The Origin of Humans — Does it Matter What You Believe?

Not so long ago it was universally held that all things were created by God, and that humans were special, more like God than anything else on Earth. Then as scientists closely examined living things, they found that they all appeared to be closely related, along lines of change. For example, all insects share the form of a hard outer body and 6 jointed legs. Mankind could easily be seen to belong to the group of animals that had internal bones, fur and warm blood. Looking closer, one family, called "Hominids," are grouped because of their similarity. These are the chimps, orangutans, gorillas, and humans. You can see the resemblance yourself. Does this look like anyone in your family?

chimp in your family?

From this research arose a natural speculation: what if all life was indeed related? We know children do not look precisely like their parents. What if by selecting for certain traits, just like dog breeders do, we could actually reshape a species into another, and going on long enough, actually create a new kind? What if such changes had always been happening naturally? What if natural pressures to adjust, such as changing climate or competition for food, kept selecting for variations that could succeed better under the new conditions, gradually causing new species to appear?

Well it all sounded very intriguing. Of course, the next thing to do was look for evidence, in the fossil record of life in the distant past. What did they find?

Not nearly as much as they hoped. Just as with dog breeding, where a tremendous amount of variation can be teased out by selecting offspring, but the dogs stubbornly remain dogs, the fossil record shows tremendous variety of past life, much of it no longer with us (and we are thankful for that, since some of those beasts would not be good company), but the different main kinds remained stubbornly distinct from one another. Yes, there were "terrible lizards" (that's what "dinosaur" means) and we still have lizards today, just not so terrible anymore, thank God.

Despite the lack of clear evidence, scientists became invested in this idea, since it did away with an agency they could not measure, the supernatural. Scientists just do not like anything they cannot explain or control, so they were delighted when they could dispense with God. And if that gave them more freedom to act badly, so much more fun too.

Because of the wide gaps between kinds, the most modern evolutionary theory is called "modular evolution," which means that changes somehow occurred abruptly in large steps, or "modules". So a blind protozoan suddenly and quite accidentally developed a light-sensing mass, which was helpful; then some descendent suddenly added a functioning lens. In jumps, this new sense became more and more sophisticated, until we have now the exquisitely designed eye.

At first Christendom, seeing a threat to their power, resisted this new teaching, but as it grew in popularity they began to see they had better get aboard or lose everything. So they worked out a philosophical reconciliation between natural evolution and God. They say, "this is how God did it: he guided the development of new life and new features gradually, from previous forms. Your momma really was a monkey. But before Adam was born, they didn't have a soul. That's what makes us special."

What about us? Have we been won over? Really, on the origin of humans, does it matter what you believe?

We can say this for sure: evolution cannot be reconciled with the Bible account of the creation, that of man especially. The Bible's story of the design and creation of all other life does not tell us exactly how God did it, so there is room to wonder just what his method was. All it says is that he created them "according to their kinds," that is, with actual design and purpose, not accidentally willy-nilly. Because of the undeniable resemblances of forms and features, it is clear God worked with some consistency, using established patterns within each group. For example, there are no six-legged mammals, but all insects have six legs. Beyond that we do not really know how he did it, so we have no grounds to argue for this or that method. Some fundamentalists insist that all things are composed of the "word" from God's mouth; he "spoke" everything into existence. That is an extremely literal reading of the verses, but the scriptures do not obligate us to believe that.

But when it comes to us, humankind, the Bible is more specific: it says God formed Adam uniquely as a man using dust from the ground. Clearly he followed the existing pattern of the other hominids, but there is no room to believe he took a gorilla and reshaped it into Adam. Not only that, the scripture says he had something special in mind for this new creature: Gen 1:26, 27.

Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth." And God went on to create the man in his image, in God's image he created him; male and female he created them.

That means that mankind could know his Creator, be aware of the divine, to reach for the stars and for eternity. The animals are content with food and a few other basics we need not mention. We are not. It makes sense that our Grand Creator would give us the ability to fulfill our purpose. The account explains that God knew our limitations, that we are just dust, and we would have to live under his guidance and authority to succeed. So an important early lesson in schooling the first humans would be the lesson of respect for greater wisdom. That is, they must accept instruction from God. Anything else would not turn out well. Although they should work at understanding those instructions, they should respect them whether they understood them at first or not. They were equipped with a good mind for understanding, and they also were given a good "heart," as we call it, that could feel gratitude and respect.

But with such powerful new equipment came a heavy new responsibility: free will. God did not judge animals for doing what animals do. He did not give them a moral code to consciously choose to follow. Whatever morality they have, such as it is, he built into them as instincts. We are designed with very similar instincts, and up to a point they serve us well. But if we act on instinct alone, we are not living up to our full potential. We have to think about what we are doing; we have be aware of right and wrong, and choose to do the good thing. [The dog sees food; the dog looks around and thinks, "will I get attacked if I take it? No? OK, it's mine." The human sees food, and is supposed to think, "Is it right for me to take it? Does anyone else here need it too? If I desire it, do I need to ask for it?" and so on.]

Animals die. They have always died. The evolutionist sees nothing strange in man dying too, for we are just another animal. Special in abilities, yes, but an animal with no real purpose nonetheless. The Bible reveals a far greater prospect: we were not designed to die. We are very special indeed. We are in fact equipped to live forever, that is, with a little help. On our own, yes, we would over time accumulate physical damage and eventually fail, but by staying friends with our Father, our Life-Giver, we would be constantly renewed, and never even falter.

Evolutionists cannot explain why death distresses us so much. It should just be a natural part of the cycle, we all gotta go sometime, what's the big deal? But being human, they hurt just as much as anyone else when someone they love dies. A few other animals, not many, seem to sense something undesirable has occurred when one of their own perishes. We can't yet know what they are thinking, but the Bible indicates that we react to death like that because it really shouldn't be happening to us. We wonder about the future, we look for purpose, for meaning in life. Evolutionists wonder why.

Evolutionary reasoning says that the only real purpose of life is to reproduce itself. The common man translates this as "the purpose of life is sex." But that clearly is not all there is to it. It may be that horses are for riding, cows are for milking, and cats are for petting, but the purpose of human life is clearly greater. It calls on us to utilize the wonderful brain we were given, and sex clearly does little of that.

Why, then, is life often so miserable? The evolutionist says, "What do you expect? The dinosaurs ripped each other to shreds. The wolves do it to their prey today. Pick up a weapon and defend yourself if you want to produce the next generation. No more of this superstitious foolishness, praying to an invisible God who isn't there." That, of course, leads to some savage wars, even genocides and holocausts. Actually, no animal carries on with a fury as cruel as godless men. Of course they point out that men of the past, deluded by religion, could be just as barbaric, and that is true; but evolution certainly has not taught us a better way. It has not given us access to the better side that we are capable of. How does the Bible account for this?

The Bible, in telling us that we are a special design, explains why we are living so much like animals now, not like we should. It says God put a simple lesson in self-control in front of the first human couple. No, it wasn't by forbidding sex (some preachers say that, but in fact God told them to have children), it was a simple property-respect test. All those other trees, they are yours to eat from. This one here, just one, is mine. Don't touch it. God knew they could handle it, but what happened? To make a long story short, the woman got convinced, by an angel who contradicted God, that God was withholding something here, and she decided not to ask him about it and she took from God's tree. Adam subsequently decided he couldn't live without her, and rather than asking God to fix it, dove in after her. In other words, they acted a little bit like animals, on emotional instinct rather than higher reason. That bad angel, we call Satan (which means Enemy) crowed triumphantly, "See, God? they're still just animals! You didn't make them good enough to be loyal to you! Give up on them, they're mine now."

And from then on that is what Satan has been teaching us: follow your selfish instincts, you are just an animal, fight for yourself, take what you want, have no pity for the weak, greed is good, have sex whenever the urge and the opportunity coincide, have no loyalty. It is to our credit that not everybody acts like that, at least not all the time. We would probably already be extinct if we did.

In that light, the theory of evolution is just Satan's message dressed up in the formal attire of science. Not that all scientists intend for that to be the message; no, even evolutionists are human and therefore able to be humane. They marvel at human ability for compassion and conscience. They wonder how altruism — the willingness to sacrifice one's own advantage to help another, with no clear physical reward — could have appeared by an evolutionary path. In fact, even ants will die for the good of their colony; this is instinctive, so the evolutionist sees it simply as a survival mechanism for the group. (not for the individual!) But since not all animals do it, they wonder how some here and there acquired this particular instinct. They have their tortured ideas on it, but the Bible's explanation — that this quality comes from a Creator who is like that himself — is far more satisfying.

Some have gotten the idea that evolution teaches that all things are progressing, improving, and will eventually reach a pinnacle of perfection. Another reason we don't need God. Actually, evolution does not teach that. It just says life is constantly adjusting, adapting, to changes in its environment; any advancement in complexity and capability is purely accidental. If conditions get brutal enough, only the simple and basic will survive (you know, the cockroaches-will-be-the-only-thing-left effect.). As far as complexity is concerned, we now know the most complex form of life on earth is the cell; each one is an incomprehensibly intricate factory, with far more interacting components than the larger animals it makes up. Even we, as humans, are not that complicated compared to the cells we are composed of, except perhaps our brains.

We must use our perceptive ability and reject the deceptive, self-centered thinking of Satan. (Col 2:8) To answer Christendom first, the Bible says that both animals and man are souls, because all that word means is "a breather." If it breathed, the Hebrew-speaking person called it a soul. It has nothing to do with a special relationship to God. (Genesis 1:20, 24.)

Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.
God went on to say: "Let the waters swarm forth a swarm of living souls and let flying creatures fly over the earth upon the face of the expanse of the heavens." 24 And God went on to say: "Let the earth put forth living souls according to their kinds, domestic animal and moving animal and wild beast of the earth according to its kind." And it came to be so.

Therefore, when any breather stops breathing long enough, they are not a soul anymore. They are dead. The Bible uses the term "dead soul." (Leviticus 21.11) And dead souls disintegrate, returning to the dust. In this man and beast are alike. (Ecclesiastes 3.19, 20) So far, the evolutionist agrees with all this, and scientific evidence concurs.

"And he should not come to any dead soul. For his father and his mother he may not defile himself."
(This referred to the high priest. He was not to touch human corpses.)
For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust.

It is obvious even to scientists that humans have unique characteristics that set them far apart from animals. God's word lists these as godly or spiritual qualities, such as superior love, an intelligent sense of justice, a capability for wisdom, that is, ability to think ahead into the future and weigh outcomes and consequences beyond the immediate, and a host of other qualities that derive from those, for example, mercy. The evolutionary scientist acknowledges that these qualities exist, but they struggle to explain them as somehow a necessary outcome of evolutionary pressures. They cannot explain why there is such a giant step between us and the nearest similar animal, the apes.

Our brain is not just bigger, it is organized, really designed, to do far more. Scientists estimate (since they don't really know how it works, they can't put exact figures on this) that we have the memory capacity to learn pretty much forever. (Now fetching the memories in there, that's another story . . .)

The Bible explains that we were made to have spiritual needs: we need to know why we are here, what our purpose is, where we should go. So that by itself answers the question, "The Origin of Humans, does it matter what you believe?" We want to believe truth, not error. We are not satisfied with false answers. Unless, of course, we don't realize they are false. If up til now you have been satisfied with evolution as the answer, we hope we have given you reason to doubt that and be moved to reconsider a better explanation. Not the unscientific one Christendom presents, saying it is from the Bible, but what the Bible really says, which does square well with established science.

The most exciting thing about the Bible story of our origin is that it says we were created flawless. Can you imagine that? Probably not. That doesn't mean we could fly or read minds or have other superpowers. It just meant we were able to think clearly and control our emotions, and most important, we would not get old and die. But when the first couple chose independence, they lost this and since then we have devolved, not evolved. Between poisons and radiation damaging DNA over many generations, the evidence is that humans were more robust long ago, and scripture agrees with that. Only recently has modern sanitation and medicine led to a modest increase in average lifespan, mostly by helping children survive childhood, not so much by helping elderly people live longer. Scientists do wonder about the marked increase in chronic illnesses in recent decades. That's probably due to lifestyle choices, and modern pollutants in our environment. In other words, it's our own fault, even though we don't always know how we are doing it to ourselves. If we don't get smart really fast we could wipe ourselves out. And what are the chances we will get smart? Just look at Congress and you have the answer.

Using a metaphor they could easily understand at the time, the Bible says we became sold under sin like a slave sold to a cruel master, and we cannot free ourselves. Science will never give us immortality. Only the power of a merciful God can set us free, and that is in fact the Bible's message. What does the Bible say he will do about our fix?

First, what is the evolutionary answer? Have a really horrible war or a meteor strike and wipe out all the unfit people. In theory, anyone who can survive that is fit enough to start a new path for mankind.

What is the Bible's answer? Have a really horrible war or a blow from the skies and wipe out all the unfit people. Then the survivors will rebuild a new and better world. What!!? you may say! How is that different from the evolutionist's answer?

The Bible's answer has God in it, the evolutionist's doesn't. When God does a war, he kills only those who really ought to die. He has better aim than nuclear missiles. So if he rains rocks from the sky, they will strike only those who have proven themselves to be against him. Everyone who loves what is good and have tried to accept his authority will be spared. In fact, we hope there will be many millions of survivors.

Most important of all, the great deceiver, that original rebellious angel that constantly urges people to be animals, will be caught and confined. (see at Revelation 19:19 - 20:4.) For two reasons, then, this new start will be a new day for planet Earth and for all life on it: evil will be crushed, and those who remain will respect their Creator and submit eagerly to the guiding and governing arrangement he will then provide (see vs 4.)

I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army. And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image. While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur. But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.
20 Then I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. After this he must be released for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years.

How does this affect us right now? Knowing that we originated from God, a loving and wise Creator, moves us to search for him, as Paul said (at Acts 17:24-31) "The God who made the world and all the things in it, being, as he is, Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade temples; nor is he served by human hands as if he needed anything, because he himself gives to all people life and breath and all things. And he made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of where men would dwell, so that they would seek God, if they might grope for him and really find him, although, in fact, he is not far off from each one of us. For by him we have life and move and exist, even as some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also his children.' Therefore, since we are the children of God, we should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, like something sculptured by the art and design of humans. True, God has overlooked the times of such ignorance; but now he is declaring to all people everywhere that they should repent. Because he has set a day on which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and he has provided a guarantee to all men by resurrecting him from the dead."

We do as James 4:7, 8 says: "Subject yourselves to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you indecisive ones."

From the Bible we learn about the first Son of God, Jesus who is Christ, which means 'chosen to rule.' God has chosen him to lead us back to freedom and perfection. He actually came and lived as a human for a while and proved what a perfect human could be. This gave us the perfect example to imitate, as best we can, and just as important, it proved beyond all doubt that Satan's boast, that humans are just animals incapable of loyalty when offered a bone, a temptation, to be false. Jesus was faithful even under sadistic torture.

Jesus invites us: "Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) Yes, through him we can see the day ahead when we will be restored as full sons of God, reunited with our Father as humans on Earth, as we were meant to be. Will you be there? Yes, knowing the origin of humans, it does matter what you believe.