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Only One People

Nov. 18, 2005 - On the Today Show this morning, there was an interesting segment that spoke about our common origins. Katie, Matt, Ann and Al had all been asked to contribute cheek swabs. When their DNA was analyzed, it became possible to trace the ancient migrations of their prehistoric ancestors.

What was most fascinating about this investigation was that, in spite of the fact that the show's regulars represented three distinct racial groups - White, Asian and African American -- all four of their blood lines started from somewhere in central Africa around 2000 generations ago. From the indicators in their DNA, each one of them was able to learn about the different routes their earliest relatives took, some because of the hardships of the ice age, some for other reasons. Katie's and Matt's forebears headed north and west, ending in what is now Europe. Ann's headed east, while Al's stayed in the general area of Africa.

The migratory history of the human race tells us that, regardless of where we ended up, we all started from the same place. Thus, racial and ethnic differences cannot disguise the fact that, at the most fundamental level, we are one people.

That physical journey is a useful metaphor for a deeper truth. Since we are embodied spirits, what does this DNA record of our physical oneness teach us about our spiritual connections?

The Bible tells us that "God created human beings, making them to be like himself. [Gen. 1:27 TEV] That means at the very least that we are created from God's substance, that we are part of God, that, as someone has put it, "each one of us is a different cell in the divine body." In the same way that our children are formed from the substance of our physical bodies, God created his own children from God's own essence.

The Today Show staff learned this morning that all racial groups, regardless of their eventual destinations, began at the same geographical point and sprang from a single group of human beings. From that original unity, they spread out and diversified into the variety of skin types and cultural styles which we see today. But science makes it clear that no one can claim, regardless of our differences, that we are not all related.

In precisely the same way, we all had our spiritual genesis in God. As we increased in intellectual capacity, we spread across the earth and came up with varying images of our common father, God. Despite the fact that these images are widely varied and culturally influenced, no one can claim, regardless of our differences, that all religions are not related. They are all linked in a common quest - to discover who is this divinity which has created us.

Science tells us we are one. Religious leaders, however, tell us we are not one, that only one path on that ancient spiritual journey has led to the truth. Perhaps one day the church will recognize what is already obvious to science - that if there is only one father, there can be only one people.

Posted 11-19-05

Copyright: John W. Sloat 2005