Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JOTGES 13:1 (Spring 00) p. 75
Why Believe? Reason and Mystery as Pointers to God. By C. Stephen Evans. Grand Rapids: Win. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 1996. 154 pp. Paper, $13.00.
This popular apologetics work was written in response to one of the author’s former students who committed suicide as a result of struggles with faith. This real life tragedy is disclosed both in the preface and on the back cover. Consequently, the reader is gripped from cover to cover with the importance of being able to explain and defend the Christian worldview.
Although Evans is a professor of philosophy, he does a fine job writing for a popular audience. In thirteen chapters, Evans tackles every major objection to the Christian faith. He begins with faith itself. In this chapter, Evans unveils his foundational logic: “Each of us has a faith dimension. None of us can avoid faith in something or someone. We must believe in something or someone because we must have something or someone to live for” (p. 9). For Evans, the only question is who or what we will place our faith in.
Chapters two and three are a persuasive attempt urging the reader to ponder the existence of a God. He does this quite capably by raising doubt in the atheistic and agnostic worldviews. He then states that he “will attempt to show that a reasonable ‘cumulative case’ can be made for a particular kind of religious faith: Christianity” (p. 24).
In chapters four through six, Evans challenges the reader to consider three mysteries in which God has intervened: (1) the mystery of the physical universe, (2) the mystery of a moral order, and (3) the mystery of human personhood. It is this final mystery that stirs the soul. Evans argues these two truths: (1) God made man in His image. (2) God made man for a special purpose that includes a loving relationship with Himself. Evans then reasons that we must need God in some way. Particularly compelling are his sections entitled “The Need to Believe” and “The Craving for Eternity.”
JOTGES 13:1 (Spring 00) p. 76
Chapters seven and eight present Jesus Christ as God’s ultimate revelation of Himself. Evans capably presents the uniqueness of Christianity as demonstrated through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The emphasis here lies in the historicity and deity of Jesus, His claims, and His resurrection.
The remaining chapters address the issues of miracles, science, the Bible, suffering, and religion. Amidst these chapters, Evans responds to several well-known questions (e.g. “Are miracles possible?” “Is God a psychological crutch?” “Is Christianity sexist?” “Do all religions point to the same truth at the bottom?” etc.).
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