Book Reviews

Book Review: The God Who is There by D.A. Carson

Here is the first of hopefully many book reviews we’ll post on the blog. Let us know if you find these helpful and if there are other books that you’d like to see recommended or reviewed.

The God Who is There by D.A. Carson

Across the landscape of American, thousands of churches populate our cities and towns, millions of people call themselves Christians, and untold amounts of Bibles populate our homes, churches, and even hotels. However, as the back of D.A. Carson’s new book asserts, “Most people – even most Christians – do not have a basic working knowledge of the Bible.” Carson sets about the task to remedy this problem in The God Who is There. He wrote it both for the Christian as well as skeptics who “know nothing at all about what the Bible says.” (Pg 9)

The book is divided into 14 chapters, each one making an observation about God. Carson begins the book by describing what the Bible is, explaining the testaments, books, chapters, verses, and even different translations. From there he begins unfolding important themes from the first five books of the Bible, beginning with “The God Who Made Everything”. As he moves through the Old Testament, he writes in Chapter 5 about the time of Israel’s kings and uses Chapter 6 to talk about the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. Then in Chapter 7 he turns to Jesus. Rather than making this a clean break in the book between Old and New Testaments, he begins the chapter by talking about the prophecies in the OT that signify the coming of the Messiah. Following the subtitle of his book, Finding your place in God’s story, he seeks to connect the narrative to show the seamless flow of redemptive history. Using John 1 as a guide, he describes “who this Jesus is and why he has come” (Pg 109) The rest of the book unpacks various theological subjects like God’s love, justification, propitiation, new birth, the church, and revelation.

In the book, Carson doesn’t shy away from difficult questions. He very plainly talks about science and creation in Chapter 1, agreeing that, “there is more ambiguity in the interpretation of these chapters [Gen 1-2] then some Christians realize” (pg 14) but still maintaining that there are “irreducible minimums that these chapters must be saying” (Pg 17). In Chapter 12, he refutes the argument posed by atheists like Christopher Hitchens that religion leads to violence. He also takes time to talk about religious fanaticism and how we are to view people who are seen as zealots.

I found The God Who is There very helpful and edifying. It is a great way for a Christian to further ground themselves in the fundamental truths of Christianity, who God is, and the storyline of the Bible. It can also easily be used to teach people about what the Bible says, especially those who have never read it.

Carson has set himself apart as a brilliant thinker whose scholarly works will surely long outlive his lifetime. In this book, Carson utilizes that brilliance to bring us an insightful, easy to read, and simple yet profound resource. I highly recommend it.

You can purchase it here: http://www.amazon.com/God-Who-There-Finding-Place/dp/0801013720/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1309366057&sr=8-1