Adam and Eve, Chimps, and Human Dignity
What does it mean that God created man in his own image?
Genesis 1:27 says that "God created man in his own image." Some suppose in his own image means that, like God, humans are capable of intellectual, moral, and aesthetic experience. Others believe the similarity to mean that man was appointed to rule creation on God's behalf. Regardless of interpretation, it conveys that there is something distinctly human about us, some reflection of God, that distinguishes people from other creatures. Genesis is clear that humans possess a soul that is intertwined with the body. The image of God is not merely reflected in the soul, but in the body-soul combination that makes human beings a special creation.
None of the Biblical authors would support the opinion that the image of God came out of some purely natural process. Even secular scholars have voiced doubts about some human faculties existing in our "ancestors." Several scientists have taught chimpanzees to "speak" sign language, seeking to prove their evolutionary connection to humans. These scholars acknowledge that while chimps can stumble through human language in some limited, imitative capacity, true linguistic ability is a uniquely human faculty. It seems highly unlikely from these studies that human language was able to evolve from apes through natural selection.
Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?
C. John Collins
Examining the biblical storyline as the worldview of God’s people, Collins shows how the Bible presupposes a real Adam and Eve and how even our modern experience of life points to the same conclusion.
Uniquely human features that reflect the image of God strongly favor the idea that humans descend from the same source. It appears implausible that this reflection of God's image was suddenly bestowed upon some primordial sub-human ancestor somewhere along the evolutionary journey, or that whichever creature constituted the first "man" was randomly born from apes with the capacity to speak, reason, appreciate beauty, or acknowledge an all-powerful creator. Secular figures simultaneously defend human rights and dignity and scorn any "non-scientific," Creationist theory of origin. But acknowledging some common, fully-human source like Adam and Eve, created by God, is a much more feasible explanation of the unique human dignity that is a reflection of a divine creator.
Intrigued? Read more about Did Adam and Even Really Exist? by C. John Collins or download the full introduction to the book.