Interracial Marriage and Scripture
Are God’s Laws Regarding Marriage in Force Today?
There seems to be confusion as to what God says concerning the marriages of His people. The issue for Christians is dual: should I marry a person who is also a Christian, and should that person be of the same race as I am? The answers to both questions are shockingly easy to answer, as the Bible will reveal in this short study.
Shall I Marry Someone in the Faith?
The answer to this question is, of course, in the affirmative, for I Corinthians 7:39 and !! Corinthians 6:14 state the following:
“A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.”
“Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion has light with darkness?”
The logic behind a Christian marrying a Christian is obvious: the guiding forces within their spiritual lives will be the same, for God is not divided. Having the same principles to live by removes an incredible amount of conflict in living day by day, and certainly adds greatly to the shared adventures in life when both husband and wife are on the same pathway. When a Christian is married to a non-Christian, differences in approaches to the myriad of problems that come upon a person daily will be multiplied. Even when believers are married there can be differences, even to the point of separation, but Paul gave instructions for these cases in I Corinthians 7:10-11. We all know that God hates divorce (Matthew 19:8-9), and intended life together to be forever.
God Made the Races of Man
It should at once be apparent that, if God made the races of men, and made them for good, then He desires they should remain intact, not mingled. A race is defined as “Any of the three primary divisions of mankind, distinguished especially by the color of skin” (i.e., white, black, and yellow). Race can also mean “Any geographical, national, or tribal ethnic grouping”. The latter would include subdivisions of the three major races of Negroid, Caucasian, and Mongoloid.
We have preserved in Scripture the “Table of Nations”, in Genesis 10. That chapter lists 70 nations that descended from Adam’s three sons, and typically the descendants of Shem are identified as Caucasians, the progeny of Ham are identified as Negroids, and those coming from Japeth are thought of as Mongoloids. The “red men”, sons of Tiras, came from Japeth.
We know God made these people. If He did, does it make sense that they should intermingle and intermarry, making, say, a chocolate brown from a black and white mixture? Is that God’s intent? That makes no sense. Paul, in addition, states in Acts 17:26 that boundaries are to exist between races.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.”
If he set “bounds of their habitation”, does this mean that people within those bounds should go outside of those bounds to find a mate? No, God’s intent is that “families, grown big”, [the races], should marry within their bounds, not outside of them. That leads directly to the next point.
Noah and the Nephalim
At the time of the great Flood in Noah’s day, It is recorded in Genesis 6:9 that “… Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” At this time in history, there were Nephalim on the earth, descendants of the sons of God who had cohabited with women and produced children. These were children great in stature, like Goliath, and great to do evil, also typical of Goliath and others of the giants. Apparently all of the people at Noah’s time, were polluted with the genes of these wicked descendants of the rebellious sons of God, with the exception of Noah.
Noah, being “perfect in his generations”, had no cross-breeding with Nephalim genes in his lineage back to Seth. For that reason, he and his sons and their wives were chosen to carry mankind through the Flood. All of the Nephalim-tainted people on earth died in the Flood.
Was genetic purity important in Noah’s day? It meant the difference between survival and death, between being right with God and having a scornful, ungodly attitude that went along with the Nephalim genes (see I Samuel 17). God looked at genetic purity, alongside righteous character when He planned for the repopulation of the earth.
Marriage Instructions of Israel
When Yahweh presented the laws, commandments, statutes, and judgments to Israel, He did so for good reasons. They were for the well-being of the people, that they might prosper and grow mightily, in health and strength, as a model nation to the world.
Israelites were not to take mates from the tribes of the Canaanites around them when they entered into the Promised Land, for two major reasons:
1. These mates would turn Israel away from the worship of the one true God, to the worship of pagan and abominable gods of stone and metal, of Baal and Ashteroth, and to the practice of the horrible evils that went along with these abominations, contrary to God’s way of life.
2. Israel’s seed would become corrupted with the epigenetic code that would pass the evil behavior of these sinful Canaanite cultures on to God’s nation.
God would have neither of these consequences to mislead His people. His choosing of Israel as His people was not because the Canaanites — or any other nation — were inherently inferior to the Israelites. God chose Israel because of Abraham’s faithfulness, to form the nucleus of a faithful, just culture that ultimately would spread worldwide and envelope all nations. Genetic purity was important in carrying out His plans.
Not only was it important to maintain a separation from outside nations, but Israel was told to marry within its own tribes. One reason for this was to prevent the transfer of ownership of land from one tribe to another so that the tribal inheritance of the people would remain intact.
There was a certain number of outsiders who came into the nation and assimilated with Israel. God made provisions for them to be amalgamated, including being circumcised and accepting the one true God of Israel (Genesis 17:10-14; Exodus 12:48-49). This requirement was exemplified by the circumcision of the Shechemites in Jacob’s time (Genesis 34:14-17), and instructions given to the tribes later on (Joshua 5:2-9). Bringing in small numbers of outsiders did not disturb God’s culture implanted within the nation, and certainly any marriage of a single male or female outsider to a son or daughter of Israel would need to meet the approval of the Israelite parents.
The specific examples of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob show clearly the intent of God regarding marriage. When Abraham’s only son Isaac was ready to marry, he told his servant Eleazar, in Genesis 24:2-4,
“So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, ‘Please, put your hand under my thigh, and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.’”
The wife was to be of Abraham’s own kindred, from his own country. In other words, he was to obtain a wife having very similar genetics and background as his own. Eleazar was commanded to not find a wife from the Canaanite tribes of the surrounding people. Notice that Abraham had Eleazar put his hand under Abraham’s thigh (Hebrew yarek). That word is a euphemism for “generative parts”, in other words Abraham’s testicles. Testicles manufacture sperm, which fertilize the female egg and carries with it the next generation’s genetic code. Why these reproductive organs? This was a clear display of maintaining the genetic linkage of himself to the mate his servant would locate for Isaac. Maintaining racial integrity was an idea placed into Abraham’s mind by the Creator towards the child of promise. We are happy that Rebekah was located in Mesopotamia and brought to Isaac.
Isaac, in turn, had a set of male twins, one hairy and red named Esau, and the other smooth-skinned named Jacob. We know well the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright, and the great animosity Esau had for his brother as a result.
We also know well the choice of Esau for mates: Judith and Bashemath, both Hittites (Genesis 26:34). These were both a “grief of mind [bitterness of spirit] unto Isaac and Rebekah.” Later, he took a third wife named Mahalath from Ishmael (Genesis 28:9), a descendant of Abraham through his first [illegtimate] son, and mostly Egyptian by heritage. Typical of Esau’s banal character, he cared little about what his parents thought of his choices—much less God’s directives—even when it came to the highly critical matter of marriage.
Isaac directly and strongly commanded his son Jacob as follows (Genesis 28:1-4).
“Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: ‘You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. May God almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you. That you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to Abraham.’”
Jacob obeyed his father — which Isaac predicted would lead to great blessings for himself and for his descendants — and headed off to Padan-aram in search of a wife (Genesis 28:7). Jacob soon met his wife-to-be and worked many years for her, her sister (by default), and their two handmaids. He was blessed with 12 sons and other children, besides great wealth in flocks and herds.
Once again, the purity of the genetics, and its concurrent culture, were preserved for the chosen line of Israel on down through the tribes of Israel. Esau, on the other hand, was accursed because of his attempts to destroy Israel, and Edom was predicted to lose its identity as a nation: see the book of Obadiah. The conflict between Esau and Jacob continues even today in the tension between the Anglo-Saxons and the Khazarian Jews, who are descendants of Esau, trying to reclaim the birthright they think is rightfully theirs.
Family Genetics Trumps Idol-Worship
Furthermore, we must remember that the house of Bethuel in Padan Aram, where Abraham and Isaac sought wives for their sons in Ur of the Chaldees, the “homeland” of the family where the family had lived for at least a few generations, was a family of idol worshippers! They were not believers in the One true God. We know that Rachel took with her, when Jacob left Laban on his journey back to Canaan, some of the family idols (Genesis 31:30-34). Laban was an idol-worshipping man, as his family also was, apparently, Bethuel included. Apparently only Abram was called out by God from that family.
So, there were Abraham, and then Isaac his son, in Canaan among idol worshipping, idolatrous Canaanites, which Abraham and Isaac forbade their sons to intermarry with. Isaac and Rebeccah were greatly grieved when Jacob’s twin brother Esau took wives of the nearby Hittites, and then later a wife from the tribe of Ishmael. We know that God had said later that the Israelites were not to intermarry with the Canaanites lest the end up worshipping their false gods.
However, the family of Laban, the family from which Isaac wanted his son Jacob to procure a wife, was also idol-worshipping. There can be only one reason for this move: God was building the genetic base for the future nation of Israel, and there were traits within the line of that family that were essential to provide the dominant characteristics that would become that nation. In livestock breeding this process is called “back crossing”, to accentuate certain traits that are perceived as being valuable (color, height, horns or polled, milk-producing ability, disposition, etc.). Otherwise Jacob could just as well have chosen a wife from among the Canaanite women around him…and they were nearby, so that would have made familial interchange much easier than having to travel hundreds of miles for a family visit.
The preservation of genetic traits within the Israelites tribes is thus shown to be a major goal with our great and loving heavenly Father. This desire of our Creator needs to be respected. He knows what is best for us and for all of the world.
Intermarriage Decried at the Rebuilding of the Temple
When the remnant of Israel returned to Palestine in 536 B.C. from Babylon, to rebuild the temple, many of the Israelites intermarried with the pagans (Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites) that lived in the surrounding countryside. This intermarriage was totally against God’s laws of spiritual and genetic purity, and the consequences of such events are described in both Ezra (chapters 9 and 10) and Nehemiah (chapter 13). A sample of this problem and its resolution is given below from Nehemiah 13:23-27:
“In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab. And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but spoke according to the language of one or the other people. So I contended with them and cursed them, struck some of them and pulled out their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, ‘You shall not give your daughters as wives to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved of his God; and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless pagan women caused even him to sin. Should we then hear of your doing all this great evil, transgressing against our God by marrying pagan women?’”
The guilty parties in Jerusalem did not argue with Ezra and Nehemiah about their error of racial intermarriage. They knew it was wrong and accepted the correction given by these two leaders of Israel.
The Sin of Interracial Marriage
Sin means “missing the mark” in both Old testament (chata) and New Testament (hamartia) parlance. Does interracial marriage “miss the mark”? We have seen in this paper that it does, on a number of counts. These and other points are given below.
1. Interracial marriage breaks the boundaries of racial integrity that God has designed should be maintained. He set the boundaries for nations, and he blessed Noah for his racial purity by designating him as the one to pass through the Flood. The differences between races in genetics is wide, and in cultures it is also usually wide, even when the different races grow up in the same community. Different colors naturally separate people; that is how God desires it to be. Even nature teaches this fact.
2. Interracial marriage invites epigenetic sin to the family of the couple, the passing down through the genes of inborn, acquired faults that will be maintained through generations of descendants … “generational curses”. This can happen to Israelites as well, but why risk bringing heritable defects from another race? See Exodus 20:4-5.
3. Usually, interracial marriage is not approved by the parents of Christian children. It is a sin for children to dishonor their father and mother (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16). Marrying a person of another race within a family that is convicted that miscegenation is wrong — for one “marries the family”, as it were — lays the groundwork for much grief and suffering on the part of the parents, and great trials for the couple whom the parents will be unlikely to support. Recall the great suffering that Isaac and Rebekah endured when Esau married Hittite and Ishmaelite wives, against the parent’s wishes (Genesis 36:34-35). Honoring one’s father and mother carries with it the promise “… that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). Why would a person want to throw away those promises?
4. Any children born to a mixed race marriage can expect certain health problems which are not as common for children from parents of the same race. Moreover, these mixed-race children usually have a mental battle of deciding which race to identify with, for they are a mixture of both.
Interracial marriage is sin. It misses the target God wants us to hit in order that we live long, healthful and prosperous lives. The cultural and genetic divide between the races is wide, and it is there for a purpose: to make plain the fact that one is to marry within one’s own racial group. God placed those inborn differences there, and He wants those races to remain intact.
Despite the forces of modern education, government, the United Nations, and various other groups which promote a blending of the races, we should fight these forces tooth and nail. The very fact that these agencies are tied to modern cultural forces is a dead giveaway that they are products of the Devil (II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2), and that their messages are in conflict with the Creator of all mankind. Let us with all vigor resist the Devil that he may flee from us (James 4:7-8). Let us strive to attain the culture of our heavenly Father, and serve Him only in every facet of our lives.