America has long been the greatest example of an ethnic “melting pot” in the world. Yet many nations around the world are seeing an increase in ethnic variation. What should the Christian’s response be to the inevitable conflicts that arise?
The typical response is to see my culture’s way of doing things as the right way. Your way is strange or silly at best, dangerous or despicable at worst. I tend to categorize you before I know you. You’re just like all the rest of your ethnicity, or so I think. I tend to tolerate you if you don’t make my life uncomfortable or in any way alter my culture. But as usual, my normal way of responding to others is not the right way. What should I do?
Our first response must be to turn to the Scriptures. If we are Christians worthy of the Name then our attitudes and actions must be governed by God’s standards and not those of our parents or our society. The place to begin in the Scriptures is at the beginning. As Paul said, “From one man he made every nation of men” (Acts 17:26). God has much to say about race relations.
When a Biblical creationist looks at the diverse physical characteristics present in mankind today, he is compelled to recognize that every one of these characteristics must have been present in the genetic structure of our first father, Adam. Adam, as the father of our race, carried within him the potential for every facial feature, skin color, bone structure, hair color and type. God’s love of variety is not without precedent in the animal and flower world.
How did the variations become so distinct? The most likely answer is that the incident at the tower of Babel laid the foundation for such segregation of characteristics. When God confused the languages, those who understood each other naturally banded together. A process of continual inter-breeding between same language speakers lead to the dominance of certain traits throughout a “nation.”
To suggest that one of these inter-breedings is better than another is to deny the wisdom of God in creating such possible variations and is an arbitrary and biased decision. There is nothing inherently bad about inherited traits. Adam would undoubtedly recognize all such peoples as his children.
More importantly, as God looks at each and every nation that He has created, each with their own unique characteristics, He must see each as a beautiful reflection of how He made humans. Just as there are multitudes of flowers with various characteristics, and yet each is beautiful, so each kind of human is beautiful in God’s eyes and should be in ours, as well.
It is apparent from the situation surrounding the building of the Tower of Babel that God was creating a solution to a problem. The unity of the culture at the time made possible the unity of wrong thinking and an emboldening of a rebellious heart to structure a society that felt it could control God. The diversity of languages that God “struck” humans with made such unity impossible.
This doesn’t mean that God wants us to remain at enmity with other nations. On the contrary, the purpose of Christ’s death was to be a sacrifice that united both Jews and Gentiles together in one salvation (Ephesians 2:11-22). The “normal” antipathy between Jews and all other nations should cease, as should the antipathy between all Gentile nations.
God is calling us to “become all things to all men that by all means we might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). We are to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). We cannot do that if we don’t love all nations, all peoples, all cultures. That is a challenge we can only succeed at with help from the loving Spirit of God who has poured out God’s love in our hearts (Romans 5:5).