Book Review: Making Sense of God by Tim Keller 

Tim Keller has done it again. Making Sense of God is a worthy addition to his legacy as a Christian intellectual and evangelist. Though Making Sense of God follows the Reason for God chronologically, Keller says it’s more like a prequel. In Reason for God, Keller goes through specific objections to Christianity like “How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?” And “How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell”. In this new prequel, Keller takes a step back and goes a bit more meta as he invites the skeptical to consider Christianity. This book is broken down into three parts: Part 1: Why does anyone need religion?, Part 2: Religion is more than you think it is, Part 3: Christianity makes sense. 

Here’s Keller in his own words,

Rather than unfairly asking only religious people to prove their views, we need to compare and contrast religious beliefs and their evidences with secular beliefs and theirs. WE can and should argue about which beliefs account for what we see and experience in the world. We can and should debate the inner logical consistency of belief systems, asking whether they support or contradict one another. We can and should consult our deepest intuitions. 
 My aim from here on through the book is to do just that, and, I hope, to show that Christianity makes the greatest sense in every way- emotionally, culturally, and rationally. In the process, I hope to show readers that Christianity offers far greater and richer goods for understanding, facing, enjoying, and living life than they had previously imagined.

Keller includes an unreal amount of citations in order to justify his claims, some might even say too many. It’s clear that he is well versed in secular philosophy, psychology, and sociology. He does a great job of evidencing the failure of the secular worldview based on it’s own thinkers and he does a great job of putting forth evidence for the Christian worldview. 

My favorite chapter is “A Meaning That Suffering Can’t Take from You”, where Keller goes into a polemic against secular efforts to define meaning then goes over a theology of meaning from a Christian perspective. This chapter alone is worth the purchase. 

There has been criticism of Keller’s apologetic method since he first put out The Reason for God, and no doubt he’ll be criticized for this one as well. Most of the criticism I’ve seen has come from other Presbyterians who think Keller compromises on too much and doesn’t represent the presuppositional apologetic that Cornelius Van Til put forth. Well, they’re right, I don’t think he’s a consistent Vantillian, he’s certainly not a Bahnsen, though I do think he does a great job from a broadly presuppositional perspective. If I were to try and place him somewhere in the spectrum, I’d say he’s probably pretty close to the inductive presuppositionalism of Ronald Nash or perhaps he’s in a similar vein as Francis Schaeffer. Though at times he sounds an awful lot like John Frame, check it out,

I argued that all varieties of secularism are sets of beliefs, not simply the absence of faith. Indeed, to say “You must prove God to me” is to choose and believe in a form of rationality that most philosophers today consider naive. Neither religion nor secularity can be demonstrably proven- they are systems of thinking and believing that need to be compared and contrasted to one another in order to determine which makes the most sense. That is, which makes the most sense of our experience, of things we know and need to explain? Which one makes the most sense of our social experience and addresses the problems we face in living together? And which of these is most logically consistent? In short, we need to ask which of these vies of reality makes the most sense emotionally, culturally, and rationally.

I love that! That sounds an awful lot like worldview apologetics with an emphasis on Framean Triperspectivalism. If you don’t understand that, no worries, Keller brings down really lofty truths to help the reader metabolize them with ease. 

If you liked the Reason for God then you’ll love Making Sense of God. If you didn’t like the Reason for God then give Making Sense of God a shot, you might be pleasantly surprised! 

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