God in Creation Part 5 – MAN IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
NOT MERELY A NAKED APE!
DESPITE SIMILARITIES IN shape and basic bodily functions, humans are vastly different from apes. Man is not, as one biologist once described him, merely a naked ape (D Morris, The Naked Ape). The gulf between the capabilities of the most intelligent apes and mankind is immense. A process of natural selection, by which claimed accidental changes in his DNA conferred a survival benefit, cannot explain these differences.
We could legitimately ask what benefit was it to the ape to become naked by losing its fur? It would immediately seem to be a disadvantage! If this naked ape were to spread beyond its original habitat (as man is alleged to have done) it would need to obtain and wear clothing, thus spending valuable time which could be used for things much more helpful to his survival! From an evolutionary point of view, it would be a retrograde step.
A SPECIAL CREATION
The key to the differences between man and animals is that God created man for a special purpose. Although man shares most of the physical attributes of the animals, in his mental ability he is infinitely superior.
This is strikingly illustrated in the Biblical record of the creation. In the first chapter of Genesis we read about the animals being created: ‘God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds’ [Genesis 1.25 NIV]. The creation of mankind is described separately, not because they are different physically but because humans have a special relationship with God that marks them as separate from the rest of creation.
‘IN THE IMAGE OF GOD’
This difference is highlighted in the record of man’s creation: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them’ [Genesis 1.27].
So mankind was created in God’s image – to reflect God’s characteristics in some way which the animals cannot do. The reason for the vast gulf between man and even the most intelligent ape is not some accidental series of evolutionary mutations – but something intended by the Creator.
This difference is demonstrated in many ways. For example, consider man as a thinking being. There is little or no evidence that the majority of animals have any consciousness of themselves as individuals. They cannot reason, certainly cannot reflect and meditate and can have no concept of abstract ideas. They are governed almost solely by instinct, which programmes them to act or react in a certain way. However, man created in the image of God can reason and arrange his thoughts. He can appreciate concepts such as beauty, design and harmony. He can understand right and wrong and has a conscience. It is impossible to explain the presence of these features in terms of evolutionary success. Having a conscience or understanding beauty does not mean a more successful breeding rate, which is what natural selection is all about.
Man also has specific physical abilities that cannot be explained by natural selection. Consider our hands. It has been argued that the development of the human hand helped humans to become successful farmers and hunters. Why then the extreme dexterity of which the human hand is possible? Everybody who wears gardening gloves knows that micro-fine control of the fingers is not essential for successful husbandry.
Yet the human hand is capable of dextrous movements far in excess of what is needed for survival. A concert pianist can play up to thirty different notes every second, and keep this up for half an hour or more. What survival advantage does such an ability give to the human race? Surely, it is much more rational to think that a great Creator has endowed man with such abilities so that he can give Him glory and praise.
Whilst we are thinking about musical ability, what of the human voice? What possible evolutionary advantage is the human singing voice? Is it reasonable to suggest that a good soprano voice accidentally developed and this gave its owner an improved breeding rate over those without this trait? Also, how did the ability to speak and communicate confer an advantage? Millions of animals prosper without this facility. The fact is that man is less well equipped to survive and reproduce than are many animals.
THE HUMAN BRAIN
Could man’s brain have come just by chance? It is now recognised that the human brain is probably by far the most complex natural thing in the entire universe. The gap between animal and human brains is immense. Science still does not understand how the brain functions. It tells us that there are millions upon millions of nerve cells, which are all interconnected in a special way. It has been calculated that if one were to count all the interconnections in the brain’s cerebral cortex at the rate of one per second, then the task wouldn’t be finished in thirty million years. Yet the production of all these countless numbers of nerve cells is all controlled by the information on that human thread of life – a mechanism that evolutionists say occurred by chance!
What an amazing thing is memory! Going back to our imaginary pianist, think of the brainpower involved in remembering a concerto so as to play it from memory – as most professional pianists are able to do. They remember, in the right order, maybe ten thousand notes – and for each note they must recall its duration and loudness. It is said that the composer Saint Saens memorised all of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas by the age of ten – all stored up in the cells of his brain.
Clearly such brainpower confers no evolutionary advantage; it has no influence on the individual’s chances of physical survival; it is not natural selection at work. Once we accept that God created man for a specific reason, then we can begin to understand why man is so unique. The Bible tells us repeatedly that humans are something special because they are made in the image of God.
THE REASON FOR CREATION
The Bible also explains the reason for man’s creation. All his distinctive abilities have been put there for a purpose – to give honour to his Creator by living in a way that truly reflects the Divine image in which he has been created. In the Bible God speaks of His sons and daughters ‘whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.’ [Isaiah 43.7 NIV]
Here is the real purpose in man’s creation! Unlike the evolutionary view that man is here solely by chance and has no future prospects, the Bible reveals that the whole creation has been made by God to provide Him with eternal companions. From the billions of men and women, God is calling those who one day He will make immortal, to become united with Him forever. This will be achieved through the work of His Son, Jesus.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
‘…in the dispensation of the fullness of times…(God will) gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth’ [Ephesians 1.10].
To achieve this ultimate unity, in which God will at last be manifested in a race of beings that truly reflect His attributes, the Creator commenced the creation process described in Genesis. He created man in His image, incorporating some of His characteristics, with the view to inviting man to come closer to Him and to at last be made perfectly in the image of God. To achieve this plan a loving Creator sent His own Son:
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ [John 3.16].
Reader, what will you choose – the sterile, unscientific and hopeless theories of man – or the solemn promise of an all-wise, powerful and ever-loving Creator, who invites us to come to Him?
‘…since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse’ [Romans 1.20 NIV]
If you would like to find out more about the Bible’s message for you, then please go to our website and explore the True Bible Teaching concerning the Purpose of Almighty God with this earth and your opportunity to be a part of it.