By Dr. Robert Gange
Published December 22, 2007
Perhaps of all the creatures on earth, nothing is more unique than human life. In some senses, human life is unique in a self-evident way. But there is another sense in which man has been called a social animal and has been relegated to the status of being simply a more sophisticated, but otherwise, comparable animal to other forms of life that walk the earth.
Is man truly unique in a separate, distinctive way? Or – is man simply one step up, or some evolutionary graduation above typical animal life?
When we look at the things that man does on the planet, it is clear that he is in control. It is clear that it is man who sends radio signals through space while apes make sounds to a jungle. There is a clear distinction between man and all other forms of animal. But yet, there are clearly parallels between man and other life forms that suggest common origin. This has given rise to the idea that perhaps man and ape evolved from some common ancestor.
When we pursue some of the scientific evidence and some of the competing ideas that suggest man is not simply a graduation above other animals, we find that he is truly a regal creature, with uniqueness and distinction set apart from everything else.
If we take a look at man in an anatomical sense, we find that we have a superlative engineering structure whose specifications few of us appreciate. Consider the brain – the world’s most sophisticated computer is slower by a factor of a hundred to a thousand than any one human brain – one of the most sophisticated, incredibly complex organs of the body. It performs feats of engineering impossibilities that are absolutely beyond our comprehension.
The simplest explanation for the origin of man’s intelligence and capabilities is that he proceeded from a supreme intelligence, an intellect of unfathomable magnitude, a vast reservoir of cognitive capabilities.
There is to my knowledge only one source of explanation for human intelligence that I am aware of – the Bible. To my knowledge, it is the only book that offers an explanation for the existence of this world, for the existence of evil within the world, and of man’s condition of need, desire and free will. What does the Bible say? How does the Bible explain the origin of human life? Let’s look at how the Bible talks about the origin of human life.
“In the beginning …” is the opening phrase of every Bible. And certainly today’s scientists believe that the world that we live in had a beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was in disarray and unfurnished,” to use the language of the ancient Jews. “And darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.”
In a sense what we have here is the picture in the Hebrew of a hen brooding over a egg. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” There was closure over what had been accomplished and there was a plowing open or a breaking forth … “Bahach” in the Hebrew, into something new.
What follows is a sequence of events – each of which involving a separation. For example, on the first day God separated light from the darkness – an act of separation. On the second day, He separated waters from waters, putting an expanse or a firmament in between.
On the third day, He separated land and sea, drawing all the land to one side and sea to the other. Incidentally, few of us recognize that the Bible actually teaches that the world began with one land mass and that modern geologists have merely caught up with that idea. On the third day also, the Bible teaches that plant life was created and separated, “each after its kind.”
On the fourth day, God separated time into seasons and days and years. It is here that the sun, according to the Bible, begins to function as a time keeper. On day five, God separates life after its kind in the sea and He separates life in the air after its kind. On day six, He does three things – three acts of separation. He separates life out of the land; He separates man from dust; He separates woman from man.
Theism vs. Materialism
The secular world view pictures man as a mechanistic, machine-like creature. He is mechanical, in fact, a dollar and so much cents worth of chemicals. This picture of human life – mechanistic, materialistic, machine-like – is in stark contrast to the biblical perspective. One has at play two competing philosophies – Theism and Materialism. The secular world view on the origin of man is that somehow a change gradually occurs in chemicals starting with some fortunate accident and finally producing some living object which eventually, gradually evolves into man.
Somehow there was some spectacular event that created the universe, that created a living object, that eventually produced you and me. Yet somehow there is something missing in this scenario, that is, the details of change and their explanation.
I do not mean to fault the concept of evolution. The concept of evolution as a working hypothesis to attempt to synthesize 11 million species of life is an elegant idea. But we have to be careful when we get into this question of the advent of human life on the basis of this gradual change.
Now you might have noticed that I keep using the word concept and not theory. The theory of evolution is dead. The foundation of the theory of evolution was natural selection and it is clear today in all the literature that this foundation has been swept away.
For example, R.H. Brady wrote some very eloquent things in 1979 in Systematic Zoology, and again in 1982 in the Biological Journal of the Linium Society, documenting why the theory of evolution is no longer viable. The whole foundation of the theory of evolution was to explain the production of construction change using natural selection. Years and years of work in this area and many millions of dollars in research programs have failed to operationalize the Darwinian concept of fitness.
When Charles Darwin proposed the concept of natural selection the all the way back in 1859, implicit in Darwin’s proposal was the fundamental presupposition that all life is deterministic. Determinism can be explained in the case of a tiny insect. Determinism is seen in the idea that by drawing a circle around an insect and specifying all the inputs to the insect, and then by observing the behavior or the output of that insect as specifiable.
However, because the organizational complexity of the brain of the smallest insect is now recognized as vastly exceeding all of the causal relationships possible on earth today, we no longer accept that these creatures are deterministic. As a result there has been a failure to operationalize the Darwinian concept of fitness and in the last analysis you are in a circle of reasoning – a tautology.
Where is the evidence that says that man walked the evolutionary ladder?
Much of this “evidence” comes from the eastern, southern portion of Africa and some of the northern portion as well. The Olduvai Gorge is a popular place to find fossil evidence. Approximately 25 miles long, maybe 320 feet deep, there are lake beds with sedimentation which preserve fossils and also volcanic rock, so the age of these fossils can be dated with the potassium argon system of radioactive dating.
The anthropologists then get into the act trying to analyze the actual the fossils that are found. This might be a typical reconstruction of all these different bones. They try and make sense by asking what scenarios of assembly are most likely to account for what they have found.
Now out of this work has come an idea: modern man (all the way on the right) has come from Neanderthal (who is in the center) who comes from an archaic form of Sapiens. Then this archaic Sapiens comes from a form known as Erectus. He comes from Habilis the fellow just before. And he in turn comes from Boise. Then you have Australopithicus robustus. And finally they come from Africanus and then Afarensis. So that’s the scenario.
Beginning with ape-like creatures and moving forward with this scenario, I want to show that the concept of evolution is not to be found in the bones discovered in these excavations. Rather it is to be found in the minds of the people who have a concept of evolution. Evolutionists create pictures and models in order to communicate this gradual scenario so that it is sensible and logical that such a flow could have taken place.
I was interviewed on television a while ago, and was asked “Are you a creationist?” I said, “Well, if being a creationist means that the earth is 6,000 years old, I’m going to have to say no. I’m not a creationist.” Then the interviewer asked me, “Are you an evolutionist?” I said, “Well, if being an evolutionist means that nature produced all of the information that ultimately ended up in these complex structures we know as human life, I would have to say no.” And they asked, “What are you?” I said, “I’m a realist.”
I want to encourage you to be a realist. Look at the actual data and the source literature. Don’t believe what somebody else has said. Go to the original papers and the original work and evaluate it firsthand. It’s enlightening as to what you will learn when you do that.
We need to examine a scenario: a sequence of skulls that gradually change and the question, “Do they really become human?” Is there evidence here that says that we can show that from apes in whatever form? Can we somehow show that these lead to human life?
What do the fossils really tell us?
Here is as I say an early skull dated in Kenya 17 million years, in southern China about 8 million years, Sivapithicus.
This is the lower jaw bone of Australopithicus afarensis, dated at about 3.8 million years old, affectionately called Lucy. It was found in Hadar and it was speculated to be a brand new species dubbed Afarensis. So we have this partial skeleton of Afarensis dated at about 3.8 million years. This later became known as Australopithicus africanus.
The skull on the right is dated about 3 million years old. It is Australopithicus africanus. It’s an ape, make no mistake about that. It’s cranial capacity is typically 300-400 cc.
When a skull is found, you cannot distribute this skull to everybody, because it would get damaged. Obviously, if someone were to start picking that skull up, it would start to get scratches in it that weren’t originally there (you’d be amazed as to what an anthropologist can do with a little scratch). Therefore, plastic casts are typically made and it is the plastic replication that would be distributed.
The procedure is to make casts of these plastic replications and then distribute those to other anthropologists for examination and for analysis. The problem, however, is that when you make the plastic replication you lose the detail in the original. Now obviously, some of the detail is retained but a good part of it is lost.
Above is a partial skeleton of Australopithicus africanus, dated about 3 million years old. In other words, this is that particular skull put on the top of the bones that are believed to go with it. This is a very unusual skull. This was dated originally at about 3.5 million years and then the date was changed and changed. It finally settled down at about 2.8 million years.
Australopithicus habilis, is dated at about 2.2 million years, (We are coming into the present more and more with this time scenario).
Another skull is also dated roughly at the same time period Australopithicus robustus.
It is commonly held by a number of evolutionists that there was a branch at this point and that the human race allegedly followed the Habilis line whereas the apes followed the Robustus line. Both are found to be roughly 2.2 million years old.
I want to insist in the strongest possible terms that, as a physical scientist, I find these conclusions an intellectual abomination! The scarcity of data is totally inadequate and incomplete to warrant such sweeping conclusions. But this does not stop anthropologists (a field which is dominated by strong personalities) from making these sweeping statements. In this particular case, the statements were based on just two skulls!
This is Homo erectus dated at 1.6 million years. This is a skeleton contrived to make Erectus look as human-like as possible. I assure you that that is so. I have a number of different orientations of this and this is the only one that really looks human-like. If you look at it head on, it’s anything but human. It’s a fantastically different head on as opposed to viewing it on an angle.
And then this is Neanderthalensis, or commonly known as Neanderthal man. Neanderthal dates at approximately 135 thousand years ago and mysteriously disappeared off the earth about 40,000 years ago. He mysteriously appears and he mysteriously disappears. Some people like to push Neanderthal back to perhaps 200,000 years. But the data for supporting this assertion is very meager. Neanderthal man is dated at 135,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Finally, we have modern man, known as Cro-Magnon. Modern man appears suddenly and abruptly in the fossil record 26,000 years ago. Now note this: 40,000 years ago Neanderthal man mysteriously disappears off the earth; you have a 14,000 years gap where no fossils are found (one of the hidden pieces of laundry in the anthropological literature) and then 26,000 years ago, suddenly and abruptly as though a stamper comes down out of the blue, modern man appears.
Let me illustrate another thing: There are seven different concepts of how the evolutionary branching occurred! Seven different theories really by seven different anthropologists. You have for each anthropologist a separate theory. What I try to illustrate by this, is that there is no harmony or unity such as there is in physical science. In anthropology, you can argue for 20 years and still keep going at it.
I am not critical of anthropology, but I am critical of anthropologists that make sweeping conclusions beyond the proper warrant of the data. And what we need to do is keep our feet on the ground and try and understand that if you’re going to draw a conclusion, there should be facts to back it up. And I want to suggest that the facts that back this up are not definitive as illustrated by the fact that we have seven theories, at least roughly five years ago, there were seven theories by seven anthropologists, and today as I read the current literature there are all kinds of discussions.
Now there is no problem with discussion, no problem with disagreement, no problem with hypothesis; the problem comes in when materialistically oriented people who are not scientists wander beyond what their data actually can support and make sweeping conclusions that are not warranted. That I find a problem.
Are reconstructions accurate?
Now these two skulls are dated at about 1.8 million years and their a little bit fascinating in several respects. I want you to take a look at these two and take a look back at these two. You see the difference is that an artist has begun to put certain features on the skull based upon input from an anthropologist. In other words you are looking at the same skull. But the skull on the left is where we start, this is what we find and the skull on the right is reconstruction that an artist has begun to do.
Eyes are added on the left and ligaments on the right and finally this is the conclusion. Now I want to point something out to you. The artist did this at a time when the anthropologists were convinced it was human. Now it’s known to be an ape. I want to suggest that it was pure philosophical bias that produced that kind of a face coming from that particular skull on the left as opposed to almost anything else that could have occurred – pure philosophical bias.
There was tremendous discussion as to whether or not the skull on the left, known as Boise, and the skull on the right Robustus, constituted two different species or one species. An artist got into the act and began to do a reconstruction to resolve the issue. Now a slight problem developed in that one of the artists worked for one anthropologist and another artist worked for another anthropologist. One artist caused it to become human-like; the other caused it to become ape-like simply because the two anthropologists had different philosophical assumptions
Did a superior intelligence design life?
How is one to explain the differences between of a Chimp, Australopithicus afarensis, and a modern human? Can you distinguish a human skull from an ape skull? Absolutely, I personally went through 140 source papers. All you have to do is measure the cranial index. If it is 38%, it is human; if it is 58%, it is an ape, (plus or minus 7% in both cases). There are other tests also. For example, you find V-shaped jaws and U-shaped jaws in some of these creatures. Man has a parabolic U-shaped jaw. Skeletal structures that allow for bipedal locomotion (walking upright) is another test.
Material culture and language are unique to man. Man has another thing that animals do not have. He is able to pray, he has a spiritual dimension. Man alone ferrets out questions of origin and questions of destiny.
The Bible teaches that man is made in the image of God. The one unique distinctive of man over all animals is that he is capable of the word. He is capable of knowledge recorded, transmitted, added to and given to a future generation. He has the capacity of the word. I find it fascinating because the Gospel of John opens up with the phrase: “In the Beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” In other words, the word is identified with the image of God.
Genesis 1:26, says that man was made in the image of God, and was given dominion all over the earth. Because what allows man to have dominion over the earth except the capacity of language, the capacity to absorb all of the knowledge of a previous generation and add and transmit it to a future generation.
It was once widely speculated that Neanderthal was an advanced form of human type of some kind. The more recent evidence shows that man and Neanderthal now seem to have been coterminous. It turns out that modern man seems to have been around along with Neanderthal.
We live in an age when the scientific knowledge, once alleged to have destroyed the validity of the Bible, is now vindicating it. 100 years ago, the French Academy of Science published 51 facts given to prove that the Bible was wrong, yet today every one of those facts today has been disproven.
Thomas Payne’s Age of Reason Part II, a laundry list of 150 things known to be wrong with the Bible, has been discredited by archaeological finds in the last 50-60 years. The Bible, attacked by every generation of mankind, continues to survive only to have the next generation show that the attacks were without credibility.
Man is unique, but with all of his wonder and all of his uniqueness, unless his spiritual dimension is recognized, unless the spiritual laws that regulate success versus failure in the arena of human activity are recognized applied, he can only get deeper into problems.
There is an answer and there is a way out, but it means that I need to reconsider walking underneath an authority Whose intelligence and Whose fingerprint seems to absolutely everywhere. From the vast expanse of the stars where the universe was tuned to better than 50 decimal places at inception, to the incredible blueprint of information contained in a DNA molecule, man himself is unique of all God’s creation.
Man alone has the capacity to absorb, through the vehicle of language, a moral code and to make moral decisions in alignment with the moral pronouncements of this book, the Bible, that has survived all the attacks and continues to be the one shining light in an otherwise darkened arena of endeavor where humans seek to better themselves only to find themselves worse off.
True wisdom is to consider what the Bible is saying. When all is said and done, modern knowledge is showing that it is the most trustworthy book in the world. In fact, the real problem with the Bible is that it came before us and we are just now starting to catch up to it.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Science
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)