This is a very good book by a well-known and acclaimed Christian author today, the first of his I think I’ve read. The first part talks about how life and the universe itself is miraculous (the narrow range of conditions essential, etc.), and the second part is series of modern-day miracles attested to by people Metaxas knows. Most of the latter are compelling (though one, by a woman whose testimony vindicates a cab driver, is not). Two specific notes:
- He calls Thomas Howard’s book Chance or the Dance “glorious” and “one of the finest books I’ve ever read” (17 n.3); apparently its theme is how evidence of creation is all around us.
- In Eden and Heaven, he writes, we were and will be with God and so outside time and space.
I also photocopied two longer passages. Here’s the first (71):
Praying to God involves both us and God. God wants us to participate in what he is doing, and for sure one of the main ways we participate in what he is doing is by prayer. We can also participate in what he is doing by feeding the hungry and helping the poor and caring for the sick and giving of our resources to those who have little. God wants us to partner with him. So there is a paradox at work, and a mystery. On the one hand, the Bible says that apart from God we can do nothing. And yet, on the other hand, God invites us to do some things with him. This is at the heart of the mystery of prayer. God wants us to use our faith and to pray. But we can focus so much on the importance of our faith and our prayers that we forget about God and think it is our faith and our prayers that perform the miracle, rather than the God to whom we pray and in whom we have faith as we pray.
The second (330-32) can be found here (pages 330 and 332) [link: https://books.google.com/books?id=C8IBDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA330&lpg=PA330&dq=%22wanting+to+communicate+with+us+and+wanting+to+intervene+in+our+lives%22&source=bl&ots=YEhvKqVI5F&sig=muvPOkXeCxF0LfpEzololyUqszA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDp8vMlsLYAhWrRt8KHfHWDfEQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=%22wanting%20to%20communicate%20with%20us%20and%20wanting%20to%20intervene%20in%20our%20lives%22&f=false ] and here (page 331) [link: https://books.google.com/books?id=fB10AwAAQBAJ&pg=PA331&lpg=PA331&dq=%22The+principle+at+work+is+that+we+think+we+can+avoid%22&source=bl&ots=MfOd–Kkx1&sig=GGXPiWew35-Y6orub2WNYUmXOP8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj-t8i1l8LYAhWhm-AKHajYAGkQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20principle%20at%20work%20is%20that%20we%20think%20we%20can%20avoid%22&f=false ]. Note especially the last couple of paragraphs: Not to decide to believe is to decide not to believe, so what the author says here is similar to Pascal’s Wager.