeming greater value on someone based on financial status, something that is also biblically recognized, is sin; then how much more is racism? It is a sin against the creator to divide or appraise His creation with something He does not recognize as a valid division. "But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin", let us then understand that race as a concept is unbiblical, and racism as a practice is sin.