Friday, August 20, 2010

Refuting Kinism: Part 2: Genesis 11:8, 9 (The Tower of Babel)

(posts in this series: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

While some kinists refer to opponents as "cultural Marxists,"
the kinist approach to Genesis 11:8, 9 logically leads one
to embrace cultural Marxism.  See below.
One of the main texts kinists use to argue that “races” should be geographically isolated, and that “interracial” marriage is forbidden, is Genesis 11:8, 9, which describes God dispersing the earth's inhabitants after coming together to build the Tower of Babel in defiance of Him. 

First, at the outset, the kinist interpretation cannot be maintained because it doesn’t distinguish between God’s will of decree and God’s will of command.  (See our third point of part 1 for more on this.)  And so even if separation by “race” is implied by the text, the text still wouldn’t be teaching that “races” ought not to “mix.”  It would simply be teaching that “races” were separated.  There is a difference between the "is" and the "ought." 

Second, the kinist interpretation reduces to absurdity.  Bud Powell writes, 
“The division into tribal nations at the Tower of Babel is said to be God's created order, because it was by God providence and foreknowledge that this event occurred and was not punishment for sin;  By the same token it could be argued that Imperial Rome came into power by the providence and foreknowledge of God and is an order that replaced the old tribal order and even Jesus affirmed its legitimacy.

“Under Kinism, the old tribal order is absolutized and God's future providence and unfolding of His mystery is made subject to the tribe.  Everything was fixed at Babel, and not even Sinai can change it; and certainly not the Gospel.   God has bound His own hands.

“This is fatalism with a vengeance and has nothing to do with the sovereignty of God.  We might as well argue that it was God's will for the men of Israel to demand a king and leave the old order, because God foreknew it and ordained it.  Hence, Solomon's tyranny was not punishment from God as Samuel had warned, but the best order for Israel, because it was providential.

“This doctrine of providence removes all sin and responsibility from man and is more akin to the fatalism of Muhammed, "It is the will of Allah."   There will be Christians who will hoist Kinism by its own petard and claim that the new socialist order when it comes is providential and therefore of the will of God.”  Bud Powell, Definition of Kinism (Facebook, August 17, 2010)
Moreover, kinism’s logic that the scattering of the people at Babel requires “racial” segregation undermines itself.  If it logically follows that God's decreeing of “racial” division following Babel requires nations to always be racially divided, then it also logically follows that God's decreeing of “racial mixing” ever since Babel (as seen in the “racial mixing” in countries throughout history) overturns the decreed “racial” division at Babel, and now nations are required to impose “racial mixing.” 

Thus liberalism logically follows from kinism.  And, by some of the kinists’ own standards, “cultural Marxism” follows from kinism, since some kinists consider “racial” diversity to be a form of cultural Marxism, but as we have just noted, kinist logic inevitably demands the imposition of “racial mixing.” But of course just as the Bible does not sanction kinism, neither does it sanction liberalism, nor Marxism of any kind. 

Third, however, the people at Babel were separated by language and geography, not by "race."  The text reads,
"So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth." (Gen. 11:8, 9)
It is arbitrary to read "race" into the text.  If one insists that race is implied, one must show from other texts that race is inseparable from language or geographic boundaries. 

And moreover, the notion that race and language are inseparable can't be true, since those of all "races" can learn and/or change languages. 

And the notion that race and geographic boundaries are inseparable can’t be true, since those of different "races" can migrate to different locations.  Not only this, but geographic boundaries don’t determine race since race is prior to geographic boundaries.  Acts 17:26-27 reads:
"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)
The kinist might acknowledge there is one human race in Adam, but still insist that there are “sub-races” made up of blacks, whites, etc., based on family ties (and as such these “sub-races” must divide geographically).  

However, if family determines “sub-races,” then “sub-races” don’t determine family.  Therefore, one cannot divide “sub-races” into groups of black, white, etc., since families throughout history have included intermarriage between blacks, whites, etc.

Furthermore, blacks, whites, etc., are all descended from the same family (Adam and Eve), from which all the skin colors derive.  Thus the kinist would have to have another way of determining “race” besides skin color. 

If the kinist wants to argue that 3 “pure” subraces are implied by the descendents of Shem, Ham , and Japeth, we must keep in mind that Shem, Ham, and Japeth were themselves part of one family.  They were “kin." 

If the kinist maintains that the
descendents of Shem, Ham, and
Japeth eventually became incompatible
races, he would have to affirm a
somewhat Darwinian view of race
that says that at some point in
time people-groups mysteriously
evolved to the level that their
blood ties to Shem, Ham, and
Japeth were severed.
And so if the kinist maintains that the descendents of Shem, Ham, and Japeth eventually became incompatible races, he would have to adapt a somewhat Darwinian view of race that says that at some point in time people-groups mysteriously evolved to the level that their blood ties through Shem, Ham, and Japeth were severed.

This of course though would ignore Acts 17:26, written some time after the Babel incident, which denies that the blood ties of all men were severed:  "And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth ..." (Acts 17:26a) (KJV). 

Fourth, one cannot glean from the judgment at Babel that "racial mixing" is forbidden because the reasons for the judgment were not "racial mixing," but for a) rejecting God's command to spread out throughout the earth (Gen. 9:7) and for b) coming together for a mass rebellion against God (Gen. 11:4). 

The scattering at Babel was thus a means to an end.  The problem was pride and coming together in one location--not having a common language or “racial mixing.” 

If the kinist wants to make God’s judgments prescriptive to man (so that, in the instance of the separating of mankind at Babel, man is morally required to enforce that scattering), then consider what the following acts of God’s judgment would prescribe: 

God’s drowning unrepentant sinners during the Flood (Genesis 7) would require us to drown non-Christians; God’s striking down of Herod for not giving God the glory (Acts 12:21-23) would likewise require us to strike down rulers for not giving God the glory; God’s taking the life of David’s child for David’s sins (2 Samuel 12:14) would require us to take the life of children of parents who commit the same sins; God’s destruction of the Canaanites for their particular sins (Leviticus 18) would require us to destroy nations for those same sins; God’s judging of idolaters by giving them over to sodomy (Romans 1:18-27) would require us to give idolaters over to sodomy; and God’s putting to death those who partook of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-30) would require us to do the same. 

If the kinist considers Babel an act of mercy instead of judgment, the same principle applies; all the biblical examples of God showing mercy would be prescriptive of us showing mercy.  But we cannot possibly show mercy in the way that God shows mercy, nor are we authorized to show mercy in every situation.  If, for instance, a court of law finds someone guilty of murder, we are not to spare his life, just because God spared King David’s life for murder. 

Fourth, while the scattering of the people at Babel is not prescriptive against migration, there are passages that are prescriptive of migration. 

The Great Commission prescribes some Christians (those called to do so) to emigrate to other lands: 
"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).

Moreover, the law takes for granted that nations should allow for immigration:
 “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 19:34)
(Of course, if he could have it his way, the consistent kinist would mistreat the stranger by kicking him out of the country.)

This is not to say that there is not to be controlled immigration; those blatantly hateful of God’s people should not be allowed into the country (cf. Deuteronomy 25:17-19).  But the general point is that, from the standpoint of God’s will of command, borders are to separate civil governments—not “races.”  John W. Robbins writes,
“God commanded the ancient Israelites at different times both to refrain from war as well as to attack certain nations. In Deuteronomy 2:5 God says, “Do not meddle with them [the children of Esau who lived in Seir], for I will not give you any of their land, no, not so much as one footstep.... You shall buy food from them with money, that you may eat; and you shall also buy water from them with money, that you may drink.... Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle, for I will not give you any of their land” (verses 5, 6, 9). Continuing commercial relations are not forbidden, but continuing military and political relations are. Borders were instituted for the purpose of separating rulers, not peoples, from each other.” John W. Robbins, The Sine Qua Non of Enduring Freedom, "The Trinity Review," July-August 2010 (Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation).
One of the many evils of kinism is that it would forbid Christians who are persecuted from fleeing to other lands—at the very least, to lands of those of other “races.”  So, for instance, if America was an all-white kinist nation, then it would forbid Chinese Christians from coming to America to escape persecution. 

Fifth, in the very chapter after the Tower of Babel incident, God called Abraham away from his country and kindred so that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed”:
Now the LORD said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’”  (Gen. 12:1-3)
Good thing Abraham wasn’t a kinist.  Instead of refusing to leave his kindred on the grounds that the doctrine of kinism requires one to remain with his people, Abraham obeyed God. Blessings to all the nations then would come through rejecting kinism, not by embracing it.  The rejection of kinism is an ongoing theme in the blessing of nations.  It is in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, which includes "interracial marriage": 
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

“Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

“And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah …” (Matthew 1:1-6). 
Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites, and Ruth was a Moabitess.  It is also interesting that, although David and Bathsheba were Solomon’s parents, the genealogy goes out of its way to refer to Bathsheba’s former husband Uriah, who was a Hitttite. 

And then there is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19, 20), which requires the church to break down the language barriers and to travel to other lands in order to disciple the nations.

And of course, the Apostles Peter and Paul--both Jews--understood the necessity to interact with different people groups.  Because of the Gospel, Peter rightfully lived "like a Gentile."  But after Peter separated himself from the Gentiles out of fear of the circumcision party (Galatians 2:12), Paul rebuked him:
"But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, 'If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'" (Galatians 2:14)
Paul realized the importance of "mixing" with other people groups in order to spread the Gospel:
"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

The kinist view of racial identity and segration denies the importance of being "all things to all people," and thus is a hindrance to the Gospel. 

Sixth, who could argue that a nation with Christians of different “races,” or “interracial” marriage between Christians, is an attempt to create the Tower of Babel?  Christians live in obedience to God (albeit imperfectly), not in rebellion, like those at Babel

John Calvin
Seventh, kinism is a denial of the ability of Christ to unite those of different “races.”  On Galatians 3:28, John Calvin writes,
There is neither Jew nor Greek. The meaning is, that there is no distinction of persons here, and therefore it is of no consequence to what nation or condition any one may belong: nor is circumcision any more regarded than sex or civil rank. And why? Because Christ makes them all one. Whatever may have been their former differences, Christ alone is able to unite them all. Ye are one: the distinction is now removed. The apostle’s object is to shew that the grace of adoption, and the hope of salvation, do not depend on the law, but are contained in Christ alone, who therefore is all. Greek is here put, as usual, for Gentile, and one department for the whole class.” John Calvin, Commentary on Galatians and Ephesians: Galatians 3:28 (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
While in kinism "racial" groups must be segregated--and consequently Christians of different "races" are not to have fellowship together--for the Apostle Paul, Christians of all people groups are to have fellowship: 
"Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." (Colossians 3:11-14)
Paul affirms the necessity of fellowship between Christians of different people groups (e.g., Greek and Jew).  They are to be patient with one another, bear with one another, and forgive one another.  This is a clear repudiation of the kinist doctrine of "racial" segregation; for the context clearly indicates that Paul has in mind interpersonal relationships between those of different people groups.

And Paul goes on to say "put on love." But due to its doctrine of "racial" segregation, kinism naturally opposes Christians of different "races" loving one another.  Love, as the context of this passage shows, includes the willingness to fellowship with those of different people groups.

Eighth, regarding kinism’s opposition to “interracial” marriage: when defending the sanctity of marriage, the Bible appeals to creation (Matt. 19:6; 1 Cor. 11:8, 9; Eph. 5:31)—not to the scattering of the people at Babel.  And at creation, God made one Adam and one Eve.  God did not make racially distinct sets of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: Adam and Eve A, Adam and Eve B, and Adam and Eve C.

If at the scattering of the people at Babel a new form of sanctity for marriage was instituted that radically affected how marriage was to be viewed, then one would think that Babel would have been appealed to in regards to the sanctity of marriage in later texts.  If kinism were true, then no longer would it be considered that woman was created for man, but rather that black woman was created for black man; white woman for white man; etc. 

Ninth, there are just so many logical problems to the kinist view of Babel.  A few more:
(1) If the “genetic differences” of those of different “races” render it impossible for “races” to coexhist, then why do kinists fear that coexhisting “races” will, like those at Babel, unite in rebellion against God?

(2) If national boundaries were permanently set at Babel, then everyone would be faced with the impossible task of tracing their ancestry all the way back to where they originally lived, and then resettling there.

(3) This previous point makes white American kinists hypocrites.  How can they support living in America when non-white people groups lived here before them?  Should not white American kinists move to Europe?

(4) Since there has been so much "racial mixing" since Babel, one has a hard time knowing which of the "races" he really belongs to, or how "pure" of a member of a "race" he actually is.

5) If people can only dwell with those of their "race," then they would have to find out all the different "races" they are part of (since there has been so much "racial mixing" throughout the centuries), and cut their bodies into pieces and have their body parts shipped to the lands of different "racial" groups in proportion with how much they are part of any given "racial" group.  So, for instance, someone who is 90% white, 5% Asian, and 5% black could have 90% of his body parts shipped to Europe, 5% to Asia, and 5% to Africa.

6) If each "race" must dwell in isolation from others, what about someone who is, for example, part white and part black?  Is he a unique "race," or two "races"?  Can he choose to live in either Europe or Africa?  Or must he go and start his own country?  Of course, with all the "racial mixing" throughout the centuries, it's hard to know if anyone in particular is "racially pure."

Having said all this, in the final analysis, it seems that kinists, in their obsession with twisting Scripture--including using genealogies as a means to divide the body of Christ by "races"--might fall under the condemnation of Titus chapter 3:
"But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."  (Titus 3:9, 10)

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