Christian Case-Making 101: What You Can Learn from a Crime Scene Investigator
by Terrell Clemmons
J. Warner (Jim) Wallace was new to homicide. From the front porch, he could clearly see through the window the deceased’s body splayed atop a worn recliner, head open and exposed, a handgun lying on the floor to his left as the TV blared on. Wallace suspected the man had committed suicide.
“Be very careful here, newbie,” said his senior partner, Alan Jeffries, extending his arm to slow Wallace’s entry. “This is a homicide.” How did he know? Wallace wondered. Jeffries rattled off several observations. The deceased was right-handed, as indicated by the coffee cup and reading glasses to his right. But the gunshot wound and gun were to his left. The DVR was recording a show. Who records a show when he’s about to kill himself? Then he pointed toward the floor. Two oddly shaped bits of mud looked out of place.
As it turned out, Jeffries was right, and for the next 30 hours the team meticulously collected every fragment of evidence and pieced them together to reason back to the most likely source. Within two days, they had the culprit under arrest.
As this scene demonstrates, evidence doesn’t come labeled. One must learn to look with a keen eye, gather it, analyze it, and trace it to its source. Jim Wallace would go on to serve as a detective for some 30 years, and over the course of his career he would enter scene after scene asking the question, What happened here? Every investigation would necessarily begin with the evidence.
In his first book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels, Wallace detailed how as a 35-year-old atheist he applied this investigative methodology to the New Testament Gospels and found them to pass every test of reliability as eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus. At the conclusion of that investigation, Wallace became a Christian because he had become convinced that the claims of the New Testament Gospels were true.
But just as importantly, he also found that the Bible as a whole offers an undeniably accurate description of the universe in which we live. And so his second book, God’s Crime Scene: A Cold-Case Detective Examines the Evidence for a Divinely Created Universe, takes a similar approach to argue for a Creator God…
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