Question: What is the origin of the different races?
Answer: Scripture says: “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 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 habitation. (Acts 17:24-26)
You might say, “Do you really believe that everyone in the world, with all their different traits, came from two parents, Adam and Eve?” The answer is, “Yes, this is what the Bible teaches.” Now you might ask, “How does that work out genetically?” For a fuller scientific explanation you will need to go to the Answers in Genesis web site by Ken Ham, but here is a summary of what he has to say:
Let’s start with human skin color. It may surprise you to find out that all of us (except albinos) have exactly the same skin-coloring agent. It’s a protein called melanin. We all have the same basic skin color, just different amounts of it. You might ask, “How long would it take to get all the variations in the skin color we see in people today?” The answer is it would take just one generation!”
The amount of skin color we have depends on at least two pairs of genes. We’ll call these genes A and B. People who have the darkest skin color have genes AABB as their genotype (set of genes for a trait); those with very light colored skin have aabb. People with two “capital-letter” genes would be “medium-skinned,” and those with one or three such genes would be a shade lighter or a shade darker.
Now if we start with two medium-skinned parents. AaBb. Less than half (only 6 of the 16 combinations) would be medium-skinned like their parents. Four each would be a shade darker or lighter. One in 16 of the offspring of medium-skinned parents (AaBb) would have the darkest possible skin color (AABB), while the chances are also 1 in 16 that a brother or sister will have the very lightest skin color (aabb).
The Bible doesn’t tell us what skin color our first parents had, but, starting with medium-skinned parents (AaBb), it would take only one generation to produce all the variation we see in our skin color today. Some Indians are as dark as the darkest Africans and some-perhaps a brother or sister in the family-is as light as the lightest Europeans. There are families in India, for example, that have every major skin color you could see anywhere in the world.
Suppose Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives had the same genetic make up as Adam and Eve and their children. Then let’s say that you have a separation of human groups, like what happened after the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), let’s see what happens. If those with very dark skin (AABB) migrate into the same areas and/or marry only those with very dark skins, than all their children have very dark skins [accept for albinos]. (AABB is the only possible combination of AB egg and sperm cells, which are the types that can be produced by AABB parents.) Similarly, parents with very light skins (aabb) can have very light-skinned children, since they don’t have any A or B genes to pass on. Even certain medium skinned parents (AAbb or aaBB) can get “locked-in” to having only medium-skinned offspring, like the Orientals, Polynesians, and some of my ancestors, the Native Americans.
Where people with different skin colors get together again (as they do so often in the West Indies, for example, you find the full range of variation again-nothing less, but nothing more either, than what we started with in Adam and Eve or Noah and his wife, and their children.
“What happened as the descendants of medium-skinned parents produced a variety of descendants? Evolution? Not at all. Except for albinism (the mutational loss of skin color), the human gene pool is no bigger and no different now than the gene pool present at creation. As people multiplied, the genetic variability built right into the first created human beings came to visible expression. The darkest Nigerian and the lightest Norwegian, the tallest Watusi and the shortest Pygmy, the highest soprano and the lowest bass could have been present right from the beginning in two quite average-looking people. Great variety in size, color, form, function, etc., would also be present in the two created ancestors of all the other (plants and animals) as well.” (Answers in Genesis)
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Gary T. Panell
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