Purpose of this Session
To consider the advent of the nations through Noah’s family, God’s dealings with the nations, and particularly the formation of the Hebrew race through covenant with Abraham, and God’s purpose for the nation of Israel.
We come again to the book of Genesis as our reference point for a proper understanding of history. In this session we will primarily concentrate on the formation of the nations, with a final focus on the advent of God’s chosen national vessel for self-revelation, Israel.
The context for our study are chapters 10-12 of Genesis:
1. The replenishment of the earth (Genesis 9:1) and human population.
2. The dispersion and the races
3. The covenant with Abraham and the nation of Israel
The replenishment of the earth and human population
Genesis 10 outlines for us the development of the nations through the family of Noah. Through Noah’s sons, the nations as we now know them find their source.
In modern times, human populations are seen to be increasing consistently at more than 1% per year. If we allow for disease, famine, wars and so forth, and take a conservative figure of 0.5% per year, it would take only 4000 to 5000 years, starting with 8 people at Ararat, to reach today’s population. This fits very clearly within our Biblical worldview.
(Stones and Bones, Carl Wieland, ISBN: 0-949906-19-0, p27)
The dispersion and the races
Today we have many different groups, often called ‘races,’ with what seem to be greatly differing features. The most obvious of these is skin colour. Many see this as a reason to doubt the Bible’s record of history. They believe that the various groups could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years.
However, according to the Bible, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives, and before that from Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-11). The Bible tells us how the population that descended from Noah’s family had one language and by living in one place were disobeying God’s command to ‘fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1 , 11:4). God confused their language, causing a break-up of the population into smaller groups which scattered over the earth (Genesis 11:8-9). Modern genetics show how, following such a break-up of a population, variations in color, for example, can develop in only a few generations. There is good evidence that the various people groups we have today have not been separated for huge periods of time.
It is well documented that racist attitudes skyrocketed after Darwin published the Origin of Species. With the belief that the races had evolved over tens of millions of years, and that such evolutionary ‘progress’ was happening at different rates, attitudes prevailed that some races were not as far removed from their animal ancestors as others. This led to awful injustices, particularly to black skinned people, and communities like the Australian Aborigines.
Modern genetics shows, however, that all human ‘races’ are extremely close biologically, consistent with all the racial characteristics having been present in one small ancestral population which was then ‘split’ into subgroups at Babel. For a deeper discussion of this point please see Answers in Genesis’ book, “The Answers Book”, available online at http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/AnswersBook/index.asp
There is only one main skin colouring pigment in humanity. The colour of someone’s skin depends on how much of this substance their body produces (called melanin).
Since all the created characteristics in the human population were present in Noah’s family (and prior to that in Adam and Eve), they most likely had mid-brown skin colour.