Book Review: Hardwired – Finding the God You Already Know

Hardwired – Finding the God You Already Know by James Miller is a breath of fresh air in the marketplace of Christian apologetics resources. Not that what’s already there is not high caliber, useful material, but it seems to be predominantly oriented towards objective argumentation. This state of affairs leaves a conspicuous absence of what Miller wisely brings to us in Hardwired – a return to focus on the subjective knowledge of God that already exists within humanity. Miller is reminding us of nothing that is not already presented to us in scripture: “…since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made…” Romans 1:19-20. Hardwired presents a collection of thoughts and reflections, written at the popular level, that are aimed at helping the seeker make sense of the deeply-held knowledge, which all humans seem to experience a sense of, and long to have explained. It also serves to show believers that it is wise to leverage this latent knowledge in approaching those who do not believe.

Miller reminds us that the things that make life meaningful are intangible, subjective – not able to be fully dissected. People tend to realize this as it is very difficult to explain certain concepts such as beauty, love, quality, goodness, etc. and yet most everyone seems to acknowledge that these concepts exist. Miller points out that many people operate under the faulty assumption that humans begin as blank slates, when the evidence seems to suggest that there is a commonality of knowledge, pulls, and ideas that are always there (even certain widely accepted concepts of morality, which go against what natural selection says should result). We all, it seems, share a sense of “hidden knowledge” – but that often we don’t know what we “know”. Things that, as soon as we receive illumination, we immediately knew we had knowledge of but see that it was locked away in a secret corner of our inner self, like finding a lost set of keys in that place we don’t normally put them. Knowledge, we are reminded, exists not just in the head but in the mysterious and cavernous human heart.

In Hardwired, Miller also writes about:

  • Recognizing God’s signature “style” or “tone” – concepts which are invisible on their own, but ones that are recognized when we study the body of work of artists or writers. (And if style and tone exist in art, is it not possible to see how these attributes could be seen in the natural world, and be a strong testament to the presence of a grand Artist?)
  • How the fact of a moral compass in each person speaks to the existence of a moral absolute.
  • The ubiquitous discomfort we have with our mortality – for something so “natural” physically, death seems to remain as something that “just doesn’t seem right”.
  • How there is no explanation for the “embarrassing” nature of the Christian “hero” story (of Jesus’ earthly ministry and execution) except that He is who He claimed to be.
  • Flaws in the naturalist outlook, such as the one that says the brain (a flawed collection of particles) can be trustworthy in its perceptions.
  • What to do if you are awakened to the “something more”. And,
  •  The mystery of consciousness.

These humanity-wide hidden areas of “knowledge” may be better described as universal “gaps” in knowledge, but the uniquely discerned presence of each is like seeing the missing areas of a puzzle – it testifies to a whole, finished product even if it can’t fully be seen in the moment. If we are able to understand and effectively talk about what it is that people already “know” but don’t know that they know, we are better able to have conversations about God or be used of God in opening people’s hearts to the knowledge of Him.

Hardwired is a useful tool that will help you understand what God has wired into the heart of every person. It is an excellent book to read if you are seeking Truth, or to share with your seeking or questioning friends.

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