Book Review: Everything You Wanted To Know About God But Were Afraid To Ask

Everything You Wanted To Know About God But Were Afraid To Ask, by Eric Metaxas

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/Multnomah Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

I have to admit that I was surprised by this book, although not surprised in a bad way, I must say.  I have some familiarity in reading the author’s works [1], and look forward to more familiarity with it in the future.  Most of the material I have read by the author has been in his biographical mode, where the author takes on serious subjects–and one can imagine little that is more serious, for example, than his treatment of Bonhoeffer, or his work on William Wilberforce and the end of the slave trade–and this book is not like that at all.  I have talked with some people who listen to his show from time to time and have noted that the author is more than a little bit witty and flippant and somewhat expansive in enjoying having a good time talking, and this book is more along that vein.  Being a similar sort of person myself, I cannot exactly complain as this book is entertaining, but it is certainly a far less serious treatment of apologetics [2] than I am used to.  I should have figured it out from the title, given the obvious Woody Allen joke it makes, but I must admit I was surprised anyway.

In terms of its contents, this slightly longer than 200 books consists mostly of an imaginary dialogue between Metaxas and a stand-in for a somewhat skeptical but open-minded reader who queries him about various aspects of Christianity.  Metaxas deserves a lot of credit for not dodging difficult questions as he takes a tour of apologetics from proof of God’s existence to such areas as the problem of evil, free will and determinism, the angelic and demonic realm, the paranormal, sex, God’s view of gays and women, religion and superstition, comparative religion, the forbidden fruit and the imago dei, heaven and hell, fanaticism, textual criticism, the importance of relationship, prayer, faith and reason, the identity of Jesus Christ, how God reveals himself in general and specific revelation, and the meaning of conversion.  Even if I may not find all of the author’s conclusions satisfying, something that deserves a longer comment, the book is full of Metaxas at his most witty and sarcastic addressing someone who is ignorant of the Bible and showing a combination of verbal pyrotechnics and gracious humor, along with a love of irony and paradox.

Again, this is an entertaining book and there is a lot to like about this book.  The book is fast to read and is the sort of book that gives one a sense that one is reading a conversation that one can visualize and that is interesting.  Even so, the one criticism I have of this book is that it demonstrates the perspective of Hellenistic and not biblical Christianity, something that is particularly noticeable when the author discusses heaven, hell, and the immortal soul.  In all such cases his argument goes to nonbiblical ideas, and he shows no awareness of the first and second resurrection (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and Revelation 20) that take place after the return of Christ and after the Millennium, respectively, which present a different picture than the author does.  This is a problem that comes up a few times in the effort, and detracts some from the enjoyment of the book.  Other than that, though, this book is enjoyable to read, and is the sort of book that gives a reader a sense of who Metaxas is.  If you like the idea of an intelligent and witty person who does not take himself too seriously writing a book about serious subjects in faith and culture, this is a worthwhile effort.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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