By Nathan Schneider
University of California Press, $34.95, 430 pages
Nathan Schneider employs philosophy, physics, calculus, history, and sheer human curiosity in his search for God in God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet. The product of a broken home with parents who each turned in varied directions in search of a higher power, Schneider allows us a glimpse inside his own wrestling that is intriguing and effective. If science and God are oxymoronic terms for you, consider Schneider’s discussion of Richard Swinburne’s Faith and Reason: “The whole structure fits together in a calculus of Bayesian probability, like Tooley’s argument against God from evil. By formalizing his reasoning like this, Swinburne carries it even closer to the scientific ideal…It’s more likely than not, that is, that God exists, given the evidence.
“[T]his necessary and infinite being is more elusive, while being also more fully present, than anything else we know. No refutation can suffice. It’s too big. Its possibilities never stop exceeding what we might happen to rule out. This God exceeds what we think about it, and what we think we know about it. It even exceeds those of us who can’t believe in it anymore, and those who never did.”
The more probable God is and the less probable our universe is, the greater the probability becomes that God exists.” Schneider is no pretender, with an open interest in science and an honest quest for a higher source that he tries consistently to deny. If you are looking for classic apologetics, turn back to C.S. Lewis; but if you are looking for someone who is grappling openly, walking us through his own internal dialogue chapter by chapter, then God in Proof is the book for you.
Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop