Am I a Monkey’s Nephew?


Last year Spain considered giving human rights to apes. Yes, you read that right. Someone decided that since apes are more like us than other animals, they deserve to be treated like humans.

This is where the theory of evolution, inevitably, was and is heading. What other conclusion could come from believing that all of life had a common primordial soup as its source? It goes from the goo, through the zoo, to you. And, that being the case, we are just “more advanced” than other animals and have luckily made it to the top of the food chain.

With great authority comes great responsibility. So, we should care for the rest of the peas and carrots in the soup with great respect. We tell kids to respect their elders. Now, law-makers are just suggesting adults do the same: “Show uncle ape some respect!” The legislation proposed that apes are not to be owned, but are to be “morally” guarded. They would have similar rights to those given to human children and severely handicapped people.

To harm an ape would no longer be animal cruelty, it would be a criminal offence punishable under human treatment laws.

I heard a debate concerning the bill on the radio. One scientist explained, depending on which research we quote, we share somewhere between 95 and 98 per cent of our genetic material with apes. (Not that I’m sharing any of mine, to be perfectly honest. I’m using every bit of my matter, grey and otherwise.) His point was that we are more like apes than any other living creature and therefore we should treat them as equals.

In response to his reasoning, another debater said, “We share over 50 per cent of our genetic material with bananas. You don’t hear anyone suggesting that we give rights to bananas.” No, I don’t think the apes would be in favour of that in the slightest! Imagine the dilemma we would have—teaching apes (in gentle, respectable ways)—that they cannot eat their ancestors. “Show some respect, Uncle. That’s Grandpa you’re trying to peel.” Anyway, what I think the antibanana- rights activist was actually getting at is: just because we look like apes (some more than others), we don’t need to anthropomorphise them to the point that we give them names (oops, already doing that), teach them to read (oh yeah, doing that too, drat), teach them to communicate with us (“apple” “good girl!”)—I’m digging myself a hole here.

Perhaps we should just move out and give the keys to the nearest ape. We could always go back to the trees.

Or perhaps, we could choose to believe that we are created rather than concocted. Choose to be made rather than muck. A sceptic might challenge my logic: “It wouldn’t change anything— we would still be what we are.” But the sceptic would be wrong.

While in the big-bang universe life is the result of chance, in God’s universe choice is powerful. Choice changes reality! Those who choose to claim Jesus as their Creator are promised: “To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Rather than looking in the mirror and seeing a freak of nature, why not see what God sees? “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). When God looks at you, He sees a reflection of Himself. When God looks at an ape, He sees—well, He sees the same thing we do—an ape! “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

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