Yesterday having been D-Day, I am reminded of the fact that a significant driving force behind the bid for world domination which Germany undertook with Hitler and the Nazis at the helm was the vain idea that cleansing the human race of certain undesirables would save humanity from disease, criminality, poverty, and dysfunction. Being among the most advanced nations in the world around that time from an industrial, scientific, and academic perspective, too many Germans built themselves up in their own minds into being the “Master Race” which ought to serve as both the standard and judge of all other tribes and people groups. They would see if the members of other nations were life worthy of life, and proceed accordingly.
It is a curious thing to my mind that anyone, either by scientistic rationalizations, or feats of mental gymnastics attempting to leverage the Biblical text, could conclude that one “race” of humans is inherently superior or else inferior to the rest. There are admirable and reprehensible qualities to every portion of humanity by virtue of twin facts – one, that we were created in the image of Almighty God; two, that we all alike are born in sin with a sinful nature. Yet some nevertheless hold to the view that some races are somehow unfallen and sinless, while all others are by degrees either salvageable or else irredeemable.
I turn my attention to the topic of miscegenation, or “interracial marriage” as it is sometimes known. Having been asked recently to write an essay for a friend on the subject, and working as-late on a book about marriage more generally, what are we to make of complaints and objections to men and women of different ethnos saying vows and making families?
For one thing, I should like to share that my own research has shown me that some of my earliest ancestors in the New World on my great-grandmother Jesse Ranew’s side – maiden name Blalock – took Indian women for wives a long time ago.
A certain Thomas Blalock (1581-1660), for one, is listed as a survivor of “The Starving Time” in John Smith’s ‘Historie of Virginia’ (1624). He married a Nassawadox Indian woman named Rachel Cates in 1627 and had 5 children with her. His great-grandson Millington also married a Chowanoke Indian woman named Elizabeth Mourning Green in 1741 and had 11 children with her. Both marriages took place before the 13 colonies declared Independence to become the United States of America.
Yet the funny thing about such discoveries is how at a certain point, after so many generations, one is surprised to make them. And I think the reason one is surprised sometimes to find racial diversity in their family tree is for one simple fact: we’re all family.
The Bible teaches that all men descend from the one man, Adam. And even from there, after considering the Flood, we all descend from another man, Noah. The fact that the family tree branched out from there to fill the Earth was not accidental or erroneous, but by God’s design. Or why else did He say, “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it”?
For my part, I think what we find today was the big idea and overarching goal. We are doing it and have done it to a great extent. So then, as I reason, it matters not at all whether my sons and daughter someday marry the descendants of other tribes, so long as all the above are in the second Adam – that is, Jesus.
One Race, Many Tribes
The unifying principle in the Biblical text is that we are actually one race, not many. But within the one human race there are many tribes and nations. And among those many tribes and nations, not all put their hope in the God of the Bible. But then that is true also within the various races as well.
Not everyone who hails from Scots or Swiss ancestry like I do is a Christian, for instance. And just so, neither is it the case that everyone from the Indian sub-continent is a Hindu. Nor is everyone from Arabia a Muslim. Nor is every Chinese man and woman a believer in either Buddha or Confucius or Communism.
The big question to my mind, then, is who believes in God. Who is in Christ? That is the only distinction that ultimately will cure us in the end of all the ills which the most aggressive eugenicists and racists have said they were wanting to solve.
Besides that, it is fair to ask more practical questions. Does a potential marrying pair speak the same language? Will they be able to communicate? And by that I don’t just mean whether the man and woman share alike English as their native tongue. But culturally, will they be able to converse and live peaceably together?
Yet even here, if Christ is the head and they both are submitted to him, and if the wife submits to her husband, there shouldn’t be any challenge which is insurmountable, or which patience and kindness and humility cannot overcome.
Again, considering my own ancestors on my mother’s mother’s side – the Scottish clan chiefs and barons and kings of my MacFarland ancestors – I recently bought an anthology of Scottish poetry when my own wife and I were on our way home from a short getaway to Idaho Springs.
From ‘The Poetry of Scotland – Gaelic, Scots and English’ – edited and introduced by Roderick Watson – consider this preserved bit of verse written by John Barbour (1320?-1395).
“Quehen Alexander the king wes deid
That Scotland haid to steyr and leid,
The land sex yer and mayr perfay
Lay desolat aftyr hys day
Till that the barnage at the last
Assemblyt thaim and fayndyt fast
To cheys a king thar land to ster
That off auncestry cummyn wer
Off kingis that aucht that reawt
And mayst had rycht thair king to be.”from: The Bruce, Book I – A Preface, 1375
Read it slowly. With a little help from Google, you may discern its meaning. But my point in bringing it up is this, that I do not speak this way except when reading this poetry or being facetious. But that just goes to show that the language has evolved over time, and that my ancestors at a certain point came to America. And now we are Americans rather than Swiss or Scotsmen.
That is to say too that I am not 100% Scots. According to the latest estimates based on a DNA test I took a few years back, I’m actually only 17% Scots. Meanwhile, I’m 64% English and Northwestern European, 8% Welsh, 7% Germanic, and 4% Irish.
But that is to say too, setting aside percentages, there is plenty enough intermixing of tribes and nations in me and my wife and our children as it is. And yet we all and you reading this are one race, and entirely human, and all alike descended from Adam, and created in the image of Almighty God. I dare say that if that is good enough for God, it is plenty good enough for me.
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