God’s Crime Scene by J. Warner Wallace – A Review

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Imagine you’ve been called to a crime scene where a fatality has taken place. As you wait for your CSI Unit (Las Vegas, Miami, or New York—your call) you take a look around the room. There’s blood everywhere. You see the victim on the floor. Now, make a quick decision. Time is of the essence. Is this murder or is this accidental death, suicide, or by natural causes? If it’s murder, then an intruder must be involved; if not, then this is a closed crime scene and all the necessary evidence will be available in the room.

Of course, in order to answer these questions you must first examine the evidence. This is true of any investigation, isn’t it? In God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe, J. Warner Wallace, the man known to Dateline as the “Evidence Whisperer,” seeks to apply his years of experience as a cold-case detective and apply it to the question, does God exist? Every journey to discover the ultimate meaning of life begins with the answer to this question. If God does exist, then it follows that we must look to Him for meaning. If He doesn’t, then to quote the atheist Alex Rosenberg, “Anything goes.”

God's Crime Scene_Wallace FaceWallace himself spent his early years as an atheist. He looked at the universe and saw a closed room that contained no evidence pointing to anything outside of it; in other words, no God. At age 35, however, he began to investigate the truth claims of Christianity.  Though his initial analysis couldn’t get past his anti-supernatural bias, after a time he began asking himself if he could be wrong about this presupposition. This led to a fresh inquiry into the existence of God.

The governing question of his new investigation is the same one he uses at a crime scene to determine whether there is an outside intruder: Can I account for all the evidence in this “room” (universe) by staying in the “room”? From there, it became a matter of accumulating evidence and weighing its credibility. Once his research was over, he was convinced that God does indeed exist; and now he wants to share his discoveries by walking through God’s crime scene with us in this book.

Like the world-class detective that he is, Wallace meticulously works his way through the evidence. He expects his readers to assume the role of jurors as he presents the data. We are to think through the presentation and answer the question: Does the accumulated evidence point to something inside or outside of the universe? The juror’s job, fundamentally, is to consider the evidence and arguments made by both sides, and then to decide which side has presented the truth about what really occurred.

I recommend this book to anyone willing to use the detective in them to explore the evidence of our universe and determine for themselves if its existence was indeed the handiwork of a divine Intruder.
I appreciate how Wallace is able to take complex ideas and explain them clearly. He does this by using common language, but also by teaching us how to think through these difficult topics. Even so, there is nothing flimsy about his arguments. For example, he addresses issues like the origins and fine-tuning of the universe using first-rate science, while tackling the problem of evil with a keen mind and compassionate heart.

Peppered throughout the book are “cop stories,” as he calls them. Though somewhat disturbing, they really help to illustrate his approach as a detective. For example, little Jackie’s murder in Chapter 8 helps point out that objections such as the problem of evil touch people where they live. Another aspect I appreciated was his use of images. Interesting diagrams are included for the visual learners among us.

Other helpful additions are the “Case Files” at the end. These bring academic sturdiness to his writing and dispel any accusation that it is “merely a popular book.” Because he doesn’t go into depth in the book itself, Wallace adds ‘The Secondary Investigation’ for those who really want to swim in the deep end. Another added section is called ‘The Expert Witnesses’ and includes the likes of William Lane Craig, Stephen Hawking, J. P. Moreland and Richard Dawkins, giving even more credibility as these experts are from both inside and outside “the room.” Finally, ‘The Investigative Notes’ provide avenues for further exploration.

I recommend this book to anyone willing to use the detective in them to explore the evidence of our universe and determine for themselves if its existence was indeed the handiwork of a divine Intruder.

About the Author

Chris Battle

Reflective by nature, Chris enjoys pondering life’s peculiarities while seeking after the good, the true, and the beautiful. As a passionate Christian, Chris has discovered all of these in Jesus Christ. He is a traveler, a reader, a writer, a graduate from both Columbia Bible College and Prairie Bible Institute, a Master's student, an associate with Apologetics Canada, and a husband to his lovely wife, Sara.

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