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Weekly Word

Entries in Evolution (1)

Tuesday
Jul102012

All Men Are Created Equal

Today I want to look at the phrase, “all men are created equal.”  You should recognize it as being from our Declaration of Independence.  A fuller quote is: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;…”  I believe it is important for Christians to be biblical in how they view this statement.

Clearly the equality that is being recognized is not that of strength, wealth, or abilities.  When we compare these things there seems to be great inequality.  So the founders had something more fundamental than our physical nature.  That said, it was commonly expressed that even these physical differences were not so great that they couldn’t be overcome by the mental prowess or collaboration of the weak.  In other words the differences were not enough to elevate the strong, rich, and able to a higher status (gods among men),  Despite the differences we are still all humans and must deal with the realities and limitations of what that entails.

In Acts 17 Paul is waiting in Athens, Greece for Silas and Timothy to join him.  He had fled the northern area of Thessalonica and Berea due to violent opposition to his teaching.  While he was there he began to talk with his fellow Jews in the synagogues and with Gentiles in the marketplace.  At some point he is invited to speak further about his teachings at a special forum in Athens where the philosophers of that day would pit there views against each other.  In verses 22-32 we have an address that Paul gives in this forum.  I believe it will be quite instructive in regard to our topic.

All People Are Equal In Origin

In verse 24 Paul points out that there is a God who created all peoples and all things.  This Creator is being referenced in the phrase, “all men are created equal.” Thus the Creator is the God of every nation, peoples, or individuals, whether they understand that or not.  The Greeks worshipped a multitude of gods, but Paul points out that they do not know their Creator.  This God is in no need of anything from us.  However, He does receive worship from those who will worship Him from the heart and in Spirit.

Now, the foundation of evolution rejects the idea of a creator.  But putting that aside, evolution has always contended that some species are more advanced than others.  Historically this has included what we call “races” today.  Thus it promoted the idea that some races are more superior then others.  The Bible rejects this idea.  All men come from the same Creator and through the same creation.  Let’s take this a bit deeper.

All People Are Equal In Their Humanity

Paul goes on to say at the end of verse 25, that God is the source of everyone’s life, breath, and all things.  Thus humans are all dependent on God for everything.  In verse 26 he points out that we are all from one blood.  The Bible traces all mankind back to a single couple, Adam and Eve.  Though time, environment and procreation have developed variations within the human species, we are still of one blood. In our modern scientific age we have been able to determine that most differences between “races” are cultural and not biological.  Only .2% of the DNA code differs among peoples of the world and only .012% has impact upon those things we label as race.  On top of this a person needing an organ donor may be a better match with a person of another race than another of his own.

We are all part of the same human family.  It is difficult to hold a family together once it goes past 3 generations.  There is a part of us that laments this and tries to work against it.  But the sheer size and geographical spread work against us.  In a sense all of us, no matter how different in looks and customs, come from the same Great, Great, …..Grand father/mother.  The sheer size makes it impossible to be close.  But it doesn’t mean we have to see the others as somehow less human, or inferior to us.

Paul points out that it was God who appointed the nations and set their limits.  Now the term nation here is not associated with skin color.  It is a term that points to those who have common culture and customs.  Even the term “race” in the English language was not associated with skin color until recent years.  It was used to describe the differences between the Brits, Normans, Irish, Scots etc…  These were all different races thought they had the same skin color.  Why?  Because their culture, history, and customs were different.  Biblically speaking it is language that makes the biggest difference among mankind not skin color.  All people regardless of where they come are equally human and have an equal right to exist upon this planet.

All People Are Equal In Their Need

In Acts 17:27-31, Paul points out several needs that all mankind have.  First, we all have the need to find God.  As much as we may disagree with God’s decision to confuse the languages, its intent is that those differences might cause us to search for him.  The term “grope” conjures the image of a blind man feeling for something.

Secondly, God is not far from any of us.  Yes, he is far in light of our limitations.  But he is not far from us in the sense that everything we have comes from him.  He is our source of everything.

Thus in verse 30 he points out that we have all been ignorant of God’s way.  Even Israel, who had been given much light, as a whole was ignorant to God’s way.  Thus God, knowing our blindness and limitations, comes near to us in Jesus Christ.  He makes himself known to not just one race, but to all.  Thus the Gospel through men like Paul goes out to the groping nations.  All nations need to repent of their ignorant ways and customs and turn to God in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

In fact, all nations will be judged by Christ at an appointed future time.  God has assured us of this by raising Jesus from the dead.

Let me close with these thoughts.  Modern technology has not only made the world smaller but it has made culture go global.  Kids from all over the world are beginning to have the same music interests, movie interests, and fashion styles.  How ought we as biblical believers live out this statement that “all men are equal?”

First, we should drop any sense of racial or cultural superiority.  All of our cultures have ungodly things within them.  Let us learn the lesson from Israel that pride and superiority always leads to a fall.  This does not mean that we should blindly accept all aspects of other cultures as worthy of respect.  But neither should we be blind to the aspects of our own culture that are not honorable.

Second, we should recognize the need of all people to know God.  God is not the white man’s god.  Nor is there a black god, red god, etc…  There is one God over all nations, no matter how far their culture may have gone away from him.

Third, refuse to be baited into ethnic rivalries through bigotry or politics.

Lastly, do not focus on non-moral differences between cultures.  They are irrelevant.  Grace and Peace in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

 

All Men Created Equal Audio