I’ve been trying to find out if there is good evidence for the evolution of human creativity. All I’ve been able to find is the usual stuff about how apes have made so-called tools, and the story of Congo, who’s art (also so-called) sold in the 1960’s however these arguments are extremely unconvincing. There appears to be no empirical evidence that anyone else but humans are capable of making music, producing real art (resembling real things) and of course, no evidence that anyone else other than humans are capable of worship. There is also the argument that no other animal is capable of being instinctive. Does this mean that evolution is therefore a fallacy after all? PS Please feel free to post this question as I would love other people’s comments and perspectives.


This is a somewhat difficult question to get a solid handle on.  Over the years people, not just Christians, have tried to give many proofs that humans are not animals, but these proofs have often not held up well over time.  For example, people said that humans are the only ones with language, but this has proved not completely true.  Others have said that humans are the only ones able to think abstractly.  This, too, has been questioned.   For example it has been proved that some animals can count and plan.  And by the way, they do make simple tools!  I do believe that there is a wide range of qualities that humans have that no animal has because we are made in God’s image.  There are others in which humans have a qualitatively vastly greater ability.  However, some of these are hard to quantify or measure.  Those on the other side of this debate will try to claim that chimpanzees are creative, show empathy and even have something like “art” and “worship.”  In the last two cases, I believe that chimps do not have anything remotely like human art or worship, but the enemies of Christianity, biased in this case, will claim differently.  So, as a private argument among ourselves, this is great, but as a public argument to disprove atheism, this argument may not be the strongest one we can use.  It is capable of being disproved or weakened over time.  There is evidence that whales make noises which could be described as music.  Again, I agree with you, but “art” is a subjective term.  To you and me the idea of animals expressing worship is absolutely ludicrous, but even this determinists will try to undermine.  The bottom line is that although humans are unique creations and I am absolutely convinced that our unique traits could not evolve by any sort of random process, these arguments are not the most convincing to atheist because our uniqueness is hard to quantify and define in measurable terms.

Either way, the unique traits of humans do not disprove evolution.  You should be aware of this.  In fact, as a scientist and as a Christian, I actually believe that evolution is a powerful theory which can even explain some surprisingly human-like behaviors in animals.  These arguments to not disprove evolution.  If they prove anything, they do not disprove evolution, but they show that evolution has its limits.  The unique characteristics of human beings–our self-awareness, our creativity, our having of a conscience, our God-awareness, and, by the way, our free will and ability to sin and rebel against our creator, are evidence that God had intervened in creating us as creatures in his image.  However, this does not disprove evolution.  It only proves that evolution is insufficient to explain the existence of humans.  For example, evolution may very well explain the interesting ability of whales to make something which appears to be like music.  Evolution can explain the ability of chimpanzees to communicate in a primitive means somewhat like language.  It can explain the ability of bonobos to create tools.  Our job as believers is not to disprove evolution, especially because God invented evolution.  Our job is to point out the unique nature of humans who are created in the image of God.

But you might want to remember that these arguments are hard to quantify and you may find yourself being frustrated that unbelievers will not consider this as proof that humans are unique, because animals have evolved to do some pretty amazing things.  

John Oakes

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