God, Evolution, and the Value of Human Life

From Issue: R&R – July 2011

God made it clear in the very first chapter of the Bible that He made human life unlike all other life on Earth. After creating plant life on day three and animal life on days five and six, 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” (Genesis 1:26-28).

God created man in His image. He gave man an immortal soul (Genesis 35:18; Matthew 10:28). He made man inherently more valuable than all other life on Earth (Matthew 6:26-30). From the very beginning, God expected man to eat plant life (Genesis 1:29), and, since at least the time of Noah, God has authorized man to eat animals (Genesis 9:2-3). In truth, man has been killing animals (for sacrifices, clothes, etc.) with God’s approval ever since sin entered the world (Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 8:20; cf. Genesis 3:21). The shedding of man’s blood, however, is altogether different. Why? Because “in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6).

Whereas the Christian worldview is grounded in the God-given value of human life and man’s superiority over the rest of God’s earthly Creation (see Psalm 8:5-8), atheistic evolution devalues human life to the point where man inheres no more value than rodents, roaches, and microbes. For decades, students in American public schools have read from textbooks that devalue human life. In the introduction to the unit on the animal kingdom in Holt’s 10th-grade biology textbook, students were taught: “You are an animal, and share a common heritage with earthworms…” (Johnson, 1994, p. 453). A 1989 Earth Science textbook published by Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich alleged that “humans probably evolved from bacteria that lived more than 4 billion years ago” (p. 356). In 2006, evolutionary ecologist Dr. Eric Pianka was named the Distinguished Texas Scientist of the Year. At his award ceremony, Pianka condemned “the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe” and “hammered his point home by exclaiming, ‘We’re no better than bacteria!’” (Mims, 2006). In a 2008 New Scientist article titled, “We Should Act Like the Animals We Are,” environmentalist David Suzuki stated in an interview with Jo Merchant: “[W]e must acknowledge that we are animals…. We like to think of ourselves as elevated above other creatures. But the human body evolved” (Marchant, 200[2678]:44).

Indeed, there is a stark contrast between theism and atheistic evolution. One says that God specially created man; the other says, we “share a common heritage with earthworms.” One says that man is inherently more valuable than animals; the other says “we are animals.” One says that man is superior to bacteria; the other says, “we’re no better than bacteria!” But, if we’re no better than microorganisms or the Earth on which we live, what will keep humanity from deciding to reduce the human population to 10% of the present number in order to “save mother Earth” from “overpopulation”? Dr. Pianka suggested such an idea during his 2006 award ceremony. What will keep lawmakers from banning the killing and eating of animals (our alleged equals)? And what about eating plants? They are alive, too. How can we justify eating plants and animals if we are no better than bacteria? How can we justify walking? After all, we might step on, and kill, a worm or a bacterium. If we lie down, we might destroy a bedbug. Even more troublesome, if we continue to breathe, we might inhale and destroy a microbe.

In truth, when people embrace the godless notion that human life and all other forms of life are equal, insanity prevails. Chaos rules the day. A biblical worldview, however, creates a rational order suitable for human existence.


Earth Science (1989), (New York: Harcourt, Brace, & Jovanovich).

Johnson, George B. (1994), Biology: Visualizing Life (New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston).

Marchant, Jo (2008), “We Should Act Like the Animals We Are,” New Scientist, 200[2678]:44-45, October 18-24.

Mims, Forrest (2006), “Dealing with Doctor Doom,” The Citizen Scientist, index.html.


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