In our world, “race” is a word that is used in reference to people but in the Bible, the word is not used this way. Scripture uses the word race to describe all human beings as being of one blood. God’s Word mentions families, tribes, peoples and nations when referencing race. Acts 17:26 says, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” From reading this, we know that all humans are descendants of Adam, the first man. First Corinthians 15:45 says, “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Jesus Christ is the last Adam. This means that all people are of the same race, the human race.
Did the idea of different races come from the Bible? While we are all people of the same race, some have twisted the Bible and made race a source of division. One example is the story of Cain and Abel, the first born sons of Adam and Eve. After Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and anger, God cursed Cain to wander around the world without direction. Writer Frankie Rodriguez shares how some have taught that this mark was a different skin color, the first racial designation, passed down through Cain. This is not what the text says, Rodriguez points out. “The Bible says the mark was a clear warning that ‘anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.’ The mark was not intended for others,” Rodriquez says.
It isn’t the Bible that created categories of race or racism. It was humans. Race as our world knows it is not from God’s design. It is a social construct. God’s desire was for all to become one with God as one human race. The Bible reveals the key to that unity – love.
Love is word we see often in the Bible. It’s an essential part of God’s nature. The Bible asks us “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35). The answer is given to us in verses 37-39, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, not height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:27-39). Nothing can keep us from God’s love. He loved us first.
The Bible is a great tool to assist us in loving better, in creating stronger relationships, including humanity, even in the face of brokenness. We know that God is love and with Him our faith in love can be restored, no matter what is dividing us. God’s love is a great starting place to understand and experience love better. Even in a world of darkness, there is hope with love.
“Agape” is word that means love, and represents the kind of love described throughout the Bible. In fact, Agape is the highest form of love, recognized as the love of God for man and of man for God. It is a form of Christian love represented in the Bible, and is related to the concern for the welfare of the one we love. This form of love is filled with purpose over emotion and impulse. This is the kind of purposeful love that we as Christians should aspire for in our relationships with others. However, this love can’t exist in our lives if it is not a part of our practice, or if we’ve lost belief in its existence.
The Bible says, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins” (First Peter 4:8). This is a powerful reflection of the way God loved us, as He gave His only son to cover our sins. This sort of love takes on sin. Jesus says to us. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Jesus died on a cross to take on our sin. We are called to love to conquer sin. There is no greater love than this.
If we want to love others better, we should think first about the depths of God’s love for us. Romans 8:39 says, “Neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse emphasizes the depths of Christ’s love for us, and the kind of relationship we can grow in with our Heavenly Father, when we accept His love. When we recognize the power of this verse, we know there is nothing that separates us from the love of God and nothing that separates us from loving those around us.
God created humankind in His image. He wouldn’t have created the world as He did if He didn’t think everyone was beautiful in it. While our skin tones and backgrounds may be different, there is nothing that makes one category superior to the other. No matter your shade, you are one of God’s children, a beautiful reflection of humanity. First Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” We are called to love all God’s people just as He loved us.