I recently read a piece in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition by Jane Goodall and her work among chimpanzees. At one point she reflects on an early experience she had of communicating with one particular chimpanzee named David Greybeard. At first he refused a nut from her, then
I held my hand closer and then he turned back, looked directly into my eyes, took the nut, dropped it and very gently pressed my fingers with his in a gesture of reassurance. We each understood the other, bridging our two worlds, communicating with gestures that had probably been used by our common ancestor six million years ago.
As I thought about that and the prevalence of evolutionary thought in our world, I was struck by a passage I was going to be preaching that morning. The passage comes out of Galatians 6, verse 7:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
How fascinating that a nation and world convinced of the absence of God in creation and seeking to ascribe to natural selection all the power of the creative God would find itself becoming animalistic in its cultural beliefs. Our portrayal of violence and sex on in the media, the glorification of hedonism in popular culture. The appeal to natural order and animal sexual habits to justify human immorality. The rise of mercy killing or taking the life of weaker members. The insatiable appetite for money, the human resource that allows us to survive amongst the other animals we are competing against in our world.
We want to be descended from the animals, maybe just maybe God is saying, “I will not be mocked. You will reap what you sow. You want to be an animal, then you will act like them too.” Maybe the more humane and intelligent thing to do is not to believe we come from the animals, but rather that we are God’s special handiwork, created to reflect his glory and not the habits of the wild kingdom.
Maybe, just maybe, that would be more beneficial to our world and our brother and the natural environment in which we find ourselves. Maybe that would be the answer to exploiting creation and instead would turn us back into caretakers. Maybe that is the solution to family disentegration, and acknowledging God as our creator would cause people to reflect on the course of their actions. Maybe that is the key to valuing all of life human and non-human.
Maybe it is really true, “God is not mocked.” As Christians we cannot claim to be God’s children and at the same time claim to be descended from the animal kingdom, the two are incompatible. Let us consider careful what aspects of science we swallow uncritically – we will reap what we sow, God promises.