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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Book Review: God's Crime Scene

Former cold case detective J. Warner Wallace's new book God's Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe opens with a vivid retelling of one of Wallace's first homicide investigations. He explains:
Every homicide case begins as a simple death investigation. When a dead body is discovered, detectives must investigate the evidence to determine the most reasonable explanation. Did the body die naturally? Did he suffer some kind of accident? Did he commit suicide? Was he murdered? These are the four possible explanations at any death scene. Homicide detectives are concerned with only the last one.
Wallace then notes that while the first three explanations require no other actor, evidence for murder means that the victim's death cannot be explained by only what investigators find "inside the room." Another actor must be involved.

Using this analogy, Wallace has once again written a highly engaging yet informative apologetics book demonstrating the reasonableness of God's existence. Like his previous Cold Case Christianity  (reviewed here), each chapter opens with an anecdote of a homicide investigation and sets the stage for the concepts of the chapter. This format makes what could be somewhat difficult concepts, such as the attributes of consciousness and how they differ from materialism, much easier to digest. The liberal use of illustration (drawn by Wallace himself) and sidebars also coalesce the important information for easy digestion.

In building the case for God's existence, God's Crime Scene tackles many of the standard arguments including the fine-tuning of the universe, the origin of life, the reality of moral values and duties, the emergence of consciousness, and even the problem of evil. Each chapter offers seven or eight separate arguments or "lines of evidence" that point to that chapter's topic and each ends with the question of whether the evidence indicates there was someone "outside the room."

The nice thing here is Wallace approaches the existence of God as a cumulative case instead of assuming God first. This is not only a more reasonable way to approach the question of God's existence, but it has the added advantage of forcing the atheist to explain all of the facts as an integrated whole instead of piece by piece.

While most of the objections that one would hear from skeptics don't appear in the chapter itself, there is a "secondary investigations" section at the end of the book that voices the most common objections to each evidentiary point and briefly answers them. This allows the reader to have at least an idea that the objection is known, an answer exists, and gives him a direction where he can continue his own research in that direction.

The book is a great primer on arguments for the existence of God. Wallace's writing style is easy and the book could be understood in a high school or junior high Sunday school class. Instead of miring his arguments down in too much detail, Wallace relies on his "expert witnesses" to do that heavy lifting for him and simply explains their conclusions. For specifics, one much dig further into the bibliography that he has compiled chapter by chapter.

God's Crime Scene is a wonderful addition to any Christian's library. It should be read by all believers to understand the basic arguments for God's existence and why belief in God is inherently reasonable. It is persuasive for seekers and non-believers open minded enough to weigh the evidence on their own merits. It is a convicting case.

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