Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: The Case for a Creator, Student Edition

One of my biggest disappointments as an adult has been to realize the deficiencies of my high school science courses. So, I approach books like The Case for a Creator: Student Edition very much as a layman.

The Case for Faith was the first of Lee Strobel's books that I read. It was a refreshingly clear apologetic not only in the rationality of belief in God but also for placing one's trust in God alone. Later, I read "The Case for Christ" and found it to be just as clear.

I expected the same kind of approach in The Case for a Creator and I was right. Strobel's raises the questions about creation and then consults with experts who are Christians to find the answers. The material is presented in a way that even a science layperson can follow and (mostly) understand. He presents the arguments for creation versus evolution clearly. This book should help Christian students know how better to articulate why creationism is a reasonable worldview. Strobel lays out some of the weaknesses of a belief in evolution.

After reading The Case for a Creator, I did have some concerns. First, while I haven't read the original edition, this student edition read like portions of the longer edition were simply cut and pasted to make an abridged version. Second, much to my surprise, I found that Strobel's signature method was actually a little tiring after having read two others of his books. Finally, I wonder if Strobel has addressed the most recent issues in evolutionary science or if he has consulted the most competent scholars — I don't know that he hasn't but others who have reviewed this book have indicated that he hasn't.

Apart from the content and style of the book, I found some significant issues with the Kindle edition:  sidebars are inserted into the main text in ways that are somewhat confusing and in at least one case, a sidebar is inserted in the middle of a sentence. Also, some typical navigation features are missing — direct access to individual chapters via the "Go To" menu and the "swipe up" navigation feature of the Paperwhite. My copy is a review edition provided by the publisher for the purpose of review. I've asked the publisher about these issues. They've said the review copy should be the same as the purchase copy but that they would investigate my concerns and let me know. After almost 2 weeks, I have heard nothing further. These formatting issues are not unique to this book nor are they unique to Kindle books published by Harper-Collins. They don't take away from the value of the book — they simply make it a little more difficult to read.

I do recommend this book as a basic text for students. It is helpful in developing a creation apologetic. However, I don't think it should be the only book that someone should read on intelligent design or on creationism.

(NOTE: I received a free copy of The Case for a Creator: Student Edition from the publisher in exchange for writing a review of the book as a part of their BookLook blogger review program. I have been free to write the review that I think the book deserves and receive no other compensation except continued participation in the review program.)
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