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The Battle for the Beginning, Book Review Example

Pages: 9

Words: 2605

Book Review

John MacArthur is a Pastor, teacher and a writer.  He graduated from Talbot Theological Seminar in 1969, and he began his ministry at Grace Community Church. MacArthur focused on verse-by-verse exposition and careful study of the Bible. Grace Community Church, under John, held two services and the 3,500-seat auditorium was filled. In 1986, he founded The Master’s Seminary. It is a graduate school committed to training men for full-time missionary work and pastoral roles. John is also the President and teacher at Grace to You. He has written over 400 books and guides in his career. John’s commitment to his belief has provided him with many opportunities to share the Word and to reach his community through radio, television, books and many other outlets.

The author, John MacArthur is very passionate about the Bible and its contents. There has been much debate between evolutionists and creationists on how the universe began. Regardless of which side of the debate that one is on, they usually harbor strong feelings on the issue. The author’s intention for ‘The Battle for the Beginning’ is to take an in-depth look at Genesis and what the Bible says about creation and evolution. It highlights important issues at stake to allow the reader to take a position based on Biblical facts, evolution or creation.

Creation: Believe it or not: Genesis 1:1

According to the author, Genesis is the foundation for the rest of the Bible. If Genesis is not factual, then it would take away all credibility of the rest of the Bible. If God is not the creator, then He cannot be the redeemer. MacArthur explains that evolution is just not rational. Replacing God as the creator and allowing the universe and everything in it to have occurred based on chance, blind luck, a random event, serendipity, and happenstance.  It is not that simple that individuals will just believe that Genesis is factual. It is far easier to believe in what we can prove or validate based on scientific reason.

A well-known scientist Herbert Spencer rests on the theory that everything that exists can only exist in one of five categories: force, time, action, matter and space. There is nothing that can exist outside of those defined categories. The nineteenth century cataloged Genesis 1:1. In the beginning is categorized as ‘time’; God is the ‘force’; created is the ‘action’; the Heavens is ‘space’ and the earth is the ‘matter’. It is an individual position whether one believes, or they don’t. A scientist who promote evolution they qualify their instrumental power to chance, it takes out the entire domain of reason, there is no scientific reason.

How Did Creation Happen

There is an unbiblical premise that the earth is a billion years old. The belief is known as uniformitarianism. A scientist who believes that the earth just exists believes that the geographical phenomenon is still occurring. The uniformitarianism believes that millions of years of geological works are necessary to explain such phenomenon as the Grand Canyon. It is impossible for Christians to support this theory because it directly contradicts the Biblical teaching that God created the earth and all life in six days. Reading this explanation shows how the most brilliant minds are unwilling to accept the idea that God exists and His true infinite powers. Are the alternate theories easier to believe?

God reveals truth through nature. Hugh Ross argues that general revelation is more than sufficient to tell us everything we need to know about creation and God. He believes that the Bible is the only relevant source of truth. Nature shows invisible attributes of God and the eternal power that He holds. Nature displays God’s glory in an unspoken manner, His divinity, power, existence, and majesty is shown to all. The details show how inconceivable it is to search for alternate explanations of creation, humanity and nature in general. The truth is revealed passage by passage in the Bible.

Light on Day One: Genesis 1:2-5

Prior to this point, the universe was black, and barren according to scripture. It was how the universe appeared prior to God finishing His masterpiece, His creations. The correlation to the potter allows the reader to see the true art of God forming the world in the manner He saw fit. There was nothing, and He created everything. A significant contrast to evolution, but a great hope and promise to those who believe. God did not establish an instrument for evolution and allow the universe to mature on its own. He was personally involved in every aspect of its creation. A true artist would never leave their masterpiece to chance. A very logical and simple analogy that holds a significant truth.

On the first day God created light. Scientist do not have an explanation for light or its existence. The confusion about light is what form of light took place on the first day. God did not create the sun, moon, and stars until the fourth day. Despite the lack of understanding regarding light and what it consists of, it is still a pristine state. God’s goodness is shown through light more so than any other part of creation. It allows the believer to see the difference between light and dark, and the handy work of God.

When he Marked out the foundations of the Earth: Genesis 1:6-13

On the second day of creation the earth was still covered with water. God simply used his words to separate the water from land, placing a firmament between the existing water and newly formed land. God’s explanation for the process is entirely reasonable, even for Scientist to believe. The water was divided by God, and part of it rose into the atmosphere, the rest of the water engulfed the earth. The decree of God made this happen instantly, not a continual process that occurred over time. The ability to live on land and breathe the air is not something that can be rationalized over a period of time. Life would cease to exist if that rationale were true.

At the third day of creation, the land was still uninhabitable. However, the end of the third day there was not only dry land, but also vegetation. The argument shows some validity in that the natural process could not have occurred in such a short period of time. From a religious standpoint, God’s creation does not have boundaries. For such details and events to occur, it is hard to fathom the power of God, but it is even harder to fathom that these events just happened. The author’s argument put it into perspective when he alluded as Christians we believe in limitless miracles, and this chapter reflected that in its entirety.

Lights in the Heaven: Genesis 1:14-19

Naturalistic science has struggled to be able to explain the universe, the stars, and the planets, but according to MacArthur the explanation is simple, God created them. What God made was not a process of evolution, He ordered it into existence. The complexity of the design is difficult for mere humans to comprehend, therefore it is far simpler to rationalize various theories than just to accept what the Bible teaches. We need reasons and proof, however as the author shows, the proof is in the detail and how it coincides directly with the Word of God.

The sun, moon and stars were created for a purpose as well. It was not simply day and night, but markers for other things. Stars show mankind the indication of time and seasons. Human life is regulated and governed by the heavenly bodies. It dictates the length of day, when we sleep, and so many other important factors for human survival. If the earth’s rotation were to decrease, the days would be significantly longer. Everything that happened during creation reflects that “God set them in the firmament of the heavens” (Gen 1:17). It shows the glory of God in a new light and raises the question, how do some still believe in evolution?

An Abundance of Living Creatures: Genesis 1:20-23

The fifth day of creation reflects that the earth’s environment is ready for living creatures. The Bible shows there is a clear distinction between animal and plant life. Living creatures or living souls refer to insects, animals, fish, birds, and humans, things that have a central nervous system. The complexity of this part of creation also makes it difficult to understand. God created smallest amoebas and microscopic animals to sharks and lions. The author really makes one consider the process. Each living thing relies on other forms of life for survival. It is not easy to comprehend and still, even with the detail provided the author cannot show the true miracle of this process.

All living organisms have three main properties, they are self-sustaining, self-repairing, and self-reproducing. It supports the true intelligence and power of the designer. God made a way for every species to procreate. The reproduction within species, DNA codes, and overall design of living things have been under the microscope decades. Despite the wealth of knowledge scientist have gained, they have not found any genetic information that would enable an organism to turn into something that it’s not. These variables alone say a great deal about the validity of God as our creator. Humans cannot prove the theory of evolution and they cannot disprove the theory of God. It is a very viscous cycle that each chapter presented by MacArthur expands upon.

Beasts and Creepy Things: Genesis 1:24-25

On the sixth day, God starts by finishing the habitat in preparation for man. The Bible makes it unmistakably clear that all creatures were created instantaneously. There was not life form that evolved from another. God uses the phrase ‘according to its kind’ five times in Genesis 1. It is an important understanding that has lost emphasis over time. It validates that each life form has its own genetic code, one that God established for each living creature. The author really allows the reader to consider the aspects of evolution, and how the Bible is able to challenge the beliefs. The detail is uncompromising for a better understanding of creation.

The author talks about cattle, creepy things and the beast of the earth. The extinction of dinosaurs was a very enlightening read. Whereas we are unaware when they went extinct, it is believed it occurred around the time of the flood. The flood changed a lot, including human life expectancy. Prior to the flood, people lived to nine-hundred years or more. The severe environmental and atmospheric changes explain such variation post-flood. It is difficult to image life lasting that long, but God had a plan and a purpose for everything he did. The author shows such purpose through this chapter in detailing the creation of cattle, creepy things and the beast of the earth.

Man in God’s Image: Genesis 1:26-31

Creation up to this point was a warm up to what God planned to do on the end of the sixth day. The entire material universe was created around the central object of the human race. Man was created in Gods own image, and was to reign over the cattle, creepy things, and the beast of the earth. Adam was formed from the dust of the ground in the same day that the other creatures were created. No evolution, just one twenty-four hour day. The scripture refers back to the momentous day where human kind was brought into existence. This is a very powerful argument against evolution.

One very interesting point that this chapter made it that nowhere in the Bible does it show that anything else in the space-time universe was created in God’s image. God was essentially the pattern for man. Prior to Adam sinning, he had many of the same attributes of God. The author sums up humans as personhood. We rely on relationships, fellowships, communication. Man’s need for personal relationships specifically separates humans from animals. God made Adam and Eve to fill the earth, the same way that humans are today. The author provided great detail to point out that if evolution did truly exist, wouldn’t some form be visible today in how human life is created?

The Rest of Creation: Genesis 2: 1-3

On the seventh day, God rested. It is unique because not only blessed it, he sanctified it. Everything god created in six days was perfect, there was nothing to fix, nothing to add, and everything was as He wanted. On the seventh day, God ceased from creating, which is a way it has never been presented before. Science does in fact support the truth in Genesis 2:1. Thermodynamics has two laws. First, it rules out the potential for ongoing creations and second it takes away the possibility that an ordered world can evolve from natural chaos. The author details how science supports the creation and how the Bible portrays it to the readers.

God’s sovereignty was intended to rule over the perfection that He created, the perfection in the Garden of Eden. He wanted to destroy evil forever. To entertain evolution is to diminish God’s original creation that took place in six days. It essentially suggests that God’s work was not good, it was incomplete and time needed to rectify what He started. This argument in and of itself defies scripture and what it teaches about creation. The chapter sums up everything that writers has argued throughout the entire book, God’s work is clearly explained in the Bible, and every other theory about creation is just that.

Paradise Lost: Genesis 3:1-24

The author states that Genesis 3 is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. It sets the foundation for the events that take place later in the Bible. It states the condition of humanity and the state of the universe, without this basis it is difficult to understand the rest of the events. It sets the historical purpose of God, why humanity needs a savior, and the human dilemma that has evolved. God’s creation was perfect; however it turned into chaos. It validates that evolution does not explain the human chaos and plagued with so many moral and spiritual problems.

Humans are constantly challenged with good and evil, it is a human psyche. Evolution provides no hope for a solution with the continual human battle of good and evil. The doctrine of evolution denies the reality of evil. How individuals distinguish from right and wrong, the existence of human conscience, and the human natures draw to evil cannot be explained through evolution. This chapter guarantees Satan’s destruction and the promise of a Redeemer. Human nature in and of itself shows how real God is and how evolution offers no explanation for our actions and nature.

Personal Reaction

The personal reaction to the book is very difficult to put into words. Never has the creation been explained in such a detailed manner that John MacArthur presented. Evolution has never been a theory that I have bought into, however in schools and universities is has been argued without consideration of the Biblical version of creation. It is presented to society as ‘factual’ without any true validation. MacArthur disproved evolution in every chapter, and even implemented science to support the Biblical presentation of where we came from. The impact on me is simple, I was provided tools to argue God as our creator and facts outside of the Bible to support it. What I can do about it is share what I have learned from this book and recommend it to others. There were many tools and arguments that support the sovereign God and the true handiwork that went into the six days of creation. It can help so many others gain an understanding and even a position to present creation in a way that cannot be disputed.

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