origins of life

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Book Review: “God’s Crime Scene” by J. Warner Wallace

gcs-wallaceJ. 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.

The Good

+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

The Bad

-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. 


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J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2015).



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Really Recommended Posts: 6/23/12

Charles Darwin, Meet Friedrich Nietzsche– Really challenging post on Nietzsche’s thought as a reaction to Darwin’s theory. In particular, Max Andrews focuses upon the secular teleology of Nietzche’s system of thought, “Nietzsche’s attempt to construct a secularized teleology is subjective and produces no objective purpose or meaning.  He understands this to be true, particularly more so if God is dead.” Very interesting.

“This is the End of America”– Eric Metaxas weighs in on the HHS mandate. I think this is spot on: ‘The requirement that religious institutions violate their consciences proves “the government, with all its power, can bully people,” he said. “This is the end of America.”‘

Even if the universe is eternal, it still needs a cause– Atheists miss an important point in regards to the Kalam Cosmological Argumentwhich Jason does an excellent job drawing out. Namely, a denial of the first premise of the Kalam does not show that the universe is acausal.

From Jesus to Us: A Look at P.O.W.E.R.– Eric presents a unique way to remember the evidences about Jesus.

‘Prometheus’ raises big questions– A look at the recent movie, Prometheus and the big questions it raises about life’s origins and the universe.

MP3 Podcasts on Presuppositional Apologetics– I’ve been prepping a post on presuppositional apologetics for a while now, and was delighted to find these discussions of the topic.

Ask an Egalitarian (Response)– An insightful post to how egalitarians (those who are for ordaining women) respond to various complementarian (people against) questions. For my own discussion of this issue, see my posts on egalitarianism.

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