Back in 2005 Nature magazine published the findings of the Chimpanzee Genome Sequencing Consortium.
The article held the unassuming title “Initial Sequence of the Chimpanzee Genome and Comparison with the Human Genome.” In it the claim was made that humans and chimpanzees share nearly identical DNA, with a similarity of 98-99%. The purpose of this article was to “close the gap” between human beings and apes in the minds of people.
Of course, the media had a field day with this information. The suggestion that chimps and humans share a common ancestry led to an extravagant proposal. Some proposed that human rights should extend to “our closest relatives.”
What wasn’t made readily digestible in this study was that the DNA sequencing of humans and chimpanzees was limited in scope. In other words the researchers were very selective in which DNA sequencing they compared. They omitted areas of difference in the process.
Frost Smith compared this analysis to studying two sets of blue jeans and finding them both made of 100% cotton. At the same time the comparison fails to mention that one pair of jeans has the legs cut off and is dyed black while the other is a pair of standard 14-ounce blue jeans. The study only compared similarities and ignored significant differences. Subsequent studies, using a far more comprehensive analysis, have revealed a similarity of only 89% or 81%. Some even argue for a number as low as 70%.
What is most tragic about this pursuit of science—proving how closely related people are to apes—is that it does nothing to demonstrate how closely related people are to each other. Our society ignores the staggering differences between people and the apes. And yet does its best to highlight the differences between classes of people. By highlighting every conceivable act of inequality between ethnic groups our media is forever fueling class warfare and racial hatred.
Why not highlight the fact that DNA sequencing is almost identical between major racial groups? Why not emphasize that all of us are indeed made of the very same material? Finally, why not accept the biblical truth that God made from one human being every nation on the face of the earth (Acts 17:26)? In other words, we are truly one family and all brothers and sisters? Why not accept God’s diagnosis on our situation—that although we all share the same capacity for goodness and greatness, we are all equally cursed with the same disease of sin (Rom. 3:10–23)? Thus, whenever I condemn my brother or sister, I am condemning myself—for I share all the same flaws and weaknesses as they do. When I hate my brother or sister, I am showing contempt for their Creator who made them in His image.
Let’s forget about the apes and think about each other. Let’s admit our own sinfulness and confess our frailty. As we do this, let’s plead with God to remove the pain, fear, and hatred from our hearts. Finally and with humility, let’s ask Him to heal our hearts, mend our divisions, and bless our nation.
Dear Father in heaven, please send forth Your Holy Spirit and breathe a revival across this nation. By Your Spirit divine heal our wounded hearts and turn us to You in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. Take from our hearts all envy, fear and hatred. Replace them with Your love, faith, and hope. O Lord, help us to see the image of God in each other and to honor each other as Your dear child. For, inasmuch as we love, help, and care for each other—we do these same things to Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Information from: “Initial Sequence of the Chimpanzee Genome and Comparison with the Human Genome.” Nature 437, no. 7055 (September 2005): 69–87. doi:10.1038/nature04072.