Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Plan-it" for the Apes

What is man’s place in the universe? The world would have you believe that we humans are but just a member of a greater family of sentient beings. That humans are the top of an “evolutionary chain” that includes other non-human hominoids. The Great Ape Project, founded in 1993 has argued that chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and bonobos (pigmy chimps) should be afforded the same rights as humans, that is life, liberty and the right to not be tortured. See http://www.greatapeproject.org/ . According to the Project, zoos fall short on the freedom criterion and thus sanctuaries are being setup around the world for these primates. The Project along with the sanctuaries advocate for the rights of the listed primates including the freedom from being displayed.

In June of 2008, the Spanish Parliament passed a resolution calling for human rights to be extended to these non-human primates calling for the Spanish government to conform to the guidelines put forth by the Great Ape Project. There is an umbrella organization called GRASP. It stands for Great Ape Survival Partnership. This is a part of the United Nations Environmental Programme. See http://www.unep.org/GRASP .

Science has been steadily chipping away at the idea that man is uniquely created by God for a specific purpose. Perhaps this really took root in 1926 in the famous court case of Scopes vs. the State of Tennessee, the famous Monkey Trial. You can read about it at many web sites, just google it. Essentially it was an American legal case that tested the Butler Act, which made it unlawful, in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee, “to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” The results of this trial put evolution on equal footing in the law with the biblical account of creation. A later finding by the US Supreme Court established the concept of “separation of church and state” leading to the eventual exclusion of the Bible account of creation in our public classrooms.

The concept of evolution is so ingrained in our society that it has infiltrated the church. Many mainstream, well meaning Christians openly endorse the idea that life “evolved” on earth from a distant beginning by “intelligent Design”. The Intelligent Design concept does not outright reject some of the principles of evolution. We must be careful and guard ourselves from this type of infiltration and assimilation of humanist philosophy creeping into the body of believers. We have a special place in God’s creation.

The Biblical account of creation states that the animal kingdom was created on the sixth day. There are two main points to take a close look at, but first look at Genesis 1:24-28

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (NKJV)

Point number one: the phrase “the living creature” in verse 24 is translated from the Hebrew “nephesh chay”, or perhaps better translated as “living soul”

Strong's Dictionary #5315 Nephesh from #5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of vitality, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, desire, fish, life, lust, man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-)self, them (your)-selves, soul, they, thing.

#2416 Chay from #2421; alive; hence; fresh, strong, life (or living thing), alive, (wild) beast, living (creature, thing).

The implication is that animals possess something that was placed in them by God. Had God not done this, animals would not have “life” in the Biblical sense. “Life” is not a bio-chemical process as science demands, but is a gift from the creator. God spoke the animals into existence as it says in Genesis 1:24 “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind”. The Biblical account of creation clearly states that the living creatures were created each according to its own kind. A dog is a dog and an ape is an ape! As much as evolution has tried to show similarities between animal species, there is no tangible evidence that similarities, or even close DNA code means a direct relationship. Evolution is all based on assumptions and conjecture. It assumes that similar means related.

The second point is that God created man for the purpose of exercising “Dominion” over the earth. Dominion is the Biblical term for government or regulation. Man was appointed by God to regulate the economy of the earth. It is clear in the following scripture from Genesis 2:4-7 that man was not created with the apes or any other creature. Man was created above the apes and there are different terms used in the Bible to describe the creation of man.

This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (NKJV)

The term “breath of life” is from the Hebrew phrase “neshamah chay”.

Neshamah from #5395; a puff, i.e. wind or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect, a blast, breath(-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.

You can clearly see that neshamah is a higher soul than that given animals. Man’s soul contains a spirit and is divinely inspired. Also it is clear from this scripture, that God did not just “speak” man into existence, he got down and formed man from the dust of the ground and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”. Man’s superiority is not by an evolutionary process, but by a grand design. Animals possess a “nephesh” or “soul”. But in the case of man, the term “neshamah” designates a higher level of perception and behavior.

Evolution makes no distinction between higher and lower levels of life. Life is all one big bio-chemical process. Perhaps life began in some ancient ocean billions of years ago with a bolt of lightning. (it kind of reminds me of the Frankenstein movies). Evolution erases all distinction of man from the equation of life and puts him on the same level with all other animals. This is clearly a direct challenge to the authority and sovereignty of God. Perhaps those who label evolution, “Evil-ution” are right. The enemy (Satan) has always tried to drive a wedge between man and God and has challenged the authority and sovereignty of God at every opportunity.

Creation as described in the Bible not only makes the distinction, but explains it. Man was designed by God to govern, propagate and conserve the entire creation as originally designed by God. This authority given us by God does not mean we can exercise cruelty over the lower beings that God placed upon the earth. We are to be stewards of His creation. We should not have any objection to the humane treatment of all living things, even the great apes. Our stewardship is regulated in and by the love of the LORD. If we yield to His divine design, then we will prosper over the earth. If we don’t, then there are consequences.

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