Who Made The Moon? A Review of Sigmund Brouwer’s Book by Keith Shields

Sigmund Brouwer is better known for his children’s books than for serious books that wrestle with philosophical questions, so perhaps it is appropriate that Who Made the Moon? is addressed to his two young daughters. In fact one of the stated purposes of the book can be found in these words of praise for his daughters:

Your questions about where the moon, the dinosaurs, and people come from are good, important questions. Your curiosity is one of the special things about you. . . Only a really courageous person asks the big questions and dares to seek honest answers. . . . These big questions are ones that people throughout history have been asking.

You will discover that some people decide that there is no God because it sometimes seems like science and the Bible can’t both be right. If you keep looking, though, you’ll see He actually uses both science and the Bible to teach us special things about Himself and about the amazing world. He’s bigger than all our big questions, and if you and I search for the answers together, then we’ll be able to see more of the special things God wants to show us.[1]

For several years I have followed the career of Sigmund Brouwer. For a time, my wife and I used his children’s books, of which he has written more than 70, as bedtime stories for our three daughters. He has also turned his writing skills to novels, at least 18 of them, and to non-fiction books such as the present one under consideration and six others. Brouwer’s wife is Christian singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan who has had a successful career in Nashville. Brouwer, his wife and two daughters divide their time between homes in Nashville, Tennessee and Red Deer, Alberta. Brouwer was born in Red Deer in 1959 to a family of Dutch heritage in which he was steeped in the theological underpinnings of Christianity. The questions he encourages in his daughters seem to also have been lived out in his own life and one can see a progression of questions and a shifting of theological positions over the course of his years of writing.

Brouwer also wrote Who Made the Moon? to encourage scientists. He points out that

Many scientists do . . . acknowledge at least the possibility of a supernatural Creator. In fact, many scientists serve in their churches as well as in their laboratories, and I applaud their faithfulness in enduring criticism from both naturalistic colleagues and misguided Christians. I hope this book makes their lives easier as more believers learn how faith and science can find harmony in explaining origins.[2]

He notes that scientists and non-scientists alike struggle with questions regarding evil and suffering in the world, regarding how God has presented himself to humans, and regarding life after death. “Even if someone . . . is willing to accept a vague supernatural force in the universe, pride may prevent that person from accepting the God of Genesis, who clearly asserts His supremacy.”[3] Furthermore, “evidence may suggest a supernatural Creator, but nothing can . . . empirically prove His existence.”[4]

The book goes a long way in accomplishing the tasks Brouwer has set for himself. It is a book that I have already recommended or loaned to several who want to explore the interaction of science and theology. As the book is addressed to his daughters and written at a basic reading level, it is accessible to most anyone and is a great introduction for those who have not considered the interaction of faith and science or for those who still believe that the two could never be compatible. Within Christian circles, origins discussions can all too readily become heated debates. This book does much to set a gentler tone for honest questions and gracious dialogue.

The strongest argument of the book is that the author is seeking to protect his daughters and other believers from assaults on their faith that might otherwise cause them to reject their trust in a creator God. He notes that many things might make one wonder about God’s existence, his goodness, or his communication to humans. He points out that the reader must not give up on trying to make sense of both science and the God of the universe. Brouwer suggests that these are the most important questions of all and demand absolute intellectual honesty uncluttered by superstition or dogma from either science or theology. He concludes that God is bigger than all of our questions.

The book has few weaknesses but perhaps one is Brouwer’s largely unsupported depiction of Galileo Galilei. He tells us that he has a soft spot for Galileo. He then proceeds to paint a very gracious picture of Galileo Galilei, which even Brouwer admits may be “wishful thinking.”[5] He depicts Galileo as a man of faith who cared for his family, championed truth in the face of opposition from the church, and as someone who Brouwer would follow if he were alive today.

There is plenty of evidence that Brouwer’s depiction of Galileo does not truly represent the heart of the man. Many have pointed out that Galileo was a difficult man who spoke vehemently in favour of all of his theories. Many of his theories have indeed been found to be correct but several were also in error. I encourage the reader of this review to investigate Galileo for themselves but I will leave us with one quote which will suffice to summarize what others have discovered about the man.

In spite of all deficiency in his arguments, Galileo, profoundly assured of the truth of his cause, set himself with his habitual vehemence to convince others, and so contributed in no small degree to create the troubles which greatly embittered the latter part of his life.[6]

Who Made the Moon? does remind us that Galileo Galilei was the one person who pushed scientists of the day to combine experiment with calculation and philosophizing about science to successfully give us our present system of science. It is this same scientific approach and the rejection of superstition that Brouwer now recommends to his daughters and to other readers.

Those who have more deeply explored the relationship between science and theology will find that Brouwer could have gone further with many of the issues. However, this type of reader will also see the book’s value as a starting point for those who have not yet done so, but wish to faithfully explore our understanding of the universe through the words of God and through the discipline of science. Sigmund Brouwer has accomplished his goals and the book is worthy of wide readership. May it continue to prepare readers young and old for the assaults of a world that too readily wishes to discard the concept of a personal, creator, God.



[1] (Brouwer, Who Made the Moon? 2008, 19, Kindle location.)

[2] (Brouwer, Who Made the Moon? 2008, 1395, Kindle location.)

[3] (Brouwer, Who Made the Moon? 2008, 1399-1404, Kindle location.)

[4] (Brouwer, Who Made the Moon? 2008, 1395-1398, Kindle location.)

[5] See Kindle location 741.

[6] (Gerard 2012).

 

Works cited:

Brouwer, Sigmund. “Coolreading.com.” SigmundBrouwer.com. June 30, 2012. http://www.sigmundbrouwer.com/kids/ (accessed June 30, 2012).

—. Who Made the Moon? Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.

Gerard, John. “Galileo Galilei.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. June 27, 2012. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06342b.htm (accessed June 30, 2012).

Wikipedia. “Sigmund Brouwer.” Wikipedia. May 9, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Brouwer#Non-fiction_Books (accessed June 30, 2012).

 

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