It’s common for RTB to receive book recommendations, manuscripts, and review copies of books. For the most part we’re unable to review them, but now and then someone on staff will spare some time to check out a book that catches their eye.
That’s precisely what happened with Melissa Cain Travis’ How Do We Know God Is Really There? (Apologia 2013). In this children’s book, Travis presents big bang cosmology from a biblical perspective. She holds an MA in science and religion from Biola University and a bachelor’s degree in general biology from Campbell University. She is also a Reasons Institute student and certified in Christian apologetics by Biola. Her book is the first in what will become the Young Defenders series, a collection of illustrated storybooks that teach the fundamentals of Christian apologetics to young children.
At first glance, a few of us on staff were skeptical that the heavy-at-times content (perhaps geared for teens) complemented the illustrations, which seemed geared for elementary-aged kids. But, in keeping with 1 Thessalonians 5:21, we decided to “test all things” by conducting a field report.
The field worker, in this case, was second grader Isabella (age 8). Isabella listened and giggled at some of the pictures. However, she became a bit impatient toward the end of the book (where the content gets heavy), even trying to flip forward to the next page. Still, she enjoyed the story overall and retained the gist of the apologetic points.
From an editorial perspective, I think some of the word choices could have been better—replacing more difficult words for simpler ones. And the story’s timeline was questionable. Thomas and his father accomplish a lot in one hour—from setting up a telescope (no small task), to retrieving a book from somewhere in the house, to engaging in a lengthy conversation about big bang cosmology. But, let’s be real. Editors aren’t the intended audience.
In this brief post-read interview, field worker Isabella offers her own thoughts on the book.
Did you like the book?
Was it boring?
Did you learn anything?
That if something’s there, someone or something had to create it.
What were Thomas and his father doing?
Looking in a telescope at space.
And then what happened?
Thomas had some questions for his dad.
What were his questions?
How do we know that God is really there?
Then what did his dad tell him?
If you reverse something from the end then it will start from the beginning.
So can we do that with the universe? What happens with the galaxies?
Yeah. They will go closer and they’ll crash.
Then what happens?
There will be nothing.
What does that nothing mean?
That if there’s something, someone or something had to make it.
So who or what do you think made it?
Because God’s outside of space and time and doesn’t have a body?
He doesn’t? That’s weird!
Clearly she has bearded Jesus in mind. But now, thanks to Travis’ book, she also has a basic understanding of how the big bang points to the biblical teaching of creation ex nihilo (creation out of nothing).
All in all, if you have a young child in your life, you might consider picking up How Do We Know God Is Really There? Considering the staggering reports that 85 out of 100 Christian teens eventually walk away from the faith, it’s never too early to prepare kids with sound reasons from science for faith in the God of the Bible.
Got older kids? Then check out Reasons Academy, RTB’s high school science apologetics program. You’ll also find an array of helpful resources at Educator’s Help Desk and short, content-packed videos at Through the Lens.
Subjects: Big Bang, Creation Ex Nihilo, Educators/Homeschoolers, General Apologetics