Theistic evolutionist organization targets children with a new book

A review of God’s Cosmic Cookbook: Your complete guide to making a universe by Elizabeth Cole
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2023

reviewed by Andrew Sibley

Fair usegods-cosmic-cookbook-cover

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion,1 which seeks to promote understanding of the natural sciences to Christian believers, has supported the publication of a new book aimed at children (7–14 years). Regrettably, God’s Cosmic Cookbook: Your complete guide to making a universe is directed towards the teaching of millions-of-years and evolution to children.2 A sizeable 192 pages, it has been written by Elizabeth Cole, with colourful cartoon illustrations by Patrick Laurent, while the Institute has “helped in every part of the process to ensure our science and theology are in line with current understandings and discoveries”.3

The marketing information tells us that the book “opens kids’ eyes to the latest scientific theories on the origins, history, and future of the universe…”, all relayed in the context of cooking a universe—yes, God is depicted as a chef with a beard! It is stated that it uses “gentle humour and fun illustrations” and “confidently combines faith and science” through the cartoon character of ‘God-the-chef’. For many Christians, such cartoon depictions of God are over-familiar, and risk diminishing Him in the minds of children.4

Elizabeth Cole has also promoted the book in an article for the Christian women’s magazine Woman Alive.5 In it, she says she wants us to believe that God is so big that He could only have worked slowly and gradually through evolutionary processes. However, such a God would be subservient to His own material laws. Instead, Scripture reveals that God transcends His creation, and works miracles according to His own purposes; such as Jesus’ creative miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:1–11).

Cole also suggests that it is fear in Christians that drives their rejection of evolutionary science. But this appeal is manipulative, popular-level psychology, and is a way of seeking to use emotion to enforce belief in evolution as a science. It is a logical fallacy. Many are sceptical of evolution because the very real evidence of design points away from naturalistic explanations, to ones involving a divine mind. It is intelligent design which shows how big God is, not evolution! The incredible complexity of 3D protein structures and marvellous molecular machines refute evolution as an explanation, as even former atheists have acknowledged.6

A brief review

The book, composed of cartoon drawings and commentary, and printed on coarse comic-quality paper, goes through the standard naturalistic narrative involving a big bang, billions-of-years, and evolution. It is all told from the perspective of God-the-cook who lit the touch paper and let creation unfold without further direct input. This is the imagination of theistic evolutionists, but it paints a deistic image of God. It is essentially humans putting words into God’s mouth to support their own story of naturalistic science, while ignoring Scripture and revealed faith. It is anthropomorphic, and is it not using God’s name in vain? In that light it comes across as quite arrogant.

Cole also tells the young readers that God had two friends in the beginning: maths and physics. These are personified in the form of ‘the demanding lady … her Right Royal Prima Dona-ness Queen Martha Matix, and Maestro Sir Paynin Theobaum, First Lord of Ffysics’. It looks like a trinity of sorts. While maybe not the intention of the author this is really idolatry; maths and the laws of physics exist in the mind of God, so to separate them out in this way is akin to Paganism. And what of the true Trinity? There is no mention of God as a loving Father, the grace of our Saviour Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit in the book. Scripture is far more profound than naturalistic science when it tells us that “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us” (John 1:14).

Cole goes on to inform us about an entity called ‘nothing’ that is inferred to have existed before the universe existed.

“The kind of high quality ‘nothing’ you need for making cosmoses is VERY hard to get hold of in this universe and even harder to understand… Most of us think ‘nothing’ is where there isn’t anything. Pretty simple, right? But some scientists aren’t so sure. They’re exploring all kinds of clever ideas about what sort of ‘nothing’ there might have been when our universe didn’t exist. It is tricky to work this out because, whatever it was, it doesn’t seem to exist anymore.”

It takes a certain level of ‘cleverness’ to argue that nothing is not nothing, as even former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins once attempted, and faced ridicule for it.7 Of course, the book expounds evolution, including that of humans, with God observing from the sidelines. It manages to include a couple of pages extolling the fame and ‘saintly greatness’ of Charles Darwin in imagining evolution, despite evidence that he plagiarised his ideas.8

We are told that environmental and atmospheric changes were part of the driving force behind evolutionary processes, then later that climate change is the fault of human beings using too much of the planet’s fossil fuels, so putting excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. As such the book carelessly ignores the naturalistic belief that carbon dioxide levels were once much higher than those of today when people were supposedly not around. Such myopic claims have more to do with popular narratives and political pressure groups than true evidence-based science. Another confused line of reasoning in the book is the belief that humans have also been placed on Earth to care for the planet, even though, according to the same evolutionary story, the world managed just fine for billions of years without us.

Illustration 187479983 © Michalsuszycki | Dreamstime.comscience and faith signposts in different directions
Should we treat science and faith as being completely separate as theistic evolutionists do, or can faith inform science as creationists believe?

Cole follows other theistic evolutionists in believing that faith and science exist in separate realms. The Bible, she believes, doesn’t tell us about how the material world operates, but only about God’s nature and purposes, while science does the rest. But this ignores a huge chunk of what the Bible does actually teach. For example, Adam was created from the dust of the ground; “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” is a very earthy statement (Genesis 3:19), as is the Incarnation of Christ. Separating the material world from the spiritual one in this way is exactly what the heretical Gnostics did in the first century AD! It leads Christianity towards a deistic mindset, in which God starts the universe off, but largely leaves it to its own devices thereafter.

Creation, Cole comments in the magazine article, “shows us that life has evolved over billions of years from the ‘simplest’ slimy life-forms to dinosaurs, elephants, oak trees and thinking, talking, humans, who are we to argue!”5 Who are we to argue?! But science, as a process of investigation, requires argumentation. What she, and her fellow evolutionary, deep-time travellers (including the Faraday Institute), are advocating is dogma, not true science!


What can we say about a book of this sort, aimed as it is at impressionable youngsters? One has to wonder about the direction of travel of the leaders in the main science-religion organisations. In the relationship between science and faith, it is their secular beliefs that are always given priority over biblical revelation. By seeking to explain everything by naturalistic explanations God is diminished, exiled to the sidelines, and it undermines the revealed faith of a miracle-working Creator and Redeemer.

Scripture asks us to consider whether “friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4). For many Bible-believing Christians, organisations such as the Faraday Institute are out of touch with the needs of faithful churches, and instead are caught up in a web of peer pressure and the desire to maintain worldly approval.

Needless to say, Creation Ministries International will not be stocking the book! Instead we promote material, to children and adults alike, that shows the true greatness and intelligence of God and the wonder of His creation. We also show that it is possible to do evidence-based science and believe the Bible’s narrative of Earth’s origins as a simple-but-factual record of literal history.

Published: 26 December 2023

References and notes

  1. The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge, UK, promotes belief in deep time and evolution. Return to text.
  2. Cole, E., God’s Cosmic Cookbook, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 192 pages, 2023. Return to text.
  3. See: faraday.cam.ac.uk/shop/gods-cosmic-cookbook/ Return to text.
  4. Some Christians will see it is as blasphemous to depict God in such a way. Return to text.
  5. Cole, E., Do Christians believe in evolution and do God and the Bible contradict science?, womanalive.co.uk, 3 October 2023. Return to text.
  6. For example, the late Anthony Flew, see: Sanders, L., Former atheist argues for the existence of God, J. Creation 22(3):21–24, 2008. Return to text.
  7. Richard Dawkins stated: “We can dispute what is meant by nothing, whatever it is it is very very simple [audience laughter]. Why is that funny?” ABC TV, abc.net.au/qanda, 9 April 2012. Return to text.
  8. Sibley, A., Darwin’s unpaid debt to Patrick Matthew: A review of: Science Fraud: Darwin’s plagiarism of Patrick Matthew’s theory, by Mike Sutton (Curtis Press, Great Yarmouth, UK, 2022), J. Creation 36(2):17–19, 2022. Return to text.

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