Creating Race (Genesis 1:24-31)
Who are we, and where did we come from? Are we here by chance? Did creation create itself? Are we basically good, ethically excusable people destined for either a happy eternity or blessed extinction? Or are we here by design, to reflect God’s image as fundamentally flawed, morally culpable people, destined for either worship in heaven or wrath in hell?
Day 6 marks the final activity of the creation week. This day is the climax and crown jewel of God’s creative work. More space is given to creating humans than anything else in the chapter. Whereas God has previously simply commanded things into existence, now, as He approaches His most excellent creation, He doesn’t command but consults within Himself (v. 26). The creation of man is a self-deliberating, intra-divine decision, a picture of divine thought in process.
There is only one distinction made among God’s image-bearers: male and female (v. 26). Men and women are given a unique dignity with God’s stamp on us constituting a declaration of ownership (Matt 22:20-21). He made us unique from all other creatures and blessed us by giving us the command and responsibility of multiplying and exercising dominion over the earth. The fact that we are created in His image is not only a matter of our character, but also of our activity, function, and responsibility on the earth. It applies to all aspects of life, since we are called to “reproduce” God’s activity in creation by subduing and filling the earth.
Unfortunately, many false religions have ignored the clear teaching of God’s word, drawing erroneous distinctions where God made none. The myth of race is nowhere found in the word of God, since He makes clear that “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). There is one blood that unites all mankind; there is one human race. Anything other than this teaching is evolutionary Darwinian nonsense. Any and all differences among people are external, matters of ethnicity. In fact, there is less than 0.2% of genetic difference between any two humans in the world, and only 0.012% difference among “racial” characteristics.
All people, everywhere, are created in Adam, as image bearers of the Most High God. But we live in a world affected by sin-stained separations. However, we are not all just Adam’s race—if you are a believer you are also in the Last Adam, Christ Jesus. The sin-stained separations can no longer dominate the way you function in the world. In Christ, God is restoring the unity that was there in the beginning, as all believers are indwelled by the Holy Spirit as a single people. In one sense, the fact that we all came from Adam levels the playing field of all humanity—far more, the cross itself!
- In what sense is humanity the climax of God’s creation? What does Genesis 1 tell us about the unique dignity given to mankind?
- How does our understanding of creation shape our understanding racism and ethnic differences? How does the gospel address the sin of racism?