Bible’s view on race and interracial marriage

Personal Questions | VBVM Staff | Aug-13-2017

Q: Did God forbid interracial marriage? Didn't God make different races for a purpose?

A: Wikipedia defines the concept of race as the classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, ancestry, genetics or social relations, or the relations between them. In other words, the concept of “race” is a man-made concept. 

In other words, there is no objective, scientific standard for defining a "race" of humanity, because the standards we use to classify a certain race are arbitrary. In fact, it’s scientifically impossible for a doctor or scientist to identify a person's “race” solely by examining that person's DNA (i.e., there is no such thing as "black" DNA or "white" DNA, etc.).

Within normal human DNA, God has prepared the diversity of physical traits we see within the human population on earth today. Every physical trait of human beings (e.g., our skin darkness, our facial features, our hair type, our height, etc.) varies along a spectrum of diversity. Therefore, science cannot identify – much less define – a clear-cut delineation between one "race" and another.  

Instead, we only find gradual shifts in human traits between various populations of people in the world, and these differences cluster according to geography and family relationships based on migration and marriage patterns. For example, human DNA supports a wide range of skin color and these variations cluster by geography. Populations living in hotter climates with greater exposure to the sun tend to exhibit greater concentrations of skin pigment, while populations living in cooler climates develop less.

Such variations are a result of the normal programming found in every human being's DNA, and therefore these differences are meaningless apart from whatever arbitrary meaning we may choose to assign to them. By definition, assigning human beings to a racial group is not only subjective, it is inherently biased. No wonder sinful humanity has favored the use of racial labels to discriminate and oppress those perceived to be the enemy.

For example, Greeks have oppressed Turks, Indians have oppressed Pakistanis, Europeans have oppressed Asians, men have oppressed women, the healthy have oppressed the sick, the strong have oppressed the weak, and of course in American society, Caucasians have historically oppressed non-Caucasians.

In each of these cases, sinful hearts used arbitrary physical distinctions as justification for cruelty against others, and any such hatred or prejudice is sinful and unbiblical. Such sinful attitudes and behaviors have no place in the life of a Christian for they are neither loving nor godly. 

This is especially true for the believer who understands the Creation account in Genesis, since that account reminds us that all humanity descends from the same parents, as we read in Acts:

Acts 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands;
Acts 17:25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

This single passage from the Bible renders the term "race" meaningless, since if all humanity descended from one man, then what is a race? Once a Christian understands all humanity descended from the same two parents, then we must abandon any belief in race as a meaningful distinction between people (much less view race as just cause for discrimination).

Whatever physical differences may exist between any two people on earth, those differences are no more meaningful than the differences between a brother and sister from the same nuclear family. We are all literally from one family, the Bible says.

Therefore, it is both illogical and unbiblical for a Christian to hold prejudice against another person because of a difference in physical features (e.g., skin color). Any Christian harboring hateful or discriminatory thoughts toward another person for any reason is sinning and should repent. 

We must love everyone, even those we perceive to be our enemies, as Jesus said:

Matt. 5:43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
Matt. 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matt. 5:45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Matt. 5:46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Matt. 5:47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
Matt. 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Consequently, we can find nothing in the Bible concerning interracial marriage, because in reality there is no such thing as "race" from God’s point of view. All humanity is the same, and therefore a marriage union is possible between any man and any woman, since the physical traits of the two are completely irrelevant to the question of marriage.

(We should add that the Bible does require a believer to marry only another believer.)


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