Systematic Theology - Vol. 2

By Charles Hodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.

UNITY OF THE HUMAN RACE.

THERE is still another question which science has forced on theology, in relation to man, which cannot be overlooked. Have all mankind had a common origin ? and have they a common nature ? Are they all descended from one pair, and do they constitute one species ? These questions are answered affirmatively in the Bible and by the Church universal. They are answered in the negative by a large and increasing class of scientific men. As the unity of the race is not only asserted in the Scriptures but also assumed in all they teach concerning the apostasy and redemption of man, it is a point about which the mind of the theologian should be intelligently convinced. As a mere theologian he may be authorized to rest satisfied with the declarations of the Bible ; but as a defender of the faith he should be able to give an answer to those who oppose themselves.

There are two points involved in this question : community of origin, and unity of species. All plants and animals derived by propagation from the same original stock are of the same species; but those of the same species need not be derived from a common stock. If God saw fit at the beginning, or at any time since, to create plants or animals of the same kind in large numbers and in different parts of the earth, they would be of the same species (or kind) though not of the same origin. The oaks of America and those of Europe are identical in species, even although not derived from one and the same parent oak. It may be admitted that the great majority of plants and animals were originally produced not singly or in pairs, but in groups, the earth bringing forth a multitude of individuals of the same kind. It is therefore in itself possible that all men may be of the same species, although not all descended from Adam. And such is the opinion of some distinguished naturalists. The Scriptural doctrine, however, concerning man is, that the race is not only the same in kind but the same in origin. They are all the children of a common parent, and have a common nature.

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