|"And he [God] made from one man every nation of |
mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having
determined allotted periods and the boundaries of
their dwelling place ..." (Acts 17:26)
"And he [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him." (Acts 17:26, 27a)But first, note that the text actually affirms one race--"And he made from one man every nation of mankind." All men from every nation are related by one man (Adam), and hence all men are of one race.
Nations don't determine race, but are rather derived from race--that is, the one human race of Adam. In short, race is prior to nations, not the other way around. As the KJV reads, "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth ..." (Acts 17:26a).
John Gill, in his commentary on the Bible, writes,
"And it is a certain truth that follows upon this, that no man has any reason to vaunt over another, and boast of his blood and family; and as little reason have any to have any dependence upon their being the children of believers, or to distinguish themselves from others, and reject them as the children of unbelievers, when all belong to one family, and are of one man's blood, whether Adam or Noah:
of whom are all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth; for from Adam sprung a race of men, which multiplied on the face of the earth, and peopled the world before the flood; these being destroyed by the flood, and Noah and his family saved, his descendants were scattered all over the earth, and repeopled it: and this is the original of all the nations of men, and of all the inhabitants of the earth;
and stands opposed to the fabulous accounts of the Heathens, which the apostle might have in his view, that men at first grew up out of the earth, or after the flood were formed of stones, which Deucalion and Prometheus threw over their heads; and particularly the Athenians boasted that they sprung out of the earth, which Diogenes ridiculed as common with mice and worms. But the apostle ascribes all to one blood ..."
(John Gill, John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: Acts 17:26)
|"No man has any reason to |
vaunt over another, and boast
of his blood and family ... all
belong to one family, and are
of one man's blood, whether
Adam or Noah."
--John Gill, on Acts 17:26
Second, God has not only providentially determined the boundaries of societies of people of only one skin color, but of societies of people with more than one skin color. Thus unless one wants to absurdly say that Acts 17:26, 27 only has in mind societies of one skin color, the text does nothing to further the kinist argument.
Moreover, as Adam Brink notes,
The limitation of marriage to within the boundaries of kin, as defined by the various nations on earth, according to the kinist manifesto, does not accord with the historical practice of all nations in Europe. If we take Acts 17, that God appointed the bounds of men's habitations as a good delimiting mark for what "kin" means, then everybody has been inter-marrying with other kin and nations have been joining with nations to form new nations since before the legal memory of most nations. Germany, for instance, used to be a collection of various states, and later joined into one super-state. The ethnic and kin composition of which is as varied as it gets.
I have Scottish blood, but in reality, the "nation" of Scotland is composed of indiginous people groups, Celtic peoples, Nordic peoples, and my ancestry was Moravian (that is the origin of the Murray, Morray, Morrey etc. surnames). Thus, being "Scotish", in general, means to be intermarried with other kin and nations.
And, for the record, "white" does not define a family or a kin.
Adam Brink, "Learning from the Kinist Controversy: Part 1," Confessional Puritan Board (August 3, 2010).Third, the phrase, "having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place" is about God's sovereign control over the nations. It is not, as kinists would have us believe, a moral imperative forbidding members of one "race" from migrating to a land with members of another "race."
The kinist interpretation of this text does not distinguish between God's will of command and God's will of decree. God's will of command has to do with commands God has given man to obey. God's will of decree has to do with what God has ordained to come to pass.
So, for example, God's will of command required Pharaoh to let God's people go (Exodus 8:1). And yet God's will of decree hardened Pharaoh's heart so that Pharaoh would disobey that command (Exodus 4:21).
Or, God's will of command forbade Joseph's brothers from kidnapping and selling him (Exodus 21:16), and yet God's will of decree was that they would disobey that command (Genesis 50:20).
If we were to adopt kinist eisegesis, and turn God's will of decree into a moral imperative, then we would absurdly hold that it was morally right for Pharoah to not let God's people go, and for Joseph's brothers to kidnap and sell Joseph.
Moreover, the Bible says the following about civil rulers:
"The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men." (Daniel 4:17)Thus just as Acts 17:26 describes God's providence over nations, Daniel 4:17 describes God's providence over civil rulers.
But if we were to absurdly understand "having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place" to mean that national boundaries must be fixed, then logical consistency demands that we absurdly understand "the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" to mean that civil rulers must likewise be fixed (e.g., it would be wrong to impeach a corrupt president).
Thus, while it is true that God’s will of decree shows us that we are responsible to obey Him (see, for example, Romans 9:20 and Psalm 2:7-12), God’s will of command shows us how to obey Him. Indeed, God sometimes decrees man to do good, but He also, as we have seen, decrees man to do evil.
So passages that are only descriptive of God’s sovereign acts do not show how to obey God. It is only passages that are prescriptive, that is, passages about God’s commands to mankind, that tell us how to obey God. The kinist then commits the naturalistic fallacy of going from the is to the ought.
On the other hand, here is a prescriptive text that relates to "mixing" with those of other "races":
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19, 20a).This is God's will of command. Here the church is commanded to "mix" with other "races" (e.g., learn their language, migrate to their lands) in order to share the Gospel and to teach them to observe the law of God.
Of course, even if we were to take Acts 17:26 as a moral imperative, it still wouldn't forbid those of different "races" from living together. Again, the text reads, "having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place," and God has in fact not only decreed, or determined, that at certain points in history those of just the same "race" would share dwelling places, but those of different "races" as well.
Fourth, the kinist interpretation would have Paul making a self-defeating argument, for Paul was a Jew speaking to Greeks, and those who make racial categorizations certainly consider Jews and Greeks different races.
The Jewish Paul would in effect be telling the Greeks that "races" should geographically segregate, and yet in the process of telling them this Paul would be violating this very rule. If kinism is true, then Paul could never have gone to Greece in the first place--he would have stayed in his homeland.
In conclusion, we will note that in the context of society, Acts 17:26-27 in and of itself neither favors "racial" diversity nor "racial" homogeneity. It is "racially" neutral.