According to the Bible, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-11). But today we have many different groups, often called “races,” with what seem to be greatly differing features. The most obvious of these is skin color. Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible’s record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years. However, as we shall see, this does not follow from the biological evidence.
The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah’s family had one language and by living in one place were disobeying God’s command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1, 11:4). God confused their language, causing a break-up of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the earth (Genesis 11:8-9). Modern genetics show how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in skin color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is good evidence that the various people groups we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.1
What is a “race”?
There is really only one race—the human race. The Bible teaches us that God has “made of one blood all nations of men” (Acts 17:26). Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings, not by skin color or physical appearance. Clearly, though, there are groups of people who have certain features (e.g., skin color) in common, which distinguish them from other groups. We prefer to call these “people groups” rather than “races,” to avoid the evolutionary connotations associated with the word “race.”
All peoples can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. This shows that the biological differences between the “races” are not very great. In fact, the DNA differences are trivial. The DNA of any two people in the world would typically differ by just 0.2 percent.2 Of this, only 6 percent can be linked to racial categories; the rest is “within race” variation….
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