Good Reads Rating: 4 stars (Personal 4.5 stars)
Ganssle, Gregory E. Thinking about God: First Steps in Philosophy. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004. 187 pages. $15.98.
I first heard about Gregory E. Ganssle’s book on Greg Koukl’s podcast “Stand to Reason.” Ganssle offers an introductory treatment of the philosophical issues pertaining to God. Ganssle, in the first section, introduces some of the reasons one should engaged in philosophy when thinking about God. Chapters 2, 4, and 5 were especially good.
The second section provides reasons to believe in God’s existence. I must say that while Ganssle provides the most popular evidences for God’s existence, his treatment of the issues is mediocre at best. Ganssle was especially weak in the cosmological and design arguments for God, even leaving open some doors which have been demonstrated to have been closed by other apologists such as William Lane Craig. However, Ganssle provides an excellent treatment of the moral argument for God, as well as giving the four major beliefs pertaining to morality. (I feel this was the strongest area of the book.)
The third section discusses God and evil. Here again, Ganssle does an excellent job treating the issues of theodicy. While I am a compatibilist, Ganssle offers a compelling case for libertarian freedom.
The fourth section deals with God’s attributes. Ganssle again excels in this section, especially with his treatment of God and time, as well as revelation. For those interested in the issues of time, Ganssle’s treatment of the issue is worth the price of the book.
Ganssle’s book is especially good for those who want a beginner’s guide to theological philosophy. I would recommend that the book be used, however, as a launch pad for further inquiry. Stronger apologetic cases for God’s existence have been given in other works such as Reasonable Faith by William Lane Craig and New Proofs for the Existence of God by Robert Spitzer. I was also advise a deeper study of design by advocates of intelligent design. All-in-all, I would highly recommend Ganssle’s book. It serves its intended purpose as an introduction to theological philosophy. While I did not leave satisfied with his treatment of apologetic issues (which disallows me from providing a 5 star rating), Ganssle’s treatment of God’s attributes and God’s relationship to time inclines me to give a 4.5 stars. Since I cannot give half points, I will have to settle for 4 points out of 5.
Copyright March 3, 2016. Brian Chilton.