King David once described his own human body as being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Although it’s now common for biology textbooks to consider people as simply animals, many features make the human body unique.
Let’s look at five of these singular differences.
The astounding geometric proportions of the human body
Consider, for instance, the geometric symmetry of the human body. Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist, inventor and mathematician, made a famous drawing of it.
It’s called the “Vitruvian Man”, in which Leonardo drew a man’s figure with arms and legs extended. He found it fit perfectly into both a square and a circle, the span of the arms being approximately the same as the man’s height.
In addition, when the legs were measured, they were approximately half the man’s height, and his navel was located at the center of the circle. Could all of this precise symmetry have been a result of chance? Or doesn’t it show how truly carefully designed and proportioned the human body was made?
As David went on to say, “You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something” (Psalm 139:15, The Passion Translation, emphasis added).
The erectness of the human skeleton
We tend to take for granted how easily we can stand straight and walk erectly on two legs. Yet there is a uniqueness to how the human body can effortlessly balance itself while walking or running.
Some believe apes and human beings have similar gaits, but they don’t. People are designed to walk upright, while apes were created to live mainly in and among trees, being able to grasp branches with all four limbs. That’s why humans are classified as bipeds (walking on two feet), while apes and monkeys are classified as quadrupeds (walking on four limbs). Apes and monkeys also are ungainly when they walk on two feet, while human beings can gracefully walk erect or speedily run long distances.
Why is there such a difference? Human beings have several anatomical components that are unique. Three of these are the backbone, with its three curves to reduce the load level of the body, the upright knee and the hip joint. Also, the neck and skull joints allow people to carry their heads erect and to face forward without great effort. Lastly, the human foot has a special arch that’s not found in other creatures. It allows one to push either from the front or the back of the foot, giving it tremendous power and balance to lift, jump, twist or run.
Again we have the testimony of Leonardo da Vinci, who knew human anatomy so well. He wrote in his notebooks, “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”
Stuart Burgess, who taught engineering design at leading United Kingdom universities, states: “Creationists believe that the upright human skeleton could not have evolved step by step from a four-limbed creature because many features are required simultaneously. If an ape-like creature had only some of the features required for an upright stature, it would not be able to move properly on either two or four limbs” (In God’s Image: The Divine Origins of Humans, 2008, p. 7).
The skillful abilities of the human hand
In contrast to an ape’s hand, the human hand has a long and fully opposable thumb, where each finger can make direct contact with the tip of the thumb. This allows for carefully grasping objects, like holding a pen for writing, having a delicate touch for typing, playing the piano or performing surgery. Apes don’t have these abilities since their fingers are curved for gripping tree branches.
Furthermore, human fingers have a wider range of motion and can swivel in many angles, allowing them to sculpt fine works of art and participate in many types of sports where balls can be thrown, caught or hit with great precision.
It was another genius like Da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, who is quoted as saying, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence” (Charles Dickens’ literary magazine All the Year Round, 1864, Vol. 10, p. 346).
Remarkable human speech and language
There are numerous features of human anatomy that permit people to speak, laugh and sing that apes and monkeys don’t have.
First, human beings have long and deep throats that are essential for producing varied speech and act like a wind instrument. Apes and monkeys, on the other hand, have shallow throats that hinder precise articulation. Our vocal cords are also unique, with some 100 muscles involved overall in the fine-tuning of the voice.
Next are human lips and tongues, which are likewise unique. The lips have the ability to tighten or loosen their muscles to enunciate short or long syllables and act like an adjustable valve of a trumpet. The versatile tongue can fine-tune the articulation of sounds by varying the amount of air coming from the lungs. It does it so rapidly that it can produce up to 90 words per minute!
As Professor Burgess brings out: “Humans have the unique ability to communicate through intricate language. There are approximately 5,000 different languages currently used around the world. Each of these languages involves intricate sounds, sophisticated grammar and a large number of words . . . The ability to speak and sing is just what would be expected if humans had been created, but is not what would be expected if humans had evolved from an ape-like creature” (p. 13).
God, in fact, once stated in regard to speaking, “Who has made man’s mouth? . . . Have not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11).
Our supercomputer brain
“The human brain,” Burgess further notes, “is the most intricately designed structure known to man. The capacity of the human brain is astounding. The brain receives millions of pieces of information every second from sensors around the body” (p. 19).
How does the brain do it?
Inside our heads we have, on average, 86 billion neurons—up to three times more neurons than those of apes. Each neuron can have up to 10,000 signal-connecting gaps called synapses, meaning the brain has some 860 trillion neural connections. It needs all these connections to manage the multiple tasks the human body needs to operate and remain healthy.
We are also endowed with consciousness or sentience, the capacity for abstract thinking, self-awareness and human emotions. The Bible reveals we have a spiritual component to our existence that imparts our marvelous ability to reason to our brains. As Job 32:8 says, “There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding” (compare 1 Corinthians 2:11).
The human spirit and brain together form the human mind. This gift from God has enabled people to, for example, compose music, build architectural masterpieces, write books and explore the moon. No other physical creature has the capacity to do any of these things.
Created for a higher purpose
Our human mind shows we were created for a purpose beyond just surviving here on earth. We were made to communicate with not only our fellow man, but also with our Creator God. This comes through the spiritual element in our existence, although many seek to deny it.
As is stated in Genesis 1, God created the various animals each “according to its kind” (verse 25). But then He said: “Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (verses 26-27, emphasis added).
Here is the reason for the uniqueness of humanity. We are not made in accordance with the various animal kinds, but according to the “God” kind—that is, in His image, although initially created at a physical and much lower level (Hebrews 2:6-8).
Mindful of all this, may we all join with David in concluding with the words of Psalm 100:3: “Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”