A blog reader recently submitted the question, “Why did God create different skin colors?” I think it’s a great question, but my answer may surprise you. My answer is, God didn’t create different skin colors; He simply created the genetic possibility for different skin colors.
God created Adam. From Adam, God made Eve. In these two people existed all of the genetic coding necessary for the diversity we see in the human race. I suppose God loves variety, but God did not create a black man and a white man. God simply created one man, whose descendants have various similarities and differences based on the combinations of genes they inherited. Paul said, “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind” (Acts 17:26).
Most of us probably studied basic genetic science in high school and understand (to some degree) about dominant and recessive genes. Using basic deduction, it has been suggested Adam and Eve probably had a “middle-brown” skin color and carried both recessive genes (to produce white skin color) and dominant genes (to produce black skin color) [source]. Therefore, their children could have been black (having only the dominant genes), white (having only the recessive genes), and brown (having both the dominant and recessive genes). Within that first family, there was likely a wide variety of skin colors.
But of course, skin color is not the only genetic difference we see between members of the human race. Hair color, eye color, and even attached or detached earlobes are all traits determined by our genetic make up. In every family there is a wide range of genetic variations. A mother may have brown hair, her husband may have blond hair, and their children may have a variety of hair colors.
But skin color is a unique trait because man has determined that skin color is a major line of differentiation between different “kinds” of people (i.e. races). But in reality, skin color is a meaningless and arbitrary distinction. Why should skin color distinguish one man from another, any more than eye color or hair color does? Why should a family of redheads forbid their son from marrying a brunette? Why should a family of blue-eyed people look down on people with hazel colored eyes? We would think those distinction were ridiculous, wouldn’t we?
But, when it comes to skin color, we have allowed the exact same type of arbitrary line-drawing to occur. We have allowed ourselves to be categorized as a different kind of person because our skin color is different. We have created our own sub-cultures based on our skin color. Again, imagine how ridiculous it would be for people with attached earlobes to create their own culture and snub those with unattached earlobes. This is exactly what has occurred throughout human history. American slavery and Jim Crow laws, as well as countless genocides around the world, are examples of this type of horrible, ignorant, and sinful behavior.
But I’m afraid some, even in the church, are continuing to draw lines where they ought not to be drawn. Why, for instance, are there towns with a “white congregation” and a “black congregation”? Two groups of people, believing and practicing the same things, segregating themselves over skin color; such a thing should never be! Jesus died to destroy walls of separation (Ephesians 2:14); not to create them!
I realize there may be some who think I have no right to speak about such things because I am a “white man.” With all due respect, the color of my skin has no more to do with my thinking than my eye color or my hair color. Nor is my thinking the product of “white culture.” My thinking is based on the word of God. My thinking is based on faith. By faith, I have decided to “regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Corinthians 5:16). By faith, the only distinction I see is between those who are in Christ and those who are not.
Will you join me? Will you join me in tearing down the walls of racial division, especially in the church? Will you join me in refusing to classify different kinds of people, and simply see all people as having been created in the image of God?
I love you and God loves you,