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Amazon Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. Mr. Betcher has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first four are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, and THE EXILED ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.
USA Today Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. Mr. Betcher has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first five are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, THE EXILED ELEMENT and THE CRITICAL ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.
Thought-provoking, magnificent! After reading this book, these are the two adjectives which immediately popped into my head. The author has woven a brilliant story centering on the eternal question: Does God exist? The court room setting is the perfect vehicle to deliver arguments for and against the existence of God. Arguments which have been debated for a millennia. I found myself pondering the passages long after I had put the book down. The reader is promised a story unlike anything they have ever read before, and the promise is delivered in spades. I intend to pass this book onto an individual whom I know will be just as captivated as I was. I admit, without reservation, the final chapter made me smile. This is a book I will remember for a very long time.
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I am not one to write reviews because I usually expect what I get with regards to books. Sometimes they just aren't worth the effort. Since this book cost $7 and I was expecting something more than a bunch of recycled arguments about the existence and nature of God, I feel somewhat compelled to write.
The author sets the stage with the main character, a lawyer, who is experiencing doubts about God after the sudden death of his father. He is called to be a juror, a different role than the one he is used to playing, in a trial about the existence of God. Some of the characters are interesting but mostly too stereotypical without much depth. I particularly liked Clete and Tai. The main character's reactions were somewhat plastic and without much real emotion, though. I did like the last chapter for the ironic twist it provided.
What the author does not provide, however, is a full view of both the nature of God discussion as well as anything approaching a decent treatment of God's creative abilities. Instead he relies on a bunch of straw man arguments (God can't be both supremely loving and allow for suffering) but fails to adequately demolish those arguments. Yet, somehow we are supposed to come away with a view that God exists and is omniscient, transcendent, etc. We are also not given any evidence in support of a special creation, but instead left with the view that "God used the Big Bang and evolution". While that is apparently the author's viewpoint, to me it it is intellectually dishonest to suggest that is the only choice.
Overall, I was left with the feeling that if someone was seeking answers about the existence and nature of God, they will be left with far more doubts, and there is nothing the author provides to help the search. I give it two stars for the haunting descriptions of the horrors in Darfur.
As I prepared to write my review of the book, A Higher Court by John L. Betcher, a phrase I once heard immediately came to my mind:
"It is more important to experience the experience than to explain the experience."
For you to appreciate the depth and magnitude of this novel's implications, you have to read it for yourself. I cannot adequately explain it to you because your experience will be as unique as you and your own spiritual journey are.
Although the book is fictional, it intricately portrays each side of the "does God exist or not?" debate. Whether you are a believer, an agnostic, or an atheist, I highly recommend that you read this book with an "open mind" (as stated in the "opening arguments" of chapter six.)
If your experience is similar to mine, A Higher Court will take you on a journey through logic and reason, faith and doubt, stories of hardships and triumphs, and ultimately, to an ending that will leave you feeling as if you are a member of this unique jury.
What will be your verdict? Does God exist or doesn't He? Read A Higher Court and decide for yourself.
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One of the key issues that Betcher raises in this imaginary trial is the issue of human pain. It is an age-old issue, "If God loves us, how can there be so much suffering in the world?"
While there are other arguments in the trial, in many ways they are attacks upon the nature of Scripture rather than on the actual existence of God. For example, arguing that God cannot exist because obviously the universe was not created in seven 24-hour days is an argument against literalism, not against the fundamental existence of God.
In handling the question about suffering, Betcher does well. The courtroom setting, not to mention the conversations outside of the courtroom, and the book setting all are best when they are discussing the nature of who God is and how we perceive God's existence.
I received a review copy of this book when it first came out, but hesitated reading it because I found the question being asked a bit annoying. Why would we need a trial to determine if God exists? After all, God either exists or doesn't exist, and a trial doesn't change the reality (or non-reality) of God.
But, as I mentioned, while the focus is ostensibly upon the existence of God, in truth, the story reaches much deeper. As you read it, you will be challenged in your own preconceptions and misconceptions about God. No matter what your conclusion, it is an interesting read, and well worth the time reading it.
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