living for millennia among non–Middle-Eastern people), who
started out with typical Middle Eastern genes and ended up
with a typical Middle Eastern network of relationships with
When looking at people groups across the world, should
we expect to see ‘three’ (the descendants of Shem, Ham,
and Japheth) or ‘ 16’ The number of groups descending from
Noah in Genesis 16 … Not all of those listed are grandsons.
Rather, many people groups (-im) are included in the list.
We should expect neither, because we have every reason
to expect their lineages to have intertwined extensively.
The Bible lists the patriarchal founders of multiple people
groups, but each of those groups had their own complex
interactions with their respective neighbours, which would
create extensive co-mingling of the different lineages. The
Jewish nation just happens to have a detailed record of their
beginnings and of their interactions with other peoples over
time. Thus, they can be used as a model of what we should
expect when asking questions about race.
I thank Jonathan Sarfati for his critical review of an
earlier draft of this manuscript as well as the efforts of two
1. Carter, R. and Hardy, C., Modelling biblical human population growth,
J. Creation 29( 1): 72–79, 2015; creation.com/population-growth.
2. See Sarfati, J., The Genesis Account, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs,
GA, pp. 651–653, 2015.
3. Hardy, C. and Carter, R., The biblical minimum and maximum age of the earth,
J. Creation 28( 2): 89–96, 2014; creation.com/biblical-earth-age.
4. Cosner, L. and Carter, R., Textual traditions and biblical chronology, J. Creation29( 2):
99–105, 2015; https://tinyurl.com/yabhf57e.
5. Lloyd-Jones, D.M., The Puritans: Their origins and successors, Banner of Truth,
Edinburgh, UK, p. 338, 1987.
6. See also Sarfati, J., The Genesis Account, pp. 618–624, 2015; and Wieland,
C., One Human Family, Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, GA,
pp. 44–45, 2011.
7. Some creationists have portrayed Ham’s wife with both Asiatic and African
facial features and a medium-brown skin tone, supporting the idea that Africans
and East Asians derived from Ham. But population-specific racial features must
have developed independently, in isolation, after Babel.
8. Human skin pigmentation is under complex control. To date, the main known
drivers are variants in the LC24A5 gene (chromosome 15), but other variants
have been discovered on chromosomes 3, 5, 10, and 20, and perhaps others. For
a recent study on the subject, see Hernandez-Pacheco, N. et al., Identification
of a novel locus associated with skin colour in African-admixed populations,
Sci. Rep. 7:44548, 2017.
9. Schuenemann, V.J. et al., Ancient Egyptian mummy genomes suggest an
increase of Sub-Saharan African ancestry in post-Roman periods, Nature
Communications 8:15694, 2017.
10. See Carter, R., Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics, creation.com/noah-and-genetics, 11 May 2010.
11. Slatkin, M. and Racimo, F., Ancient DNA and human history, PNAS 113( 23):
6380–6387, 2016. The most common Y-chromosome haplogroup in Africa is E.
It may not have originated there but it certainly dominates the genetic landscape
today. But we can also trace the branches and sub-branches of haplogroup E, and
clearly many ‘African’ E chromosomes have entered Europe over the centuries.
12. Consider the Punic Wars and the Moorish invasion of Spain. We also see many
deeply rooted African Y chromosomes among otherwise European people groups
within the 1,000 Genomes data, etc.
13. King, T.E. et al., Africans in Yorkshire? The deepest-rooting clade of the Y
phylogeny within an English genealogy, European J. Human Genetics 15:
14. This was right before he tithed to Melchizedek. Many commentators have
concluded that Melchizedek was either a pre-incarnate Christ (after considering
Hebrews 7:3b), or that he was the patriarch Shem. Sarfati ( The Genesis Account,
p. 647, footnote 28) notes that the first option is theologically problematic and
that there is no biblical evidence for the second option. If one was searching for
a biblical person to fill this role, the appearance of the word ‘Eberite’ in close
proximity would better indicate that Melchizedek was Eber. But this is just as
speculative as the other ideas, especially since Hebrews 7:3a says his ancestry
is unknown. Also, if the LXX carries the correct chronology, both Eber and
Shem were long since dead by this time.
15. Isaac did not receive anything but approbation from (possibly a different)
Abimelech (the title of the ruler) when he followed in his father’s footsteps
years later (Genesis 26: 6–11).
16. Carter, R., Inbreeding and the origin of races, J. Creation 27( 3): 8–10, 2013;
17. Note that he was not called an ‘Israelite’, which is evidence that back then
Jewish descent was patrilineal.
18. Josephus said that Moses had married an Ethiopian princess before he fled
Egypt (Antiquities of the Jews 2: 10–11). More recent commentators suggest
that Zipporah had died and Moses married an Ethiopian woman who was part
of the multitude, or else Miriam just insulted Zipporah by calling her a Cushite.
19. Compare this to a similar exclusion to the 10th generation of children born out
of wedlock (Deuteronomy 23: 2).
20. Amorite > Canaanite > Hivite > Gibeonite.
21. Most people conclude this must be talking about the male line only. Since Ruth
was David’s great-grandmother, he would not have fallen under the moratorium
if this were so. The alternative is that David was guilty under the Law, that he
was imperfect, and that he could not have stood in for the Messiah even though
he was “a man after God’s own heart”. Notice that his son Solomon would
later marry multiple women excluded by this same law. Israel was ignoring the
prohibitions set up by God.
22. Compare references to his name in 1 Chronicles 13, 15, 16, and 26.
23. Losch, R.R., All the People in the Bible: An A–Z guide to the saints, scoundrels,
and other characters in Scripture, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 155, 2008.
24. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews book 13, 9: 1; 11: 3.
Robert Carter received his Bachelor of Science in
Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology
in 1992 and his Ph.D. in Coral Reef Ecology from the
University of Miami in 2003. He has studied the genetics
of fluorescent proteins in corals and sea anemones and
holds one patent on a particular fluorescent protein
gene. His current research involves looking for genetic
patterns in the human genome and the development
of a biblical model of human genetic history. He works
as a speaker and scientist at CMI-US.