Since we are all created in the image of God, why is there such a separation of groups as people are treated and looked upon in the world? Why is it that in the Bible the Hebrews were told to utterly destroy the Canaanites and Jebusites and all other people of color? Are we to believe that God, the creator of all mankind is racist?


This a good question.  By the way, let me clear the ground on one thing before I start.  No matter what God did in choosing Israel, it had nothing whatsoever to do with race.  We can propose that he was biased and perhaps even unfair to other groups besides the Jews, but to propose that it had to do with race is preposterous.  The idea of “race” was not even a significant “thing” amongst humans until the last thousand years or so.  In the Roman and Greek world, people obviously noticed the differences in skin color among people, but they did not use the idea of “race” to classify people.  In asking this question we are looking at things through the lens of modern times, when race definitely became a “thing.”  There is no way that God’s choice of Israel had to do with the color of their skin.  Surely, you would agree with that.  The Jews were of the same “race” as all the people around them.  It had nothing to do with anything even remotely associated with race.  It just so happens that Palestinians and original Jews and Canaanites were neither white nor black, but somewhere in-between, which is not at all surprising as they lived at the bridge between Africa and Asia.  The Jews were not more nor less “persons of color” than those they dispossessed.
But, there is still a question of God being biased and unfair to other nations when he chose the Jews.  It may have nothing to do with race, but was God unfair in choosing the Jews over the others in the Middle East?  Why did God tell the Jews to destroy other people?  This is a hard question to answer!  The entire Bible is a story.  It is the story of God creating us to love him, for him to love us and for us to love one another.  We rebelled against God. We brought sin into the world.  We brought evil and prejudice and separation into the world.  We became separated from God.  God’s plan was to choose a person of great faith through whom to bless the world.  That person was Abraham.  You can read Genesis Ch 12-22 and Romans 4 to get a feeling for why God did this, and why he chose Abraham specifically.  You or I may not have chosen this path to save and to bless humanity, but we are not God and this was God’s plan.  We need to remember that it was a plan to bless ALL of humanity (read the chapters and see!).
God’s plan, odd though it might seem to us, was to choose a man of faith, and, through him, to create a special people of his own.  He created a nation of tribes who were to follow him.  To these people, the descendants of Abraham, he gave a special law and he made a covenant.  He gave them a land to possess.  He send them prophets.  He was preparing a people to whom and through whom to send the Messiah as savior of ALL mankind.  That was his plan.  A strange plan?  Perhaps, but it was the benevolence of God to do this.  If you read Deuteronomy Ch 6-10 you will see God telling his people that he did not choose them because they were so numerous or awesome.  He chose them because of the faith of Abraham and because he wanted to use them to bless all humanity.
Like I said, part of this plan was to give the Jews a land to occupy and to possess.  At the time Canaan was occupied by people who took part in forms of religion which are blasphemous and disgusting, including the sacrifice of children in fire, having sex with prostitutes as a form of worship of idols.  God choose to judge these people and to dispossess them so his people could have a land to enter and possess.  This part of the plan is the hardest for us humans to accept, and I can tell that it is a stumbling block to you.  But God, the Creator, has the right to judge those he created.  It is a stumbling block to a lot of people. I, myself, struggle with this idea to some extent.  Please remember though, that it was due to the gross sin of these people and because of God’s plan to use Abraham’s descendants to save the world.  It DEFINITELY had nothing to do with color.
This is a difficult question.  Honestly it is.  But one thing we can say with 100% confidence is this.  God is not a racist, and there is no evidence in the Bible that God is a racist.
John Oakes

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