Review: God’s Crime Scene

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Wallace, J. Warner. God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Case for a Divinely Created Universe.

Wallace is a former cold-case detective who has applied his investigative expertise towards the historical reliability of the Gospels in Cold-Case Christianity, his first book, and now towards the plausibility of a created universe in God’s Crime Scene.

God’s Crime Scene is far more philosophically dense and rigorous (that’s not a criticism, by the way) than Cold-Case Christianity, but the investigation motif of the book is an excellent way of presenting the information in a compelling, understandable way.

Each chapter begins with an anecdote from Wallace’s experience as a detective, and each case he mentions highlights a particular aspect of the “investigation” into the nature of the origin of the universe. He returns again and again to the crime scene, detective analogy to help clarify and reinforce the points he’s making about the evidence that points toward the plausibility and likelihood of a Creator.

The primary crime scene illustration he uses throughout the book is evidence that is “in the room” which inevitably points “outside the room.” In a crime scene, the objects and arrangement of the room often indicate that what happened was the result of another person, not an accident that befell the victim. Likewise, the evidence “in the room” of the universe that we observe consistently points to a “suspect” that is necessarily “outside the room.”

The weakest discussion is the final chapter on the problem of evil. Wallace’s case is built quite substantially on the reality, importance, and divine emphasis placed upon humanity’s possession of free will. I would have preferred a more nuanced definition and usage of “free will” than he offers; I don’t think I disagree as much as it seemed at first, but he’s not as careful as I would have liked. Furthermore, and more problematic, was the lack of any substantive discussion of the reality and effect of sin and the mission of God to deal with sin once and for all. Granted, this is an apologetics work that is primarily philosophical and not exegetical, but the Christian answer to the problem of evil and the existence of the world necessarily includes the origin of sin and its ultimate end. This is a major weakness in the book.

Other than that final chapter, the book as a whole is well done and a useful tool in the arsenal of faith. It’s a worthwhile read (even if you skim or skip that last chapter).

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