CHAPTER 8

Similarities And Differences Between Men And Animals

Similarities Between Men And Animals

Everyone must admit that there are striking similarities between men and certain animals! For many people, the leading attraction at the zoo is the monkey house, because monkeys resemble humans more than any other animals do, and it is amusing to watch them! If you were to look at the skeleton of an ape and the skeleton of a person, you would discover many similarities! How can we explain these remarkable similarities?

Evolutionists believe that similarity points to a common ancestry. They would say that animals resemble each other because they are related to each other, and thus they believe that RESEMBLANCE indicates RELATIONSHIP. They would say that man looks like a monkey because he is a near kin to a monkey (related to a monkey through a common ape-like ancestor). Man does not look too much like an elephant, but he looks more like an elephant than he does a jellyfish, so this means that man is more closely related to the elephant than he is to the jellyfish (he is a close cousin to the elephant, but he is a distant relative to the jellyfish). Evolutionists believe that man is related to all plant and animal life because they say that all life began from that first living cell (our original ancestor!) which they think evolved in the primitive ocean many millions of years ago. Thus, evolutionists even believe that we are related to the moss we walk upon, to the mosquitoes which bite us, to the worms we fish with and to the fish we catch with the worms! They believe that all living things can trace their ancestry back to that first living cell.  And they believe that the first living cell somehow evolved from lifeless chemicals (a theory which has never been proven and which has never been duplicated in the lab).

Below is a diagram of an evolutionary family tree. "The base of the trunk represents unknown, primitive forms of life from which all plants and animals arose" (Zoology, A Golden Science Guide, p. 6). This family tree shows how the evolutionists believe that all plants and animals are related to each other. [Perhaps the teacher or someone in the class could bring in a science book or biology textbook which has an evolutionary family tree.]

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The theory of evolution (Darwin's theory) teaches that all life started from a simple one-celled organism and then gradually evolved during millions of years into the complex forms of life that we see today.  Below is pictured another evolutionary family tree.

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A Forest of Family Trees

"In total contrast to the evolutionary view that all living things on this planet developed gradually through billions of years, like a gigantic tree from one speck of life, the Biblical model teaches us that God directly created a vast forest of permanently separate 'trees of life.' According to this creationist perspective, all of the basic 'KINDS' of living things that have ever existed (such as men and gorillas and dogs and cats) were created within less than one week and have reproduced 'after their kind' since then (Genesis 1; Leviticus 11). God did create these 'kinds' with rich potential for genetic variation into races, breeds, hybrids, etc." - John C. Whitcomb, The Early Earth, Revised Edition, p. 94. Within each "kind" there can be amazing changes and variation, but there can never be a change from one kind to another kind, such as a reptile changing into a bird or a pig changing into a whale or an ape changing into a man.

A Forest of Family Trees
(Creationist View)

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Illustrations taken from Origins--Two Models: Evolution, Creation by Richard B. Bliss (Creation Life Publishers, 1978), p.32 and The Early Earth (2nd edition) by John Whitcomb (Baker Book House, 1986), p. 95.

Creationists recognize that similarity sometimes does indicate close relationship (but not always). For example, why do identical twins look so much alike? Obviously it is because they are closely related. On the other hand, there are other people who look very much alike who are not closely related at all. Even two brothers from the same family can look quite different! Thus creationists believe that similarity and resemblance do not always indicate close relationship.

Cars may be made by totally different companies which are independent of each other.  Some cars are made in the United States, others in Japan, others in Germany, etc.  The cars made from two totally different auto manufacturers are not related (they have different origins), but they do have many similarities. List several things that are found in all cars:

_______________________________________
_______________________________________
_______________________________________

________________________________________
________________________________________
________________________________________

In the making of cars, not all cars have the same origin, but they have a common design.  Almost every car is designed with a steering wheel, with brakes, with windshield wipers, etc.  They all must be designed to travel safely on roads and they must have the capability to transport human passengers.  Not all cars have the same origin, but they have common design features so that they can function on similar road environments.  The same is true for sailboats.  Sailboats are made by many different companies, but they share many similar design features because they must operate on the water by means of the power of wind.  So also airplanes share many similarities with each other even if they were made by different companies, because they all must be designed for flight. 

Why then are there similarities between men and animals? One reason is found in the early chapters of Genesis. According to Genesis 2:7 what was man made out of? ___________________________________ According to Genesis 2:19 what were the animals (beasts and birds) made out of? ___________________ Ecclesiastes 3:20 says that all (both men and beasts) are of the ___________ and (at death) all turn to _____________ again. So if men and beasts are made of the same substance, and are made to live in the same earth environment, then it should not be surprising that there are certain similarities!

The creationist understands that God created each animal to live in the same world. For example, the gorilla must breathe the same air as man. Both men and apes need hearts to circulate the blood and muscles to move each part of the body. Men can eat bananas just like monkeys can and both have similar digestive systems. Men must drink water to stay alive and so must the animals. Yes, God perfectly made each creature to live and function on planet earth. Just as cars were made to drive on roads and planes were made to fly through the sky and ships were made to travel through the sea, so people and animals were made to live on planet earth. Thus the creationist believes that similarity often indicates a common environment, and a common design, but not necessarily a common ancestor.  

Evolutionists believe that similarities (homology) are due to descent from a common ancestor; creationists argue that such similarities are due to creation according to a common plan.
 

Problems for Evolutionists

1. Whales (also dolphins and porpoises) are very similar to certain kinds of fish, such as sharks. The problem is that evolutionists know that whales are not related to sharks because whales are mammals and sharks are fish. Although there are outward resemblances, there are also great differences. Many fish lay eggs, but baby whales do not hatch from eggs. Fish are cold-blooded, but whales are warm-blooded. Whales suckle their young on milk, as do other mammals; fish do not. The reason for the similarity is not common ancestry, but common environment. Whales and sharks both live in the same sea environment. Whales need to swim through the water just as much as sharks do, and the Creator designed both of these creatures to live and travel underwater. As a result both have streamlined bodies that are perfectly designed for ocean travel.

2. Flying creatures have wings and other similarities because they are capable of flight, but this does not mean that these creatures are closely related.  Birds and bats both have wings and both fly, but birds are birds and bats are mammals, and no evolutionist would say they are closely related, even though both have been designed for flight.  Of course, the evolutionist would say that the amazing ability to fly did not come about by any kind of intelligent design, but purely by blind chance.  And this miracle of flight, which they believe happened apart from any design or intelligence, must have happened not just once, but repeatedly:  not only birds and bats, but many insects fly and certain extinct reptiles could also fly (pterodactyls). Furthermore, animals do not all fly the same way.  Each flying creature has its own unique design.  A hummingbird flies totally differently than an eagle.  A bat does not fly the same way a mosquito does.  The common housefly has its own unique wing design and flight pattern.  The wings of a goose are totally different from the wings of a bee.  The wings of a dragonfly are totally different from the wings of a butterfly.  Every species which flies is unique.  Although sharing certain similarities with other flying creatures, each flying species has its own unique design.  To say that all this evolved apart from any intelligence by mere blind chance over time is difficult to accept.

3. Tasmanian wolves (Thylacines) closely resemble dogs. A Tasmanian wolf’s skeletal structure is almost identical to that of a dog or wolf. It runs and kills sheep in a dog-like manner. However, the evolutionist knows that the Tasmanian wolf is not related to the dog, because it belongs to a group of animals called "marsupials." Its babies are born very immature and must be carried in the pouch of the female until they are more mature (just like opossums and kangaroos, which are also marsupials). Again we see that outward similarity does not indicate relationship.

4. The duck-billed platypus of Australia is one of the most difficult animals to classify. It has a bill like a duck and webbed feet. It lays eggs and warms the eggs against its body like many birds. Is it a bird? On the other hand, the platypus has four legs, a fur hide, a tail and claws like many mammals. The young lap milk from the motherís milk glands. When it is small the platypus has teeth like a beaver. Is it a mammal? What a unique animal the Creator made!  

5. The squid (and the octopus) has an eye that is very similar in structure to the human eye. But certainly, no evolutionist would ever say that man is closely related to the squid! "Evolutionists recognize the similarity between the eyes easily enough, but theyíve never been able to find or even imagine a common ancestor with traits that would explain these similarities. So, instead of calling these eyes homologous organs, they call them examples of  'convergent evolution.' That really means that we have another example of similarity in structure that cannot be explained as evolutionary descent from a common ancestor" (Dr. Gary Parker).

How could any creature evolve such a wonderful organ as the eye, which cannot function at all unless all of its many complex parts are in proper position and in perfect relationship? How could any creature evolve a wing which must be perfectly designed for flight (and which would be useless for flight until fully evolved)? The same God who designed the eye is the same God who designed the wing!   If it took thousands of years or more for a spider to evolve its ability web spinning ability, then how did it survive all those years before it was able to catch prey?  (And we think we have a problem waiting one hour before our supper is ready!  What if we had to wait thousands of years!!)
 

Differences Between Men and Animals

There is a great gulf that separates the lowest man from the highest beast. Deep down in their hearts, even the evolutionists know that there is a "great gulf fixed" between the world of monkeys and apes and the world of men. Have you ever heard of a young evolutionist proposing to a female gorilla? He knows there is a difference!

The differences between men and apes are so great that evolutionists are forced to say that man did not evolve from any monkey or ape that is living in the world today. What evolutionists now teach is that men and apes have both evolved from a common ancestor. Unfortunately this "common ancestor" is no longer in the world today! He is called "the missing link" and he is still missing!

We are now ready to study 10 Physical Differences and 20 Mental, Moral and Spiritual Differences between men and animals (especially between men and apes).

Physical Differences

"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of ______________________ another flesh of _____________, another of __________________ and another of _____________________" (1 Cor.15:39)

1. Only man walks upright in an erect posture. Man can walk comfortably and naturally on two feet. This is his normal posture. Monkeys, apes, bears, chipmunks and other animals may occasionally walk on two feet, but this is not their normal mode of transportation. They usually move on all fours.

2. The brain of a human is normally two or three times larger than the brain of the largest ape, which is the gorilla.

3. Man’s body is relatively hairless. Monkeys and apes are very hairy. Some evolutionists refer to man as "the naked ape." However, have you ever seen a naked ape (an ape not covered by hair)? Apes by definition are very hairy. If man is not hairy, then he must not be an ape!

4. The human nose has a prominent bridge and an elongated tip which is lacking in the apes. [God knew that some of us would one day need to wear glasses, and so He formed us in such a way that we would have a place to hang them!]

5. Man’s arms are very short in comparison to the arms of monkeys and apes. The arms of apes hang down to the ground and like its legs, are used for transportation.

6. Monkeys have thumbs on their feet as well as on their hands, which really helps in climbing trees (they can grab with their feet as well as with their hands). The human thumb is proportionately longer than those of apes and man can oppose his thumb to his fingers whereas apes and monkeys cannot. Without this uniquely designed hand, no ape could be competent in using tools. The ape lacks the dexterity that humans enjoy.

7. Human babies are far more helpless and dependent on their parents than any of the infants of apes and monkeys.

8. Man’s head is balanced on top of his spinal column. The head of the ape is hinged at the front instead of on top. Instead of having the head balanced on top of the spinal column as in humans, the heads of apes project forward. Also, there is a great difference between men and apes in the way the spine is curved. Men have what is called the "lumbar curve;" apes do not.

9. The chromosome count differs between men and apes. The chromosome number of man is 46. The chimpanzee and the gorilla have a count of 48.

Mental, Moral and Spiritual Differences

1. Man has self-consciousness, which means he is aware of his own existence. "One of the most remarkable achievements of the human mind is its ability to be conscious of itself and its functioning" (Fred Kohler, an evolutionist). Man is aware of himself. Animals do not have a keen sense of self-consciousness. They do not ponder the basic meaning of life as reflected in these questions: Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

2. Man is unique in the sophisticated way he communicates with language (using verbal language and written symbols that communicate meaning). Animals can make different noises and sounds, but they do not use language in the way humans do! Every animal, in a very real sense, is dumb (see 2 Peter 2:16). Only men have been given minds that are capable of complex, verbal language communication. Only men can read and write. You can put an ape in the best library in all the world, and he would not be interested at all! You could put a monkey in front of an exciting television program, and it would not normally hold his interest. At the same time we recognize that the Creator has marvelously equipped animals to communicate, as needed, between themselves. Crows, for example, have a complex system of communication by way of their caws. Animals have unique mating calls. Honey bees actually perform an amazing dance to communicate to other bees the proper direction and distance to go to collect nectar. We are learning more and more about how certain animals communicate such as dolphins, whales, gorillas, etc. Even animals are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator, but their ability to communicate does not rival the ability of man, especially when it comes to the use of language.

3. Man can experience complex emotions such as sadness, weeping, grief, anger, compassion, joy and laughter, etc. in a way that animals cannot.

4. Only man is free to make real choices. "Only man is sufficiently free from the bondage of instinct to exercise real choices and to have significant purposes and goals in life" (John Whitcomb). Animals are free to do what they are instinctively programmed to do or what they have been trained to do. Men can make plans and decisions and choose a course of action. Can you imagine a squirrel saying, "I don’t think I will gather nuts this fall, I will wait a year"?  Animals are bound by their instinct pattern. They do whatever comes instinctively. In the Bible when God gave commands to animals, did they obey or disobey (see Numbers 22:22-28; 1 Samuel 6:7-12; Jonah 1:17; 2:10; Luke 5:4-7; etc.)? ___________ When God gives commands to men, do men always obey Him? _____________ Men can choose to disobey God. Animals have no choice! They always obey their Creator!

5. Men have an appreciation for music and art and beauty. An animal could never paint a picture or write a song, and the animal would never be able to appreciate such things. Could you imagine a gorilla gazing at a sunset in appreciation, or a chimp listening in wonderment to the "Hallelujah Chorus"?

6. Men are the only creatures that are able to make use of history and accumulate knowledge for the generations that will follow. Animals are not able to pass on any information to the next generation. Each monkey must learn about the world just as his parents had to learn. Men can pick up a book and learn from brilliant men of the past and can benefit from their past wisdom and discoveries. Men can build upon the knowledge of past generations. Animals cannot.

7. Only men are able to have an influence past the grave. Abel still speaks to us today (see Hebrews 11:4), as we remember his example of faith. Men who lived thousands of years ago still influence us, as we remember their accomplishments and as we seek to avoid their failings and imitate their virtues. Moses lived 3500 years ago and today most people know about Moses and many recognize him as a great and godly man. Can you think of any animal that lived on earth 500 years ago or earlier that is remembered and recognized and still has an influence today?

8. Only man can be educated. Animals cannot be truly educated, they can only be trained. You will not find animals in schools (except for fish!).

9. Only men are able to train and tame other animals (see James 3:7). Have you ever heard of an ape training a lion? Only people have pets! Have you ever heard of a zoo operated by a zebra? Only people operate zoos!

10. Only men can creatively build and invent. Robins can build nests, but only because they have been instinctively programmed to do so. Robins always build the same kind of nests. They never return on the following year to build newer and better models. Beavers can make dams but beaver dams always look the same. Their dams follow the same basic pattern because the Creator programmed them to build dams in this way. On the contrary, man’s building and inventing capacity is unbelievable. Consider the pyramids in Egypt or Solomon’s temple described in the Bible or the amazing feat of putting a man on the moon.

11. Only men wear clothes. Man is the only creature that looks inappropriate unclothed. All animals look silly with clothes! (Penguins do not really wear tuxedos).

12. Only men plant and harvest and cook their own food. Have you ever seen an animal who was a farmer? "Behold the fowls (birds) of the air; for they _____________ not, neither do they ___________, nor gather into _____________, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them" (Matthew 6:26).

13. Only man has a sense of humor. Have you ever heard a gorilla tell a joke? It is possible to hear elephant jokes (jokes about elephants), but have you ever heard an elephant tell a joke?

14. Only men can use complex tools. Beavers can cut down trees, but you will never find one with a axe. Badgers can tunnel into the ground, but you will never see one with a shovel.

15. Only men can travel like all the animals. They can go along the ground faster than a cheetah (car), they can fly through the air faster than an eagle (plane), they can reach the depths of the ocean better than fish (submarines), and they can do what no animals can do--go into outer space!

16. Only people can sin against God. There is no such thing as a righteous dog. He may be an obedient and well trained dog, but he is not a righteous dog. There is no such thing as a sinful dog (though obviously some animals can be very fierce and dangerous—see Exodus 21:28). No animal has ever disobeyed God. Only men fully know the difference between right and wrong. If a dog eats something that he should not eat, or if a dog messes on the living room rug, he does not feel guilty about it (although he may have been trained to fear punishment). "Only man can discern moral right and wrong and suffer the agonies of an offended conscience" (John Whitcomb).

17. Only man can worship God. No animal has ever been found worshiping God or building an idol or a temple, but the most primitive men will always worship in some form or another. No animal has ever said, "Thank you, Lord!" No animal has ever prayed or offered sacrifices. Only man can truly love His Creator. "Only man can recognize the divine authority of his Creator and honor Him through worship, praise, prayer, sacrifice, and obedient service" (John Whitcomb).

18. Only man has existence beyond the grave. There is no heaven for dogs and cats. Although animals will be present during the millennial reign of Christ (Isaiah 11:6-8), there is no mention of animals in the eternal state (see Revelation 21-22). Only man is immortal (his soul lives on, either in heaven or hell, forever).

19. Only man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) in order that man might reflect his Creator.

20. Only man can enjoy the blessings and benefits of the incarnation. When God came to this earth, He became a man (John 1:14), not an animal. Only men need to be saved. Christ came into the world to save sinful men, not animals (l Tim.1:15). Christ died on the cross for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3), not for the sins of animals.

CONCLUSION

"The concept of ‘ape-man’ is just as absurd, Biblically and scientifically, as ‘giraffe-man’ or ‘rhinoceros-man’ " (John Whitcomb). There are some similarities between man and certain animals because the same Creator made them out of the same substance (dust!) to live in the same world and to carry out similar functions. There are differences between man and the animals because the Creator had a wonderful plan and design and purpose for man as well as for each animal. Man, although made on the same day as land animals (Day 6 of the creation week), was made in the image of God and was made to have a relationship with God that none of the animals could ever have. God desires for man to walk with Him in close fellowship (compare Genesis 5:22-24; 6:9; 17:1), but the Bible nowhere speaks of any animal enjoying fellowship with its Creator. Man is not an animal and he has not evolved from any animals.

Why Were Animals Created?

The Bible gives many reasons, among the following:

  1. For limited but inadequate companionship (Genesis 2:18-22 and see 2 Samuel 12:3). A dog may provide enjoyment and may walk at a man’s side, but the dog was never intended to be "man’s best friend." God intended a much better helper for man (Genesis 2:20-22). Indeed, man’s greatest and best Companion is the Lord Himself.
  2. For food (Genesis 9:2-3)
  3. For clothing (Matthew 3:4)
  4. For transportation (Genesis 22:3)
  5. For sacrifice, in order to point to the one great Sacrifice and to illustrate that salvation is only possible by way of the shedding of blood (Gen. 4:4; Lev.1:3)
  6. For judgment of sinful men (Exodus chapter 8; 2 Kings 2:23-24)
  7. To serve man in a multitude of ways (Gen. 8:7-8; and compare some amazing uses of animals today, such as "seeing eye dogs" for the blind, animals used in experimentation so as to develop new drugs and medical procedures, etc.)
  8. To teach men spiritual lessons (Proverbs 6:6)
  9. To teach men of Godís care (Matthew 6:26)
  10. To give enjoyment to children (Isaiah 11:6,8)
  11. To carry out orders from their Creator (1 Kings 17:6; Matthew 17:27)
  12. To illustrate that "the Hand that made us is Divine" (every creature demonstrates that it was remarkably designed by the Creator and could never have evolved by chance). Every animal made by God is indisputable proof against the theory of evolution.

DOES THE MONKEY KNOW?

Three monkeys dining once in a cocoanut tree were discussing some things that they heard true to be. "What do you think? Now listen, you two; Here, monkeys, is something that cannot be true, That humans descend from our noble race! Why, it's shocking--a terrible disgrace. Whoever heard of a monkey deserting his wife, leaving a baby to starve and ruin its life? And have you ever known of a mother monk to leave her darling with strangers to bunk? Their babies are handed from one to another, and some scarcely know the love of a mother. And I've never known a monkey so selfish to be, as to build a fence around a cocoanut tree, so other monkeys can’t get a wee taste, but would let all the cocoanuts there go to waste. Why, if I'd put a fence around this cocoanut tree, starvation would force you to steal from me. And here is another thing a monkey won’t do: Seek a cocktail parlor and get on a stew. Carouse and go on a whoopee disgracing his life, then reel madly home and beat up his wife. They call this all pleasure and make a big fuss---THEY'VE DESCENDED FROM SOMETHING, BUT NOT FROM US!"

 

Note:  For an fascinating description of an amazing animal in China in the early 14th century, see Marco Polo's Serpent--Was It a Crocodile or a Now Extinct Reptile?

 


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