Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Bible And Interracial Marriage

Biblegems #146
Question: What does the Bible teach about interracial marriage?

Before going any further in answering this question I would strongly encourage the reader to see my earlier Bible Gems post, #75, “Origin Of The Races,” February 2012.

“Interracial” marriage is something of a misnomer, since we all belong to one race—the human race:
Acts 17:26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

So the real question has to do with inter-ethnic and inter-cultural marriage. Sometimes people have used God’s commands to the Israelites against intermarrying with other nations as a prohibition against interracial marriage in general. They will cite verses such as Numbers 25:1-3 as examples of idolatry when the Israelites have ignored this prohibition.

The truth is, however, that God’s commands against the people of Israel intermarrying with those of other nations are not about ethnicity or race, they are a prescription against believers in the one true God marrying nonbelievers. The same point is made in the New Testament:
         2Cor. 6:14-15 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Not only does God’s Word not condemn, instruct against or even discourage inter-ethnic marriage, but the day is coming when all the wonderful variety of the human race will be joined together in a beautiful display of skin tones, languages and cultures praising God and the Lamb around the throne of heaven:
         Rev. 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.

When people come to faith in Jesus Christ they also become part of a new race, a race where color barriers and language / culture barriers fall away:
         2Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
         1Pet. 1:23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

This is more than metaphor; we are new creatures in Christ, a new kind of human—regenerated and alive in Him. “When Christ is our all, and when Christ is in all, ethnic differences change from being barriers to become blessings. Even ‘barbarians’ and the most distant of them, ‘Scythians,’ are in the new ‘race’—the church. The head of this race is no longer Adam, but the ‘last Adam’ (1 Corinthians 15:45), Jesus Christ. God aims that in this new ‘race’ of humans all ethnic groups in the world will be included (Matthew 24:14). Inter-ethnic marriage in this new humanity is one manifestation and one means of Christ being all in all.”[i]

[i] —By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

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