Presenting the Evidence

Judge:  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we have before us on the witness stand of this court a seasoned, cold-case detective, J. Warner Wallace.  He will testify to the veracity of his claims, set forth in God’s Crime Scene, that there is, indeed, a Divine Creator. Since the only charge against you, Mr. Wallace, is faulty and illogical thinking, there are no lawyers present, and I will proceed with the questioning myself.  Now, having sworn to tell the truth, surely you must confess that this outdated notion of a Creator is something you grew up with, a childhood myth that you cling to for sentimental reasons.

J. Warner Wallace (JWW):  Actually, that couldn’t be more incorrect.  As an atheist, I was very comfortable as the captain of my own ship.  My life was fulfilling and rewarding. I had been a police officer for nearly ten years and was used to being in charge in difficult situations.  I didn’t like intrusions, and there was no room for God in my life.  I am not a theist today because I was raised by believers — I wasn’t.  I am not a believer because I was hoping for heaven or afraid of hell — I had no sense of value for either.  I am not a theist because I was trying to fill a “void” or satisfy a “need” — I felt none.  I believe God exists because the evidence leaves me no reasonable alternative.

Judge:  Strong words indeed.  Your book is set up around the notion that there is evidence for God’s involvement in creation.  For those on the jury who need a refresher, give us a quick summary of your main argument.

JWW:  I’d be happy to. There are four possible explanations at any death scene.  Did the deceased die naturally?  Did he suffer some kind of accident?  Did he commit suicide?  Was he murdered?  One simple strategy, therefore, is to ask a foundational question:  “Can I account for all the evidence in this room by staying in the room?”  Thinking of the universe as a “room,” I didn’t believer there was any evidence pointing to anyone outside.  But I hadn’t looked at the evidence carefully.  My investigation of the natural universe required me to look at the characteristics of the “room” and determine if they could be explained fully by what already existed within the “four walls.”   The book is my attempt to help you look at the nature of the universe — my effort to share a personal investigation of God’s existence.

Judge:  OK, that’s enough.  I’m not ready to throw hundreds of years of science out the window based on your research and your “room” theory.

JWW:  That’s the problem, Judge.  Attempts to stay “inside the room” of the universe to explain its beginning are inadequate because they either lack evidential support or must redefine critical aspects of the evidence to make their case. Here’s an example:  The foundational laws of physics, the regional properties of our solar system, and the locational conditions of our planet resulted in our existence.  But did this have to be the case?  The conditions had to be just so for the outcome to be life.  The “just-so” appearance of “fine-tuning” in our universe is rather uncontroversial among scientists and cosmologists.  Even Paul Davies (who is agnostic when it comes to the notion of a Divine Designer) readily stipulated, “Everyone agrees that he universe looks as if it was designed for life.”

Judge:  I call that a lucky break for your side.  You know as well as I do that you Christians can’t explain all the evil in the world — all the bad things that happen to innocent people.  If God made this world, what do you have to say about tsunamis and earthquakes and senseless killings?

JWW:  Whatever explanation we consider, it must account for the existence of moral evil (like the evil cased by humans), natural evil (like the hardship we see resulting from earthquakes and tsunamis), and pain and suffering (like the anguish experienced by disease).  I believe that evil can be reconciled if we have an accurate view of the universe from God’s perspective.  For example, if we have been fashioned by a Divine Creator who offers us life beyond the limits of our short, material existence, this would surely change the way we look at pain and suffering on this side of the grave, wouldn’t it?  If the Divine Creator of the universe respects freedom as much as we do, we should expect a beautiful universe where love and reason are possible, even though hate and irrationality must also be tolerated and allowed.  Freedom in all its beauty, does not come without associated dangers.  We typically view evil as the antithesis of love.  But our definition of love has been deeply compromised.  There are times when the deepest, truest expression of love is some form of discipline or correction.  Character is developed more through adversity than advantage.  Sometimes our suffering is simply the result of bad choices on our part, but even with these explanations in mind, there are times when suffering seems entirely inexplicable.  I guess you could say that we’re all still in the evidence gathering phase on this aspect of my case.

Judge:  You’ve made some good points, but it’s the jury you have to convince.  Do you have any closing remarks?

JWW:  For some who read my book, the evidence couldn’t be clearer.  For others, the case for a Divine Intruder is still lacking.  Who, after all, wants to be intruded upon?  If you feel this way, you might want to rethink any resistance you still have to the evidence for such an intruder in our universe.  Is your resistance a matter of evidential insufficiency or simply a matter of intruder discomfort?

Notes from the Court Clerk:  All of the author’s responses in this drama were taken directly from his book, God’s Crime Scene, with the exception of transitional phrases inserted to facilitate a conversational style.  These have been recorded in italics. Each chapter of the book has an additional section of supplementary material for those who are interested in further information along a more academic line of thinking.  The author also provides access to a panel of expert witnesses through a bibliography that includes testimonies from “inside the room” as well as “outside the room.” Well-researched and presented in an accessible and logical manner, God’s Crime Scene is an excellent addition to a homeschool curriculum and a stimulating read that lifts a heated and emotional topic above the rant and rhetoric and calls God Himself to take the witness stand.

This book was provided by David C. Cook in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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