Thursday, November 13, 2014

Exploring and Marveling at God's Creation in Our Homeschool with Purposeful Design {A TOS Review}

Purposeful Design Review

In this day and age where evolution is so prevalent, I want to make sure my children understand from a young age that not only did God create the world, but there is enough proof out there that we don't need to depend on blind faith to uphold our beliefs. It is important to me that the children understand that God is truth and what He says in His Word is to be trusted. I love finding new resources to help strengthen our faith and show that we can trust God at His word. One such resource is this wonderful new book from Purposeful Design called Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation written by Jay Schabacker.

Purposeful Design is a beautiful, hardcover book, that would be a wonderful addition to a church library or for setting on your coffee or end table. It is suitable for all ages and is filled with vibrant photographs, scientific  information, and relevant Bible verses. There are seven chapters, which coincide with the seven days of creation, along with a preface, an introduction, and an epilogue. In addition to this book, the author has made available a downloadable children's curriculum called Young Explorers Club to aid in the comprehension of the book. This curriculum is geared toward elementary aged readers and above.

As you go through this book, you will see that our God is not just an intelligent designer, he is a purposeful designer. It is important to understand that there is a difference in stressing that God has designed with a purpose. When we look at how all the elements of creation work, we can see that an all-knowing, all-powerful God must have created it all.

Let us explore this book that helps us to understand.

The Introduction: The "Man in the Moon":

The author begins by having us think about the moon, a heavenly body that revolves around the earth, but does not rotate as the earth does as it revolves around the sun.

Chapter 1- The First Day: Creation of the Heavens and the Earth the Foundation of it All:

Here we read about God hovering over His creation and providing His light to fill the void of darkness. The author then focuses on the fact that our universe just keeps going as opposed to what should be happening if it followed the second law of thermodynamics.  Not only does it keep going, our universe has rules that it follows that do not change.

Chapter 2- The Second Day: Creation of the Atmosphere and Water:

In this chapter the author focuses on the rain cycle after discussing the sky that separated the liquid water below and the gaseous water above. We read how a purposeful designer made sure we had the right proportions of each and the perfect percentage of water to make the rain cycle sustain life. He explains how important the various parts of our atmosphere are in the cycle.

Chapter 3- The Third Day: Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation:

This chapter focuses on the importance of vegetation and plants to humans. The apple is discussed, listing the benefits it provides, then the author shares different ways plants are used for our benefit.

Chapter 4- The Fourth Day: Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars:

The fourth day of creation is the first day of the "filling" the earth to complete what God had prepared. On day four God filled the heavens. The author discusses the importance of the seasons and how the sun's rays with the tilt of the earth are  necessary. He even explains how the precise tilt of the earth is important and how a change would be devastating and not conducive to life. The preciseness of the sunrise and sunsets due to the earth's orbit is discussed, along with the benefits of the moon. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the stars and their importance.

Chapter 5- The Fifth Day: Creation of the Birds and Fish:

The fifth day of creation focuses on God adding creatures to the sea and sky , both of which had a major part to play on Day 2. The importance of birds and fish is discussed along with the instincts that God gave them. The author even discusses how the design of the fish points to a creator.

Chapter 6- Creation Day Six: Creation of Land Creatures and Humans:

The usefulness of land animals is discussed. Then the author focuses on the uniqueness of the human being. The author shows how our bodies have to have been designed by a purposeful designer, from the "simple" cell to the complex brain and everything in between.

Chapter 7- The Seventh Day:

The book concludes with a reminder that God wants us to rest and worship him on the Sabbath day.

A Closer Look at the Book:

Each chapter begins with a full page picture depicting the part of creation being discussed in the chapter, overlaid with the relevant Bible verse from Genesis 1.

The opposite page is an introduction to the topic being discussed.

Throughout the book you will find different charts and illustrations, such as the ones below in regard to the Rain Cycle. While reading this information, you discover how this world has to have had a designer and that the designer was creating a special place for us to live.

How did we use this book?

When I saw that the review period for this book coincided with the time we would be focusing on the first chapter of Genesis in our Core Curriculum, I knew it was a book I really wanted to review. Each day we learned about a different day of creation, then we read some of the information in Purposeful Design. I admit, there were parts I did skip over with the children because the information would have been over their heads at their age. I just picked what I thought would be relevant to them and we discussed what we were learning. If a specific picture caught their eye, we would discuss the text that accompanied it.

When we were finished with our lessons on creation in our Core Curriculum, I spent some time with the girls using the Young Explorers Club worksheets. I print out the student sheets...

...and as we go through them I read along with the teacher book on my tablet.

We are actually still working our way through them as I feel the girls may be a little young for the detail that they are being asked to remember, some of which is information I skipped over while reading the book. Fortunately, the teacher guide, which is a separate download, has the answers highlighted in red. I have had the girls write their answers and I have had us sit on the couch to discusses them instead. They do seem to prefer having a discussion instead of writing. The questions do get the children thinking.

Once the child completes the worksheets for each chapter, there is an award to be handed out.

I highly recommend this book to those who want to learn and share the importance of the design of our world. It is a wonderful resource to have in your home and can also be used as a supplement to homeschool curriculum, whether learning about the days of creation, or studying specific science subjects. This book is 91 pages filled with little tidbits showing how God had a purpose in this creation, how the world is orderly and not in chaos. This of course means it is not a book which gets into a technical study, though some interesting scientific facts are included. 

Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker can be purchased for $18.95 (this is 25% off the retail price of $24.95) and the downloadable curriculum is free.

You can find the author over on his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
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