The pinnacle of Creation
“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:3–9
We are spiritual beings who were created to know God, to communicate with Him and to have a relationship with Him forever.
The Bible and secular science give us two very different versions of man’s place in creation. Secular scientists believe that man (by which I mean mankind) is nothing more than an intelligent animal who came into existence purely by unthinking natural processes, by means of evolution. Furthermore, there may be many other intelligent beings—some of which may be much more intelligent than we are—that have evolved by similar processes on other worlds.
The Bible, on the other hand, tells us that God created man “in his own image” and gave him authority over the whole world (Genesis 1:26–28). We are spiritual beings who were created to know God, to communicate with Him and to have a relationship with Him forever. We are told also that our planet, the earth, was created before the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:1–19). In fact, the latter were created for our benefit! (Genesis 1:14–19; Psalm 19:1–6). The earth was created “to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18), and the implication seems to be that it is the only such world in the universe.
When man disobeyed God and suffered the penalty of death, the divine image was broken—but not lost.1 And the whole creation was affected by the Curse (Romans 8:18–25; Colossians 1:19–20).2 But the supreme indication of man’s primacy in creation is the amazing fact that God the Son Himself became man. He came into this world as a human being, and shares our humanity for ever (John 1:1–3, 14; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:15–20; Hebrews 1:1–3). Furthermore, we are told that those who put their faith in Christ are “sons of God” (Romans 8:14–17, Galatians 3:26), part of “the bride of Christ” (Hosea 2:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25–27), and will be “seated with Him on his throne” (Revelation 3:21). In Ephesians 1:3–14, Paul describes in cosmic terms the amazing status and destiny of God’s people—and he indicates that God planned these privileges “before the foundation of the world”.
The Bible indicates, therefore, that man is a unique, spiritual being, the pinnacle of creation. It implies very strongly that there is no intelligent life (or indeed any life at all) elsewhere in the universe. In fact, it seems that God’s desire to create man was the very reason why He created the universe.
Note also that Jesus said that God made man from “the beginning of the creation” (Mark 10:6, my emphasis)—not at the end of billions of years—and he implied that man has been around “from the foundation of the world” (Luke 11:50–51). The creation week, a few thousand years ago, was indeed at the beginning of the creation, and was also the time when God “founded the world”. This is entirely appropriate if God’s reason for creating the universe was his desire to create man. Atheist Richard Dawkins was being perfectly reasonable when he said, concerning theistic evolution, “ … If God wanted to create life and create humans, it would be slightly odd that he should choose the extraordinarily roundabout way of waiting for 10 billion years before life got started and then waiting for another 4 billion years until you got human beings capable of worshipping and sinning … ”
There is much evidence to support this biblical teaching, such as the historical evidence concerning the resurrection of Jesus;8 but is there any scientific evidence? There is indeed.
- The massive evidence that life cannot arise by chance and that microbes-to-man evolution is impossible clearly favours the biblical picture. It means that life cannot arise elsewhere in the universe unless a God—or a godlike being of vast intelligence and power—chooses to create it. It supports the biblical implication that life in our own world is the only life there is in the universe, and that man’s intelligence and spirituality are unique.
- There are features of man’s body and mind which is clearly designed for a spiritual purpose, and are far in excess of what is required for mere survival and reproduction. They could not have been produced by a process of evolution, and they are clear evidence of man’s unique spiritual status. They include, amongst other things, the unique qualities of the human hand, human language and the human brain. They include also a man’s capacity for rational thought—far above that of other animals—together with complex emotions and moral will.
- All the relevant evidence indicates that man has always been a spiritual being. The Neandertals, for example, practiced ritual burial—so they appear to have believed in an afterlife. An example from our own day is the fact that there is a “preponderance of scientific evidence” affirming that “children believe in God even when religious teachings are withheld from them.” Secular scientists naturally try to give this evidence an evolutionary explanation, but these findings are hardly what one would expect if man were simply a product of blind evolution.
- Millions of dollars have been spent on futile SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects. Electromagnetic waves from outer space have been monitored for many years in a vain attempt to detect evidence of intelligent life. The spacecraft sent to Mars and elsewhere have consistently failed to find any signs of life. These facts do not prove that such life does not exist, but they are entirely consistent with what the Bible tells us.
- The universe is unimaginably vast, with hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions, of galaxies. If the earth were at or near the center of this universe, it would suggest that a man’s home is very special, and that man himself is special too. But that is unacceptable to secular scientists, and is one reason why their big-bang hypothesis proposes that the universe has no boundary and no center. However, there is increasing evidence that the universe does indeed have a boundary and a center, and that our own Milky Way galaxy is at or near the center. (The Bible does not say that the earth is at the center of the universe, but such a finding would affirm the special place that man holds in God’s plan.)
- That the earth was indeed created before the sun, moon and stars also indicate that man’s home, and man himself, are very special. The Bible says that the heavenly bodies were created after the earth, on the fourth day of creation (earth time). This raises a number of interesting questions, such as how light from distant stars reached the earth within the biblical time. New theories, involving ‘gravitational time dilation’, have developed a number of insightful possibilities as to how this could have occurred. Furthermore, as well as agreeing with the biblical account, the new theories explain certain phenomena in a much better way than the big bang hypothesis. In fact, the big bang has its own ‘distant starlight’ problem as well as so many other flaws that even many secular scientists reject it.
The facts of true science support the Bible’s teaching that mankind is the pinnacle of creation.
- Another reason why our planet, the earth, is a special place is that many crucial factors have to be ‘just right’ for a world to support life—and in the case of the earth, all those factors are exactly right. In fact, it is very likely (from a scientific point of view) that the earth is the only planet in the universe which is able to support life as we know it. Even some secular scientists admit this.
- There is powerful evidence that the universe, the solar system and the earth are only a few thousand years old, and the same is true of all life, including man. For example, the ‘load’ of harmful mutations which all genomes carry is increasing so rapidly that all life would be extinct by now if it began millions of years ago. This supports the biblical teaching that man was created perfect only a few thousand years ago, at the beginning of the creation..