The original question was:
Where can I find out what race was Noah? I know he is not Jewish. Was he black or white, and where is it located in The Bible?
Answer by John Mackay
What do we know about Noah who is first mentioned in Genesis 5:29. He was a direct descendant of Adam (Genesis 5:1-6:2) He existed before the tower of Babel (Genesis 11) where mankind was split into various family groups which would eventually form groups with distinct physical characteristics (`races’) across the planet. He existed prior to Abraham (Genesis 12) or Judah (Genesis 29:35). Since Judah was the ancestor of the Jews and Israelites are descendants of the person called Israel (Genesis 35:10) so in the grand Biblical scheme of things, neither Adam, Abraham nor Noah were Jews or Israelites.
As to Noah’s colour, there is no positive statement on this anywhere in scripture, but the answer is still there indirectly. Noah’s name means `rest’. This has no colour connotation whatsoever. Noah’s sons Ham, Shem and Japheth however have several colour clues hidden in their names. Ham is definitely Hebrew for dark. Japheth is Hebrew for fair, and Shem’s name has nothing to do with colour at all. The name Shem is a word that means “name,” in this context relating to ‘he will make a name for himself’
In the present day world, whenever a person has some distinguishing colour we still sometimes give names that have colour connotations. In Australia we have often used the name ‘Bluey’ for a red headed person. Shem was not given a colour tag, with the implication that to his father Noah, Shem’s colour was what Noah would have been regarded as normal. Now add to this that Noah’s father was Lamech and his grandfather was Methuselah who had known the first man Adam for some 300 years. Noah’s immediate relatives were therefore in a good position to comment on any skin colour alterations that might have occurred at Noah or Shem’s birth. Since there no colour comment made in Noahs’ name, we can safely assume whatever colour Noah was, Shem was, but so were Lamech and Methuselah, and so was Adam!
But Adam’s name does give us a hint to his colour. The ‘dm’ sound in Adam, is also Hebrew for the word blood. Hence the tradition that goes back ‘to the beginning’ is that Adam was the man of the red earth. He was neither too dark nor too light. He was the type of rosy brown that most of us would desire to be in the on the beach at summertime. Since Adam’s body was part of God’s “very good” creation, we also know that whatever colour skin Adam had, was the one best suited to the world’s environment. So don’t be surprised that as we go around the planet today, some 6000 years after Adam and 4000 years after Noah, that we discover dark skin is not the ideal and neither is light skin. Dark skin works well only where it is very hot. It has so much surface pigment, it prevents absorption of sunlight which is fine in a tropical land, but when you shift a black skinned person into a cold country, and they don’t get enough light onto their skin, they can’t make enough vitamin D, so invariably some vitamin D deficiency problems arise, such as soft bones (Rickets). Likewise when you shift a light skinned person to a hot country, they suffer a big rise in skin cancer deaths, as is common in Australia today. The only skin colour that is the safest in all environments, and happens to be the majority skin colour on the planet today is the rosy brown one.
So working from beginning to end; given that Adam was rosy brown and Methuselah saw no reason to suggest to his son Lamech that Noah should be given a colour name tag, Noah was therefore the same colour as Adam. Neither too dark nor too light. But after Adam’s sin came onto the planet and man’s whole body physically, spiritually and mentally became subject to ‘the fall’, it shouldn’t surprise us that man’s skin colour controls had started to breakdown even before Noah’s flood. Hence when Noah had offspring, some had ‘lost control’ of skin colour production. Some were producing too much melanin (brown pigment) near the surface or some too little near the surface, so that dark skin, light skin and medium skin were all in existence prior to the flood and to the tower of Babel in the second century after the Flood. Hence when Noah’s descendants were split up at Babel, if your Dad was Hamitic black, your “tribe” or “race” was black before you went to Africa. If your Dad was a Japhethite, you were already fair or light skinned before you went to Europe. So what race was Noah? As a direct descendant of the created man Adam he belonged only to the human race! Since then all of us, no matter what features have become exaggerated or diminished in our particular race through isolation and inbreeding since Babel, we are descendants of the man Noah and through him back to the first man Adam. Which leaves us each with the one common problem we have inherited from that first man – sin and the need of a Saviour, and only one is available for all – the Lord Jesus Christ.
For more information on the origin of the word race, see the question: If all races originated from Noah’s sons, why are there such big differences between the races? Answer here.
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