THREE BILLION YEARS OF LIFE by Andre de Cayeux

THREE BILLION YEARS OF LIFE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Now that the works of de Chardin are in popular currency among more orthodox Christians, this review and elaboration upon theories and explorations concerning the evolution of life, by a French scientist, is a useful and elegantly turned corollary to the continuing accommodation of the Christian church to the discoveries of science. We can suppose that life has a direction. The thrust of life -- through the appearance and disappearance of species; the tendency of species to increase in size and complexity; the abandonment of what is not useful; expansion and conquest of territory--moves in dominant lines and in a characteristic pattern. The scientist then, is not merely delineating random happenings, but uncovering a universal and divine mystery. The author makes his case gracefully, although the evolution-hand will spot some gaps--the blithe divisions between the higher primates and man; the spotty treatment of contemporary investigations of the advent of life in inert matter. (Although the comparison of the mighty gene to an irritable museum curator may delight the layman, scientists may grumble.) The author regards the discords, struggles and elimination of the weak and innocent on all levels as the counterpart--for the Christian--of a force pushing toward love and harmony. For the student, layman, the religious, this is a stimulating survey of science's pursuit of the primordial mystery.

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 1968
Publisher: Stein & Day