Friday, August 21, 2015

God's Crime Scene, by J. Warner Wallace

I grew up reading Josh McDowell's Evidence That Demand's a Verdict.  More recently, Lee Strobel has sold millions of his Case for . . . books.  Into that tradition of popular apologetics enters J. Warner Wallace.  From his perspective as an experienced detective, he has written God's Crime Scene: A Cold Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe.

Wallace's style and approach is readable and enjoyable.  He introduces each chapter with details from different crime scenes he has investigated.  Using crime scene investigation as a metaphor, he introduces different classic theistic arguments to determine if evidence points to an actor "inside the room" or "outside the room."

Readers familiar with Christian apologetics will recognize traditional theistic arguments: origin of life, evidence of design, universal morality, the problem of evil, free will and others.  Wallace engages these arguments from a philosophical perspective, while providing his crime scene illustrations to keep it fresh and relatable for the non-philosophical reader.

His bottom line: that philosophers have been unable to come to a consensus on an "inside the room" explanation for the evidence.  The best explanation, he argues, calls for "an 'external' suspect" who is "non-spatial, a-temporal, non-material, and uncaused. . . . also powerful enough to create everything we see in the universe, and purposeful enough to produce a universe fine-tuned for life."  Further, the only being that fits all of those descriptors is, of course, God.

Wallace's arguments are cogent and well-reasoned.  How effective are they?  I don't know.  I am a Christian, fully convinced of all Wallace argues.  Yet I found my mind wandering.  I don't know how well equipped I would be after reading this.  I also don't know how convincing Wallace's arguments would be even to an open-minded agnostic.  However, given the right reader, or the right conversation partner, Wallace's book can be a great resource for defending the reasonableness, perhaps even the inevitability, of theism.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!

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