We had the privilege to interview author J. Warner Wallace, detective and former atheist, about his new release, God’s Crime Scene.
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As a former atheist and cold-case detective, tell us a little bit about your journey to faith and how you found the evidence for God?
I didn’t grow up in a Christian environment. My dad was (and still is) a committed atheist, and I never attended an evangelical church service as a boy. As a result, I was rather dogmatic in my atheism from a very young age.
My wife, Susie, and I had been together since high school, and Susie was very patient with my unbelief. At twenty-seven Susie expressed a desire to visit local churches in our area. I was happy to go with her if it made her happy.
In the first church we visited, the pastor cleverly described Jesus as the smartest man who ever lived. That sounded interesting to me. I purchased an inexpensive pew Bible and began to read through the Gospels for the limited purpose of mining the wisdom statements of Jesus. I was immediately impressed, however, with the similarity I found between the Gospel accounts and eyewitness statements I encountered in my own criminal cases (at this time I was working as a detective).
I began to test the Gospels in the same way I would test any other eyewitness account. I described this process in my first book, Cold-Case Christianity.
At the end of that process, I was comfortable with the reliable nature of the Gospel accounts except for the presence of the supernatural miracles of Jesus and the Resurrection. I thought the Gospels were some form of historical fiction. I decided, however, to take an additional step in my investigation to determine if my bias against the supernatural was warranted.
I examined the universe the same way I examined other targeted scenes from my career, and I applied the same scrutiny I did to other pieces of evidence in such scenes. The result is the process I describe in God’s Crime Scene.
As you’ve grown in your understanding of who God is, which authors and books have you chosen to study that nourish and grow your faith?
After becoming a Christian I eventually enrolled in seminary and graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
I love to read systematic theologies, Wayne Grudem and Millard Erickson are two of my favorites. I am also fond of philosophically minded apologetics books (like Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig).
What are some practical ways that these authors have influenced you?
I believe there’s a big difference between belief that and belief in.
Belief that typically describes one’s intellectual assent to a claim. We might have, for example, good evidential reason to believe Jesus is who he said he was, but doesn’t have the power to save us on its own (in James 2:19, James reminded his readers that “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!”). Belief in is an additional step of trust. We have belief in when we trust Jesus for our salvation.
God’s Crime Scene examines the universe to determine if there is evidence that points to a creator, tell us more about the angle you take when approaching the evidence.
Every death investigation presents one of four possibilities; the victim died accidentally, died from natural causes, committed suicide, or was murdered.
Only one of these circumstances requires someone outside the room to enter the scene. Accidental deaths, natural deaths and suicides can occur without an intruder.
Homicide detectives, therefore, are looking for evidence of outside involvement.
One important question must be asked and answered: “Can the evidence ‘in the room’ be explained by staying ‘in the room’?” If, for example, there is a victim in the room with a gunshot injury lying next to a handgun, but the doors are locked from the inside, all the DNA and fingerprints in the room come back to the victim, the gun is registered to the victim and there are no signs of an outside intruder, this is simply the scene of a suicide or accidental death.
If, however, fingerprints exist or DNA of an unknown suspect, the gun does not belong to the victim, and there are bloody footprints leading outside the room, detectives must consider the reasonable inference of murder. When the evidence in the room cannot be explained by staying inside the room and is better explained by a cause outside the room, there’s a good chance a murderer is on the loose. Intruders turn death scenes into crime scenes.
As we examine the universe around us, a similar opportunity awaits those who want to begin the most important of all investigations.
Can everything we see in the universe be explained solely from causes found within the natural realm, or is there evidence of an outside “intruder”? Can the universe be explained by natural “internal” forces, or is an external “intruder” a better explanation? [Click to Tweet!]
God’s Crime Scene was written to help readers examine the nature of the universe as they sift through eight important characteristics of the cosmos, biological organisms and human experience, considering each as though it were a piece of evidence at a crime scene.
Read J. Warner Wallace’s God’s Crime Scene on Vyrso today!
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