Another round of Really Recommended Posts for you, dear readers! This week we have textual criticism, an interview with an author, discussion of how stories change the way we think, historical apologetics, and examination of the reliability of carbon dating. Check out the posts and let me know what you think here!
Why Publishers Change the Bible (And That’s OK)! (infographic)- A very helpful, concise, and visual way to see how textual criticism works and why sometimes verses are taken out or added into the Bible.
Interview with God’s Crime Scene Author J. Warner Wallace– J Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective but also a Christian apologist. Here’s a great interview with him about his apologetics ministry and his recently-released book, God’s Crime Scene, which I reviewed here.
The Best Stories– How do fictional stories impact us in “real world” ways? Here’s a post that discusses the impact that stories can have on our lives and the way we think.
A Look at the First Apologists– Here is a great post that shows how the first Christian apologists approached the task of defending the Christian faith. The interesting thing to note is that the first apologists were all Messianic Jews.
Can We Verify Carbon Dating’s Reliability?– Young Earth Creationists often question the reliability of dating methods used to verify an “old earth” perspective. Here’s a post that shows how carbon dating can be independently verified.
10 Questions for Target Critics Regarding “Boys’ Toys” and “Girls’ Toys”– I’ll admit it, I’m not a huge Rachel Held Evans fan. But I do think that the questions she asks here, although somewhat tongue-in-cheek, get at some good points of concern regarding some comments about Target’s “gender neutral toys” policy. Specifically, she references an article by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and asks some pointed questions of it. I think it’s worth seeing a different perspective on the issue, and I think that some of the comments by CBMW are clearly ridiculous (see RHE’s question #s 3 and 4).
J. Warner Wallace is the a homicide detective and the author of Cold Case Christianity, one of my favorite introductory apologetics books (see my review). He recently came out with his second apologetics book, God’s Crime Scene. The former work focuses on the evidence for the resurrection and the reliability of the New Testament. In God’s Crime Scene, Wallace makes a convincing case presenting evidence for the existence of God.
The first question I think readers will ask is: “What separates this introductory apologetics book from the pack?”
That’s a valid question. There really are a rather large number of intro-to-apologetics books on the market now (thank goodness!). God’s Crime Scene is different from the rest in that it makes real-world examples central to the case that is made therein. That is, Wallace uses examples of crime scenes that he has experienced throughout the book (sans much of the gory details) to set the stage for each exploration of a different argument for the existence of God.
The way this works is simple: each chapter begins with a story that reads much like a mystery novel. Then, Wallace asks a question like “How might we figure out the evidence inside the room with the victim?” After he presents an answer to that question, he shows how similar evidence inside our own “room” (the universe) points to a being outside the room (aka a transcendent being) as the explanation. This makes the book eminently readable while also being almost immediately applicable.
The arguments that Wallace surveys are the cosmological argument, the fine-tuning argument. an argument from the origin of life, a biological design argument, the argument from consciousness, the argument from free will, and the moral argument. Then, he examines the problem of evil before summing up the case. Each chapter presents a look at the evidence, non-theistic explanations (with critiques), and an argument for why a theistic explanation is superior. The chapters then end with what this evidence tells us about God.
Wallace does a great job summing up many of the arguments involved in some of the standard theistic proofs. Each is analyzed briefly, but with a sometimes astonishing amount of information packed into a tight space. Thus, careful reading is required, and the benefit from a careful read is immense.
There are many illustrations and sidebars found throughout the book. These illustrations are always helpful rather than distracting, and highlight key parts of the arguments that Wallace makes. The sidebars are often discussions of how to weigh evidence according to the U.S. Criminal Justice system or Expert Witnesses that are either for or against the presented argument (this latter point is worth highlighting: Wallace does not only appeal to those with whom he agrees–he fairly presents the opposition’s viewpoint and even references their works directly).
There are a few criticisms I would offer. The first is that it seems like some conclusions are reached rather hurriedly, which is addressed in part through the excellent appendices that add more detail to the cases. Even there, however, one gets a sense that the sheer volume of material to cover is at times a stretch, with some objections only given two or so sentences as rebuttals. The other, admittedly nitpicky issue is that it does seem a little bit weird to have the analogue of the criminal being God. That is, the analogy being used is that just like we can detect a criminal through investigation of a murder scene, so to could we detect God through investigation of the universe. It just seems a little weird. It works; but it’s worth mentioning.
God’s Crime Scene is a valuable resource for those interested in apologetics. The way it is written makes it exciting rather than a chore, and the huge amount of information and argumentation contained therein is well worth the price of entry. I highly recommend it.
+Great use of criminal investigations to highlight points
+Clear exposition of arguments
+Good illustrations that add to what is written
+Real-world situations increase possibility of retaining information
+Includes experts who are not only theists but also anti-theists
-Conclusions at times feel rushed
-A bit weird to have analogue of criminal as God
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. They did not require any specific kind of feedback whatsoever.
Book Reviews– There are plenty more book reviews to read! Read like crazy! (Scroll down for more, and click at bottom for even more!)
J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015).
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