Reasons for Belief
by John M. Oakes, Ph.D., Great Commission Illustrated
Highlands Ranch, CO, www.greatcommission.com,
ISBN 0-9653469-7-8, 2001, 282 pages
There are many different approaches to the question of how we know there is a god and that Jesus is God's Son. Philosophy, history, theology, psychology, physics, chemistry, biology, and literature all have people offering evidences for God's existence. The Does God Exist? program focuses primarily on the physical sciences, but there are capable people doing great work in other areas. This book offers evidence from history, the Bible, and logic for the validity of the divinity of Christ.
Oakes starts out with a chapter titled "Who Does This Man Think He Is?" One of the subheadings in the chapter is "Jesus: Lord, Liar or Lunatic?" One is reminded of C. S. Lewis in this approach, but Oakes takes it further looking at the biblical characters and the logical choices that can be made about Jesus and what He did. Oakes compares other religious figures and choices with Jesus in a logical way, and then discusses miracles. The historical and logical approach to miracles leads to a consideration of the resurrection.
Chapter 4 is titled "We Should Have Known It Was Coming" and looks at prophecies about Christ and their fulfillment. This detailed section is followed by a look at other biblical prophecies and their fulfillment. Chapter 6 is a discussion of how we got the Bible and how we know we have the right Bible, which is followed by a study of archeological support for the integrity of the Bible. These sections are remarkably concise and well-organized. The last two chapters handle arguments people give to deny the validity of the Bible. This is done by pointing out scientific support for the biblical message and by answering selected atheistic challenges to the unity and lack of contradictions in the Bible. There is a two-page appendix on translations of the Bible and a three-page appendix on the nature and function of faith.
Oakes writes well, and there are a number of useful charts in the book. It is an especially useful book for good students in high school and undergraduate college students. We recommend it highly for that kind of use. It is a good general reference book for people who have no interest or aptitude for science.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug02.