Many Ethnicities, One Race

JP: Another excellent article on “race”:

Many Ethnicities, One Race


Man, male and female, is made in the image of God. Historically, great Christian minds have wrestled with precisely what this image consists of. Generally speaking, theologians understand the image to include certain rational, spiritual, moral, governmental, or ruling capacities and functions. Some have also distinguished between “broader” and “narrower” senses in which man bears the image of God. The “broader” sense refers to those ways in which man continues to image God after the Fall, as with man’s intellectual capacity, spirituality, moral agency, and natural affections. The “narrower” sense refers to those ways in which man does not continue to image God after the fall, as with God’s perfect righteousness, holiness, and knowledge.

We may safely conclude that insofar as genealogy is concerned, the Bible plainly records that there is only one race. With regard to bodily properties like skin color, we may also conclude that, though differences exist, all people are made in the image of God—male and female; black, brown, and white; red-haired and black-haired. There is nothing about bodily distinctions that either disrupt the organic or genetic unity of humanity (Acts 17:26) or obscures the image of God in some groups with certain biological properties.

Strictly speaking, the Scripture knows nothing of our contemporary notion of “races.” People may have different skin color (or hair color), but they do not therefore belong to different “races.” The idea of “races” is, therefore, a fiction. There is but one human race descended from one parentage, all of whom are created in the image of God spiritually, rationally, morally, and bodily. (Hereafter, I will use “race” or “races” in quotations to refer to the common notion of multiple races rooted in biological differences, and the term race without quotations to refer to the biblical teaching of one humanity descended from Adam.)

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