Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 8, 2016

Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla

(5 Minute Read)
What is the fundamental difference between an ape and a human?

Evolutionists proclaim that humans and apes both evolved from a common ancestor. If that were true, then there is no more difference in value between humans and apes than between monkeys and apes.

Harambe the Gorilla

Recently Cincinnati zoo-keepers shot and killed their 17-year-old silverback gorilla Harambe to save the life of a 4-year-old boy who had fallen into the gorilla enclosure.

Here is a 6-minute video on the event from ABC’s Good Morning America. It includes clips of the gorilla dragging the boy through the moat.

Widespread outrage over the killing generated hundreds of thousands of petition signatures calling for “Justice for Harambe” and numerous “Gorilla Lives Matter” protests. The zoo defended killing Harambe because a child’s life was in danger.

This outrage and protest over the death of Harambe is based on the evolutionist notion that animal life and human life are equivalent, that they are of equal value. For many people, the evolutionary denial of the Creator leads them to value the life of a gorilla more than the life of a little boy made in the image of God. Such a conclusion should cause one to question the evolutionary presupposition upon which it is based.

In a USA TODAY account of the incident, the reporter opined,
“The world prematurely lost a magnificent creature, a member of a species that’s among our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom. Anyone who has spent time at the zoo’s gorilla exhibit understands that they are imbued with intelligence and emotions not unlike our own … let’s pause to be thankful that the child is OK and to truly mourn the loss of another life, not so different from a human one.” [my emphasis]

Is this evolutionary perspective truly the case…that the life of a gorilla is “not so different” from the life of a human … that gorillas are our near “relatives” with similar “intelligence and emotions”?

No, this perspective is not true, not even close! It is sad that we live in a broken world due to Adam’s sin, so that the gorilla had to be killed to ensure the boy’s safety. But the life of the boy is worth incomparably more than the life of the gorilla!

Why is this the case? Scripture gives the answer.

Scripture says that Yahweh created man in His own image, according to His likeness:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB)

The Hebrew word used here for man is אדם, transliterated adam. The word means “man” or “mankind” or the name “Adam,” depending on context. Here it means mankind. All people are image-bearers, although the image has been marred and defaced by sin.

After Eden 092InGodsImage

The Image of God

What does it mean for mankind to be created in the image of God, according to His likeness? Scripture never defines this phrase, but here is what I think “created in the image of God, according to His likeness” entails.

Colloquially, it would mean man looks like God. Man was made to be “like God” in various ways. Made in God’s image and according to His likeness means there are similarities between man and God. In what ways is man like God? How is man similar to God? There are several aspects of this.

1. The Lord God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). This was the Creator, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:15-16 NASB)

The Creator must have had a body in order to walk in the garden with Adam. His walking made a sound that Adam heard. Adam was modeled after this Son of God to look like Him and resemble Him physically and spiritually.

2. Adam would have “looked like God” because God imbued Adam with some of His own characteristics. Abilities and attributes such as language, reasoning and logical thinking, grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness show that man is “like God” in some ways.

The image of God in man includes man’s moral
. Man reflects God’s moral character
because God’s moral law is written on his heart
by the Creator.

3. “Made according to His likeness” suggests that man would be able to relate to His Maker. He would be able to love, commune with, and worship God. Animals cannot do this.

4. Possibly the most significant “likeness” to God is man’s moral nature. Man reflects God’s moral character because God’s moral law is written on his heart (Romans 2:15) by the Creator. Because man is made in God’s image, man can make moral choices for right or wrong. Because man is “created in the image of God, according to His likeness” man is called to make these moral choices as God would; that is, because man is made in the image of God, he is to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16).

Adam was the pristine Image-bearer made in the image of God according to His likeness without fault or blemish. We have little idea of how fantastic the original Adam was physically and mentally (see Was Adam Backward or Brilliant?). The difference between Adam (before the image was marred by sin) and any man today is probably at least as great as the difference between a typical man today and someone with severe mental and physical disabilities. Before sin, Adam’s mental and physical capabilities as the Image-bearer surely dwarfed any human excellence we see today. Adam was superlative beyond our imagining, because he was the original, undefiled Image-bearer.


(Photo: Jeff McCurry/Cincinnati Zoo)

Humans Superior to Animals

Even after Adam’s sin, man is still made in the image of God (Genesis 9:5-6). This is one primary reason why humans are superior to animals: we are made in God’s image according to His likeness (Imago Dei); animals are not.

Secondly, Yahweh gave mankind dominion over animals:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28 NASB)

Then after Noah’s Flood, God repeated this mandate:
The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. (Genesis 9:2-3 NASB)

Finally, another indication of the value of people over animals is that Jesus Christ died to save people from sin and death. He did not die for any animals.

Because mankind is made in the image of God according to His likeness, and because the Son of God died for men, and because God gave man dominion over animals, it is therefore right to sacrifice the life of an animal to save a human.

Questions to Ponder
  1. As a driver, have you ever endangered passengers’ lives to avoid hitting a squirrel in the road?
  2. If an unbeliever brings up Harambe’s death, how could you respect his compassionate concern while redirecting the conversation to spiritual truths?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 29th of a series of weekly blog articles on Adam.
Read the prequels:
1. Was Adam in the Garden of Eden?
2. Did Moses Believe in Adam?
3. Did Jesus Believe in Adam?
4. Did Paul Believe in Adam?
5. Does Belief in Adam Matter?
6. Adam and Puppies
7. Why Did Adam Sin?
8. What Should Adam Have Done?
9. What Did Adam Cause?
10. What Was Adam’s Forbidden Fruit?
11. How Long Was Adam in Eden?
12. Was Adam’s Garden of Eden Real?
13. Christmas & Adam
(with videos)
14. Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden?
15. Did Adam Wear Clothes in Eden?
16. Was Adam Backward or Brilliant?
(with video)
17. Who Was Mrs. Adam?
18. Adam’s Dream Girl
19. Adam’s Prolific Princess
20. Adam’s Problematic Princess
21. How Many Children Did Adam Have?
22. Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
23. Did Adam Ride a Unicorn?
24. How Long Did Adam Live?
25. Did Adam Swat Mosquitoes in Eden?
26. Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
27. Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
28. Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?

Read the sequels:
30. Did Adam Ever Return to Eden?
31. What Was Adam’s Tree of Life?
32. Will Adam Be in Heaven?
33. Did Adam See the Big Dipper?
34. Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
35. Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
36. Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
37. Did Adam Like Steak?
38. Could Adam Read & Write?
39. Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
40. Adam & the Olympics
41. Adam and the Gospel
42. Adam and the Genesis Road

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 8, 2016 A.D.

The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
(Genesis 2:16; 3:1-6)

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