Curriculum Review: Science in the Beginning

Curriculum Review: Science in the Beginning

Nuclear chemist Dr. Jay Wile, founder and former owner of the popular creation-based Apologia curriculum, has released a new science curriculum, Science in the Beginning.

The textbook’s presentation bears a close resemblance to Wile’s former science curriculum and contains the same informal conversational style as his previous high school texts. It’s also filled with word-heavy pages and occasional color pictures and clip art. The content is loosely organized around the six days of creation.

Day 1: Light (color, absorbing, reflecting, etc.)
Day 2: Water and air
Day 3: Dirt, rocks, and plants
Day 4: Sun, moon, stars, and earth rotation
Day 5: Animals of the sea and sky
Day 6: Land animals and humans

Unfortunately, this arrangement excludes noteworthy content related to Genesis 1:1 (the origin of the universe and the formation of galaxies or planets, including the earth). This single omission sets the stage for a cluster of problems and reveals Wile’s interpretive approach to Genesis 1.

Wile says that God’s first creation was light.1 However, despite more than 40 pages of explanations and experiments related to present-day light observations, Wile never explicitly names the source of light on creation day 1. He refers to properties commonly ascribed to the Sun yet, according to his view, the Sun was not created until creation day 4.

This problem is compounded when readers reach Wile’s explanation of God’s creation of plants on day 3. The obvious question is then raised, “how did the plants make their food before the sun was created?”2 Wile explains that there was an unnamed light source on creation day 1 that acted functionally like the Sun and sustained the plants prior to the Sun’s creation on day 4.

In Science in the Beginning, the overall integration between science and the Bible is thin and occasional. Each unit begins with a paragraph or two about Genesis 1, but from that point forward, any mention of Scripture is rare. Although Wile’s curriculum isn’t hostile toward old-earth creationism, it is not compatible with it either. In several instances a precommitment to young-earth creationism leads to exclusion of any evidence for design connected to an ancient earth, such as continent formation on day 3 or a thorough explanation of Earth’s early plant life. Wile’s text also lacks a description of the history of life on days 5 and 6.

Science in the Beginning is described as a book that “uses the days of creation as a way of introducing a wide range of scientific concepts,”3 However, the absence of a rigorous integrative framework of science and Scripture makes it qualitatively similar to a secular textbook.

1. Jay L. Wile, Science in the Beginning (Muncie, IN: Berean Builders, 2013), 1, 47, 139.
2. Ibid., 139.
3. Berean Builders, Science in the Beginning.