Book Review: Know Your Bible for Kids Noah’s Ark

I’ve been dragging my feet writing this for months, but when I asked my newsletter readers, you told me I had to do this, so here goes:

by Ed Strauss

Cover PhotoYes, my first reaction when I saw this cute little book was, “Why didn’t Barbour Books have ME write this for them?!!”
But I really do want the best for all of us and there are plenty of other books left for me to write, so I quickly turned to excitedly buying myself a copy so I could pass on the good news to families and maybe even contact the publishers.

The glance I took at this book before purchasing it was highly encouraging. Not only did the artist take Answers in Genesis’ ideas about the ark’s shape to heart, but the pages mention an interesting creation scientist I respect. The style of layout and length of the book are ideal for a young audience and the print is nice and big. It was clearly a book taking the Bible’s timeline and account of earliest history seriously.

With the price set at just a handful of dollars the books was soon mine, however I saved reading the book for a long car trip figuring this would be an ideal time to be fully alert. That was a mistake.

Within a few minutes I started exclaiming, “No, he didn’t!” “How do you know?” “Creation scientists don’t think that!” and such so often my husband rolled down his window and offered to throw the book out for me. I wouldn’t let him, but every time I pick up the book again the same thing happens. I get so frustrated I only make it a couple of pages before stopping to protect my sanity.

What’s wrong?

The book is indeed written from a Young Earth, Biblical creationist perspective, but the author writes just like the secular kids’ writers that make me want to yank my hair out.

Bible vs Science speak

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7:28-29

When the Bible tells us something, it speaks truth. If Jesus wants to say, “Here’s how it is.” He has ever right to do so. Things stated clearly in the Scriptures are that way- whether we like it, understand it, or accept it, the Bible is right.

But there is a whole lot the Bible doesn’t tell us. I like to imagine the library carts we would all have to drag to church if we were given even half the info we wish we had.

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Psalm 146:3-4

What Ed Strauss thinks

“In Noah’s day, people built many small ships for travel on the ocean. They also built lots of boats for fishing on the lakes and rivers. But no one had ever built anything this monstrously big and strong and complicated before.”

Really? Where is he getting this information?

“The top deck was built above that. It was where all the small, light animals would be–the rabbits, geese, dogs, raccoons, and all the thousands and thousands of birds, butterflies, bats, bees, and insects…. Very likely Noah’s sons spent months–or even years–building birdcages. They became experts at it.”

He not only is sure Noah hired carpenters thanks to Grandpa Methuselah’s patronage, but he knows what Noah’s boys were doing. Not only that, but he doesn’t mention a word about the Insects on the Ark controversy.

OK, ‘scuse me for a minute while I cool down….

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“Since the ark was 75 feet wide, there could have been three rows of cages on the bottom two levels. That means one row on the left side, a row in the middle, and another row on the right side. There would’ve been two long hallways between them.”

This bit gives you a taste of how close and how far the author keeps getting from doing a good job. He starts out OK with “could have been”, but ends with “would’ve been”. This section is entirely conjecture about how Ed Strauss would have taken the scant directions God gave and translated it into a workable situation. But he doesn’t write that way.

He writes as if he was a journalist watching Noah. Just like those writers who can tell us what the dinosaurs did all day 75 million years ago.

Creation Scientists aren’t going to like this book

“What actually was the firmament? These days, most experts think the firmament means earth’s crust.”

All by itself this statement tells you how far off the author is about creation science. I happen to think there’s a lot of merit to what Dr. Walt Brown teaches, but even I think this idea of the firmament being the crust is nonsense. And outside of Dr. Brown, I don’t know of a single “expert” that thinks this.

“The pressure of the water below was so great that this crack grew at lightning speed. In two hours it circled the entire planet, ripping the earth’s crust apart.”

By now the author has dropped all pretense of presenting his ideas as a possibility. Oh, no. This happened. Just like that.

What’s odd is he later describes the crust’s plates subducting and melting like those who follow the Catastrophic¬† Plate Tectonics model. He doesn’t even notice he switched from one idea about the Floods’ mechanism to another.
No creation scientist is going to be happy with his teachings.

“Tsunamis can travel 500 miles per hour across the ocean, so the ark was shooting along at fantastic speed. The ark probably went around the globe a few times–first this way, then that way, then another way.”

 

“At first, when all the shaking and thundering was happening outside, the animals went crazy with fear. The ark would have echoed with the noise. It must have nearly deafened Noah and his family. They probably didn’t sleep much for the first few days.
Then, although the storm continued outside God calmed the animals.”

 

“How could the ark be on both mountains at once? Simple. The ark probably landed on a lower spot on the volcanic mound between the two mountains.”

I could go on for pages like this, but do we need to endure more?

About 95% of Ed Strauss’ ideas are cool

He’s got quite the imagination and obviously takes the Bible seriously. If he had written a novel using his thoughts as a framework for a fictionalized setting it would be amazing. But instead he’s put together a pseudo scientific book.

My fear is…

Kids aren’t going to be able to tell where the truth stops and the fantasy starts. What’s going to happen when they find out something he claims isn’t true. What if they start thinking the whole thing is made up because so many details were actually fiction?

Plus, this book is not going to help them present truth carefully. No scientist would touch this book with a 10 meter pole. It is fine to come up with possible scenarios where your framework plays out. It’s not fine to say, “This is how it must have happened.”

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 

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