Over the years I have heard several views on interracial marriage. Views from “It’s a sin” to “It’s just weird” to “Go for it”. Based on the title of this article, you probably know where I stand on this issue. Honestly, I can see where my opponents get their conclusions from, but I in no way agree with it. I respect the people, but I in no way respect their position.
At this point you may be wondering, “Why is this such a big deal? Can’t we just agree to disagree? It’s not like they believe other races are inferior!” True, many of them do not openly espouse the view of racial supremacy, but the practical application of their belief leads to segregation. Segregation naturally leads to limited interaction, limited interaction leads to stereotyping, and stereotyping leads to racism. Don’t get it? Here’s a story:
Joe White grew up in southern Alabama. From the time he was a child, he was taught that whites should marry whites, Asians should marry Asians, and blacks should marry blacks. “If God had meant for there to be mixed babies, He woulda made ‘em!” he was told. So Joe never went to church or school with anyone but white people, people like Joe. After all, if you’re around them, you may end up loving one of them. Never having met anyone with darker skin, Joe was left to learn from pop culture and folk tales. He eventually grew to fear them, as these people were often portrayed as almost subhuman. After Joe graduated, he became the manager of the local supermarket. As people of other ethnicities came to apply, they would be turned away. After all, if you can’t marry them, you can’t be with them.
Hearing that, it is extremely evident how this line of reasoning leads to racism. So if, as opponents of interracial marriage claim, we are not to marry outside our race, then segregation and racism must and will naturally follow.
So what does the Bible say about interracial marriage? We’ll be looking at three passages: Numbers 12, Genesis 41:45, and 1 Corinthians 7.
In Numbers 12, Aaron and Miriam have some serious problems with Moses. The main one being the fact that he married a Cushite woman. A Cushite woman! What the heck is a Cushite woman? To put it in a politically correct way, Cushites had darker skin. They were Africans. The Septuagint translated the word to “Ethiopian”. This is most likely a mistake, as they were probably Nubian, not Ethiopian. That makes little difference as to skin color though. The main point is that Miriam and Aaron were ticked off at the fact that Moses had a dark wife. No big deal, right? Just a little misunderstanding.
No. At least not to God.
In response to Miriam’s grumbling against Moses, He struck her with leprosy. That’s right, leprosy. Now what color is leprosy? Is it a nice tan? An olive color? A fairly-baked brown? No, it’s white. An extremely white white. It’s almost as if God was saying, “You think lighter skin is better, Miriam? I will make you painfully white!” Or, if you consider Levitical Law, “You think darker skin is unclean? I will show you unclean!”
The next passage we’ll be observing is Genesis 41:45. In this verse, Pharaoh gives Joseph Asenath to marry. It’s abundantly clear that Asenath was not a child of Abraham. In fact, she was the daughter of Potipherah, the Priest of On. Do you know what that means? It means she was an Egyptian. And do you know who descended from Joseph and Asenath? The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh! So two of the twelve tribes of Israel descended from an Egyptian!
Before we look at our final passage, we should at least look at the main passage used to defend the view that interracial marriage is wrong. Deuteronomy 7:3-4 says, “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly.” Notice the reason for this command: “They (the other nations) would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other Gods.” You have to understand this reasoning or else you will never understand the command! God did not command them to abstain from interracial marriage because it is wrong in and of itself. He commanded them to not marry people who were not His chosen in order to avoid idolatry.
This passage, like all Old Testament passages, must also be looked at in light of the New Testament. Colossians 3:11 says that in Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” There is no distinction! Yes, we do have beautiful and God-glorifying differences, but there is no inferior ethnic group in the Kingdom of God. We are all equal heirs of eternal joy!
That brings us to our final passage, 1 Corinthians 7. This passage deals with the principles of a God-glorifying marriage. If you read the chapter, you will see verse after verse speaking of how it is better that believers marry believers rather than unbelievers. Do you know what you will see none of? You will not see any race qualification for a God-glorifying marriage. This same principle is laid out in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18,
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
You’ll see again that there are absolutely no race qualifications for a God-glorifying marriage. To the contrary, you could disobey this command even though you are marrying someone of your own race and keep it even though you are marrying someone of another race. God’s chief concern in marriage is whether you are marrying a believer, and race plays no part. Since it is so with God, it should be so with us as well.
Lord, destroy our racial prejudicices, not only in marriage, but in all areas of life. May You unite Your body and trample over all divisions. Allow us to use our equal differences to bring glory to You and unity to us. By the power of the Spirit, in the name of Jesus, Amen.