Question: How did races (skin colors, etc.) come about?

Answer: (The following answer, with some additions, is taken from an article by Ken Ham, Andrew Snelling and Carl Wieland, The Answers Book, Revised Edition, Master Books 1992.)

Races and the Bible

People didn't just decend from Adam and Eve, there was another bottle-neck in our family tree. According to the Bible, all humans on earth today are descended from Noah and his wife, his three sons and their wives. Because there are obvious differences between races (i.e. skin color) many people have doubted the Biblical record, claiming that such diversity could have arisen only by evolving separately over tens of thousands of years.

In one sense, of course, there is only one race -- the human race. The Bible teaches us that God "made of one blood all nations of men" (Acts 17:26). Scripture distinguishes people by tribal or national groupings, not by skin color or physical appearance. Although there are physical differences among "races," the differences are not really all that great. Even evolutionists do not claim separate origins of evolution for the various races, agreeing that all humans are descended from a common population -- and recently, a single mother, which they even call "Eve". Of course, they believe that such groups as the Aborigines or the Chinese have had many, many tens of thousands of years of separation to cause their distinctive physical traits. (And there is other evidence regarding DNA degeneration, which points to the fact that the time frame is not likely as long as they think -- but that's another topic).

Modern genetics shows, however, that when a large, freely interbreeding group is suddenly broken into many smaller groups which from then on breed only among themselves, different racial characteristics will arise very rapidly. A simple lesson in heredity shows that one pair of middle-brown parents could produce all known shades of color, from very white to very black, in just one generation. It should be noted that these genetic changes come from adaptation within a species (humans) and are not from a gain of genetic material, which would be necessary for evolution to have occured. All racial changes (i.e. skin tone, eye color, etc.) come from turning on or off genetic markers in our DNA code.

The Bible tells us that shortly after the great Flood there was an event that broke the large group of humanity into many smaller (and separated) groups. Originally, for a few centuries, there was only one language and one culture group. Thus, there were no barriers to marriage within this group. This would tend to keep the skin color of the population away from the extremes. Very dark and very light skin would appear, of course, but people tending in either direction would be free to marry someone less dark or less light than themselves, ensuring that the average color stayed roughly the same. Under these circumstances, distinct racial lines would never emerge. This is true for animals as well as human populations, as all biologists know. To obtain such separate lines, you would need to break a large breeding group into smaller groups and keep them separate, that is, not interbreeding any more.

This is exactly what happened at the tower of Babel. After the Flood, God told Noah and his family that they should fill the earth with their descendants. However, after only a few generations, it was clear that the people had decided to disobey God and continue to live as a single population. It was at Babel that God made people speak in different languages and caused them to scatter across the face of the earth. Once separate languages were imposed, there were instantaneous barriers. Not only would people tend not to marry someone they couldn’t understand, but entire groups which spoke the same language would have difficulty relating to and trusting those who did not. Thus, humanity was broken into smaller "breeding" groups and would therefore begin to develop distinguishing physical characteristics in a very short period of time.