Your Epidermis Is Showing

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, June 4, 2015 0 comments

by Steve Risner

“Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, sir. I couldn't help but note your shade of melanin.”—DC Talk in Colored People

The skin. It’s what we see of people on the outside. Human beings have decided, over the thousands of years they’ve been on earth, to judge people solely on the amount of melanin a person’s skin produces. Melanin, produced by melanocytes, is the pigment or coloring we have in our skin. Believe it or not, almost all of us have a very similar number of melanin producing cells in our skin—black, white, brown, red, whatever—but the amount of melanin produced by those cells differs from person to person. There are actually 2 different kinds of melanin giving us the various shades of skin we see around the world. If the amount of pigment in our skin is the largest difference between people, what’s the big deal? I’d like to take a look at some of the totally cool stuff your skin is about and take a look at the Christian or Biblical response to racism. Follow along…

Your skin is commonly referred to as the largest organ of the human body, covering around 20-22 square feet and weighing in at about 20 lbs. The next largest organs of the body by weight are the liver and brain, each coming in around 3 lbs. The skin contains roughly 10 miles of blood vessels. These provide nutrients for your skin cells but also bring heat and waste products to the surface of your skin to release them. Your skin contains all sorts of wonderful contraptions that do everything from waterproof you to give you your senses of touch, pressure, vibration, temperature, and pain. How are you waterproofed? The top layer of your skin, the epidermis, is primarily dead skin cells and a layer of keratin. Those dead cells, of which you shed about 20,000-50,000 every 60 seconds or so, comprise about 50% of the dust you see in your house. Some estimates are as high as 1 billion tons of skin cells floating in the atmosphere right now! Gross, I know. But the primary function of the skin is to keep your insides in and the outside out as well as dealing with a lot of the exchanges we make with our environment.

So what’s the deal with skin color and judging someone based on that? Honestly, I have no idea. In fact, for me personally, I reject the very notion of “races” within mankind. We are one race—the human race. Not only is this pretty clear when we look around the world but the Bible is pretty clear on this as well. According to Scripture, we all can trace our ancestry back to one family—Noah and his sons and their wives. From these 8 people and the scattering that occurred some time after the Flood, we have every tribe, every nation, every skin tone and feature, every one of the over 7 billion of us. Using an estimated birth rate, it’s pretty easy to trace humanity’s “start” (really our second start) to just several thousand years ago. If humans have been on the earth for some 200,000 years, as evolutionists contend, the population would likely be significantly higher.

But God’s Word tells us, “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” (Galatians 3:28). This passage, as well as a few others similar to it, shows us there is no partiality with God determined by gender, nationality, or status. So how can we decide there is a just cause for looking down on someone based on these categories? The LORD is the LORD of all of us and the Father of all of us. In Acts 17:26 we have Peter saying “…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” You see, all of us are lost in our sin and slaves to it—black, white, rich, poor, Western, native, Eastern, Middle Eastern, tall, short, you name it. We all need a Savior and Jesus Christ, a Middle Easterner, paid the price for us all.

1 John 4 gives us some startling insight into God’s perspective on “racism.” It seems pretty clear He detests it. We’ll start with verse 8: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” John goes on in verses 11-12: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” The crux of this whole passage in relation to racism is found in verses 20-21: “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” Here we see the foundation of the argument. According to this, it seems very unlikely a racist person can be a Christian—a follower of Christ. Primarily, John is speaking of “brothers and sisters” in terms of fellow believers. But we’re all in the same boat here. Like I said, we ALL need a Savior and no one is any better than anyone else. But if you hold hatred or even just contempt in your heart towards a person with a different skin tone, I would love to hear justification based on God’s Word on that.

It is true, in the past, that some have held up Bibles and marched for racism. I’ve seen pictures of a parade of white women carrying Bibles supporting their racist beliefs. But this is absurd. There is no case, Biblically, for discrimination. In fact, the Bible repeatedly tells us partiality is wrong. We are all human beings from the same family. You can’t condemn Christianity or the Bible because someone plucked a passage of Scripture out and made it say something the whole counsel of Scripture doesn’t say. People using Christ’s name to condone actions that are very clearly not Christ-like is no reason to label Christianity this way.

However, although Darwinism did not spawn racism, it very much fueled the idea of some races being superior to others. The title of Darwin’s famous book was “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection OR the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Did evolutionism birth racism? Of course not. Has it legitimized it for many? Without question. Backing up your hatred of a people group with a seemingly intellectual or scientific argument has damaged the cause of equality around the globe.

Let’s be clear: God is love and shows no partiality. We are commanded to love everyone—especially anyone that calls themselves a follower of Christ. You cannot, according to the Bible, hate your brother and love God. Love is what has spread Christianity all around the world, making it the faith more people on the planet claim to hold than any other. It wasn’t spread by force, hatred, war, or anything else. Sure, there may be examples of people doing ungodly things in the name of God, but these are exceptions, not the rule. Love wins, to use a popular phrase of the day.

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