Following the great flood there was only one language. Genesis chapter 11:1-9 tells the story of a people with one language working together as one, until God confused their language. Language and culture go hand in hand. Language is a particular speech of a particular culture. God saw that the people were united because of their language and decided to confuse their language. When he did this they went their separate ways because they could no longer understand each other.
After going their separate ways; new languages, and cultures developed. The people of the world were no longer unified by language and culture, they became strangers and foreigners to one another. The world had gone from unicultural, to multicultural, from one community, to multiple communities. With the linguistic barriers came cultural barriers. The world would not be the same.
Division amongst the “peoples” of the world reigned from that day forward. I say “peoples”, but in all reality there never has been peoples, but only a people. Those that have been created in the image of their creator, one race. Webster’s defines race as
: a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock
: a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics
The definition list family, tribe, people, nation, stock, class, kind, interests, habits, and characteristics as markers of race. That list shows race is based on relationship and commonalities, not on a true genetic difference. The “genetic” difference is more about exclusion of others by distance, belief and culture. The imposition of “racial” purity, by the exclusion of those that are not “like us”.
Due to our ignorance, and arrogance we keep others at bay because they are not like us. We determine that someone is of a different race because they aren’t born into our family, tribe, people, nation, stock or class. We forget that those supposed racial differences are cultural, not genetic.
- We humans depend heavily on our cultural Differences to give us identity. Just consider the way many Americans identify themselve: Native American, Irish American, Italian American, Asian American, African American and on and on it goes. Many Americans identify with a land, language and a culture they have never experienced first hand. In many case they are multiple generations removed from their cultures, yet they identify with it. It fascinating when you think about it.
- Culture gives one “identity”. Humans crave identity some so much they will even claim to be a nationality, or “race” they are not remotely related to in order to find their identity. In recent time some have been found to claim that they are something they simply are not. Even when confronted publicly with their charade they will cling to their false identity. Even when taken to the level of national exposure “white” people have clung to their claim of being “african american”, and native american.
Jesus in his sacrifice has given all people in all places the opportunity to find their Identity and become one people, one culture. A uni-culture tracing its roots back to its creator. “All are one in Christ” as the Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Galatian church. All are one, period. Paul makes it very clear in Galatians 3:26-29… So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.(NIV)
When people truly turn to Christ, becoming his disciples and follow his teachings there is no longer a multitude of religions, classes or cultures. There is only one Kingdom culture. It is the fulfilment God’s promise to Abraham thousands of years ago. In Christ the events of Genesis 11 are reversed, we become a people of unity and oneness again in Jesus. The Apostle Paul speak of this oneness, this unity in his letter to the church at Ephesus. Ephesians 4:1-6… As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.(NIV) All believers are called to be one, uni-cultural.
There is no room for divisiveness in the “Kingdom culture”. All religions, race, nationalism, sectarianism is to be done away with as we become the one people of God the Father. We have all been drawn to Jesus. So let’s do what the writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us to do… Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV) We must remove the weight of multiculturalism within the body of believers.
We will never find our true identity in the world . We will only find it in Christ Jesus.
© 2017 Leo J Woodman