The Battle of Beginnings

by Del Ratzsch, InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515, 1996, 178 pages (Reviewed by Rod Nielson, La Porte, Indiana)

It seems to this reviewer that Ratzsch's work supports the teaching of John Clayton that "whenever there is a problem between science and theology, it is either because of bad science or bad theology or both."

In this simple book subtitled, Why Neither Side is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate, Del Ratzsch puts forth the real problem in the public arena of those who believe that God created the heavens and the earth and those who believe that it is the result of blind chance. The problem is that neither side takes the time to truly understand each other and what the other side is saying.

After an introduction in chapter one, chapter two puts Darwinism in its historical context followed by a chapter describing Darwin's theory of evolution. This is a very helpful work in that it provides a layman with an understanding of what really is Darwinism. Next comes a chapter describing and critiquing the common misunderstandings of creationists concerning Darwinism.

Ratzsch next turns to creationism as a science. He follows the same pattern giving the historical context and a description of creationism.

Through these seven chapters, the reader gains an understanding of the debate and the science itself. This much will be very helpful to the teacher or preacher who is wrestling with this very important issue facing both science and Christian belief. Ratzsch does not settle the issue; he merely makes it clear.

The rest of the book is a discussion of the philosophy of science which controls how one interprets the date and evidence both for and against a particular position concerning the beginning of the universe. He demonstrates that scientists will often "defend their equations even in the face of contrary data," suggesting that science is inflicted with an incurable case of the humans. Nor are creationists let off the hook as Ratzsch shows how often creation scientists seek the easy shortcuts and fail to accurately deal with the evidence. The reader could easily get lost in this, but it is worth every hour spent carefully reading and thinking. 

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug00.