Man or Ape: Which are You? Which do You Choose?

March, 2007
Mark Stephens MCS

Mar 01, 2007 at 12:00 AM

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred from the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” I Timothy 6: 20-21 (KJV)

As we approach this topic, I want to remind us of Paul’s admonition to the young Christian, Timothy, to make strong efforts to keep his faith. Dr. Henry Morris in his commentary on these verses in his annotated The Defenders Study Bible points out that “Science falsely so called” is in the Greek, literally “pseudo-science” or “pseudo-knowledge."

This pseudo-science is nothing other than evolutionism, which has been in “oppositions” against God as Savior and Creator and against the world as His creation since the beginning of time. In Paul’s day, it mainly took on the form of Epicureanism (based on atheistic evolutionism) and Stoicism (based on pantheistic evolutionism). It soon would take the form of Gnosticism and later of Neo-Platonism, both also assuming evolution. In other parts of the world, it took on various other forms but in recent times it assumed the form of Darwinism, still rejecting God as Creator and Christ as Savior. Yet all forms of evolutionism are pseudo-science at best, filled with “profane and vain babblings”. 1 As far as “which some professing have erred concerning the faith”, Dr. Morris informs that many have abandoned the Christian faith during the two thousand years since Christ because of various compromises with evolution. This is still happening today as many Christian colleges, seminaries, and entire denominations are teaching theistic evolution (or its semantic variant, progressive creation) to their future leaders. This will, inevitably, degenerate, as it always has in the past, into atheism, humanism, or pantheism unless they come back to the Bible and true Christianity soon.1 Notwithstanding, our youth who go off to state universities have no choice but to be taught and many times indoctrinated into naturalistic evolution while being denied a balance of investigating other origins such as creation. The excuse used to deny this balance is the “so-called” separation of church and state. (I contend that this is misapplied, but I will not go into that topic here.) It is no wonder that 70% or more of our young people who go to church abandon the church after they graduate from high school, according to US statistics quoted in the December 2004, Answers in Genesis Update.2 “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you. I Timothy 6: 20-21 (NIV). I state these verses again from the modern New International Version to provide further understanding. I take the opportunity to make a statement that as a person trained in science and the Bible I am not against science; rather, I love science and the pursuit of knowledge based on true scientific pursuit. I am against using science falsely and calling it new knowledge as is the case I believe when old and new research of fossils and the genome is presented and assumed, not proved, to support naturalistic evolution as fact as well as saying apes evolved into man. I appreciate and support knowledge gained in scientific investigation which God has given us to help us. I understand also that it is a willing service and duty of mine to help people more clearly distinguish the scientific observation from the conjecture of naturalistic evolutionists, as they make some assumptions from their research using the bias of evolution. I hope my service such as writing this article will help Christians with much or little science background to hold and increase their faith and help those who lack faith to open the door to faith in God as they pursue true scientific knowledge. I pray concerning the influence of false assumptions of naturalistic evolution being placed before us in the media today that all will be allowed to make and will make the effort to examine both sides of the topic I write about today to determine in fair balance whether we humans were created specially by God in His image (Genesis 1: 26-27) or came about accidentally and randomly through naturalistic evolution in the image of and from an ape without a Creator God.

With the above background for consideration, let us take a look at new research that currently has provided the ability to map or sequence the genetic make-up or genomes of animals, especially humans and chimpanzees. This ability has added new considerations and questions to the debate of whether man was created or evolved from apes. Discovering 97 to 98 percent similarities of chimp and human genomes raises new questions about whether apes evolved into humans. Could the interpretation be that the similarities simply show a common creator and the uniqueness of man over apes can be explained by how God used even this small percent difference in man’s genome to make him truly unique over the ape-like creatures such as the chimps? From the creationist interpretation, the new research, I believe, is showing the God-directed-and-regulated effects on the outcome of even this small difference. This is in contrast to the evolutionary interpretation or conjecture that we humans are just evolved, advanced apes since there is such a small difference in our genomes. It is a matter of whether one chooses the point-of-view of naturalistic evolution to explain how we got here or the creation view that holds and enhances one’s faith in God. What we believe about these observations explained with evolutionary conjecture and interpretation in the name or under the cloak of science is very important as to whether we hold on to our faith, or wander from the faith as many have, as discussed in the introduction above.

Until recently the debate centered more around the fossil record and whether or not there were links including the “missing links” fossils between apes and man. Today, the expanding molecular and genetic knowledge challenges us to see if this new knowledge adds more proof of naturalistic evolution, with the evolutionary viewpoint continuing to be expressed by many researchers who simply assume evolution to be fact and deny any supernatural involvement. They just assume that this similarity in the genomes adds more proof to naturalistic evolution. In contrast, the creation scientist researchers simply see and interpret this knowledge giving credit to an omnipotent and omniscient God who is the common Creator of all but who has made His created kinds different from man who is truly unique over other animals as communicated to us in the Bible from the beginning in Genesis 1: 25-27. That special uniqueness of mankind is reinforced in other passages throughout the rest of the Bible.

Before we take a closer look at some of the new information on genomes appearing in the literature which provides new impetus for evolutionists to make new claims of supposedly the “fact” of evolution and that man came from apes, it is worthwhile to review briefly what was once proposed to be “factual” evidences from the fossil record that evolutionists claimed to support ape-to-man evolvement. I will summarize by use of Table 1 and some comments from my June, 2005 TASC newsletter article (which you may access on the web at titled “The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it mean?” The following evolutionary bias, conjecture, and false conclusions concerning “so-called” human ancestors (links) were outlined in a 2002 video from the Institute for Creation Research titled The Origin of Humans, The “Riddle” of Origins Series.

Table 1               

Fossil/ bone

What it turned out to be

Ramipithecus Ape
Australopithocine  (Lucy) Extinct Ape/chimpanzee
Homo Erectus Fully human (simply dated oldto fit schema of evolution)
Java Man Gibbon
Piltdown Man Hoax
Nebraska Man Pig’s tooth
Neandert(h)al Man Fully human

What we have truly found with scientific integrity tracing human ancestry thus far is that apes were apes and humans were humans and still are. 3 We creation scientists believe God created apes as apes and humans as humans and truly objective scientific evidences support this. A noted creation scientist, Dr. Duane Gish, in his book, The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible, refers to the admission of a famous British anatomist, Dr. Solly Zuckerman: “If we exclude the possibility of creation, then, obviously, man must have evolved from an ape-like creature; but if he did, there is no evidence for it in the fossil record.”4,5 Dr Gish, after having reviewed extensively the fossil record, responded to Dr. Zuckerman’s admission by saying, “I would agree with this famous anatomist; if man has evolved, there is no evidence for it in the fossil record. Man is a special creation, as are monkeys. They were separately and distinctly created, you see, and did not evolve from some lower creature.” 6 Dr. Gish also states that Clarence Darrow in the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial presented Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man as pieces of evidence he thought supported evolution.6 Of course, these evidences were proved false, but this started a lot of undeserved ridicule of Christians because of their creation belief and because they still held fast to the word of God, the Bible.

Speaking of the Genographic Project relative to the information above, I participated in it by sending a sample of my DNA for testing. Results from my genetic marker of M343 showed that my ancestors migrated into northwestern Europe and my haplogroup of R1b has some association to supposed Cro-Magnon Man. Dr. Gish points out that researchers now agree that the once loudly proclaimed Cro-Magnon Man was identical to a modern European.7 That I have northwestern European ancestors agrees with my own knowledge and records of tracings of my family tree. I can explain my ancestors’ migration into Europe from my knowledge of the migration of humans from Babel recorded in the Bible and information I reported in the April 2004 TASC newsletter article titled “Racism: Human ‘Races’ or ‘One Blood”’?” I pointed out in that article that all of us humans are related because we do have common ancestry from Adam and Eve and Noah’s family after the flood and human migration did start out from the general area of the Middle East which could have been at one time part of what we now know as northeastern Africa. Of course, the Genographic Project researchers seem to use an evolutionary view to fall in line with their assumption of naturalistic evolution although their research raises questions about the typical ape-to-man tie-in. However, the evidences favor more objectively, I believe, the creation science explanation based on the Biblical record of the migration of man commanded by God after the worldwide flood recorded in Genesis. From my understanding gained from all the above, I conclude that I am human, created from God, and not evolved from ape-like creatures through naturalistic evolution! Gaining that knowledge has helped to firm my faith, increase it, and make it whole, conducive to going forward joyfully unto good works.

However, for your benefit and mine in confirming our faith in God, let us now take a brief overview of two current articles in the literature pertaining to molecular and genetic data which try to convince us that we evolved from apes, primarily chimps. One article from the October 6, 2006, issue of Time ponders this ape-to-man question and is titled “What Makes Us Different? Not very much, when you look at our DNA. But those few tiny changes made all the difference in the world.” 8 This article cites that there are three billion base pairs in the human genome with 1.23% that are different in the chimp genome. The front cover of the magazine contains the headline, “How We Became Human”, superimposed over a picture of a chimp and a human baby. The adjacent page to the article contains an artist’s rendition of how this similar DNA material between man and ape might be expressed. It depicts a drawing of an ape- man creature with one side of the face appearing ape-like and the other human-like. I contend that this is image building for the informed and uninformed citizen to accept ape-to-man evolvement without much question and an example of using science falsely. Similar drawing techniques depicting how our ape-man ancestors might have looked were applied from the misinterpreted, false ape-to-man fossils such as Lucy, Piltdown, Nebraska, Java, and Peking Man and help to persuade adults and children that this ape-to-man theory must be true. 9

Assumptions from this Time article using the evolutionary position declare that “scientists figured out decades ago that chimps are our nearest evolutionary cousins, roughly 98% to 99% identical to humans at the genetic level.” The authors, however, do admit that even these small differences could elicit a big difference in humans and chimps by stating, “Yet tiny differences, sprinkled throughout the genome, have made all the difference. Agriculture, language, art, music, technology and philosophy—all the achievements that make us profoundly different from chimpanzees and make a chimp in a business suit seem so deeply ridiculous—are somehow encoded within minute fractions of our genetic code. Nobody yet knows precisely where they are or how they work, but somewhere in the nuclei of our cells are handfuls of amino acids, arranged in a specific order, that endow us with the brainpower to outthink and outdo our closest relatives on the tree of life. They give us the ability to speak and write and read, to compose symphonies, paint masterpieces and delve into the molecular biology that makes us what we are?”8 Sounds to me like the above explanations could just as well be a creationist viewpoint and could give credit to the magnificent creativity that God would put into our special human qualities; even though, being the common designer of apes too, He made their genomes very similar to ours, but the little differences do make a big difference. However, in this article, the authors choose to beat the drum of evolution with their broad statements ever alluding to it concerning the data about the genomes. In summarizing what it all means, they do reign in a little by stating, “In fact, even the most ardent proponents of genome-comparison research acknowledge that pretty much everything we know so far is preliminary.”8 It would be good if we can get this kind of statement out with balanced assessment to as many as possible about various new findings supposedly supporting evolution to help people avoid dismissing their faith. This is one of the missions of TASC. One special effect brought out in the article is that these small differences in the genomes do make a big difference in brain sizes between chimps and humans. We will look at that more in a later article.

The second article I cite was published in the April 2006 issue of Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future and is titled “The 2% Difference”, as it relates to the chimp and human genomes.10 The author, Robert Sapolsky, is a neurobiologist and states, “Now that scientists have decoded the chimpanzee genome, we know that 98 per cent of our DNA is the same. So how can we be so different?”10 One thing I deduce from this article is that the little differences in the genomes of chimps and humans account for significant differences in the species. Although Sopolsky gives his article the evolutionary conjecture on a number of observations, he points out findings and makes statements that can lend support to the creationist viewpoint as well. Examples of some of his statements about genomes in this article show uniqueness of humans over the chimps and follow:

Chimpanzees are close relatives to humans, but they’re not identical to us. We are not chimps.

The core differences arise from how we use our brains.

In genomes involving billions of nucleotides, a tiny 2 percent difference translates into tens of millions of adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine differences. And that 2 percent difference can be very broadly distributed. Humans and chimps each have somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 genes, so there are likely to be nucleotide differences in every single gene.

It's important to note that genes don’t act alone. Yes, each gene regulates the construction of a specific protein. But what tells that gene when and where to build that protein? Regulation is everything. 10 Another important fraction of that 2 percent involves genes related to reproduction—the sorts of anatomical differences that split a species in two keep them from interbreeding.

Still, chimps and humans have very different brains. …What makes the human species brainy are huge numbers of standard-issue neurons. …The main difference is the sheer number of neurons. The human brain has 100 million times the number of neurons a sea slug’s brain has. Where do those differences in quantity come from? At some point in their development, all embryos—whether human, chimp, rat, frog, or slug—must have a single first cell committed toward generating neurons. That cell divides and gives rise to 2 cells; those divide into 4, then 8, then 16. After a dozen rounds of cell division, you’ve got roughly enough neurons to run a slug. Go another 25 rounds or so and you’ve got a human brain. Stop a couple of rounds short of that and, at about one-third the size of a human brain, you’ve got one for a chimp. Vastly different outcomes, but relatively few genes regulate the number of rounds of cell division in the nervous system before calling a halt. And it’s precisely some of those genes, the ones involved in neural development, that appear on the list of differences between the chimp and human genomes. That’s it; that’s the 2 percent solution.10 

Related to differentiation of key types of cells above such as neurons, what if we considered early embryonic cell differentiation regulated by the small differences that we are finding make a significant difference in what is expressed from the coded information on the genes in the genomes of chimps and humans? Thus, worth mentioning briefly here is an assumed finding from a significant theory woven into evolution—ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny or embryological recapitulation—that was proved false concerning embryological development in the human and other animals like our supposed ancestor the chimp. A zealous evolutionist, Ernst Haeckel who was Darwin’s advocate in Germany in the 1870s, simply falsified the fetal development in his drawings to conjecture and propose that we humans go through the evolutionary stages from fish to man in the womb.11 Embryologists have learned that each animal has very specific differentiating information in the embryonic cells no matter how similar the building blocks of DNA to truly make each animal differentiate into what it is meant to be. I recall the significant impact as I was studying in my university that this Haeckel’s embryological recapitulation theory, even then not entirely exposed or dismissed, had on raising doubts on my own belief system. Even though exposed as false, yet so convincing, these drawings based on Haeckel’s drawings are still displayed in modern biology textbooks12 that our children have to study, undoubtedly still causing confusion and affecting one’s belief system. It seems ob- vious that evolutionary teaching “aims to indoctrinate students with the belief that they are evolved animals and ultimately are, in effect, nothing more than a chance rearrangement of matter.”11

Sapolsky’s article (along with the insert information about Haeckel’s embryo drawings and theory) is a good one to encourage us all to be careful about being swayed by this new genome data as further proof of ape-to-man evolution. Like the fossil research of past and present, the genome data is often presented in a sensational way to try to persuade, sometimes ridicule, us Christians and creation science people to give up on God. Likewise, the genome data, presented with the evolutionary bias, can continue to serve as a stumbling block to atheists and others to keep the door closed on acceptance of God as Creator.

Another aside worth mentioning here that casts doubt on assumptions made by evolutionists about dinosaurs being around millions of years ago is that the article just before this one in Discover was about the finding of soft, fresh-looking tissue inside a T. rex femur by paleontologist, Mary Schweitzer. If fair balance was given to creationists in communicating this new information, this should have made big headlines throughout the media, but evidently was not. To help balance, creationists should get news of these type findings as widely distributed as possible.

Like the examination of the fossil record (reviewed above) by researchers to see how much credibility is lent to the evolutionary ape-to-man position, the information in the genome articles need to be critiqued by creation scientists and distributed as much as possible. TASC editorial writers have dedicated a number of articles recently published in the TASC newsletter to assess this new information on molecular and genetic research to keep proper balance on evolutionary positions that generally are espoused in this research. One of these articles was the November 2006 newsletter article by Dr. Dan Reynolds, titled “Does the Molecular Evidence Prove Common Ancestry is a Fact?”, in which he concluded that Endogenous Retroviral Elements have beneficial function, show some preference for insertion sites, and can appear in the same location in unrelated species, which are consistent with purposeful design without common ancestry. Another was the December 2006 article by Dr. David Plaisted titled, “Puzzles of the Genome”, in which he clarifies that the genetic similarity between chimpanzee and humans is not as originally thought and that recent results show how little we really know about the genome, and therefore it is unreasonable to assert that the genome provides evidence for evolution when we understand it so poorly. My article published in the June 2005 issue titled “ The Genographic Project: What is it? What does it mean?” was part of an effort to observe to see if the Genographic Project provides credible information about the origin of humans and their migration, not just more fuel for spinning naturalistic evolutionary theory as fact. If you have not read these articles and desire to do so, you can access them on the TASC website at

In summary, the goal by creation scientists in the interest of balance is to provide some comment and assessments of the new genome data based on the creation science view, as the naturalistic evolutionary view will most likely continue to be espoused using the new data, many times in sensational ways by the media that provide much bias and deceit. Bottom line, as Paul admonished Timothy, we should be careful about observations and conclusions espoused in these articles that attempt to rule out God as Creator and cause one to wander away from his/her faith in God. They may influence people to embrace the religion of naturalistic evolution which requires very much faith as well even with the new data.

As stated in the opening, we need to carefully examine both sides of these important questions related to how we originated—created by God or evolved from ape to man by random chance? Which will you choose, considering that it will make a difference? Evolution uses death in its processes but gives no hope over death. Let us aspire to overcome death by accepting the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, who is also the Creator. He created us and, as Creator, will create us again in heaven.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3: 20-21 (NIV)  

1 Morris, HM (1995) The DEFENDER’S Study Bible. World Publishers, Inc. Iowa Falls, IA, 1348-1349

2 Ham, K. (2004 December) Decontaminating our children. Answers in Genesis Update. <> Accessed 2007 Feb 20

3 Riddle, M (2002) Video: The Origin of Humans, The “Riddle” of Origin Series, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA

4 Gish, DT (1990) The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cahon, CA, 84

5 Zuckerman, S (1970) Beyond the Ivory Tower. Taplinger Pub. Co., New York, NY, 64

6 Gish, DT (1990) Video: The Origin of Man, The Basic Creation Series. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA

7 Gish, DT (1990) The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, 85

8 Lemonick M, Dorfman A (2006) What Makes Us Different? Time, Oct 6:44-53

9 Gish, DT (1990) Did We Come From Adam or the Apes? The Amazing Story of Creation From Science and the Bible. Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, 76-93

10 Sapolsky, R (2006) The 2% Difference. Discover: Science, Technology, and the Future. 27(4):42-45

11 Sarfati, J (1999) Refuting Evolution. Master Books. Green Forest, AR, 85-89

12 Alton B, Kapicka C, Lundgreen L (1995) Biology, The Dynamics of Life. Glenco/McGraw Hill, Westerville, OH, 433