If you’ve read Home With Purpose for very long, you know that I’m always on the lookout for great discipleship resources for our family.
Resources that communicate the concept that the Bible is one cohesive story of God’s plan of redemption, the reasonableness of our faith, or how God works in the world, among other things, are all worth a look for me.
Well, a few weeks, ago, I received a very unique book to review with my family. Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation by Jay Schabacker is different than anything else I’ve seen. It’s a gorgeous hardbound book that explores the days of creation from both a scientific and devotional standpoint. The premise of the book is that creation had not only an intelligent designer, but also a purposeful one.
The book is divided into seven chapters: one for each day of creation, plus the day of rest. Each chapter begins with the corresponding quote from Genesis 1, superimposed over a photograph that goes along with that day. For example, the third day has a beautiful picture of a forest and lush vegetation, to go with the creation of the dry land and vegetation. Next is a short explanation of those verses.
The rest of each chapter delves into scientific concepts that are relevant to the elements created on that particular day. For example, chapter 4, which covers the creation of the sun, moon, and stars, discusses how the sun’s rays and the earth’s tilt causes seasons and why they are important and beneficial to life on earth, the benefits of the moon and tides, the preciseness of the sunrise and sunset, and more. All of these are accompanied by illustrations, photos, charts, and diagrams.
Here’s just a small sample of topics covered in the other chapters:
- the rain cycle
- how plants are beneficial to the earth and life
- the instincts of birds and fish and how they benefit the earth
- the usefulness of domestic animals
- the intricate design of the human body (appendix, blood clotting, breastfeeding, the brain and skull, and more)
There are relevant verses from other books of the Bible scattered throughout the pages, along with numerous photos and graphics that help illustrate all the concepts presented. The text, illustrations, and other graphics are written and laid out in such a way that is appealing and informative for a wide range of ages. My sixteen year old and my five year old have both enjoyed the book.
We’ve been working through the book a chapter at a time, using each one as a jumping off point to delve into the scientific concepts presented a bit deeper with my younger two (ages eight and five). We’ve found the accompanying downloadable workbook really useful for this. This free resource has comprehension and discussion questions to go with each chapter. We haven’t used it exactly as written, but we’ve used the questions to facilitate discussion. Parts of the book have sparked some interesting discussion with my older kids about how precisely things are designed, and what this means about God’s character and intent too.
We haven’t worked through the entire book yet, but so far (and from what I’ve seen reading ahead), there is no mention in the book of different opinions on the age of the earth and related issues. The focus is on the purpose and precision of the creation, without taking a “side” on those issues.
I’m impressed with Purposeful Design! I love how it weaves scientific principles with thoughts on God’s nature and character. The illustrations and photographs are gorgeous, the layout is appealing and user friendly, and the conversational tone of the text is appealing to all ages. And of course, the content is fantastic! It’s not hard to see why the book has won multiple awards! This is definitely a resource worth checking out.
Click the graphic to see what other families thought of this book: