Once again we are taken through a crime scene through the eyes of a detective. This time, instead of looking at the Gospels, we are looking at the universe. In his opening statement he challenges the reader with the pivotal philosophical question; Can all the evidence be accounted for by staying inside the room or do we need to go outside?
In chapter one I felt like I was in a boxing ring getting peppered with jab after jab. Wallace hits us again and again with pieces of evidence to show that the universe had a beginning. One example after another compels us to believe that all of space/time/matter came into being a finite time ago.
Next we move onto the fine-tuning argument. I think Columbo inspired this chapter; just the facts ma’am. Wallace doesn’t go into great detail over each piece of evidence but he doesn’t need to. Like a good investigator he has done the hard work for you. He presents us with the cold hard facts. If we want to investigate further then his footnotes provide ample quotes and books by believers and non-believers alike so that we can check out his facts.
Then you really have to buckle up, that is, unless you are a scientist. J. Warner Wallace breaks down for us the complexity of the Cell and explains the catch-22 between DNA & Proteins. It is most likely that he did a good job and I was just too slow to follow. Admittedly science isn’t my strong suit. But if you have ever looked at Steven Meyer’s thick book Signature in the Cell and wished you could get some cliff notes then Wallace is your genie in a bottle. I particularly liked the acronym he gave; DESIGNED. I won’t spoil the book but he does use 8 pieces of evidence to form a cumulative case that we are designed.
As we get towards the second half of the book he engages our minds about...well…our minds. That’s right! Some people today believe our mind and brain are the same thing. But as a Christian we believe our mind interacts with our bodies through our brains but if our brain stops working our mind/consciousness lives on. What pieces of circumstantial evidence could possibly lead us to conclude we have a non-material mind? I guess you need to read the book. Don’t we simply have to take that on blind faith? Absolutely not! Wallace uses common sense and examines how we intuitively understand our minds are not the same as our brains. It has always baffled me how naturalists try to reason with us to change our minds and accept their notion that our choices are simply reactions to chemicals. Hello, Mcfly?!?! If I’m nothing more than molecules in motion then I have no free-will to change my mind. Obviously their line of argument wouldn’t stand a chance in a court of law. I’ve read some books by the popular atheist Sam Harris. He argues for a deterministic view of the universe that denies free-will. Wallace shows that our legal system is built on holding people responsible for their choices. If free-will is an illusion should we let all the criminals go? Some argue that free-will arose or evolved. I love how J. Warner Wallace points out the inconsistency in this approach. I had never thought of it before. Sorry no spoilers!!!
The final nail in the coffin to make his case is the issue of morality. First, objective morality points us to God rather than naturalism. Can naturalism account for human dignity and value? Absolutely not. Wallace argues that truth is grounded in a truth giver and that our value comes from the fact we are created in God’s image.
Overall if you liked Cold Case Christianity then get ready to enjoy round 2. One addition that I also enjoyed was the “further studies”. As I said before you are peppered with a lot of information in each chapter. But if you are one of those who likes to dive a bit deeper then Wallace saved that for you as well. Each chapter has a follow up at the end of the book with weightier info. The flow of this book was great. It wasn’t too try, not too technical, and gave us just enough information to make a strong case. If you desire more you can check out his footnotes and his bibliography to read on each topic on a deeper level. But this is the sort of information we need to be teaching our youth. It gives them the pertinent information to know there are good reasons to believe in Christianity. If you are looking for a book to cover most of the major topics in apologetics on a “layman’s” level then this is the book for you.
I think there is only one thing I looked forward to more than reading this book and that is his power-points. If you’ve never seen his power-point presentations then you are missing out. I highly recommend you read this book.