The popular story of human origins is that humans evolved from ape-like ancestors over millions of years. If this is true, it defines our very identities. Are we creations of the God of the Bible who seeks to redeem us, or products of natural forces that wait to kill us? Fortunately, clear observations of humans’ physical, mental, and spiritual abilities strongly support that we really are made in God’s image.
All of mankind shares uniquely human body parts, including feet. Apes have flat “hands” for feet, with which they grasp tree branches. Human feet have a long arch from heel to toe and a short arch across the foot that act as springs for walking or running. With these features, we can outlast apes and other animals over long distances, but only because we also have leg bones of appropriate length and hip bones of just the right size, shape, and angle. These all work together to point our knees and feet forward, while ape knees point outward.
The upright angle of the human spine properly balances body weight to enable running or walking—even while we’re using our hands. All these body parts work in close harmony, indicating they were formed at the same time. Only God could have put our parts together.
Hands also confirm creation. Like feet, many parts team up to give hands their unique abilities. Human finger bones are straight, and our thumbs point forward and are positioned high on the hand so they can touch each fingertip.1 Unique human wrist and arm bones, anchored to a stable pectoral girdle (collar bones plus shoulder blades), provide the support human hands need to work with tools or toys—whether pencils, puppets, or power saws. Apes’ curved fingers and small, sideways thumbs cannot do what human hands do.
What if an ape somehow acquired human hands and arms? First, our arms would not fit securely onto an ape’s frame. The misfit creature would not be able to swing on tree branches as well as real apes. Plus, human hand bones would be useless without the intricate human muscles and nerves properly connected to them. Human nerves can activate one muscle cell at a time, enabling us to make delicate movements like scribes copying God’s words spoken through prophets since the world began.2 Apes can only activate whole groups of muscles at a time, making their hands stronger but far less nimble than people’s hands.
Even if some ape-like creature had human hand bones, muscles, and nerves, without a human brain these would all be useless. Healthy human minds come completely equipped to interpret all the sensory signals from fingers or feet and convert desired actions into executable motions.
With our unique feet, hands, and minds, we access, manipulate, and understand the meaning of objects in just the ways needed to learn from and interact with our world—to dance, compose music, build rockets, etc.—showing that we, not apes, are uniquely made in God’s image.
Humans, not apes, ponder our origins and destinies. We, not they, earn death when we reject God from our lives, and yet in His mercy God became a man, not an ape, to save us from such certain death. Only mankind can respond in faith, believing God’s Word. Only humans can love a loving God.3
In the end, the vast physical, mental, and spiritual differences between humans and apes refute human evolution and enable us to seek the Creator who became our Savior.
- Guliuzza, R. 2009. Made in His Image: The Connecting Power of Hands. Acts & Facts. 38 (10): 10-11.
- Luke 1:70.
- John 3:16.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.