Human race

What is the origin of the races of humanity?

This is another one of those creation-related questions that starts with a false assumption. In this case, the assumption is there are different human races. But there is actually only one. Genetically speaking, all of humanity is one race. A race is a biological subspecies which has genetically transmittable anatomical traits that distinguish it from other races. Thanks to genetic research, we now know that humans across the globe are 99.8% genetically identical. Most of differing 0.2% has to do with gender and personalities. Physical differences involve only 0.012% of a person's genes. Even with the variations in skin color and facial features, humans have only one race.

People from different geographical areas do tend to have similar features. One of the most common hypotheses is that when God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), He changed the features of the different language groups to match their new geographical homes. Darker skin protects against skin cancer in particularly sunny areas, lighter skin absorbs more vitamin D from the weak sun of northern climates, etc.

It's more likely that Adam and Eve had the genetic potential to produce a variety of skin tones and features. Noah and his family apparently passed this along. At the Tower of Babel, God separated people into languages and nations (Genesis 10:32). As people with the same language drew away into relative isolation, recessive genes would have been reinforced within the particular populations. Features would have grown more exaggerated until specific characteristics became easily identifiable.

Whatever the cause, it is important to remember that God makes absolutely no distinction based on skin color or physical features (Galatians 3:28 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  

Colossians 3:11 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  

Romans 10:12-13 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

God Himself told Samuel, "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).

Why did God create humanity?

The Bible tells us that God created everything, including humanity, because it pleased Him to create for His glory 
(Romans 11:36 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Revelation 4:11 11  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

This means that it gave God pleasure and it brought Him glory to create man and woman. By doing so, He demonstrated His creative genius in making not only the universe, but its highest personal being, man (Genesis 1:26-28 
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

 Later, God reinforced this powerful truth through the prophet Isaiah, who said for Him, "bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made" (Isaiah 43:6-7). A New Testament statement affirms the same thing: "all things were created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:16).

God also wanted man to help Him care for the beautiful world that He had created as the place for these special people to live. "And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over [watch over, or care for] the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:28) "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:15 NIV).

Part of God's image of goodness and love that He put into man's heart gives us the senses by which to know God (Psalm 139:14). He gave us abilities with which to serve Him. God enjoyed creating a race of beings who are enough like Him that we have the capacities to give Him the pleasure of our company while we enjoy the pleasure of His company. He gave us the capacity to love Him and to worship Him. Jesus encouraged His disciples with this same truth when He said, "No longer do I call you servants … but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15).

When God made the universe, He did what pleased Himself, and since God is perfect in His goodness, His love, His righteousness, and His wisdom, we may be certain that God enjoyed creating mankind without flaw in all these ways. So, when He finished creating the cosmos, the world, and man, God could honestly say, "It [is] very good" (Genesis 1:31).

God did not create people as equals with Himself. He is still Creator, and we are creatures who utterly depend on Him for everything. "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). It always will be true that "the LORD is God; there is no other besides him" (Deuteronomy 4:35).

How amazing it is to be creatures who are "crowned with … [the] glory and honor" (Psalm 8:5) of bearing and multiplying God's great name and His likeness.

What does it mean that humanity is created in the image of God?

Genesis 1:26 declares that God created man in His image. Being made in the "image" or "likeness" of God means that He made us to resemble Him in some, but not all, ways. We do not resemble God in the sense of God being flesh and blood as we are, because God is spirit (John 4:24) and He therefore exists without a flesh-and-blood body. One way in which Adam's body did mirror God's is that it was created in perfect health, sinless and not subject to death. With the fall of mankind because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, that aspect of our likeness to God ended. Sin entered the world and along with it, sickness, disease and death.

The phrase "made in the image of God" refers not to the physical, but to the immaterial part of man. In the likeness of God, man has a soul/spirit that sets us apart from animals and makes us just a little lower than God's other glorious creation, the angels (Hebrews 2:7). It is our spiritual nature that enables us to commune with God and makes us like Him mentally, morally, and socially. We are not to misinterpret this to mean that we are like Him in the sense of being 'little gods' ourselves, but rather that we share some of His characteristics, although on a limited, finite scale.

We resemble God mentally in that man was created as a rational being with a certain amount of volition. We can reason and, within limits, we can choose, a reflection of God's intellect and freedom. We have the same creative impulses that God has, proclaiming our having been made in God's image anytime someone invents a new and better machine, writes a poem, creates a symphony, reasons through a problem, or performs any of millions of other mental calculations.

Morally, before the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, man was righteous and morally perfect. All of God's creation (mankind included) was deemed by Him to be "very good" (Genesis 1:31). Even though it is now tainted by sin, our "moral compass" is a vestige of that original state of sinlessness. Each time a culture of people writes laws to protect the innocent, and each time we are repulsed by evil, or attracted to good behavior, we reflect God's own moral nature which we share.

Socially, man's desire for communion with his fellow man reflects God's triune nature and His love. God made the first woman because He understood Adam's need for the company of another human being like himself. Being alone is not good for man (Genesis 2:18). All human relationships—marriage, friendship, Christian fellowship—demonstrate the fact that we are made in the likeness of God. Just as the three Persons of the trinity share perfect social communion with one another, so do we desire social interaction with others of our species.

When Adam made the choice to rebel against his Creator, the image of God within mankind was marred, and Adam passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God, but that image has been distorted by sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

But God has chosen to offer the hope of redemption to mankind, a redemption that is only available by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior from the sin that separates us from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through Christ, we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17), and by faith in Him, we once again become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and once again more accurately reflect His image.

How can I have a personal relationship with God?

In the beginning of human history, Adam and Eve enjoyed a personal relationship with God (Genesis 2). Yet because of sin this relationship was broken. All of humanity now has a sin nature and lives separated from God. Is there a way we can be forgiven of our sin and restored to personal relationship with God? Yes!

Many think of salvation, or accepting Jesus as Savior, as simply a way to get to heaven, which it is. However, salvation is so much more—it's how we can have a personal relationship with God.

We begin our relationship with God by receiving His Son Jesus, believing that He is God and that He paid the penalty for our sins to restore us to relationship with Him (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). We accept Jesus' death as a substitution for the penalty we should have paid for sin (Romans 3:23; 6:23; Hebrews 10:10) and His resurrection as victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 54-57). When we do, we receive eternal life (John 3:16). This eternal life is not just about quantity, but about quality. What we receive from Jesus is not just heaven, but true life (John 10:10). First Peter 1:8 speaks to the joy of salvation: "Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory."

Once we begin a relationship with God, we are called to cultivate it. God's Spirit lives within us (John 14:15-17) and teaches us truth (John 16:13), grows us in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, and peace for example; see Galatians 5:22-23), enables us to use our abilities to help others (Ephesians 2:10; 4:12-13), and causes us to live as salt and light in a world of darkness (Matthew 5:14-16). A personal relationship with God changes our lives now and for the rest of eternity.

We start a personal relationship with God through faith. We are dead in our sin and only Christ can save us and restore us to fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 2:13). Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." We do not earn our relationship with God; we receive it as a free gift.

Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." God offers forgiveness and relationship; we just have to accept it.

Are you willing to place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and receive this free gift of eternal life? If so, you can do it right now. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. However, the following prayer is one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior:

"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and invite me into personal relationship with you. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."