My favorite LA homicide detective isn't on television ... he's a real life cop turned Christian apologist, and his second book is out now.
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 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.
In the meantime, we can search for clues and we can help others see them. If Wallace is right, they're not hard to find. And thanks to this book, a generation of new sleuths may soon be hot on the trail of a Perpetrator neither they — or he — expected.
Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I'll link you to this terrific book, "God's Crime Scene," at our bookstore, and to my interview with J. Warner Wallace on "BreakPoint This Week."
This article was originally posted here.