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THEOLOGY > Man > Nature of Man > Racial Solidarity 


The solidarity of the race speaks of the unity or oneness of humanity. As the individual is one, so the race is one. From the Biblical viewpoint, anthropology should focus on points of similarity rather than on those characteristics which divide. Several observations will be made.

The race is unified because of Creation. All people exist because of the Creator, and all people continue to exist because of His keeping power. Man is a created creature (see: Creature), not an evolving animal, for origins involve the Creator and His Creation, not chance plus time; a discussion of origins is valid only if the viewpoint is Theistic (see: The Act of God and Two Options).

Malachi asks two questions: “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?” (2:10). From the Biblical perspective, the answer is obvious. We are all the result of God's creative work, and we, therefore, have God as our Father.

God is the Father of all in the sense of origin, but not in the sense of redemption. From the anthropological point of view God is the Father of the race, but from the soteriological perspective God is the Father of His children.

The race is united in its dependence on God. All people are joined together in their reliance on the Father’s compassionate care of humanity in not only giving life but also providing sunshine and rain, the seasons, the air to breathe, and all that is necessary for life. Sometimes this is spoken of as His Providence, or the preservation and administration of the universe in general and of man in particular. Man is not independent nor self-sufficient; he is contingent and feeble. Man must recognize his limitations and inabilities.

Sovereignty, God’s support and control of His Creation, is the work of the Creator—a difficult concept for man whose mind is set on himself (see: Providence). An anthropology without Divine Sovereignty is devoid of meaning and understanding; that is, man without God has no value and worth. Without theology there is no anthropology.

Regarding man and all of creation, the psalmist asserts: “These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season; what You give them they gather in” (Ps. 104:27), and “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season; You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:15).

The race is unified because all people are from the original man and woman. Man was first, and then the woman was from the man; and subsequently all individuals are from the woman following an impregnation initiated by the man. So the race is united in its source (all are from Adam) and in its development (all by reproduction).

Since all people are descended from Adam, all the race was potential in the seed of Adam. Shedd speaks of the original human nature in the first parents which is individualized through procreation throughout history into the present race; therefore, each individual is part of this human nature. According to Acts 17:26 God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth”; in the truest sense there are not races of men, there is just man. There is only one race, the mass population of the earth that has descended from a single ancestor. All men are brothers and all women are sisters; every individual is part of the same family.

Therefore, each individual is his “brother’s keeper”; the individual is significant but it is the individual in relationships, initially with God and then with other individuals that is of greatest import. Individuals are not to be alone. God made Eve for Adam so Adam would not be unaccompanied; the development in the Bible is the development of the family, the nation, and the Church—each of which is corporate.

The Biblical story places emphasis on relationships, not on the independent, individualized life that finds so much prominence today—there is a corporate dimension to life that is lost in the significance that is attached to the individual in Western culture.

The concept of group is strong in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament the individual is always the individual in relationship to the group; the nation was called “the children of Israel,” a designation suggesting solidarity among the assembly. At times the entire nation suffered because of the sin of the individual, as in the case of Achan at Ai (Josh. 7:1-26).

In the New Testament the communal concept is the basis for the Church—Christ died for “His people” (Matt. 1:21) and He is coming for His Bride (Rev. 19:6-8). Individuals are redeemed but they are redeemed to be part of the Church, the people of God.

The race is unified because all people are made in the image of God. Each member of the race reflects the Creator because every man is made in the image of God and bears that image, so the image is part of the basis for the singularity of the race. All men stand in the same relationship as to their essential nature—all people bear the image of God, having “been made in the similitude of God” (Jas. 3:9). From the standpoint of creation and from the standpoint of composition, all people are united, regardless of sex or color (see: Image of God and Nature of the Image).

Upon what basis can there be a legitimate appeal for goodwill among people? Sin, with its ravaging influence, is continually undermining and destroying valid relationships; but, in spite of this destructive fact, can there be any platform by which to seek acceptance of each other and to live in relative peace with one another? Can there be some semblance of community?

Men need to see each other as bearing the image of Deity, the image of the God of the Scriptures. Comprehension of the meaning of the image inspires one to be more accepting of others and accommodating to their eccentricities, even their color and ethnicity. If the believer can come to see each individual as being the image of God, then perhaps he will be more inclined to relate properly to them and behave with civility toward them.

The old question of Malachi is still valid: “Why do we deal treacherously with one another? (2:10).

But it must not be thought that Utopia can be attained in this life and on this earth; true and lasting peace, or harmony among men, is an elusive state, and really an impossible state given the presence of sin in the men seeking harmony. Even with this caveat, we must still strive to “live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18); Paul adds a condition: “if it is possible.”

The race is united in its sin and guilt. Adam’s sin in Eden is the decisive act; it was not his alone but involved all of his descendants (Rom. 5:12-21). Universal guilt and corruption is predicated on the solidarity of the race in Adam, who is the father of the race both physically and morally (see: Representative, The Principle of Identification and By One Man).

“All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23); the state of sin visited on the race by Adam results in acts of sin committed by every individual, which in turn adds shame and guilt to each life. This is to affirm that people do evil things because they are evil by nature (see: The Character of Sin).

The Scriptures also affirm that “there is none righteous, no, not one; . . . there is none who does good, no, not one; . . . there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:10, 12, 18). All men are united in their rejection of God and in a determination to do their own thing. For man to become different he must be embraced.

The race is united in its frailty. Man is not strong, he is weak; he is not immortal, death is ahead. And before death there is frailty, sickness, brokenness, and pain. Whatever the color, whatever the nationality, whatever the standard of living, there is infirmity. And it cannot be made different. All men labor and live under the curse.

Years ago the wise man understood the frailness and emptiness of life: “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccles. 1:2) was the pronouncement of Solomon; concerning man, he added: “all his days are sorrowful and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest” (Eccles. 2:23). “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” was the observation of Job (14:1).


* Because God is the Father of all, then each stands together as one.

* Because all individuals are derived from Adam there is a singularity about the many.

* Unity is based upon derived characteristics not inherent characteristics.

* Too great an emphasis on the individual displays a misunderstanding of Creation.

* An extreme stress on the individual at the expense of the community is non-Biblical.

* Because of the unity of the race each individual is responsible for every other individual.

* Commonality of God’s image establishes equality and requires acceptance of each person.

* Racial hatred is a rejection of the significance of Adam.

* Racial hatred is hatred of the family, of which one is a part.

* Individual acts are never individual; others are always affected.

* Condemnation of others for evil acts is really self-condemnation.

* Individual suffering is not unique; it is the common experience.

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