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How do you respond to the assertion that race is a social construct?

Thank you for your question. It may surprise you, but this is one area where I think Christians can agree with some of the statements being made by woke progressives. Although they might want to say that many other issues (class, gender, etc.). are examples of social constructs, we could agree that race is an example.

In my booklet on “A Biblical Point of View on Racism,” I give many examples of why the term “race” is imprecise. First, the Bible only talks of one race: the human race. Superficial differences in skin color, hair color, hair texture, or eye shape may provide physiological differences between people groups, but the Bible does not provide any justification for treating people differently simply because of these physical differences.

The Bible teaches that God has made “from one blood every nation of men” (Acts 17:26). Here, Paul taught the Athenians that they came from the same source in the creation as everyone else. If you have ever watched people at an international airport, you can conclude that human beings come in so many shapes, sizes, and colors. Yet all these differences go back to the parents of the human race (Genesis 1-3, 1 Corinthians 15).

Science has also shown us that “race” is not a precise term. Research on the human genome project shows us that such racial characteristics (such as skin color) are insignificant genetically. People of every race can interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

One study of human genetic material of different races concluded that the DNA of any two people in the world would differ by just 2/10ths of one percent. And of this variation, only six percent can be linked to racial categories. These “racial differences” are trivial when you consider there are 3 billion base pairs of human DNA.

Another reason the term “race” also lacks precision is because of interracial marriage, which is blurring distinctions even more. Consider one well-known athlete: Tiger Woods. His heritage is Thai, black, white, Chinese, and Native American.

As you can see, the term “race” is not very precise and thus I think qualifies as a social construct.

Kerby Anderson

Posted June 2024
© 2024 Probe Ministries

Kerby Anderson is president of Probe Ministries International. He holds masters degrees from Yale University (science) and from Georgetown University (government). He is the author of several books, including Christian Ethics in Plain Language, Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope and Making the Most of Your Money in Tough Times. His new series with Harvest House Publishers includes: A Biblical Point of View on Islam, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality, A Biblical Point of View on Intelligent Design and A Biblical Point of View on Spiritual Warfare. He is the host of "Point of View" (USA Radio Network) heard on 360 radio outlets nationwide as well as on the Internet (www.pointofview.net) and shortwave. He is also a regular guest on "Prime Time America" (Moody Broadcasting Network) and "Fire Away" (American Family Radio). He produces a daily syndicated radio commentary and writes editorials that have appeared in papers such as the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post.

 

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