We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded by your direct support for ReKnew and our vision. Please consider supporting this project.

Does the Bible forbid interracial marriages?

Absolutely not! Racist Christians used to argue against interracial marriage by quoting Old Testament passages that prohibited Jews from marrying non-Jews. This prohibition had nothing to do with race, however. In fact, there was no concept of different “races” until white Europeans invented it during the Colonial period, partly to justify their enslavement of other people groups. The Bible recognizes only one “race” — the human race.

The prohibitions in the Old Testament were given because God didn’t want his people influenced by pagan beliefs and practices. This is still a concern, which is why Paul warns Christians not to be bound together [as in marriage] with non-believers (2 Corinthians 6:14). But this has nothing to do with “race.”

In fact, one could argue that interracial marriages manifest the Kingdom in a uniquely beautiful way. Follow me on this.

The origin of different people groups (not “races”) goes back to the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11). God had to divide people by giving them different languages because, at this point in history, they were working together for evil purposes. But this judgment was always intended to be provisional. Throughout the Old Testament God looked forward to a time when all tribes and nations would come back together, united under his loving Lordship.

This dream of God’s to reunite the human race begins to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has torn down the walls of hostility between different people groups and has formed “one new humanity” (Eph 2:13-17). This is why people from around the globe could understand the disciples praising God in their own native tongue when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). God was showing us that, where the Spirit of Christ is at work, and where the Kingdom is being manifested, Babel will be reversed.

Since interracial marriages obviously reverse the division of Babel, they should, from a Kingdom point of view, not only be allowed. They should be encouraged.

It’s often pointed out that interracial couples may experience unique social obstacles, especially in certain parts of the country. On this basis some pastors discourage them. I strongly disagree. One can’t be an authentic follower of Jesus and not expect to confront “social obstacles” at every turn. Following the example of Jesus, our entire life is to be counter-cultural. To refrain from doing something that is loving and that furthers the Kingdom of God simply because it’s inconvenient is not the mark of a Jesus follower. If anything, the fact that interracial marriages have to confront the prejudices of our culture is one more argument in their favor.

Related Reading

What Does Greg Think About _________________?

Since the launch of the new website yesterday, I’ve been browsing around the various topics to see what I can find. You can click here to join me. This is awesome. If you want to know what Greg has to say about the nature of the future and God’s knowledge of it, you can find…

Tags: ,

How do you respond to Romans 9:18?

“[God] has mercy on whomsoever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomsoever he chooses.” This is one of the most frequently cited texts in support of Calvinism. If the text implied that whether or not people were believers was a result of whether God had mercy on them or hardened them, they would…

What do you think of “confrontational evangelism”?

Question: In The Myth of a Christian Nation, you emphasize our need to sacrificially serve others. But you didn’t emphasize our need to “preach the Gospel to every living creature.” I’ve been intrigued by the movement known as “confrontational evangelism,” associated with Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. They stress the need to get people to…

How do you respond to Proverbs 16:9?

“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (cf. Prov. 19:21; 20:24; Jere. 10:23) Far from teaching that God controls everything, as some compatibilists maintain, this verse contrasts what the Lord controls with what he chooses not to control. Humans can and do make their own plans, but the Lord directs…

Doesn’t Psalms 139:16 refute the Open View of the future?

One of the passages most frequently cited in attempts to refute the open view of the future is Psalm 139:16. Here David says that God viewed him while he was being formed in the womb (vs. 15) and then adds: “[Y]our eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in…

What is the significance of 2 Kings 20:1–7?

The Lord tells Hezekiah “[Y]ou shall die: you shall not recover” (vs. 1). Hezekiah pleads with God and God says, “I will add fifteen years to your life” (vs. 6). If everything about the future was exhaustively settled and known by God as such, his prophecy to Hezekiah that he was going to die would…

Topics: