Born in Adam
While there are different ethnic tribes, there is truly only one human race. Racism is silly because we all share ancestors. First, we all descend from Noah. The math is fairly simple: thousands die in a world-wide flood, leaving a single couple and their three sons (and wives) alive. Hispanics, African Americans, Anglo-Saxons – we all trace our lineage back to Noah. Second, we all descend from Adam. I don’t think you need a calculator to understand this one.
But Adam’s place in our ancestry is more significant than Noah’s, in terms of who humans are. Adam was made in God’s likeness (Gen 1:26) but disobeyed Him and fell into depravity (3:1-21). In the likeness of Adam’s wicked image, his sons and daughters were born (5:3ff). The result has been a fallen human race. Every person is evil from conception (Ps 51:5) – begotten with a natural inclination to hate God.
On the surface, many things differentiate among men: skin color, culture, size, language, etc. Yet under the skin, we’re all sons of Adam.
Born Again in Christ
Christ was born of a virgin and so did not have the fallen nature of Adam passed down through a father. Further, He never once disobeyed God: in all things He obeyed God’s Law. The ones who are born again in Christ, by the resurrecting power of the Holy Spirit, take on His nature in that conversion (Jn 1:8-13; 3:1-8; cf. 1 Jn). This is often called regeneration (i.e. “recreation” or “another genesis”).
Those born of God in Christ are by nature separated from the world and sanctified to God. They no longer belong to the powers of darkness and sin, but to Christ. Further, they stand acquitted of all crimes and credited with the righteousness of Christ. They are justified and regenerated. Therefore, they are legally and ontologically distinct from the original identity as a son of Adam.
The True Divide
So there actually is a divide in humanity. The line runs between those who bow down before Christ in faith and those who reject God for idols – those who love God and those who hate God. These are the only two tribes among men that actually bear any eternal consequences.
The quality of differentiation in the kingdom of God is not an ethnicity, employment or gender, but faith in Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise” (Gal 3:26-29).
This does not mean that we are blind to how culturally, socially and biologically different we are. Instead, it means that nothing is a greater cause for fellowship than mutual faith in Christ, and nothing is a greater cause for separation than dissonance on that point. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (2 Co 6:14-16a).
A Holy Segregation
“There is no character in transitive verbs,” says Douglas Wilson. He means that you cannot judge character simply by a transitive verb. For example, “Joe loves.” You know nothing about Joe’s character until given a direct object. There are things you should love, but there are also things you shouldn’t love. “It is good to love” is muddy statement.
“Joe loves murder” – Ah, Joe isn’t such a nice guy.
“Joe loves marriage” – Now that’s good!
The verb “segregate” is equally muddy. “The church segregates.” Ok… what? What does the church divide or separate itself from?
The sole legitimate ground for segregation that we have is the issue of faith in Christ. I am called to separate myself from those who hate Christ and join together with those who love Christ. There is evangelism, and neighborliness, and charity, and all other forms of goodwill that we give to those outside of Christ.
Yet if we go so far as to yoke together with unbelievers, we have failed to recognize that there actually is a tribal divide among humanity: sons of Adam and sons of Christ.
So, turns out, the Bible actually calls for segregation.