That's Just Your Interpretation
by Paul Copan, Baker Books, PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287 ©2001, ISBN 0-8010-6383-3, $12.00, 240 pages
One of the problems in most books which attempt to respond to atheism and skepticism is that they do not understand the real issues that detractors of the Bible raise. This book is subtitled "Responding to Skeptics Who Challenge Your Faith," and it really does deal with many of the issues that skeptics who come to our presentations and e-mail us raise. Dr. Copan holds degrees in theology and works with R.Z.I.M., an outreach of an international apologetic nature. The book is more of a biblical study than an attempt to provide evidence.
The book is divided into three sections: (1) Challenges to Truth and Reality, (2) Challenges Related to World views, and (3) Challenges Related to Christianity. The first section deals with relativism and how we arrive at our beliefs. The second section relates to reincarnation, free will, and the logic of salvation and good and evil. The third section is more specific dealing with the Trinity, Genesis, and challenges to its accuracy, slavery, contradictions in the Bible, and historical claims. All of these subjects are approached from a theological standpoint with an eye to the culture and times in which the Bible was written.
This is an excellent book. Copan numbers his points or arguments, documents them well, and makes excellent useful points. He plows some new ground and shows that some of our traditions are not valid. One that I found particularly interesting is his claim that Jesus was not born in a stable as tradition has claimed, but in a house based upon the use of Greek in Luke 2:7. His approach to Genesis and the destructive nature of denominational creationism is totally from a biblical standpoint and is very useful.
There are some places in the book that the reader may struggle with. God's foreknowledge of what we are going to do is especially difficult, but Copan handles it logically and challenges the reader's thinking well. The big strength of the book is that he knows what atheists say and how they challenge belief. His quotes are useful, and he articulates their objections accurately and in a constructive way.
We recommend this book to all readers, It is organized in such a way that it can be used as a reference book, but has depth enough to be useful in a college class. It could be used as a college Bible study effectively.
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, SepOct02.