Thursday, October 10, 2013

Was Jesus Black?

(random photo that has absolutely nothing to do with this post )
If you're reading this now or came to this post because of the title...Well hi there. How's your week been going?
 Yes, it's going to be a very unique post considering what I usually write about here. I can imagine some of your faces as you read this. You're waiting to see if this is going to be... well, okay, let's just say you're probably curious.
I've debated doing theological posts on Apassionata but declined the notion because I figured there was already randomness here? Yeeeah. That's why Symphony and I started Creation Gals.
But today I'm changing it up for once. This is a topic which rested in my brain several months ago and I've deliberated deeply on it since.
 So many misconceptions. So many false assumptions. So much hate - and I do mean, the true meaning of hate. (Not the liberal, left-wing manipulation of the word.)
It happens on both sides...both white, and black. It has the potential to occur in every soul, no matter the nationality or color.
The word 'race' itself, is racist. (for more on the word 'race' read this article I wrote on Creation Gals)
It's an evolutionistic term at root and implies a species still in the process of evolving to its full potential/state of existence.
When the word 'race' is viewed under such terms, it makes sense why people can so easily fall to looking down on somebody a different color or background then themselves.
Most of our vocabularies include a racist term, and we don't even blink twice! Is that not scary?
So. I've opted not to use the word 'race'. I could go into more reasons why this is a word to avoided, but technically that was already covered in the article noted above.
It's really tragic to me how easily humanity derides against itself...and for the most petty reasons.
 There will never be world peace or anything similar until Jesus returns and the new heaven/new earth is instituted, true. It's just heart-breaking to me, to see people look down on one another simply because of the amount of melatonin in their skin.
Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.
It's all due to our sin nature. We are inclined to such things, being a fallen creation.
I'm not perfect, myself. In fact, I'm far from being thus. It's amazing how much I mess up, and how easily my thoughts turn from being on the right things.
I never thought of myself as being racist. In fact, the subject has always stirred my heart...even to the point of inducing a form of anger. When I read of the injustices and wrongs done to people simply for skin-deep reasons, I cringe and involuntarily grit my teeth. I hate to see it.
And then these questions hit me out of nowhere. And suddenly I found myself pondering something I'd never really taken into deep consideration before.
Does God have a 'skin color?'
Was Jesus black?
Is God black?
What about Adam and Eve?
It seems everybody creates assumptions about God/Jesus' appearance. Go to a white church, there are pictures of artists' conceptions of Jesus. He's usually rendered as a clean-cut, effeminate looking fellow with a mild, clean cut beard...and very pale, colorless skin. Very white.
Go to a black church, there are artists' conceptions of Jesus. He's typically rendered as a clean cut, but no so effeminate looking man with a beard and chocolate colored skin. Obviously black.
The same formula follows for other people groups and nationalities.
Now, the fact alone that we have 'white' and 'black' churches irks me, but that's a topic for another time.
The point is, we all picture Jesus as looking the way we look. It's an involuntary mindset. I'll admit, I never used to question those pictures on the church walls or in the children's' Bible story books.
It may seem trivial, to question what Jesus looked like during His time here on earth.
But isn't it still worth the thought, since it is, after all the Creator of the universe? Isn't it worth the thought just because it's something to make us examine our outlook on things?
If God truly does have a 'skin color', (we are made in His Image, after all) what immediately comes to your mind? This will prove where your involuntary assumptions are.
This being said, I don't believe we'll ever be able to know what He looks like until we meet Him for ourselves. I picture Him as He is described in Revelation and throughout Scripture. Being clothed in white, best likened to a beam of blinding, incredible light.
The human mind cannot truly fathom His appearance.
What did Jesus look like, during His years spent here? Once again, no one will ever know while abiding in this current life. I picture Him as being neither white nor black, but in between, due to the middle-eastern region He hailed from.
Adam and Eve. Were they black? White? Asian? Latino?
 Here is another misconception I believe that's made and all too often. In the kids' Bible story books, Eve is portrayed as having long blond hair, and pale skin. Adam looks similar.
To me personally, I don't believe this factually conceivable. Since all the world's future inhabitants would spawn from this couple, there must have been enough potential for genetic diversity within their DNA to provide this. If both Adam and Eve were 'white', where would the melatonin come from to create darker skin later on?
If they were both 'black', it wouldn't be possible for any of their descendants to ever have a lighter complexion.  
Simple enough, right?
 So how then do we have the incredible diversity of color and physical characteristics in the world today?
What if....
a. Adam and Eve possessed more middle-eastern characteristics - olive skin, dark hair, etc.
or b., one was 'white' and the other 'black'?
These two options seem the most plausible to me. Especially the latter. As I said before, I am hardly very knowledgeable and I myself make many presuppositions, many prove to be false.
But I like to think. I like to question. And as simple an issue as this may seem, it truly can raise quite a debate.
So...what am I concluding?
If you're truly not racist, you should be able to view Jesus/God/Adam and Eve and being any color. We have no hard fact of what any of them looked like/look like, so therefore we shouldn't cling to this solid idea that they looked any one way.
Make sense? Hopefully, yes. 
I know in the long run it won't matter, compared to other things, but I still think it's a fascinating topic to ponder.
  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter!
Soli Deo Gloria,


  1. =) You're statements, I wouldn't necessarily DISAGREE with or whole heartedly agree with...but here's just a little food for thought, I'm not trying to prove a fact or anything, just something more for you to think about on this topic (the skin color of Jesus ;) The bible says Jesus was a "Jew" correct? I'm not by any means a racist person, skin color doesn't change how I view a person, their character is what i look at. But a question for you to ask yourself...Are Jews black? I don't believe they are, therefore I don't necessarily believe Jesus was black in skin color...but just so we are on the same page... =) I don't think "skin color" defines who a person is...Jesus could've been any skin color under the sun...and still would've been GOD in the flesh.... =D

    1. He was indeed a Jew and from a region in which olive-colored skin is predominant. So I agree. But. The point of this post was to raise the question to get people thinking on presuppositions we make. If one cannot picture God or Jesus as being black (or, if someone black cannot picture Him being white), for no other reason than that thought makes him/her feel uncomfortable, I would say there is a shred of racism in that thought process.

  2. Good thoughts. Interestingly enough, racism ended up being one of the themes that I address in my story. (Not literal black vs. white racism, but the same concept) I hadn't really planned it that way beforehand, but I"m happy with how it worked out. The way I see it, racism is all about prejudice. People seem to pay more attention to appearance than they do to character or what people look like on the inside.

    1. Interesting! I appreciate seeing the topic addressed in literature like novels, stories etc. It's a very effective way, I think, to make people think about it. And I agree on the appearances vs. character deal 100%.

  3. Good stuff, Leah! Thank you for this thoughtful article.

  4. Being a Jew, Jesus was likely dark-skinned, dark-eyed, and dark-haired, not light-skinned, blue-eyed, and light-haired, as he is portrayed in many churches. You are right that people like to think of Jesus as having a physical appearance similar to their own. They like to think that he looks like them.

    Your post reminds me of a story one of my friends told me once, of when she was little. Her church was going to do a play about the birth of Jesus, and everyone had to pick out a toy baby to be their baby Jesus. Everyone tried to pick out a pale-skinned baby. By the time my friend went to get one, there were only dark-skinned babies left. It disturbs me that Jesus is portrayed in such a culturally specific way, when he responded with such love to the needy and downtrodden of every description, and all sorts of different people.

    Different churches have different cultures and different communities. For example, the first church I ever attended was more old-fashioned and formal. One of my relatives has always preferred a more modern, easy-going, and less formal church community. I attended her church once, and I could definitely feel that the atmosphere was different. I've always felt that some people don't understand the more reserved communities. Really, it all comes down to cultural differences.

    People all started off dark-skinned, then as time went on, we spread to different parts of the world, where we evolved to adjust to the different climates, etc. - for example, the Pre-Celts were in Ireland for so long, their skin paled because of the weather, and they had more hair than other people of the earth because of the chill damp weather. Although, this is a theory, it makes sense to me and I believe it was possibly what happened. I don't believe that people began with Adam and Eve. It think it's a nice story, but to me it's like folklore - every culture has a story of how the earth began, and Adam and Eve is the story created by the Jewish people. Some cultures have similar stories of how people began, which I find interesting.

    1. Banrion, I have to disagree on that last bit. Adam and Eve were real people! Folklores and myth don't produce generations of progeny. Adam and Eve did - those descendants are *us*! And multiple other ancient traditions support this, not just the Bible.

  5. I just wanted to add something to this...
    There is no, white,black, ect...people, we're all the same, just different things in our genes that lead to darker or lighter tones it's all one color but a certain mix creates the darker or lighter tone.

    1. "White" and "black" are not races but merely terms denoting a person's skin color. Honestly they're not even accurate - white people don't have WHITE like paper skin, and black people have brown skin...not black.

  6. I think it was very plausible that Jesus was NOT white, although we really don't know what skin pigment he has.
    I watched an Answers in Genesis movie that pointed out that Adam and Eve would have had the ability to have children of multiple skin pigmentations, they gave an example of a couple living now who were (middle eastern?) and had one white child and one black child! Which, it makes sense, since all of us descended from Adam and Eve, their children had to of had a wide variety of skin pigmentaions.
    Great post!
    Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog!
    Your sister in Christ,
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