Explore the biological relatedness of humans and animals and what it means to be made in God's image.
Humans and the Rest of Creation
What are you teaching your students about human evolution?
Humans are special. Of all God’s creatures, only humans are made in God’s image. At the same time, science has revealed that our species, Homo sapiens, bears the marks of an evolutionary history—a history that links us through common ancestry to all other creatures on earth. Do these two truths fill you with awe and wonder? We think they should.
- Are humans unique?
- How can practicing gratitude transform our whole being?
- What does it mean that we are made in God’s image?
- What makes humans similar to and distinct from non-human animals?
- Is there fossil evidence for human evolution?
- Is there genetic evidence for common ancestry?
- How might Christians who accept human evolution answer questions about Adam and Eve?
- What is our unique calling?
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What will students know or be able to do after this unit?
- Identify the positive effects of gratitude and express gratitude for humanity’s special place in creation.
- Describe three interpretations of the doctrine of the image of God.
- Articulate why biologists classify humans as animals, specifically primates.
- Summarize why appealing to biology alone cannot fully address questions about human uniqueness.
- Evaluate the fossil evidence for human evolution.
- Explain how endogenous retroviruses and chromosome 2 provide genetic evidence that humans share a common ancestor with chimpanzees.
- Identify questions Christians ask about Adam and Eve when reconciling human evolution and the Bible.
- Evaluate four interpretations of Adam and Eve for their agreement with theological commitments and scientific knowledge.
Modules Included in this Unit
11.1 Meet: Geneticist Praveen Sethupathy
Dr. Sethupathy explains how being made in the image of
God sets humans apart from other creatures in God’s creation.
11.2 Grow: Gratitude
In this brief devotional, students consider how being thankful can improve their outlook on life, their health, and their relationships with God and others.
11.3 Engage: Imago Dei
Students consider what it means to be made in the image of God and how some Christians who accept human evolution think about this doctrine.
11.4 Engage: Spectacular Outliers
Students review how species are classified and where our species, Homo sapiens, fits on the “family tree” of the animal kingdom. Students then turn to the question of what makes humans unique among God’s creatures.
11.5 Experience: Digging Up Our Past
Students watch an interactive video and examine a variety of hominin data used to support the evolution of humans.
11.6 Experience: History In Our Genes
Students learn about endogenous retroviruses and chromosome 2 and how these two lines of evidence build a strong case for shared ancestry between humans and chimpanzees.
11.7 Engage: Interpreting Adam and Eve
Students first read passages in the Bible that mention Adam and Eve and decide which statements about them they think are literal history and which statements are symbolic or metaphorical. Then they consider questions people ask about Adam and Eve when interpreting these passages. Finally, students evaluate how well one particular interpretation answers the questions they personally think are most important.
11.8 Integrate: Made for Heaven and Earth
Students synthesize what they have learned about human evolution and being created in God’s image by reflecting on a psalm and writing a role play.
Integrate uniquely addresses a long-neglected curricular need for Christian schools who are serious about preparing their graduates for critical and constructive engagement in science for college, career, and beyond.
- Unit lesson plans (PDF download; 57 pages)
- User Introduction and Overview (Google Doc)
- 17 student handouts (Google Docs)
- 1 presentation (Google Slides)
- 3 answer keys
- 10 images for printing or projecting (JPEG)
- Integrate Glossary (Google Docs, 64 pages)
- NGSS Alignment (Google Doc)
The BioLogos curriculum offers an insightful series of resources to help reflect on one’s personal relationship with Earth’s evolutionary story. The curriculum succeeds by encouraging learning and thoughtful discussion, ultimately promoting a deeper sense of the world due to its respectful union of theological and scientific perspectives.