Black hair, brown hair, no hair. Black skin, red skin, tan skin. Human beings come in an inexhaustible variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and personalities. But we are all part of a single race, the human race. Genesis 1 and 2 describe in detail how human beings came into existence. In the beginning, there was one man and one woman. God did not create any more humans in the way He had created them, and He gave them the command to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). All other humans came from those first parents, so in that sense, we are all related to each other.
Even many evolutionary theories concede that human beings originated from a single set of parents Dorit, R. L., Akashi, H., and Gilbert, W., 1995. “Absence of polymorphism at the ZFY locus on the human Y chromosome.” Science 268:1183—1185). The theories greatly differ in their ideas of where those parents came from and what their nature was, but it is undeniable that all human being are genetically related (see Highfield, Roger, “DNA survey finds all humans are 99.9pc the same,” The Telegraph online, 20 Dec 2002, accessed 5/29/20). The Bible says that those parents were birthed in the heart of a loving and powerful God (Genesis 1:26). They were designed by Him for fellowship and love, and they were set as gardeners in His perfect world (Genesis 2:15, 19). Before the fall, they would have been genetically perfect. Adam lived for nearly a thousand years (Genesis 5:5), and we can assume Eve lived a similarly long time. Theoretically, the two could have had several hundred children, since their bodies did not age at the rate humans now age. Those children grew up and married each other, exponentially multiplying the human race within the first several hundred years of human existence.
After several generations, human beings became so wicked that God sent a flood to wipe out every living thing on the earth—except one man and his family (Genesis 6:5–7). Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives were alone saved through the flood, along with enough animals to replenish the earth (Genesis 7:1–4). So not only are we all related to our first parents, Adam and Eve, but we are also all related to Noah and his wife. God started over with one family and told them to “be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1). As time went on, each of Noah’s sons had more sons, and their descendants eventually became various nations (Genesis 10). The dispersion of humanity after the Tower of Babel gave rise to the various language groups we see today, and it’s possible that it also contributed to the formation of the various “races.” Regardless of the ethnic and racial differences we observe today, all human beings are genetically related through Adam and Eve.
The fact that we are all related through Adam is spiritually significant. According to the Bible, we are all born with Adam’s sinful nature: we have a predisposition to choose our own paths and be our own gods (Romans 7:14–25). Children do not have to be taught how to sin. It comes naturally because they inherited the same sinful nature that their parents and grandparents inherited. Romans 5:12 says that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” If Adam were not the father of all humankind, we could not have all inherited his nature. But because we’re all Adam’s children, we are all sinners like he was. “Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners” (Romans 5:19, NLT). Adam passed on to us the judgment his sin earned (Romans 3:23; 6:23).
Understanding that every one of us is born equally undeserving of God’s mercy keeps us from passing judgment on others (Romans 2:1). And understanding that every person is also a unique individual created in the image of God helps us treat all people with respect (Genesis 1:27).
C. S. Lewis explained it this way: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. . . . It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit. . . . This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment” (The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses, HarperOne, 1980, p. 46, emphasis in the original).