Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Review: Purposeful Design

What student of creation science has not embraced the term 'Intelligent Design'?  We know and believe that intelligent and common design demands an intelligent and common designer. Since no one was present to record the beginning of time and the actual events of how the world began, we choose, by faith, to believe the Biblical account: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" in Genesis 1:1.

In this unique, interesting book we were privileged to review, author Jay Schabacker takes us on a journey to understand that creation - this world as we know it - goes beyond intelligent design, and is actually 'Purposeful Design', a finely tuned world from the far reaches of the universe right down to the microscopic elements that comprise what we can see and handle. It was designed by our Creator with a unique purpose: to bring glory to God, and to reveal His nature in science to those who would study it. Creation reveals the love of God, and that is the author's purpose in writing this book.

What can I expect when I order 'Purposeful Design'?  This 91 page, hardcover book is full of glossy pages, beautiful artwork and photography, and interesting facts. It is "coffee-table worthy" and very appealing to look at. Written specifically to children, it starts at the beginning, just like Genesis, and systematically investigates all seven days of Creation.  Each chapter covers, in detail, one day of the Biblical account of Creation. It begins with the verse that describes the day, then goes on to examine the particular details of the elements created on that day. For example, on the first day, when God created the heavens and the earth, there is a good explanation of the foundational scientific principles of thermodynamics. Each chapter probes a different creation day, and its corresponding matter, including unique animals, and amazing, obscure facts about the human body on day six.

What reading level is the book? From my experience, I would say this book is at a middle school level of reading. Younger children would definitely benefit from having the book read to them, and enjoying the lovely pictures though.

About the author: Jay Schabacker is a retired NASA scientist and former businessman who is now spending his time traveling. He is also involved in Biblical education, with a myriad of contributions to many Christian organizations.

How did we use this book? When it first arrived, I was thrilled to see the author's signature inside the front cover. I always appreciate such attention to details.

After opening the package, I intended to briefly thumb through the book, and then leave it out for the girls to look at when they were done with their work. An hour later, completely captivated by this book, I had the girls clamoring to see what had so arrested my attention. I ended up leaving the book on the coffee table, and one by one, everyone spent time perusing the pages. This book is fascinating, and I just could not put it down! 

The writing is set up in short snippets, where we can easily read just a page or two and be thoroughly engrossed in the subject matter. It is easy to pick up this book for a few minutes or an hour, depending on how much time you have!

Some of our favorite sections: 

Kelly is learning about the water cycle in science this year, and this page explained it so clearly and thoroughly.  I love the connection between the rain cycle and the 2nd day of creation, where God designed the atmosphere.

On day five, when God created the fish, there is a page that tells of some very unique kinds of sea creatures! It points out how our God has a sense of humor. We found this page so entertaining, and were tickled by God's sense of humor just like the author was!  Check out these neat pictures:

Heather is currently studying BioChemistry in college, and absolutely was thrilled to see a small portion of the 'Metabolic Pathways' in a cell included in the 6th day study of the human body. There is so much going on in each cell of our body at any given moment! She actually had to memorize a large portion of this very chart for the class she's taking, so she was fascinated at seeing it in the book, and took a few minutes to explain some of it in more detail to the rest of the family.

Metabolic Pathways chart

Overall opinion: Purposeful Design is a science book that does not come off as a textbook. It serves to pique one's interest in the scientific details of creation, and really make the reader stop and ponder the One who designed it. I feel like Jay Schabacker is a very wise grandpa gathering children around him to pass on his scientific knowledge and love for the Creator and His creation. We absolutely adore this book, and keep it conveniently located right in the living room for the children to look through any time they wish. It is the type of book that you can look at repeatedly, yet 'see' new things each time. I truly appreciate the love, honor, and adoration for our Lord that is evident throughout the book.

Really useful bonus: In order to make this book useful as an addition to your Science curriculum, the author's website has a Young Explorer's Club for parents to download a free student workbook and teacher key. There are comprehension questions and short activities for each chapter. 

A typical worksheet page looks like this:

The teacher key has the answers in red: 

There is a certificate of completion at the end:

After reading the book, following up with these worksheets will truly give your students a "Creation Science" course that will fascinate them and leave them with a great appreciation for the God who designed it all.

Cost: The book is currently selling on the website for $18.95 and bulk rates are available if you wish to purchase more than one copy. 

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