"The Battle for the Beginning" by John MacArthur


This is a volume we would highly recommend for believers who are struggling with the secular view of origins.

Naturalism is the dominating viewpoint of the unbelieving world today. And the world presents their theories as the objective and "scientific" and logical and authoritative explanation of origins. But in reality, what they teach is actually a biased belief system fraught with its own atheistic presuppositions. In this title, John MacArthur provides insight into these atheistic philosophical assumptions that undergird the naturalistic world view.

He deals with their belief in the evolutionary theory, uniformitarianism, spontaneous generation, and big bang cosmology, among other theories. Additionally, he refutes Christian leaders who have succumbed to the pressures of this secular worldview and espoused twisted interpretations of the biblical creation account. He addresses their erroneous theories like old-earth creationism, framework hypothesis, theistic evolution, gap theory, and the like.

Beyond addressing these false views of origins, MacArthur also works through the days of creation, one by one, providing an exposition (of sorts) of the creation account, giving helpful examples of the wonders of what God brought into existence each day. With his careful treatment of the biblical text, he also demonstrates that it is impossible to intermingle the biblical creation account with the secular theories of origins.

There is, however, one caveat. There is one minor area of exegesis which we find wanting. This has to do with the interpretation of the expanse/firmament (henceforth, firmament) created on day two. MacArthur first interprets the firmament as the earth's breathable atmosphere. While this seems to make sense of the birds that are placed there, this does not make sense of the celestial bodies that are placed there. To resolve this issue, MacArthur appeals to the existence of another area of space beyond the firmament and also above the waters that are above the firmament. He identifies this as a separate outer space that existed outside of the six days of creation. This is a needless complexity that arises out of an inaccurate identification of the firmament.

We believe that the most straightforward interpretation of the firmament is to identify it as both the earth's breathable atmosphere and the outer space. This is the simplest way to identify the firmament based on what is placed there on day four (the heavenly bodies) and on day five (the birds). This then, of course, would mean the presence of waters beyond outer space. Given that Psalm 148:4 confirms the existence of such waters long after creation, we understand these waters to currently exist beyond the stars and that it is unobservable to human beings. This is one of the areas of the created order that our finite minds cannot grasp and we happily accept this, much like the emanating light on day one three days before the sun is ever created. Science has yet to catch up with divine revelation and, we believe that in due time (perhaps in glory!) science will finally discover those waters beyond outer space about which the Scriptures speak consistently about.

This is one small area of weakness in an otherwise stellar book, and we would heartily recommend this volume to any believer who wishes to think rightly about the naturalistic theories of origins they may have heard growing up in a secular environment. This book will clarify why the secular theories of origins neither offer a rational explanation nor provide any beneficial commentary on biblical creationism.

We believe there was only one being present when the world was created. And He is the only one who can give an accurate account of how this world actually came into being. This is the Creator, the triune God who created the heavens and the earth. And He has revealed what only He knows in the book of Genesis. We further believe that the cosmology of Genesis is the cosmology of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord upheld unabashedly the plenary inspiration of the entire Old Testament Scriptures (Matthew 5:18). As such, if one wishes to hear the Son of God explaining the origins of this world, they need look no further than the Old Testament Scriptures (as accurately interpreted!). The viewpoint of MacArthur's title is exactly this, taking the Genesis account of creation as accurate and inerrant and inspired with no apologies. This book effectively dismantles the world's theories of origins and leads the believer to a greater understanding and confidence in what the Creator God has revealed about the origins of the universe.