Paul and Courtney look at the nature of race and the question of racial identities in heaven. Paul will interact with Nathan Placencia’s “Will There Be Races in Heaven?” as a foil to consider the metaphysics of race, the idea of racial identities, and the afterlife.





Nathan Placencia’s Argument in “Will There Be Races in Heaven?”

  1. In the afterlife there will be continuity of persons.
  2. In the afterlife, people will have renewed changed bodies suited to a renewed creation order.
  3. The afterlife is a place where the races of the world live in harmony. How this harmony is achieved is unclear.


Main Views on Race

  1. Biological Realism (BR): races are natural kinds. Human nature is cut at the joints into various racial categories according to biology. On this view, race is a real, objective feature of nature. (this view is widely discredited)
  2. Eliminativism (ER) about Race: On this view, there are no races. Racial attributions are false. The case of race is analogous to that of witch-hood. There are no witches, strictly speaking, and witch accusations are false. On this view, race is neither biologically real nor socially real.
  3. Social Constructivism (SC) about Race: On this view, races are social kinds. On Social Constructivism, race is not a biological concept. Rather, race exists as part of our social reality.
  4. Deflationary Realism (DR): On this view, race just is visible phenotypical traits that link us back, by ancestry, to different parts of the world.


Will There Be Racial Identities in Heaven?

While we don’t know whether there will be races in heaven, Placencia thinks there will be racial identities in the afterlife. What does he mean by this? In short, our racial identities will be preserved into the afterlife, and this is a good thing.

  1. First, he argues that our racial identities will be preserved in the afterlife.
  2. Second, he argues that it is preferable that our racial identities be preserved in the afterlife.


Practical Implications of Placencia’s Argument (Placencia’s concluding thoughts): 

  1. This view sustains our hope of a future in this life free of racializing practices.
  2. “Thinking about race and racial identities in heaven might test our preparedness for a certain version of the afterlife and give us direction on how to live in this life.” 





  • Nathan Placencia, “Will There be Races in Heaven?” in Death, Immortality, and Eternal Life, ed. T. Ryan Byerly
  • Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise
  • T. Wright, Surprised by Hope



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIN
  • Pinterest
Tagged in