Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: Evidence For God

For this book I am breaking from my usual practice and sharing my criticism first. Evidence for God, edited by Mike Licona and William Dembski, has a slightly misleading title and subtitle: "50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy and Science". A more fitting title and subtitle would be Evidence for God and Jesus: "50 Arguments for the Christian Faith". That's it. That's all I can say bad about this book.

Evidence for God is broken into four sections and, while the first two address concerns shared by all theists (questions of philosophy and science), the last two sections (Jesus and the Bible) address apologetic issues for Christianity in particular. However, there is enough material in the first two sections alone to benefit any theist seeking evidence for God.

Typically a book with so many contributing authors may struggle to keep a good flow of thought and argument from chapter to chapter. Not so with Evidence for God, and much credit is due to Dembski and Licona for this fact. Notable contributors such as Copan, Habermas, Pearcey and Witherington III make the best use of the four or five pages given each chapter. The brevity of these chapters keeps any one topic from growing too overwhelming or nuanced but still gives adequate space to grasp the facts and the basic argument.

All in all, this is an excellent starting point for anyone looking for a broad treatment of the most common challenges in Christian apologetics.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: All apologists (Christian and theist)

This book was a free review copy provided by Baker Books.

2 comments:

in said...

While respecting the earnestness of those who attempt to persuade others through a demonstration of the reasonableness of faith, it is all kinda pointless. The Cross of Christ is foolishness to the wise and will always be so, one is left with the suspicion that these apologists are latter day Augustine(s) more intent on establishing their own respectability than acknowledging the very real absurdity which is Christ crucified. As Hume once cynically observed that when as an adult one believes the scriptures the simple shock and miracle of this is sufficient to cause one to become an adherent of the Christian faith for one's remaining lifetime, and yet he is right this enlightening is that conversion through which we receive Christ's yoke and this doesn't come about through argument but through the earnest love and prayer of those God places in our lives. Ask of me and I will give thee says the Lord.

Jared said...

While I agree that the cross is foolishness to the wise, it certainly doesn't follow that apologetics is pointless. But if I may be so bold, just as we will never argue someone into the kingdom, neither will we love or pray someone into the kingdom. And all for precisely the same reason, it depends not on human will or exertion, not the man who wills nor the man who runs, but on God, who has mercy.

Apologetics serve to remove intellectual barriers.

Love serves to remove emotional barriers.

Prayer serves to remove spiritual barriers.

Only God can remove the heart of stone and give a heart of flesh, but that does not excuse us from excelling at all of the above.