How could Adam and Eve have been the origin of the different races?

By Kersley Fitzgerald

My son is a Thai boy living in Colorado Springs. He is among the 2.8% of the population of Colorado who are Asian. Most of his friends are white. A few are of African or Hispanic descent. It took him a long time to understand what "race" means, and I'm not sure he gets it yet. He has gone through spurts where he wants my eyes that change color or our lighter skin (his skin is beautiful, by the way, and we tell him so). But on the whole, he likes being Thai.

Strangely enough, his brown eyes, dark hair, unattached earlobes, and broad lips and nose exhibit more dominant genes than my appearance does. And when we lived in Hawaii, everyone thought he was a local, while they quickly guessed I was not. But where did it all come from? Curly hair, straight hair, tall, short, Asian/African/European/Whatever? How does the biblical creation timeline of 6000 account for all these races?

Genesis 2 gives details of the creation of Adam and Eve. Their descendants made up all the people of the world (Genesis 1:28). About 1650 years later, God flooded the world, destroying everyone who weren't on the Ark. When the waters receded, eight people emerged; six would repopulate the earth: three sons born to Noah and his wife, and their three wives. These six people are the origin of the races we have today (Genesis 6:18).

About 100 years after the Flood, a large group of people gathered together to build the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). Before they finished, God divided the people into tribes, gave each a language, and dispersed them across the Earth. Although the Bible doesn't say, it's possible that God altered the physical characteristics of each tribe to be better suited for the climate in their new home. But it's just as likely that inter-breeding in a small group led to micro-evolutionary changes that gave each tribe a distinctive physicality. That their genes were so close to perfect they were able to adapt more quickly than we would. Or some characteristics may have been caused by the natural resilience of a gene for the specific environment (survival of the fittest on a smaller scale).

Either way, "people group" or "ethnicity" is a better word than "race." In the 17th century, race was used to categorize people by visible physical characteristics. But race means nothing in the world of scientific classification. All people are part of the human race, as the analysis of the human genome proved, and our genetic variations are incredibly minor. Any two given people, even if they are related, have about a 0.2% difference in their genes; physical appearance typically attributed to race make up 0.012%. That means while my sister and I could have 20 different genes for every 10,000 identical ones, JT and I might have 21.

"images/140506-eye-color.jpg" width="358" style="float: left" hspace="10" height="300"> The thought that human beings took millions of years to evolve into different races is the core behind the most damaging forms of racism. For years it was taught that some races were less evolved than others and thus naturally suited for a lower "station" in life. Absolutely nowhere does the Bible condone this line of thinking. Instead, it says we are all descended from six people about 5000 years ago. Our origin, color, and physical appearance mean nothing to the Gospel (Romans 3:9).

I got an interesting question just today: How much of our physical variation is caused by sin and how much would have happened anyway? We really don't know. If the canopy theory is true and there was a protective layer above the earth before the Flood, it's likely that generations after the sin-caused Flood saw significant more genetic-based changes when the canopy was destroyed and radiation entered the atmosphere. But we really don't know. We don't know what the pre-Flood people looked like or if God changed how people looked after the Tower of Babel. It's impossible to say.

What I can say is that it doesn't matter a lick that JT is Asian and Dev and I are mostly white. He still has Dev's love of history, my mechanical bent, my sister's dark hair, my grandpa's ears, and brown eyes like my aunt. One gene out of 10,000 doesn't keep him from being our kid.

Image 1: Allele diagram of eye color
Image 2: Michael Pham; Creative Commons

TagsHistory-Apologetics  |  Science-Creation

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Published 5-6-2014