Anti-kinists often claim that racial awareness derives from the inherently atheistic theory of evolution set forth by Charles Darwin in his book, On the Origin of Species. They point out that the full title of his work was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. They further maintain that Darwinism laid the basis for the “master race” ideology of Nazi Germany with its emphasis on an amoral struggle for survival. Thus they associate racial consciousness with atheism and the philosophy that might makes right.
Biblical Christianity, they continue, is entirely different, in that it affirms a benevolent God who created all human beings in His image and taught them to love and respect one another. Therefore, they conclude, all people are essentially the same, and race is a meaningless concept. Some anti-kinists even seem to believe that people in general, and Christians in particular, never even thought of race until the advent of Darwin.
To be sure there is truth in what the anti-kinist Christians say, but by no means the full truth, and indeed their position has significant error. Yes, the Bible speaks of common humanity and spiritual unity in Christ, but nowhere does it suggest that God ignores all distinctions of lineage, ethnicity, and race. Indeed, the Bible reveals that God is the author of distinct peoples (Deut. 32:8). Most specifically He blessed a chosen people, the Israelites, and directed them to war against the tribes of Canaan.
In the New Testament, Paul affirms that God divided “nations” so that they would seek after Him (Acts 17:26-27). The word “nation,” derived from Latin, means having a common lineage. It, in turn, came from the Greek word “ethnos,” from which we derive our English word “ethnic.” Definitions of ethnos include the concept of race.1 As our word “ethnic” today, it also expresses a broader meaning than simple biological race. Among other characteristics are religion, culture, customs, and shared history. Even so, the biological similarity of race, usually, is an essential characteristic underlying all the others. Try as we may, it’s difficult to imagine a black Irishman or a white Chinese.
Given the divine origin of nationhood, it is reasonable to conclude that biological race is a creation of God to serve His purposes. Indeed, the only other possible option is to assume that it is the outcome of blind chance, which is another way of describing atheistic evolution.
Thus it hardly would be sinful or immoral to be conscious of race as a part of God’s created order and to give it significance and legitimacy. Of course it is possible to conceive of race in a sinful way, such as racial idolatry. But the same possibility applies to any other entity of the created order. Man’s perversions of God’s intentions in no way detract from those intentions.
Thus the anti-kinists must struggle with logic to maintain that race has noting to do with God and everything to do with evolution. Indeed, it is patently clear from history that Christians recognized race and gave it significance long before Darwin. One example was the theory that black people descended from Ham and thereby derived the status of servants. Few believe this today, but it was a widespread belief.
One way anti-kinists try to maintain the link between evolution and race, it seems, is to maintain that natural selection, the essential mechanism of evolution, creates changes within species, but does not change one species into another. Specifically with human beings, they believe that Adam possessed all the genetic potential of all existing races today. As his descendants spread out over the globe, climate and other factors naturally selected for different racial characteristics in different areas. These writers seem to suggest that these characteristics came about by chance alone.
Is this likely or possible? Those who disagree argue that many of the genes associated with Caucasians, for example, are recessive, and it is not likely that they would have come out on top in random selection. To illustrate, one writer notes that while white buffalo (bison) occasionally appeared on the U.S. prairies, their recessive genes never allowed any herds of them to form.2
In any case, the anti-kinists use this argument of natural selection within a species to bolster their general view that race is an accident and not particularly important. Actually, however, it would seem quite the opposite. If the climate and other factors of a geographic area so strongly selected for a particular race, it follows that all people of that type should consider moving to, or remaining in, such areas where they are in fact best adapted to live. The logic of the anti-kinists would tend to support racial separation!
If, however, they want to claim that the selection was not purely natural, thus allowing for greater adaptability of people to live in different places, they must come to grips, once more, with the supernatural origin of the different races. Indeed, anti-kinists never really had any other option. While it is possible that God worked through natural means to create the races, they were still His design as He divided the nations. Once again, to deny this action of providence in dividing mankind is to embrace the naturalism and atheism of the Darwinists.
What then about the anti-kinist charge associating racial consciousness with Nazism? Certainly it is true that the Nazis based many of their beliefs on Darwin. But for that matter, all the secular advocates of racial denial—liberals, humanists, communists—are staunch supporters of Darwin as well. And in truth, these leftists are more consistent than Nazis in basing their worldviews on evolution.
With evolution, one race may be superior to another, a thought appealing to National Socialists. But they might reflect that such a distinction only lasts for a relative instant in the relentless march of time. Properly understood, evolution means endless flux. Nothing is fixed or permanent; races and perhaps genders too will change, and the human race itself may evolve into something as far from us as we are from bacteria.
This is a view most congenial to the humanist left. They rebel against any permanent and—most particularly—God-ordained standards. They aim to ride the flux, and, as much as possible, guide it in god-like fashion themselves. Races and genders won’t evolve away anytime soon, but why have any respect for them? Indeed, disrespect for these attributes, as supposed creations of God, is all the more appealing to humanist rebels.
God is the great I AM, with eternal and unchanging characteristics, and His created order reflects this character. Race, as a providential facet of that order, has reality and importance that evolution can never justify nor sustain.
- The Free Dictionary, “ethnos”: “people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture” ↩
- Blanchard, Lawrence. Did All Races Come from Adam?, New Covenant Bible Church, Port Orchard, Washington. While this author disagrees with Blanchard’s polygenism, he makes a strong case that natural selection alone can’t account for the different races. (See Chapter 5.) ↩