J. Warner Wallace’s latest book, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe, is an exciting recent addition to the short list of science and faith books I regularly recommend to those desiring a strong, reader-friendly introduction to the issue of science and Christianity. It contains many of the same topics that are addressed in other scientific apologetics offerings, such as the beginning of the universe, the fine-tuning argument, the origin of life, and the problems of consciousness, free will, and morality. However, this isn’t your average, dime-a-dozen pop apologetics book; far from it, in fact.
What makes this book so unique (and incredibly entertaining, to boot) is how Wallace frames the entire discussion as a detective’s investigation into the question: Was the origin of the universe an “inside job,” or is the likely suspect something—or someone—outside of the “crime scene”? In other words, does the universe have a transcendent cause, and if so, who or what makes the list of likely suspects? The use of homicide case summaries as analogies for examining the scientific evidence related to cosmic and biological origins and helpful, appealing illustrations on nearly every page make this book as enjoyable as it is informative.
Wallace’s book is well researched; it presents the arguments in a comprehensible fashion and includes counter-arguments and relevant scientific and historical context for the supporting evidence. For example, in the opening chapter, he outlines the observational evidence for an ultimate beginning of the universe, including not only the better-known research of Edwin Hubble, but also the related work done by physicists and astronomers such as Vesto Slipher, Georges Lemaitre, Arno Penzias, and Robert Wilson. Readers without a science background need not be intimidated. The crime scene investigation parallels Wallace constructs greatly aid the reader in understanding the significance of the scientific evidence for the over-arching argument.
There are several other features of the book that are both fascinating and useful. For instance, there are “Expert Witness” sidebar profiles scattered throughout. These are short bio sketches of leading scholars in the different fields being explored, including some of their scholarly achievements, key arguments, and notable publications. Among others, Robert Pennock, Paul Churchland, Leonard Susskind, Paul Davies, and Roderick Chisholm are profiled (but I must say that I especially loved seeing Dr. Mark Linville included, since he’s my dissertation director). 🙂 In addition, there are other sidebar boxes, such as “A Tool for the Call-Out Bag,” which describe crime scene investigator techniques and how they are analogous to what scientific investigators do, and “Our Emerging ‘Suspect’ Profile” boxes that sum up the accumulated evidence and preliminary conclusions as the chapters progress.
If you don’t already own a copy of God’s Crime Scene, I highly recommend it as an engaging and worthwhile addition to your personal apologetics library. It would make a wonderful gift this Christmas season, particularly for college students, parents of teens, church leaders, and anyone in lay ministry who deals with questions pertaining to science and faith.
Check out the book trailer—->