Book Review: “Battle for the Beginning” by John MacArthur (2001)

“Creation, Evolution, and the Bible”

John MacArthur leads, in my view, the pastoral scene in exegetical preaching. Having recently completed a 30+ year series through the entire New Testament at his church in California, he is a man who knows God’s Word well, though I am certain that after a lifetime of study and exposition, he would be the first to admit he has only begun to scratch the surface of all that God has revealed about Himself.

In Battle for the Beginning, MacArthur tackles one of the greatest controversies between Christians and non-Christians today—Creation versus Evolution—and he does so by expounding upon the first three chapters of the Bible, Genesis 1-3. In viewing these chapters neither as merely historical nor as simply important to believers in God, MacArthur develops the perspective that all true believers in Christ must possess, that the active, seven-day creation of the universe by God, the Word, and the Spirit is true and absolutely foundational to Christianity.

So much is contained in this book that a simple review will not give it justice, but I would like to relate just a few simple points MacArthur makes. For instance, he expounds on the idea that in Genesis 1:1, the very first verse of all Scripture, God has included all five of the most basic yet most mysterious “things” known to humanity, those things that science tells us are beyond our full understanding: time (“In the beginning”), force (“God”), action (“created”), space (“the heavens”), and matter (“and the earth”). This simple point from the first, single verse of Scripture ought to give any reader, Christian or non-, more upon which to meditate than he has the time to spend. MacArthur also makes clear the fact that evolution, like creation, is a matter of faith, whether science wants to admit it or not. The difference between evolution and creation, however, is that the former takes even more faith to believe than the latter, for while creationists can believe that a High Power above space and time had the capability and will to create everything as the Bible says, evolutionists must accept the lunacy that “nothing + no one = everything.” Why anyone would choose this equation over “nothing + Someone = everything” is beyond me.

I have never been one to climb into this evolution/creation debate, because I realize that rarely is anyone convinced from one side to the other through yelling. I believe, instead, that personal study has the power to convict and convince, and so I encourage people to read the opinions of those who disagree with you. I have read Steven Hawking and I watch the indoctrinating kids shows on television (why its legal to teach evolution and not creation in schools and on government broadcasting stations is also beyond me), so I know what the other side argues. Thus I would encourage either proponents of evolution or those those who just don’t know to read two books, both In the Beginning by John MacArthur and the Bible itself. Following blindly the opinions of a godless government might be fine and dandy for some people, but don’t let it be for you. It’s time to start building some conclusions of your own.

©2012 E.T.

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