In western countries, nearly every imaginative painting of Adam and Eve depict two adult Caucasians with fair skin and blue eyes. These images, even used as Bible illustrations, tend to shape the reader’s mental image of the first man and woman. The Sunday-school origin of the dark races is often that they were descendants of Adam and Eve who had migrated to a hot climate where the suntan eventually became an inherited characteristic. These images and explanations discredit Christianity.
The true explanation began to be resolved in 1913 when it was shown that human beings carry two genes for color and that each gene consists of “black” or “white” alleles. One allele was received from the mother and the other from the father. The allele is part of the gene, and the gene is part of the DNA – while the DNA resides in the nucleus of every cell in our body. Our skin color is caused by the pigment melanin, and this is controlled by two pairs of genes that geneticists refer to using the letter designations Aa and Bb, where the capital letter represents dominant genes and the small letters represent recessive genes. A and B, being dominant, produce melanin in good quantity while recessive a and b produce only a minor amount of melanin. Hence, our coloration depends upon the number of black and white alleles we received from our parents. The color genes express themselves in only one place – specialized skin cells called the melanocytes – that produce granules of melanin that are delivered to neighboring cells.
Eve was made from Adam’s rib and was thus a clone of Adam [Genesis 2:21-22]. They would therefore have had identical genes for melanin production. If they were both AABB, they would have been Negroid and produced children of only the darkest of Negroid coloration. If this were the case, the world’s population today would be entirely Negro. In fact, only about 10% of the world’s population is Negro, so we can be certain that our first parents were not of the AABB combination. By the same argument, if Adam and Eve had both been aabb, all their children would have been aabb meaning that all their descendants would be the lightest Caucasoid possible – there would be no other colors. Clearly, this is not the case, so by a process of deduction we can conclude that Adam and Eve were heterozygous, each having two dominant and two recessive genes, AaBb. They would thus have been middle-brown in color and from them, in one generation, the various shades of brown would have been produced.
These color differences were likely amplified following the business at the Tower of Babel [Genesis 11:1-9] when the human gene pool was divided. Loss of genetic information in an isolated population is well known and a problem to breeders of pure-bred dogs, horses and other animals. It seems that one population group that migrated from the Tower of Babel suffered a greater loss of the genetic information required to produce the melanin and became the Caucasians. The bottom line is that Adam was not white or black but a good middle brown.
Reference: Harrub, B. and Bert Thompson. 2003. The Truth About Human Origins. Alabama: Apologetics Press, Inc. Pages 444-445.