Did God create the universe and intelligent life, or did everything evolve without divine intervention? That's the question Wallace, a retired homicide investigator, investigates in this book using the same techniques he did solving cold cases.
I like the way he uses police cases as a spring board for discussing the origin of the universe. Reading how techniques are used in a criminal investigation really help us understand how those same techniques are used in drawing conclusions about our existence.
His writing on evidence is great. It really helped clarify in my mind what good evidence is and how it is evaluated. He also explains the various kinds of evidence, such as circumstantial. I was impressed with his comments on nonmaterial influence, something materialists reject. Mental states, such as motive or the ability to reason, are important to criminal investigations. I liked his discussion on determinism and free will, a good explanation. He helped me understand causation and the difference between event and agent explanations.
I was also introduced to abductive reasoning, inferring to the most reasonable explanation. I like that he keeps coming back to examining the explanatory strength of each explanation to see which one best accounts for the evidence. His investigation into evil and God is great.
Wallace explains the scientific method in terms of police work. First there is information gathering, then evaluating. Next is drawing reasonable inferences and then making sure the evidence supports the conclusion. I really like his relating the process to criminal investigation.
Another aspect of the book I really liked is comparing this study of the origin of the universe to that of a case tried in court. The defense attorney and the prosecutor each ask the jury to believe different explanations. The defense attorney will say his or her client was not involved (naturalists). The prosecutor will claim the individual was involved and committed the crime (outside influence – intelligent design). The jury has to make a decision based on the evidence presented. And that is what Wallace wants us to do.
I really like the way Wallace has crafted this book. The illustrations of his own criminal investigations are really interesting reading. How he relates them to the investigation of the origin of the universe is superb. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in whether an external being caused the creation of the universe or not. The cumulative evidence is well presented in this book.
There is added material for further investigation into each chapter subject at the end of the book. It is great material for those who would like to go a little deeper into each subject.
I highly recommend this book. I think Wallace is the best and clearest apologist for Christianity I have read.
You can read my review of Cold Case Christianity here.
You can find out more about Wallace and his ministry at http://coldcasechristianity.com/ and http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/please-convince-me-apologetics/read/.
J. Warner Wallace is a retired cold-case homicide detective and adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University. He was an atheist through his undergraduate and graduate work. His experience in law enforcement strengthen his conviction that truth is directly related to evidence. At age thirty-five, he was given a New Testament and investigated Christianity. He became convinced it was true. He earned a Master's in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. His investigative work has received national recognition. He and his wife have four children and live in Southern California.
David C Cook, 320 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.