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Biblical and Scientific Reasons Humans Are Different From Animals

humans different from animals

From an evolutionary perspective, humans are merely animals with more complex physical and mental functions. But from a biblical perspective, humans are much more—we’re made in the image of God.

In this article, we’ll look at several scientific and biblical reasons humans aren’t merely animals.

How Animals Are Different From People in the Bible

All throughout Scripture, God distinguishes between humans and animals.

On Day Six of Creation Week, God first made land-dwelling animals according to their kinds. Then, Scripture says, He created man in His image and after His likeness. The Bible details God’s special design for humans:

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26, ESV).

God doesn’t give this kind of purpose to any other creature besides humans. He expressly designed them to have dominion over the earth and over animals.

Killing Humans a Greater Offense Than Killing Animals

Genesis 1-3 indicates that bloodshed was not a part of God’s original creation. The first record of animal death was in Genesis 3, when God created clothing made of skins for Adam and Eve.

After the fall, God required humans to sacrifice animals to temporarily atone for their sin. But we never see God call for human sacrifice. Why? Because God views the killing human beings as evil. (We do see Him allow it, however, in war and capital punishment.)

In Genesis 9:5, God told Noah, “And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.”

Later on, God tells Moses that those who willfully murder someone should be put to death (see Exodus 21:15). Why does God allow the killing of animals but not the murder of humans? Because humans are made in His image and, as a result, are set apart from the animals.

Scientific Ways Humans Are Different From Animals

While the Bible clearly distinguishes between humans and animals, evolution doesn’t. According to evolutionary theory, man is merely a descendant of other animals.

But even from a scientific perspective, there are vast differences between humans and animals. Dr. Werner Gitt lists a few:

Human brains are far superior than animal brains.

Humans have the incredible ability to reason and think critically, to come up with new ideas, and to create art.

We’re also the only creatures drawn to religion. While not all people worship the true God, mankind’s propensity to follow a religion reveals a deep craving within us to worship our Creator and know Him personally. That’s a drive we don’t see in animals. (They glorify God by functioning as God created them to.)

Only humans can express deep emotion.

Yes, it’s adorable when dogs excitedly greet their owners or when cats nuzzle a person because they sense sadness. But human emotion is far deeper than that. Our ability to feel and express our grief, joy, hope, humor, and shyness is unmatched in the animal kingdom.

Humans are also the only ones who can fall in love. It’s true that some animals, like swans and beavers, mate for life, but no animal species is known to feel emotionally drawn to a romantic partner.

Humans can speak, unlike animals.

Human communication—even in its most rudimentary forms—is far more complex than any known form of animal communication. While some species can communicate in fascinating ways (like bees dancing as a way of giving complicated directions), no animals can speak, write, sign, or read in complex languages.

Only humans walk uprightly on two legs.

Our spines’ special structure is what allows us to walk uprightly. And because we use our legs to walk, our hands are free to do other things. Even intelligent creatures like apes use their hands to help them get around.

Learn More About Human Biology From a Biblical Perspective

God created humans unique and set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. That’s why a biblical worldview impacts how we study science.

Check out the Body of Evidence series featuring Dr. David Menton. These 16 video episodes explore human anatomy and physiology in a Creator-honoring way!