Summary: The World looks at us and sees us as one step above the ape. But God says that’s wrong. God says we’re one step below the angels.
OPEN: I read the true story about a 6-year-old who called his mother from his friend Charlie’s house. Apparently, he and his friend had been playing in the living room and tossing around a football… when they broke a lamp.
His mother was understandably distraught, and he attempted to comfort her with these words: "But, Mom, you don’t have to worry about buying another one. Charlie’s mother said it was irreplaceable."
APPLY: Irreplaceable… Well, we all know what that meant. It was highly valuable piece of furniture. Perhaps it was because it was a family heirloom, or perhaps because it was an antique worth thousands of dollars. But whatever the reason for its value… it was irreplaceable, priceless.
But to the mind of that little boy the term “irreplaceable” meant that it didn’t have to be replaced. It had no value beyond its being just a lamp. As long as it functioned, it had value… otherwise, no.
ILLUS: Before I went to Bible College, I spent a couple of years going to Purdue University. My brother had said it would be a valuable experience and dad was willing to pay – so I went. While I was there, I received a very special education.
Initially, I thought Psychology would be interesting. I liked my first class and found it interesting. The teacher was a very compassionate woman who made the course interesting. But about half way thru the course I was shocked by the way in which psychology apparently viewed mankind. The textbook likened men and women to machines. The author seemed to believe that if you pushed the right buttons and pulled the right switches, you could get people to do just about anything you wanted. The purpose of psychology (according to this textbook) was to find those buttons and switches so that mankind could be programmed to be better people.
That troubled me, so I switched to Sociology (because I thought that maybe they’d have a higher view of man). The class had to have had about 300 or more students and the professor was a powerful man who could really hold your attention. But, while I was in that class I discovered that the sociological viewpoint of man was that we were like animals. One of the scientists that they held up to demonstrate this thinking was a scientist known as Pavlov.
In his famous experiment Pavlov showed that when he fed a dog and rang a bell every time the food was served. Eventually, the dog began to drool every time the bell was rung… even if there was no food available. It was what is called a “conditioned response.”
Sociology, according to this teacher, could benefit mankind, if people could be manipulated like Pavlov had manipulated that dog.
Deep inside of me, something rebelled against what I was hearing. The idea that men and women could be reduced to little more than machines and animals. There seemed to be something wrong with that. But at the time I had no idea exactly why.
It was only when I got to Bible College and got deeper into the Bible that it gradually became clearer what the problem was. I had stumbled upon one of the great contrasts between the way the World thinks about mankind, and the way God thinks about us.
The world says that man is one step above the ape.
In the viewpoint of the world, we are an occurrence, something that just happened. We’re not created in God’s image. We are an accident. We’ve evolved.
We are the offspring of randomly assembled molecules. And because we are seen as the offspring of randomly assembled molecules that draws into the question the idea that we really have any PURPOSE in this life.
It calls into question the idea of whether we have ANY value outside of what we can do, and how much we can contribute to the world around us. Any value that we may have beyond that is purely sentimental.
We’re like the lamp broken by the boy – we only have TRUE value - as long as we function.
But God said – that’s not true:
God says we aren’t just one step above the ape… God says that we are one step below the angels.
In the beginning, when God created the world, He said, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness…”
It didn’t occur to me until I was studying for this sermon… but I recently realized that God didn’t say that about ANYTHING ELSE that He created.
HE didn’t say that about the Sun and the moon
He didn’t say that about the great beasts of the field or the birds of the air.
Then later, Scripture tells us that the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7