It's easy to see that people come in all shapes and sizes. Some are short, some are tall, some have red hair, some have brown hair, some have big noses ... well, you get the idea. It's an amazing variety of people. Despite this variety, we tend to group people according to one or more physical features they share in common. These groups are often called "races," and the features that define them, "racial characteristics."
Many people treat others differently, depending on these supposed racial characteristics. They believe those differences are more than just skin deep and have implications for their value as human beings, and even their place on the "evolutionary ladder." Is that justifiable? How many "races" of people are there? How did they come to be, and do these differences justify prejudice?
A Biblical Basis
God's Word settles this issue. There is only one race of people. This is clear from the history found in Genesis.
In the beginning God created the first man, Adam. Then He created the first woman, Eve, from the man's side. Adam and Eve were our original parents, made in the image of God. All humans can be traced back to these two people. This is made abundantly clear in Genesis 3:20, where Adam said that Eve "was the mother of all living."
So, if we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, we should all look pretty much the same, right? How can we explain all the differences in people?
The Tower of Babel
Genesis 11 describes a time when humans rebelled against God by settling at Babel and refusing to spread out in the world. Because of this, God confused their language, and groups of people separated and moved away from one another.
As a consequence of Babel, the people groups could not easily mix. They became genetically isolated, meaning that they married and had offspring primarily within their particular group. As the years passed, each group developed its own culture and ways of doing things. Genetically isolated, certain physical traits became more prominent in each group. These ethnic characteristics are wrongly considered racial characteristics; but there really is only one race, the human race. All of these people were simply people.