Book Review: The End of Christianity by William B. Dembski (Three Stars)

Book Review: The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World by William B. Dembski

Three Stars out of Five

“God’s dealings with nature parallel his dealings with humanity.”

Interesting. Entertaining. But not compelling.

Dembski deconstructs many historic and current theodicies (reconciliations of God’s goodness and the existence of evil) and creates his own, pivoting on the retroactive tainting of creation by human disobedience, AKA The Fall. He takes on both classic and neo-atheists, young and old-earth creationists, and even classical philosophy. He’s better at disassembling than building.

Of course, the Judeao-Christian God could act retroactively. “God doesn’t live in time. He invented time for us,” said Gerri Dickens. And the redemption bought at the cross is explicitly applicable to those who died before Jesus, but possible doesn’t mean necessary and sufficient. Like all logical arguments for or against the existence of God, Dembski’s fails.

Dembski like many others in this debate equates “evil” with all disasters. I’m not so sure. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis and the like are bad. They are destructive and deadly. But are they evil? I’m not sure. To me evil implies intent. So far as Demski’s thesis this is mere quibbling, but if we get sloppy with our terminology soon we can’t communicate.

He raises one interesting issue late in the book: the problem of good. If the existence of evil somehow proves there is no God, what does the existence of good imply? Or as Boethius put it 1,400 years ago, “If God exists whence evil; but whence good if God does not exist?” All the famous atheists from Darwin to Dawkins note that nature is at war with itself. Where then does the impulse, let alone the fact, of good come from?

A wise man warned, “The writing of many books is endless.” Especially books of theology.