One Human Family

(Edward Miller) #46

I go to an Independent Baptist Church that consists of blacks, Hispanics, and whites. I am Anglo-Saxon and Celtic and have nothing against other sub-groups of people. I only want them to come to Christ. I want to see all kinds one day in heaven, and I want no one to go to hell. That is why missions and missionaries are so very important.

(Thanh Chung) #47

Has anyone ever look at the demographic information of American Christians in Pew Research? I just find it interesting that Evangelical Protestants (76% white) and historically black Protestants both have a majority that believe in the importance of literal interpretation of the Bible (55% for Evangelical Protestants and 59% for black Protestants). Yet, these two groups of Protestant Christians in America seem have divergent political views.

It seems to me that our long history of racism in America has created different life experiences between white Evangelical Protestants and black Protestants, especially in the way racism impacts the lives of black Americans, making them see the world in different ways.

I am a Evangelical of Vietnamese background. My Evangelical Vietnamese church is conservative and ethnically homogeneous, although my church have some white members and visitors. Racism is usually not talked about in my church, and I think part of the reason is that East Asians are generally treated better because they are seen as the “model minority”. I know that some East Asian Americans adopt this belief and perceived themselves to be better than other minorities (my dad kind of imbibed this view, and I once got into an argument with him). I imagine a lot of the older folks in my church have similar views to my dad, but the younger folks are somewhat more socially conscious.

(sy_garte) #48

The latest issue of the American Scientific Affiliation online magazine God and Nature is devoted to this topic of race, from a scientific and sociological point of view. Some of the articles might be of interest to people here.

(Wm Dawit Wallace) #49

Would you deny that the Irish and Finns tend to be more susceptible to gluten sensitivities than other European descent people? Or that Africans get less skin cancer than whites living say in Ethiopia? Or that Africans get more sickle cell anemia?
Race and ethnicity are often shortcuts for referring to culture and the language spoken by that culture, otherwise the concept of race and ethnicity has little usefulness and meaning. Cultural and linguistic differences however, make a lot of difference. Dawit


Indeed. It would be like having separate drinking fountains for type A and type B blood types. Of course, the type O people would be put in concentration camps.

(Ronald Myers) #51

I agree with the end point that Dr Haarsma and the theology appears to be spot on. However I do not see any comment that disconnects our evolutionary origins from all people in the image of God/all people are valuable in the present time. Advocates of special creation or Adam and Eve as architypes have this point covered but this seems to be a vague point in a purely evolutionary provenance of mankind.

On a related affirming note, Moses divorced his first wife Zipporah and married a Cushite woman, see Numbers chapter 12. Miriam and Aaron complained about it but Moses was affirmed to be the prophet and by implication of not being corrected by God, affirmed that marrying a Cushite was acceptable. That Cushites were a different ethnicity is obvious and, if commentators are accurate, this was an interracial marriage.

There is also the Ethiopian eunuch who was among the first non-Judean converts to Christianity. I will leave his prior status as a Jew or seeker for another discussion.

(Christy Hemphill) #52

I don’t see the “image of God” as a problem if you don’t understand it as something intrinsic to individuals because of their capacities, rationality, moral awareness, etc. If the image of God is something biologically or spiritually intrinsic, then the image of God is something creatures evolved and God merely recognized. I don’t think that fits the Scriptural view, where the image of God is a calling and a vocation that God gives to humans and humans must respond to. (The reason they can respond to the calling is of course related to their capacities, rationality, and moral awareness, but God was in no way required to make humans his image bearers just because they arrived at certain capabilities. People could have been capable of bearing God’s image long before they were actually designated by God as image bearers.) If the image of God is a calling, not a development, it becomes much less important to designate a point in time or a specific couple who were the first. The important thing is that the calling has been issued and we are all now accountable to respond.

(Ronald Myers) #53

A calling certainly divides human history into pre-call intervention by God l and now in a way that separates evolutionary development rules and what we are supposed to be now. I will need to think about this some. It certainly cannot be rejected immediately as many ideas I see can be.

If there is a calling then there is a point in time that the call was issued and perhaps even a first pair. The information needed to date, much less locate said pair is lost . The key is as you say, we are on the called side. This separates us from the behaviors seen in, for example, chimpanzees where only the dominant males sire offspring and dominant females have more success in raising them

(Edward Miller) #54

I believe that the Image of God is our spiritual nature. I accept the view which would state that our human spirits and personalities reflect some of the abilities of God. The only Person of the Trinity that has a resurrected human body is Jesus. I realize that you know this. God bless you in your ministry. Oh, Sy’s article is really interesting.

(Edward Miller) #55

You are a brilliant man of God, Sy. The article about " Genetics and Theology of Race is excellent. Believe it or not, I am related to practically every president of the US. I also descend from the Kings of England, Wales, and Scotland. Through his mother, President Obama would be a distant cousin, and I am a European American. One night, I was studying a chart of my family and found Dr. M.L. King. I also have a relative of British descent who cannot identify one part of her ancestry. Where did they come from? No idea. The only president of the US to whom I am not related is Martin Van Buren. When I studied in Germany in 1974, I had a girl friend who was a dark German. Isn’t life interesting? God bless you. I hope to meet you in heaven one day. You name is Garte and looks German to me. In any case, haben Sie einen schoenen Tag, und arbeiten Sie noch weiter.

(Ronald Myers) #56

If you think human race works like cocker spaniels and German sheherds, there’s nothing more to be said. Human races are social constructs.

Dog breeds, as we experience them, are also canine social constructs imposed by the breeders These dogs and bitches are segregated, at least while in heat, so that the group of genotypes deemed to be that breed are expressed in the puppies. There is a human social construct as well: the association of dog breeders.

Dog breeds can also arise in geographical isolation without human intervention for example Alaskan Malmutes. Again there is segregation but of a different type.

Human races work genetically in the same way, it requires segregation, either socially imposed, self imposed or geographically imposed. The real count of races may be higher than the three or four we commonly consider.

(Ronald Myers) #57

I used the wrong reply button. This was for a topic a few paragraphs up

(sy_garte) #58

I try to be a man of God, and I’m glad you liked the article, but the brilliant part is somewhat exaggerated. But thanks for the compliment. There is in fact a river in Germany called the Garte, and its likely I have at least some German ancestry (although I never learned any German). One story is that the original family name was Hecht, which became Garte due to various spelling adjustments and errors when ancestors moved from Germany to Russia and then the US. So, like every other European American, I am sure I am related to Germans, Russians, Italians etc. and of course, to you as well.

(Edward Miller) #59

I would be proud to be related to you. I don’t know if you know it, but Hecht means Pike. If you are at a college in Tidewater, Virginia, let me know. Perhaps I could hear a good lecture. Your fellow scholar and brother in Christ.

(Christy Hemphill) #60

I think you are grossly exaggerating the similarities. There is nothing about human coupling/marriage that resembles breeding for desired traits, except in extreme universally condemned circumstances like the Nazi Germany Lebensborn or antebellum slave owners forcing their strongest and best slaves to reproduce with each other.

(Brad Kramer) split this topic #61

8 posts were split to a new topic: Thoughts about BioLogos

(Ronald Myers) #62

The genetics are the same in all sexually reproducing organisms Under different names it occurs in plants and animals, wild and domestic

Dog breeding as we see it in America is breeding for preferred traits or to preserve perceived to be historic traits. Breeds of any species can also occur in isolation with no intent to enhance any particular feature.

The examples you provide are identical in form to dog breeding as it is seen with AKC sanctioned breed clubs and is properly condemned when applied to people. People also segregate and reproduce on separated lines due to social and geographical factors of which geographical separation is the most benign. Generally the separators are religious or ethnicity often with accompanying language barriers. The point is that such differences exist whether or not we think they should.

What we make of it is more important. Of all people , the medical doctors should be most aware of it and then only for purposes of healing. In Christ , all who come are the same. In evangelism, the Apostle Paul was a Greek to the Greeks and Jew to the Jews with intent to bring both to Christ, where it would not matter anymore.

(Steve Schaffner) #63

You’re missing two points here. One is that the phenotypic differences between dog breeds are far greater than the differences between any two groups of humans, since dogs have been subject to much stronger selection for differing traits. The other is that the human concept of “breed” correlates very well with real, genetically identifiable populations. The human concept of “race” correlates quite poorly with real, genetically identifiable populations.

(Christy Hemphill) #64

This just isn’t the standard use of breed in biology though, where breeds are the result of breeding. To breed a plant or animal means to propagate a group under controlled conditions in order to select for certain traits. No one breeds humans, so we need a different word to properly talk about groups that are voluntarily segregated by ethnicity, culture, geography or other isolating factors. We have one: “ethnic groups” or “people groups” (that’s the favorite one in my field). In missions we would never talk about “unreached human breeds.”

(Ronald Myers) #65

Clearly the term race is used for people. The idea is the same. This a discussion started when somebody claimed that the idea of race in people was entirely different than breeds in dogs when in fact the genetics and causes for genetic differentiation are same are the same.

One is that the phenotypic differences between dog breeds are far greater than the differences between any two groups of humans, since dogs have been subject to much stronger selection for differing traits.

Quite true, for dogs, in healthy body mass alone there is at least a factor of 30 between extremes but I was pointing out qualitative similarities not quantitative similarity.

The human concept of “race” correlates quite poorly with real, genetically identifiable populations.

The idea of race is too persistent over many cultures on both sides of perceived status divides to dismiss it. Existent, yes, inexact yes, matters to Jesus, no.

I think the best strategy in all of this is to acknowledge the existence of races and the to say race does not in any significant way matter to Christians. Hence, we will not spend any time classifying people by race and will seek to overcome any barriers the concept of race, real and mistaken, produce. After all, we are interested in the soul, not the genes.

In this way we acknowledge the reality of race we retain credibility as truth tellers which will help us when we talk of matters of faith. Genetics and genetic differentiation, to use a less loaded if bulky term, is established and well known science, we deny it to our detriment. To see the detriment of denying well established science one need only look at the Young Earth Creationist issues.