Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Is the Chimp Human?

I recently came across a rather bizarre note concerning attempts being made in Austria to have a chimpanzee declared legally “human” for the purpose of legally protecting him from laboratory experiments.

The report states that “Animal rights activists and leading experts in several biological fields including primatology and anthropology are joining forces to uphold a case going before an Austrian court which seeks a declaration of ‘human status’ for a 26-year-old chimpanzee.” The activists want the chimpanzee, named Hiasl, to have a legal guardian appointed over him. Since only humans have the right to a legal guardian, they have to convince the court that Hiasl is, in fact, human.

Notice the following quote:

Some of the arguments that they intend to use include the argument that a chimpanzee’s DNA is approximately 97% akin to human DNA.

The hearing has been stalled while the judge, Barbara Bartl, an animal rights supporter herself, determines if the claims of “asylum status” for the ape have been legitimately established.

The first thing that stands out in my mind (after the initial shock regarding the absurdity of the situation wears off) is that a human fetus’ DNA is exactly 100% akin to human DNA. Of course, that’s because it is human! And yet, abortion is still legal in our society.

And, knowing the typical politics of animal rights activists, it is probable that the same individuals who are campaigning so diligently to protect this monkey also passionately defend a woman’s right to an abortion. It is doubtful that they are able to see the absurdity of the two positions being held simultaneously.

It is doubtful that the Bible will be appealed to as the decision is made. It is, however, the final authority and is clear in its testimony. The Genesis account of creation reveals that on the sixth day, “…God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so” (Genesis 1:24). After the beasts of the earth were created, (including, of course, chimpanzees), God finally 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.” (Genesis 1:26).

Notice the scriptural distinction made between man, and the creeping things and beasts of the earth. Not only does man exercise dominion, indicating a difference or distinction between man and the animals, but the scripture indicates that man was made in the image of God!

This distinction is important. Remember the view of Ecclesiastes, as the wise man considered all things “under the sun.” In effect, he wrote of the philosophy of life that has no place for God. In it, men are no different than animals. In it all is vain. Note the following:

“I said in my heart with regard to the sons of men that God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts are the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecclesiastes 3:18-020).

If indeed men are only animals, then all is vanity. It is difficult to contemplate a life lived on earth that ends in annihilation. If man does not have a soul, that which differentiates him from the animals, then this life is all there is.

In fact, that is why so many live as animals. They are convinced there is nothing beyond the grave. They believe themselves to be no different than the savages they see on the Discovery Channel. The fornication, gluttony, drunkenness and violence that is typical of our society is at least in part due to the idea that we are animals, and that our existence ends at death.

“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). Never forget the value of the soul of man. It is what separates him from the animals.