Anyone familiar with Lee Strobel's previous "Case for" books --- THE CASE FOR CHRIST, THE CASE FOR FAITH and the shorter, mass-market title THE CASE FOR EASTER --- knows pretty much what to expect with each additional title: verbatim interviews with highly respected authorities whose findings offer evidence in the specific "case" the author and law school graduate is trying. In his latest book, Strobel presents evidence pertaining to the theory of intelligent design, the hypothesis that a designer was behind the creation of the universe.
In building his case, Strobel looks at the evidence in six fields of scientific study: cosmology (basically, the study of the universe), physics, astronomy, biochemistry, biology and human consciousness. In each field, he interviews well known and highly respected scientists --- not all Christians, but all who have come to the conclusion that the evidence for a Creator is significant, if not overwhelming. As might be expected, Darwin pretty much gets raked over the coals, for good reason, and even the brilliant Stephen Hawking is proven to be on somewhat shaky ground when it comes to his theory of the beginning of the universe.
What sets Strobel's book apart from so many others on intelligent design is its sheer readability. I suspect that more than a few people avoid reading books on the origins of the universe simply because the prose is so abominably dry. By using his trademark interview format, the author --- a journalist at heart --- injects life and liveliness into what becomes a series of extended conversations on scientific theories. An added benefit is that we get to "hear" exactly what the scientists have said, not Strobel's interpretation of what they said. What's more, Strobel stands in our place, probing and prodding and questioning until he's satisfied that the scientific theories and academic jargon have been translated into intelligible English. And more than once, he plays devil's advocate, bringing up a multitude of objections that Darwinians and all those other non-creationists would be likely to point out.
There are moments in the book when the filler --- the background on each of the interviewees, say, or the scene-setting paragraphs --- starts to feel a bit contrived. But that's a minor glitch in the otherwise seamless narrative, sort of like hitting a rumble strip on a highway every now and then. You know it's there, but soon enough you're back on smooth asphalt again. Given the enormous amount of information and insight Strobel offers, it's a minor glitch indeed.
Simply put, THE CASE FOR A CREATOR has done for the existence of God what Strobel's other titles did for Christ and faith itself: amassed such a preponderance of evidence on the pro side that the con side starts to look downright foolish. You're not likely to find another book so packed with scientific data that is as compelling and enjoyable to read as this one is. It's a terrific starting point for anyone who has been hesitant to tackle denser tomes on origins and creation, but it's also a great resource for those who already have a fair amount of knowledge on those subjects.
Reviewed by Marcia Ford on March 16, 2004