Does God frown upon interracial marriages?

Some people insist that the Bible meant for the races to remain pure, therefore prohibiting any kind of interracial marriage. Usually two biblical texts are drawn upon to support that view. One is the fact that Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. As you recall, Shem received a patriarchal blessing, and an enlargement of that was given to Japheth. Ham, because he looked upon his father’s nakedness, was cursed. “Cursed be Canaan” was the malediction that Noah pronounced on Ham and his descendants. Some have neatly contrived from the three sons of Noah, three survivors of the flood, that this is the historic basis for the three basic generic types of human beings: the Caucasian, the Negroid, and the Mongoloid. They claim that this is the biblical justification for there being a curse put on the black race, and white people should have no intermarriage with them. This was cited, for example, in the early documents of Mormonism, which was a great embarrassment to them when it was made public a few years ago.

Others go back to Creation, where we read that God created everything “after its kind.” People say that this is the divine order of things in creation, that God made things according to their kind, and his intent was that they should stay according to their kind.

In the case of both these arguments, I would say that that is the flimsiest evidence I can think of to support what is ultimately a racist view of the matter. I don’t see anything, even in Scripture, that would prohibit interracial marriage other than the problems people might face in terms of cultural prejudices. Any couple that chooses to get married in a culture that has a high degree of racism is asking for all kinds of tension directed against their marriage. If they are willing to do that, it doesn’t mean that they are sinning by going ahead and entering into a marriage covenant.

I think one of the strongest texts that does relate to this is in the Old Testament, where we read that Moses (who was the mediator of the old covenant) took to himself a wife who was a Cushite. A Cushite was an Ethiopian. All of the evidence that we can construct on Old Testament history indicates that Moses’ wife was black. We also read that his sister, Miriam, became very distressed by the fact that her brother married a Cushite. It was a racist reaction. Miriam got angry and rebuked Moses. Because of Miriam’s response, God judged Miriam and gave her leprosy. So if anything, it would seem to me that God frowns upon those who are racists.

©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.