A racist is one who believes that a certain human race is superior to any or all others, and that it is endowed with an intrinsic superiority, which makes the racial discrimination justified. Based on this definition, some say that God is a racist. They cite, as an example, that throughout history God has favored a chosen race, the children of Israel (the Jewish people). Another example of God’s alleged racism is when he cursed the descendants of Ham, Noah’s son, with being “the lowest of servants to his relatives” (Genesis 9:25). As the descendants of Ham were thought to be Africans, it was thought that God discriminated against all generations of Africans, condemning them to slavery.

Both of these charges against God come from misinterpreting and misunderstanding biblical narrative.

First, he never cursed Ham for what he had done — it was Noah who spoke the curse. And Noah didn’t curse his son Ham, but rather Ham’s son Canaan. It is true that at least two sons of Ham, Cush and Mizraim, settled in Africa (see Genesis 10:6-20). But Canaan’s descendants settled just east of the Mediterranean Sea, in a region that later became known as the land of Canaan—present day Israel (see Genesis 10: 15-19). So it is absurd to claim that God is a racist based upon a complete misinterpretation of passages in Genesis.

And what about God’s view of the Jewish people? It is true that he made a special covenant with Abraham and his descendants—and for good reason. He prophesied in his word that a perfect sacrifice—the Lamb of God—would be born out of the descendants of Abraham (see Matthew 1: 1-17). And it was the God-man, Jesus, who came to redeem all who would receive him, both Jew and Gentile. So, God’s choosing Israel wasn’t simply about Israel — it was about his making his name known and offering salvation to the rest of the world. God has always judged Israel as he did other nations (see 2 Kings 17). He was not playing favorites. Whether Jew or Gentile, we all equally must give an account to God.

Question: Does this post help you to understand that God favors his followers equally, even though in Scripture he speaks of the Jewish people as being his beloved people?
Question: What does it mean that “Whether Jew or Gentile, we all equally must give an account to God”?

Content adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell’s book, 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.

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