Why Believe

by C. Stephen Evans, Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN 0-8028-0127-7,1996, 154 pages, paperback

Stephen Evans is a philosophy professor at Calvin College and this book is primarily a book from a philosophical and theological perspective. In spite of the fact that the book is not primarily dealing with scientific evidence, it is a useful book because it hits at major problems to faith present in our society today. Evans makes a good approach to the whole subject area of apologetics. Early in the book he makes four statements about the approach to this subject that are useful:

  1. Good evidence for religious faith will not be the absolute proof that some philosophers have looked for, but will be evidence that is sufficient to satisfy a reasonable person.
  2. The case for religious faith will not be based on a single argument functioning as a proof, but on the total evidence available from every region of human experience.
  3. Religious faith is not guilty until proven innocent. No special burden of proof rests on the religious believer, since opponents of religious belief are committed to world views that are equally risky.
  4. The evidence for religious faith cannot be evaluated in a mechanical fashion, but must be sensitively interpreted by each of us, who ultimately takes responsibility for being his own juror (pages 23-24).

Evans then starts out comparing God and Santa Claus, showing that the question of what is the nature of Santa is important when asking about his existence just as the nature of God is important as far as what we believe. He then takes the cosmos and talks about its magnificence and purpose. He correctly identifies evolution as a non-issue when talking about cosmology. A good statement that he makes is:

If evolution is true, then the visible order that is so manifest around us is shown to be dependent on a deeper, invisible order: the laws of nature and the fundamental properties of matter.

Later, on the same subject, he says

A God who accomplishes some of His purposes through an intricate and elegant set of orderly natural processes seems no less intelligent and powerful than a God who achieves all His goals by immediate fiat (page 37).

The remainder of the book builds on the careful foundation he has laid. He deals with the mystery of moral order, the nature of man and why we seek God, the uniqueness of Christianity, was Jesus really God, miracles, why God allows suffering, is religion a crutch, and why we should be Christians and not something else. This is a well-written book that has some useful insight from a philosophical standpoint.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec03.