Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Bible's Answers to 100 of Life's Biggest Questions - A Review

A Review

I first met Norman L. Geisler 40 years ago as a student during my first semester at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The course was “Introduction to Apologetics”. I have seen and read a few of his books over the years, but this is the first book I have had the opportunity to review.

This book provides, as the title implies, answers to 100 questions. The answers are succinct, limited to one or two pages. They include THE answer, scripture, and external resources (e.g. web pages or videos) supporting the author’s view. Though most of the questions are theological in nature, each does include a one or two sentence statement as to why the question and its answer has application to our Christian lives. With few exceptions, only the last ten questions are directly related to the more practical side of life. Regardless of the question asked, Geisler does add his expected scholarly, thoughtful approach in answering each one. The reader will grow as he makes his or her way through the book - whether you agree or disagree with the author’s answers.

The order of the questions moves from very broad questions (e.g. “1.  What is Truth?”) toward more narrow questions:

10.  How Did the Universe Come to Be?
19.  Who is Jesus Christ?
32.  What is the Gospel?
67.  Does God Hear My Prayers?
73.  Is Abortion Murder?
95.  Why Are So Many Young People Abandoning the Faith?

From a philosophical perspective, this order makes sense. But for the unbeliever or new Christian, it may have helped to start with more specific questions and move on to the deeper, more specific, questions as one moved through the book.

Though I appreciate the book’s responses to the questions, I would much prefer a more balanced approach. An opportunity to study the multiple responses that believers have given to the various questions would strengthen the book. The authors attempt to give “THE” answer to each question, with little room for the reader to discover truth for themselves. Having said that, the writers do seem to strike a middle ground that might be more satisfying to many. For example, when asked, “Did God Pick Me or Did I Choose Him?”, the authors begin by stating that, “Throughout the pages of Scripture, the doctrine of free choice is repeatedly demonstrated …” However, they conclude by stating, “Finally, God chose us before we chose Him …” Similarly, when answering the question, “Can I Lose My Salvation?”, the authors reply, “Of all the questions, this one has certainly sparked some of the biggest debates in the church, and it is often to blame for much of the division among denominations.” However, they go on to write, “There are several reasons Christians can’t lose their salvation...”

I don’t question that the author’s can write the book they want to write; yet the reader must know that the authors are feeding answers, not helping the student discover the answers. This book presents a one-sided response, the true student will want to find other resources which present alternate answers. Geisler and Jimenez do contribute to the discussion. But the discussion must continue till we reach heaven and God gives us THE answers, HIS answers.

This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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