By John Stonestreet, August 31,2015 Blog at: www.breakpoint.org
Standing on the porch of a locked house, rookie homicide investigator J. Warner Wallace peered into the living room. He could see a man on the floor in a pool of blood, gun by his side. Now the question he had to answer: Was this a murder, an accident, or a suicide?
Entering the room with other detectives, Wallace quickly surmised that the man had killed himself. But he hadn’t looked closely enough. Wallace’s more experienced team leader found clues indicating someone had come in from outside the room: a piece of mud on the floor, footprints, and the fact that the murder weapon was lying on the left side of the victim even though he was right handed.
The more evidence amassed, the more it became clear that the man was murdered.
As a detective, Wallace learned to follow the evidence wherever it led—to put aside his assumptions and his pre-conceived ideas. And in his fabulous new book, God’s Crime Scene, Wallace uses his detective skills and his training as an apologist to examine whether the universe was created by a divine intruder outside the ‘room’ of natural existence or not.
For years, Wallace was a committed atheist. “I really had a sense,” he said, “that eventually science would have an answer for every important question we could possibly ask about our existence, about the nature of the universe, about how the universe got here, and about how biological creatures like humans evolved on the planet.”
Then Wallace cracked open a Bible; and he became convinced that the gospel accounts about Jesus’ life were accurate—delivered by eyewitnesses, filled, as Acts 1 states, with “many convincing proofs” of His resurrection.
But even after Wallace accepted the accuracy of the gospels, he still had questions. Like how do you deal with the radical claim that the universe and all we see around us came into existence through the work of a Being Who transcends time and space?
So Wallace decided to apply the same techniques he used at crime scenes to investigate the origin of the universe.
For example, when approaching a “dead body report,” he explains, there are always four possibilities: natural death, accidental death, suicide, or the one that everyone dreads—murder. The first three require no outside intervention, but the fourth does.
So the detective’s job at a crime scene is to see if there was an intruder. Did someone from outside the room leave DNA, or footprints, or some other calling card?
When examining the universe, Wallace says, the evidence overwhelmingly points to outside intervention for the origin of everything we see and experience. And if we set aside naturalistic presuppositions and commitments, we discover a cumulative case for the existence and work of God that any jury would uphold.
In God’s Crime Scene, Wallace identifies four categories of evidence that all point to this outside intruder: the fine-tuning of the universe, signs of intelligent design in biology, consciousness and free agency, and transcendent moral truth.
The evidence is powerful. But it can’t—in and of itself—change anyone’s heart. Speaking from experience, Wallace admits that “people will struggle, and twist, and turn, and contort” to avoid admitting the obvious—to keep from looking outside of the box for an explanation for what they find in the box.
That’s why in order for apologetics to succeed, he thinks God must return to the scene of the crime. The Creator Who intruded at the beginning of time to bring about the world and Who entered that world as a Man must also enter our lives and give us new hearts, in order for us to accept the evidence.
Go to this link to hear: my interview with J. Warner Wallace on “BreakPoint This Week.”
J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker, and author. Wallace was a conscientious and vocal atheist through his undergraduate and graduate work in Design and Architecture (UCLA); he always considered himself to be an “evidentialist.” His experience in law enforcement only served to strengthen his conviction that truth is tied directly to evidence. At the age of thirty-five, he took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for God’s existence. After becoming a believer in 1996, Wallace eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Theological Studies from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.
Wallace’s first book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, provides readers with ten principles of cold case investigations and utilizes these principles to examine the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts. He is also the creator of the Cold-Case Christianity website, blog and podcast, and he hosts the Cold Case Christianity television program on the NRB Network. He speaks at churches, retreats, and camps as he seeks to help people become confident Christian case makers.
Wallace’s professional investigative work has received national recognition. He has appeared more often than any other detective on NBC’s Dateline, continues to consult on cold case homicides and television productions, and has been awarded the Police and Fire Medal of Valor “Sustained Superiority” Award.
Acts 1:1-3a — In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.
II Peter 1:16-17 — For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
John 1:1…14a — In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.