I feel that the book Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy and Science is a decent read but also came across as a mixed bag.
The book does well in presenting a wide variety of relevant topics that set the scene for much of the religious debate raging today. The book is also very readable for those who are new to the table of religious debate since the various topics are presented in simplified terms. Evidently the book is targeted at those interacting with these subjects for the first time, or at least for readers who wish to dive into yet unexplored areas of theology & apologetics for their first time.
For example, although much (but definitely not all) of the content within the book I have consulted before elsewhere (to varying degrees) the many essayists do well in elucidating their own knowledge in relation to Christian theology. Basically the book is a compilation of 50 essays written by experts (Christian philosophers, scientists, historians, ex-atheists etc.) and put together to give an academic, intellectual perspective on the Christian worldview. And on that note a good few essays did stand out for me. I quite enjoyed Gary Habermas’ essay on Near Death Experiences (p. 30, ebook version) since that is a field i know relatively little of and wish to learn more about (He mentions a particularly striking NDE of a girl named Katie that deserves further personal investigation). However, the footnotes provided by Habermas, and by other essayists, can be followed up for any interested reader. Further memorable & striking essays were written by David Wood’s on the problem of evil (Responding to the Argument from Evil: Three Approaches for the Theist), Russ Bush’s piece on naturalism & its logical incoherence as a sustainable worldview (p. 37), David Beck’s simplistic summation of the popularly used Cosmological Argument and so forth.
Yet I felt that the essayists were not actually given enough space to fully demonstrate the punch behind their respective arguments & answers – I don’t think that justice was fully done on several fronts. I felt that many of the essays were too overly limited, probably as a consequence of space allowance. I also wish that some of the other authors were more thorough on the topics that they tackled; topics that I am more knowledgeable on (but obviously space impacted them to a degree). I felt Blomberg’s essay on Jesus’ miracles was lacking (The Credibility of Jesus’ Miracles, p. 208) which is a mere six ebook standardised pages long – obviously Blomberg well knew that he had to be brief. When last I studied & wrote on the historicity of Jesus’ miracles in the context of several pre-gospel materials for my thesis (whether that be hypothetical Q, Pre-Mark, Signs Gospel, L or M) I would have needed more than six pages to just elucidate two or three of these sources. So, in other words, Blomberg is pushed to summarise a large field of academic research & investigation into a mere few pages which is certainly no easy task. This is particularly unfortunate since Blomberg is a gifted scholar & Professor. It was left wondering how much more powerful he could have been if had at least 50 pages to flesh out his research, educated opinions etc.
I also felt that the title of the book 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy and Science was a bit misleading. The title suggests that the book is full of arguments that make belief in the Christian God & religion rational. Sure, I believe that it does achieve that purpose to an extent but many of the essays are thus rendered irrelevant (I say irrelevant but not valueless. At least not valueless in the wider field of Apologetics). For example, essays like Why All the Translations? (p. 318) or What We Should Think of the Gospel of Judas? (p. 358) are not positive arguments for the existence of God, the Bible, or Christianity as the book’s title would seem to suggest. They are valuable pieces in the context of other theological questions regarding Gnosticism & any implications it might have on Christianity, but they are not positive arguments for belief. Or alternatively separate essays create an accumulative case for rational belief in Christianity, but they don’t each stand as a solitary argument. So, whereas I would consider the Minimal Facts as a powerful apologetic (I count this as one argument for Christianity through the use of four facts) for Jesus bodily resurrection based off of four well established historical facts, each of these facts would constituted an entire essay in this book. That would mean that at least four essays would be needed to create one apologetic argument (see p. 238: The Empty Tomb of Jesus, p. 243: The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus, for example).
I think that the book achieves its goal by attempting to reach an audience that is relatively new to the table of religious debate. Some essays would obviously appear more striking that others (depending on who is reading the book & his/her personal tastes), while some may feel lacking in overall content, or at least somewhat irrelevant to the book’s title (though not valueless). In concluding I would certainly recommend that Christians & unbelievers alike get a copy of this book. It still is worth the read & consideration.