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23 January, 2014

IN THE BEGINNING, AS IN THE END, WE ARE ALL OF THE SAME RACE

Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? The age-old question of our origin has been baffling mankind for centuries. For most of our history, it was widely accepted that man had been created by an omnipresent, omnipotent, God or Gods. Most ancient texts such as the Bible, Torah and The Sumerian tablets seem to all contain similar stories of such beginnings. Almost all religions are based on this God/creation premise in some form or another. It wasn’t until the mid 1800’s when Charles Darwin introduced his Theory of Evolution that the creation theory was even questioned, and the battle between religion and science began.

Darwin’s Theory, while scientifically sound, still leaves many questions unanswered:

1. Why the vast appearance and chromosomal differences between cro-magnon and homosapiens?

2. How did modern man seemingly just “appear” out of nowhere, wearing clothing and organizing societies (intelligent)?

3. What is the “missing link”?

4. Which is the truth? Science, religion or a combination of both?

The Bible does not explicitly give us the origin of the different “races” or skin colors in humanity. In actuality, there is only one race—the human race. Within the human race is diversity in skin color and other physical characteristics. Some speculate that when God confused the languages at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), He also created racial diversity.

It is possible that God made genetic changes to humanity to better enable people to survive in different ecologies, such as the darker skin of Africans being better equipped genetically to survive the excessive heat in Africa, or the physical make up of the Eskimo more conducive to withstanding the extremes of the frozen north. According to this view, God confused the languages, causing humanity to segregate linguistically, and then created genetic racial differences based on where each racial group would eventually settle. While possible, there is no explicit biblical basis for this view. The races/skin colors of humanity are nowhere mentioned in connection with the tower of Babel.

(Some scholars believe that this marks the point in history where God divided the earth into separate continents. The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is believed by many to be the record of a real historical event that took place after the worldwide Flood, at a time when the earth’s population still lived together in one place.)

At the Tower of Babel, when the different languages came into existence, groups that spoke one language moved away with others of the same language. In doing so, the gene pool for a specific group shrank dramatically as the group no longer had the entire human population to mix with. Closer inbreeding took place, and in time certain features were emphasized in these different groups (all of which were present as a possibility in the genetic code). As further inbreeding occurred through the generations, the gene pool grew smaller and smaller, to the point that people of one language family all had the same or similar features.

Another explanation is that Adam and Eve possessed the genes to produce black, brown, and white offspring (and everything else in between). This would be similar to how a mixed-race couple sometimes has children that vary in color. 

Since God obviously desired humanity to be diverse in appearance, it makes sense that God would have given Adam and Eve the ability to produce children of different skin tones. Later, the only survivors of the Great Flood that preserved the Hebrew bloodline of Jesus Christ were Noah and his wife, Noah’s three sons and their wives—eight people in all (Genesis 7:13).

(The significance of Noah, according to Genesis, is that the population of the Earth was completely destroyed during The Flood because of the wickedness of the inhabitants, and Noah and his family were the sole eight survivors to continue and repopulate the human race. Thus the view of history in the Bible is that all humans on Earth are descended from Noah's family.)

Perhaps Noah’s daughters-in-law were of different races. It is also possible that Noah’s wife was of a different race than Noah. Maybe all eight of them were of mixed race, which would mean they possessed the genetics to produce children of different races.

As I say, it is all very mind-boggling.  Inquisitive minds will continue to seek answers to the origins of mankind while some of us will simply acquit ourselves to clinging to the faith of our fathers as a reason for our being. I have spent a lot of time and energy on this mysterious subject in the past and this is where I am content to leave it.

Whatever the explanation, the most important aspect of this question is that we are all the same race, all created by the same God, all created for the same purpose -- to glorify The Creator and to live as good a life as is humanly possible.  Amen?

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