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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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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

Special Two-Disc Set!

After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.

Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.

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Frank Schaeffer Will You Please Shut Up! (Book)

High Quality Paperback — 200 pages

A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism

Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner

The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.

Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.

Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.

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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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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

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