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How Did We Get the Races?

By Editorial Staff
Published December 22, 2007

Throughout history, many people have wondered: How did the human races develop? Technically, the term “race” should never have been applied to human beings since there is only one race – the human race. This term came into popular usage with the growing acceptance of evolutionism in the late 1800s.

One should realize that the word “race,” referring to physical characteristics, hardly ever occurs in the Bible.1 Instead, the word “nation” is used over 200 times. Common usage of the word “race” today refers to groups of people with distinguishing physical characteristics such as skin color, shape of eyes, and type of hair.

To appreciate how minor these variations are in humans, consider the large variations in the dog family. Most varieties of domestic dogs were produced during the past 300 years. Dogs may be white, black, red, yellow, tiny huge hairy, almost hairless, cute or not-so-cute. Their temperaments and abilities also vary widely. Since the domestic dog can interbreed with the wolf, the coyote, and the jackal, all are part of the dog kind.

By comparison, human variations are few and minor. We must remember that in every kind of life there are vast numbers of genes that permit these variations which allow successive generations to adapt to environmental changes. Without this design feature, extinctions would be much more common. Besides, wouldn’t life be much less interesting if there were no variations within each kind?

The following three mechanisms have brought about the so-called “racial” characteristics in humans, just as in animals. It is which mechanism played the greatest role in this differentiation of human traits since the Genesis Flood, approximately 5000 years ago.

Natural Selection

This well established phenomenon is not a mechanism for macro-evolution as a century of experimentation has shown, although it is an important mechanism for micro-evolution. Natural selection filters out certain parental genes in successive generations, producing offspring with slightly different characteristics and less genetic variability. For example, a fair skinned person living near the equator is susceptible to several health risks, such as shin cancer.

Consequently, the fair-skinned person has a slightly less chance of living to reproductive age and passing on his or her genes for light skin color to a child. A similar situation exists for dark-skinned people living in the polar latitudes. Their skin screens out sunlight and tends to deprive them of vitamin D3 which forms in skin exposed to sunlight. Absence of vitamin D3 produces rickets. Therefore over many generations, dark-skinned people tend to live near the equator and light-skinned people tend to live at the higher latitudes.

There are several exceptions to this tendency. For example, Eskimos have rather dark skin and yet live in Arctic latitudes. Their diet which includes fish liver oils containing large amounts of vitamin D3, prevents rickets.

Small Isolated Populations

A population of people, or any other form of life, has a large set of genetic characteristics. If a few members of this population move to an isolated region, such as an island, they will have a different and smaller set of genetic characteristics than the entire population. As a result, subsequent generations on that island will have different traits from the original population.

This can be illustrated by a barrel that is filled with marbles – half white and half black. Let’s say that each marble represents a person, and the color of the marble represents that person’s skin color. If pairs of marbles are drawn at random and placed on separate islands about half the islands will end up with marbles of one color.

If each pair of marbles represented a husband and wife, this would be somewhat analogous to the dispersion and isolation that occurred after the Flood and the downfall of Babel. If a husband and wife ended up having the same genes. Each person carries genes for skin color. If a husband and wife end up having the same genes for dark and light skin color, then all their descendants would end up having dark skin or light skin. The color of the marbles could just as well represent any other genetic characteristic.

Actually, the genetics of this process are more complicated than this simple illustration. For example, there are at least 4 genes that determine skin color, not just one. Nevertheless, there are thousands of traits, each of which might cluster in an isolated geographic region if small groups broke off from the larger population. Thus, specific characteristics can easily arise as they did when the eight survivors of the flood and their descendants eventually responded to God’s command to spread pout and repopulate the earth.

From the listing of the descendants of Noah given in Genesis 10-11, we can see how easily the early migration patterns began. Shem’s immediate descendants stayed generally near Ararat (what is now eastern Turkey) or migrated eastward. Ham’s descendants migrated southward, while Japeth’s descendants migrated northward. Undoubtedly, there were were many other occasions where small groups colonized isolated regions and thus allowed their unique genetic characteristics to be expressed in subsequent generations.

What Did Adam and Eve Look Like?

Understanding these three mechanisms, we can now raise some interesting questions. What did Adam and Eve look like? Obviously, their genes coded for all the traits that humans have today – and probably other traits that have disappeared. Many of their genes, of course, were not visible (or expressed) because of the dominance of other genes.

People usually visualize Adam and Eve as looking as they themselves do. Undoubtedly, Adam’s and Eve’s skin color was not “white” or “black” but something in between. The Hebrew word for Adam carries a connotation of ruddy or reddish. An almost identical Hebrew word means “rosy” or “to show blood.” It is quite likely that Adam’s skin coloring was almost like that of the American Indian.

For the past 130 years, evolutionism has painted a very different picture. Man supposedly ascended from an apelike ancestor. Some early humans branched off sooner than others, and therefore, they look differently, and have different physical and mental abilities. This is racism, a highly prejudicial school of thought that tends to dehumanize fellow human beings.

One cannot say that evolutionists today are racists. Racism is unpopular today, and public acknowledgement of it is even more so. However, many evolutionists in the several generations following Darwin, and even Charles Darwin himself, were racists. The theory of evolution provides a very convincing rationale to justify racism.

Evolutionist and Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould, although not a racist himself, sadly recounts that history of evolutionary racism: “Biological arguments against racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of the theory of evolution.“2

Genesis provides a quite different historical perspective. We are all descended from Adam and Eve and Noah and his wife. Consequently, we are all cousins. Think what the world would be like if all people realized that!

1. The word “race” as applied to groups of people, is never used in the King James version of the Bible and is seldom used in the more modern translations. However, the two or three usages in these modern translations come from Hebrew and Greek words that actually mean “family” or “offspring,” not a variety or subspecies.

2. Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977), p. 127.


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A Revival Account: Asbury 1970 (DVD)

What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?

Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.

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The Abortion Matrix: Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death (DVD)

Download the free Study Guide!

Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?

This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.

Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.

The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?

As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).

Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.

Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!

Running Time: 195 minutes

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.

The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.

Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.

Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!

Running Time: 130 minutes

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - A Christian Manifesto (DVD)

That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!

Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.

Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.

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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

These any many other questions are answered in this documentary.

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The Abortion Matrix:
Defeating Child Sacrifice and the Culture of Death

is a 195-minute presentation that traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God has produced. You can order this series on DVD, read the complete script and view clips on-line...
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