Book Review: The Logic Of God By Ravi Zacharias

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If you’ve listened to Ravi Zacharias before, you can never again read anything of his without hearing his iconic voice in your head while you read. It’s one the features of his manner that add to making him so fascinating to listen to.

Mr. Zacharias often begins each chapter of The Logic of God with an illustration. His illustrations seem so perfectly married to the topic at times that you have to wonder if he made them up. I don’t think he did, but that’s beside the point. They’re just really good stories.

While it’s not strictly and Apologetics book, the author deals with many of the topics that he is known for addressing, like why Jesus must be Lord, why truth must by its nature be exclusive, why a moral law necessitates a moral Lawgiver, and so on. Zacharias also addresses “the problem of pain” as well which he has written rather exhaustively on in other works.

Philosophical and logical arguments are woven throughout, but the book is intended to be quite devotional and is presented in a motivational and inspirational fashion. It’s broken up into fifty-two chapters and it is recommended by the author that you take on one per week.

I don’t think people often give Mr. Zacharias enough credit as a Bible apologist and instead consider him simply a philosopher, which really isn’t fair considering how much scripture he uses throughout the book (and not just at the chapter headings). In fact, he uses more than some baptists preachers I’ve heard! I had to look up many of the verses he cited in my KJV which I would have rather he used.

Curiously, the authors’ salvation testimony is explained much less than many other things the author says. He goes to great lengths to define his terms with most things, but “I gave my life to Jesus” seems pretty vague. He never really explains this part of his testimony in the book, unless I missed it.

As he often does in other things, the author quotes G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis frequently which makes me wonder what his soteriology (the doctrine of salvation) actually is. There are large swathes of the Gospel repeated throughout the book, enough that I believe a person could probably come to understand it if they thought enough about it. The issue I’ve always had with the soteriology of men who get much of what they say from Lewis and Chesterton is that it sounds so good despite it missing some rather big things, thus making it too vague to grasp fully. This is the soteriology of men who believe one can “walk away from the faith” and that salvation is a process that begins when you give your life to Jesus and continues so long as you adopt Christian ways throughout your life. Here are few problematic quotes from C.S. Lewis for reference:

There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians... (Mere Christianity, p.162).

...a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it. (Mere Christianity, p.49).

The point is not that God will refuse you admission to His eternal world if you have not certain qualities of character: the point is that if people have not got at least the beginnings of those qualities inside them, then no possible external conditions could make a 'Heaven' for them... (Mere Christianity, p.63).

Lewis called this pursuit of Christian works and values, “the Christ life” and viewed that as that which saves you. This is just another form of legalism (salvation by keeping law). Additionally, one cannot simply “walk away” if they are actually born again. Also, “born again” is not something you really ever hear such bible philosophers say since they essentially view salvation as a life of good works, particularly Christianized works. Lewis also said:

There are three things that spread the Christ-life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names — Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper (Mere Christianity, pp.62,63).

...this new life is spread not only by purely mental acts like belief, but by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. (Mere Christianity, pp.62,63).

So you can see that because Mr. Zacharias often quotes Lewis, it’s hard to tell sometimes if he believes salvation is a moment or simply a process that begins at a moment. That’s what I mean. It’s vague! So, despite Zacharias having such great logical and biblical arguments for so many things, I’m always left wanting in his explanations of how the salvation of a soul actually happens.

Some of the better quotes (in my opinion) from The Logic of God:

The single greatest obstacle to the impact of the Gospel has not been seen in an inability to provide answers, but in our failure to live it out. Gypsy Smith once said, “There are five Gospels- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian. But most people will never read the first four.

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.

And regarding arguments from logic in discussing criticisms of Christianity’s claims of exclusivity:

…Thus to deny the law of non-contradiction is to affirm it at the same time. You may as well talk about a one-ended stick as talk about truth being all inclusive.

Regarding how people receive truth claims that we make from scripture:

In the pursuit of truth, intent is prior to content, or to the availability of it. The love of truth and the willingness to submit to its demands is the first step [to receiving truth claims].

And regarding the interplay of faith and reason:

God has put enough into this world to make faith in him a most reasonable thing, but he has left enough out to make it impossible to live by shear reason alone. Faith and reason must always work together in that plausible blend.

Overall, I would give the book a four-out-of-five star rating simply because there is much that can be gained from it from the standpoints of both apologetics, and yes, even a devotional. However, the rare but occasional “word salad” where if you break it down really doesn’t say much is somewhat of a minus to me. I’m tempted to let the vagueness of the Gospel in the authors theology drop another star off, but in all fairness, that’s doesn’t seem to be his overarching attempt with the book since his intended audience seems to be Christians, and he may have offered more detail on it in other works of his that I haven’t read. I think the book will still definitely provide value and is worth reading.

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