Friday, June 30, 2017

A More Scientific Creation Story

Picture Book: Older Than the Stars
Author: Karen C. Fox
Illustrator: Nancy Davis
Summary: Written similar to The House That Jack Built, an old cumulative rhyme, the phrasing in the central text of this picture book repeats and builds rhythmically. Below I give the entire cumulative rhyme. On each page there is a more detailed section of text to help with understanding. That's what I'm mostly summarizing here. The key idea in this beautiful picture book is that every one of us (every bit of us) was created in The Big Bang. 
Billions of years ago, our universe began very small, but immediately it began expanding “like the fastest growing bubble ever.”
Small bits called protons, neutrons, and electrons began buzzing about “like a bunch of bees.” 
Once the bits started “bumping into each other” and forming atoms, the building blocks of our universe were being formed.  
Helium and hydrogen were formed first so giant gas clouds (“puffs”) spun from those building blocks to make stars. 
These stars eventually died and formed supernovas, exploding to further distances and allowing their atoms to form new metals along with new stars. 
As one particular cloud “flattened out like a giant plate” our star was born. 
Other stuff began to collide “in dusty clumps,” becoming planets. 
Over time on our planet, atoms came together to form tiny living creatures which evolved to be bigger and more complex. 
These plants and animals were all made from that same atomic stuff and when those living things died their stuff was released to provide for future life on our planet. About 600,000 years ago the human animal appeared. Then humans had children again and again. 
"You are one of these children, descended from the first humans," perhaps from the same atoms that "formed stars long ago and far away."
Here's the ending cumulative rhyme:
These are the people just like you
Who live with the plants and animals, too,
That grow on the planet green and blue
That circles the sun, our daily view,
That was born from the dust, so old and new,
Thrown from the blast intense enough
To hurl the atoms so strong and tough
That formed in the star of red-hot stuff
That burst from the gas in a giant puff
That spun from the blocks
That formed from the bits
That were born in the bang
When the world began.
Hanna’s Comments: I offer this book to those in ministry who would like to have a more scientific framework to approach the concept of creation and Genesis chapters 1 and 2. I learned to appreciate those poems all the more after viewing Rob Bell’s video Everything is Spiritual. He did a 2nd version of this presentation in 2016 that is also on Youtube, but it was the 1st version which I found so amazing. Check it out [here]. Thanks to the concrete phrasing in this picture book (see several quotes above), the incredibly complicated phenomenon of The Big Bang as the origin of our universe is understandable to children and adults like me who are not scientifically inclined. If you are looking for a book about evolution that is for young children, I highly recommend Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution by Tweet & Lewis. [Here’s] the Amazon link. It also has very accessible information in the back to help you understand evolution at a level more complicated than the text of the story. 
Original Publisher & Date: Charlesbridge, 2011
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up
Formats other than Book: None at present 
Scripture Connections: Genesis 1 & 2
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children when wanting to pair a more scientific approach to creation with the poetry of Genesis 1 and 2.