Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew
John Riley has put together a short book focusing on seeing God throughout history and answering questions about creation vs evolution. Part story, part scholastic treaty, John Riley’s goal is to help us see God more clearly throughout history and see him as the God of Truth. Pursued to Eternity shows us God’s pursuit of his people.
Who is John Riley?
John Riley has a master of science degree and used it in his work as an engineer. During his retirement he, along with his wife Nancy, took to educating students in physics, robotics and SAT prep. They wrote a creation vs evolution class which you can find on SchoolhouseTeachers.com entitled: Apologetics: Creation vs. Evolution. This course is 14 lessons long and helps students ask better questions about evolution.
About the Product Pursued to Eternity
You’ll find Pursued to Eternity at Covenant Books. A 154 page with 17 chapters. The chapters are not long and are a mix between theological treatise and stories. The stories read as if they really happened and I admittedly am not sure if they did or did not. I found that aspect a bit confusing to be honest.
What you’ll find
John Riley walks his readers through the story of the bible. He does this in two ways. He takes scripture and combines it with history to give us a specifically broad understanding of God and his action throughout history. His focus is often on archaeological finds and answering questions raised.
As you open the book you’ll see this
“Note: this is a short novel with fictional events, such as hunting for dinosaurs …. Also blended into the book are nonfictional challenges to evolution and an extensive survey of apologetics (evidence that supports the Bible).
Later in the introduction, we find Connor saying these words “this book was written to chronicle the amazing six-month odyssey I experienced with my brother“.
I got confused
As I look back as to what caused my confusion and therefore set me up to having a problem sifting through fact and fiction was in the Introduction we are introduced to the narrator, Connor Bridges and his brother Alan. This I’m given the impression that Connor is a real person and that these events truly happened, but by the end of the book I was wondering if I was fooled. If this truly was a chronology or just a story. Did the events that happened during those six months truly occur or were they just a made-up part of the story? Though I have to admit there were parts that piqued my interest since I had a hard time discerning the “story” from “fact” it left me feeling skeptical.
BUT on to what you’ll find in Pursued to Eternity.
You will find apologetics mixed with fiction to help bring those apologetics to life and show God in action. They are mostly text with scripture verses all in a row. More at the beginning of John Riley’s book than at the end. Made for me, a slower start to the read. The stories get more compelling as you get deeper into the work.
The artwork! I know, I know, artwork does not make or break a book for me. But I liked it. The variety used when introducing each chapter and how it fit the theme. Well done!
You will find 17 chapters that lead us throughout history from creation through to looking forward to eternity. Much time was spent on the Exodus period. Interjected between God moving through history you’ll find stories about hunting dinosaurs, slavery and refugees with life in Egypt, anecdotes about people in history (such as John Newton), and the lives of Connor and Alan. You will also discover a list of 68 questions to consider in the evolution-creation debate that is on-going today.
How I used it
I read Pursued to Eternity. Front to back, over a period of about two weeks. I could have read it faster as at 151 pages it is by no means a long book. Some books though require a slower and more careful reading. This is one of them.
It is a softcover which meant having to take more care as it’s SO easy to roll the covers of trade paperbacks! 🙂 Now sometimes it doesn’t matter right? It just shows if a book is well-loved or not, but other times it does. I am hoping to have my lad read it at some point as it might help him think a bit more? That would be a good thing I think. So the fact that it’s a shorter book with a thin cover means it will be easy for him to tuck it in with his other books.
I really liked that list of 68 questions to ask. They have allowed me to questions of my lad for him to ponder. Like… who cared for the first human child? What created the energy needed for the big bang to occur? How much guesswork is there in determining evolution? How do you explain some of the statements Darwin made? Can you explain how evolution does or does not promote racism and exclusion?
Should you get Pursued to Eternity?
A bit of a mixed opinion. Honestly, It was interesting, I think my hesitation is the confusion I felt at the end of it. The apologetic sections I found rather dry. I would have loved to have seen that section worded differently rather than appearing as a list. I understand why he did that way as it helps the biblical text to stand alone. It also makes it very apparent and not confused with the interjected stories.
The stories were fictional, and as I read I wondered what was the basis for them, and discovered that as I read through the story of Connor and Alan. It did make for interesting reading and gave me a back story I had considered before with some of the biblical accounts.
The addition of the creation-evolution debate
I found the evolution aspect unexpected in regards to the title. I expected a book more about how God’s been active through history, this is how we see him in the bible, and this is how we see him acting in the lives of people. The evolution/creation discussion provided talking points with my son. He hasn’t made up his mind yet about evolution and its truth or lack thereof so this gives him additional points to consider.
So my review is mixed. There is much to recommend as we are shown God in history. And that is a valuable thing to have laid out before a person. The evolution/creation aspect provides good talking points, and things to consider when entering debates, or seeking to offer questions for teens to consider. I found the execution didn’t feel comfortable for me and so I personally struggled with reading it.
Read the Reviews
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