QUESTION: DO BLACK PEOPLE DESCEND FROM HAM, Noah’s son?
ANSWER: No, the answer is and was, and always will be NO!
White Christians, liberal and conservative, talk and talk and talk about evolutionary science versus the six day creation, yada yada yada. Well you know what? People were not put in chains because somebody did or did not believe in Young Earth Creationism. People do not have to endure discrimination, constant vilification because they read Genesis 1-3 “literally” or allegorically. People do not have drones killing their babies because listen to Richard Dawkins or Ken Ham (okay, maybe in the case of both), but you get my drift.
“Rather, the gospel forms our basic “attitude” toward the Old Testament–a “hermeneutical posture,” which is that point of view from which we read and by which the Old Testament can be accessed. It is to acknowledge that the very questions we raise, the very way in which we interact with the Old Testament, is profoundly shaped by our having been raised and united with the crucified and risen Christ.”
“This puts a Christocentric reading on a Trinitarian path, but that Trinitarian nature of revelation is made even more clear through understanding the role of the Spirit. [...] To summarize, then, God the Spirit testifies to God the Son who makes God the Father known to his people.”
I find myself torn; I agree with the general thrust of both of these articles even though there are some conflicts between both views being proposed here. Both are claiming Jesus to be the center. The question is how do we move forward? Where do we go from here, us being Gentiles in Christ, without covering up the story of Israel?
Finally, a Bible that suits my consumer needs. I’m a pacifist, and now I am excited to announce the introduction of the UN Peacemakers’ Study Bible, for those who believe in international peace movements and humanitarianism. Need a Bible full of quotes from Christian pacifists? This study bible has them, all the way from Tertullian to Menno Simos to John Howard Yoder. This study bible includes anti-war liturgies and and commentaries reflecting on the godly work that the United Nations does. The UN Peacemakers’ Study Bible contains special essays comparing American icons Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to King David and King Solomon of Israel. Now you can have a Bible that reveals the true meaning of Scripture: to spread democracy and free market capitalism around the world!
I keep going back to the question, the Black/African Question (the problem of creating racial origins in Scripture) because the history of race as a social construct has a long history when it comes to biblical interpretation. The curse of Ham is still being taught in public schools and churches.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made the following comments on the curse of Ham & racism in a sermon on the Apostle Paul’s letters:
I understand that there are Christians among you who try to justify segregation on the basis of the Bible. They argue that the Negro is inferior by nature because of Noah’s curse upon the children of Ham. Oh my friends, this is blasphemy. This is against everything that the Christian religion stands for. I must say to you as I have said to so many Christians before, that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Moreover, I must reiterate the words that I uttered on Mars Hill: “God that made the world and all things therein . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
The Curse of Ham teaches that there are many humanities, and therefore the superiority of one race over all others, and against the Christian teachings about the oneness and equality of all humankind.
Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553): Adam and Eve. Beech wood, 1533. Bode-Museum, Berlin (Erworben 1830, Königliche Schlösser, Gemäldegalerie Kat. 567) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you notice anything about the picture that I featured for this blog post? Adam and Eve, first of all, they are adults. Second of all, they are almost naked, except for those infamous leaves that save them from shame! I have been thinking and reading about Adam and Eve in a different light. Growing up, I was taught to think of Eve, the mother of all the living, whenever she is created from Adam’s rib, that that means sexy time for Adam. In fact, today, the story of Adam and Eve is used for the sole purpose of the culture wars, as if YHWH left their tale to us just so we could score political points with our favorite lobbying groups! Yippee Yeah! More money to keep the system going! Meanwhile, the common good of society is ignored, especially when it comes to the rights of children.
This week, I would like to return to my Questions In Genesis series and at least once a month do brief series on Questions related to how Genesis has been understood and received. This month, I would like to look at Adam and Eve. What if we saw them as part of a different age group? Would it matter? How do I understand Adam and Eve’s historicity/mythology?
All of that will be answered and more in this brief series, including a closing post on what does it matter, what relevance and practical purposes would such a view hold for churches today?