Man of Science, Man of God: Henry M. Morris

Who: Henry Madison Morris
What: Father of Modern Creation Science Movement
When: October 6, 1918 - February 25, 2006
Where: Dallas, Texas

Henry M. Morris is widely recognized as the founder of the modern creation science movement. He lectured and wrote extensively in defense of a literal interpretation of the Bible's first book, Genesis--particularly the first 11 chapters that describe the creation of the world and all living things, the great Flood of Noah's age, and the human dispersion at Babel.

Background

Dr. Morris was born in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Rice University in Houston in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and married Mary Louise in 1940. He worked as a hydraulic engineer until 1942, when he returned to Rice to teach civil engineering for the next four years. After this, he worked at the University of Minnesota, where he received his master's degree in hydraulics in 1948 and his Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering in 1950.

In 1951, he became a professor and chair of civil engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He then served as a professor of applied science at Southern Illinois University and then as the department chair of civil engineering at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

Shortly after Dr. Morris received his bachelor's degree from Rice, he accepted the Bible--from Genesis to Revelation--as the infallible and inspired Word of God. In 1946, he published a short book, That You Might Believe, exposing the scientific weaknesses in evolution.

The Genesis Flood

In 1961, Dr. Morris and Old Testament expert Dr. John C. Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood, the book that was widely acknowledged even by prominent evolutionary paleontologist Stephen J. Gould as "the founding document of the creationist movement."1

In it, they unabashedly affirmed their faith in the inerrancy and infallibility of the verbally inspired Word of God and showed the inadequacies of uniformitarianism and evolutionary theory. Drawing on data from the disciplines of hydrology, geology, and archaeology, Drs. Morris and Whitcomb demonstrated how science affirms the biblical record of the great Deluge during the days of Noah.

While Charles Darwin's 1859 On the Origin of Species had attempted to provide an explanation--albeit based on imagination instead of science--for the origin of some animals by natural processes instead of by God, The Genesis Flood gave a bold, fresh perspective on how the scientific study of natural phenomena in our world is actually consistent with what we read in Scripture.

All of these Biblical references from the Flood record are clearly supported in at least a general way by the actual records of the rocks. Almost all of the sedimentary rocks of the earth, which are the ones containing fossils and from which the supposed geologic history of the earth has been largely deduced, have been laid down by moving waters….Sedimentary rocks by definition are those that have been deposited as sediments, which the Oxford Universal Dictionary defines as "earthy or detrital matter deposited by aqueous agency." Obviously these great masses of sediments must first have been eroded from some previous location, transported, and then deposited (perhaps, of course, more than once)--exactly the sort of thing which occurs in any flood and which we have seen must have occurred on a uniquely grand scale during the great Flood of Genesis.3
[T]he evidence of the reality of these great events, the Creation and the Deluge, is so powerful and clear that it is only "willing ignorance" which is blind to it, according to Scripture!4

Dr. Whitcomb, who read Dr. Morris' That You Might Believe in 1948 while studying paleontology at Princeton University, said that The Genesis Flood would not have been nearly as effective had it been written only by a theologian. "It needed a scientist. And that scientist was Henry Morris," he said in a recent lecture.

Dr. Whitcomb described the difficulties in initially finding a publisher for the book due to its size and subject matter. Nevertheless, he praised God that it came to print because of the lives that it has changed. For instance, Kitty Foth-Regner dedicated her book Heaven Without Her "to Dr. John Whitcomb and the late Dr. Henry Morris, for showing me the truth about where we came from, what we're doing here, and where we're going."5

The Institute for Creation Research

In 1963, Dr. Morris and nine other young-earth creationists, including Dr. Duane T. Gish, founded the Creation Research Society. He resigned from his post at Virginia Tech in 1969 and in 1970 founded the Institute for Creation Research as the research division of Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College).

ICR's goal was research, communication, and education in those fields of science that are particularly relevant to the study of origins. In 1981, after receiving approval from the state of California to grant masters degrees in science education, ICR became an autonomous entity.

While serving as ICR's president, Dr. Morris collaborated with scientists and theologians around the world. He wrote more than 60 books on topics that include creation science, evolution, and Christian apologetics, and he lectured worldwide at conferences, churches, and universities. He participated in over 100 debates--many alongside biochemist and ICR vice president Dr. Gish--with evolutionary scientists such as biologist Kenneth R. Miller, zoologist Hubert Frings, and paleontologist David B. Kitts.

Nearly 40 years after its inception, ICR continues to conduct research from the scientific and biblical creation perspective and communicate the truth of God's Word that is found in God's creation.


Other Writings

Dr. Morris wrote extensively on creation science and evolution, producing definitive works such as Scientific Creationism (1974), The Genesis Record (1976), The Revelation Record (1983), The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (1984), Science and the Bible (1986), and Biblical Creationism (1993).

He also addressed Christian apologetics in books such as Many Infallible Proofs (1974) and The Long War Against God (1989), as well as annotations in The New Defender's Study Bible (1995).

In his final book, Some Call It Science (2006), Dr. Morris revealed the religion behind the so-called science of the evolutionary establishment. He wrote:

During the past century…the gospel of new life in Christ has been replaced by the Darwinian "gospel of death," the belief that millions of years of struggle and death has changed pond scum into people and that evolutionary progress will continue inexorably toward heaven on earth.7

He then asked the question, "Is it science that supports evolution and disproves the Bible or is it 'science falsely so called'?"8 He proceeded to present the true religion behind Darwinism as professed by the direct words of some of its most ardent followers, including Stephen J. Gould, P. J. Darlington, Richard Dawkins, Isaac Asimov, and even Charles Darwin himself.

The faith of the evolutionist…is a splendid faith indeed, a faith not dependent on anything so mundane as evidence or logic, but rather a faith strong in its childlike trust, relying wholly on omniscient Chance and omnipotent Matter to produce the complex systems and mighty energies of the universe. The evolutionist's faith is not dependent on evidence, but is pure faith--absolute credulity.9

The evolutionary belief system is antithetical to the gospel, and Dr. Morris warned Christians not to accept "another gospel" and compromise it with creation.10

Any other gospel is another gospel and is not the true gospel. Without the creation, the gospel has no foundation; without the promised consummation, it offers no hope; without the cross and the empty tomb, it has no saving power.11

Later Years

Dr. Morris officially retired in January 1996 and took the position of President Emeritus, leaving the leadership roles of ICR to his sons Henry M. Morris III, D. Min., and John D. Morris, Ph.D. He continued to write, producing books, Days of Praise devotionals, and articles for ICR's monthly magazine, Acts & Facts. Even though he was retired "on paper," his daughter and ICR librarian Mary Smith said, "He was in the office every day until the day he went to the hospital."

After suffering a series of strokes, on February 25, 2006--at the age of 87 and after a full life devoted to the defense of the gospel--Dr. Morris left the hospital in Santee, California, and entered into the joy of the Lord.

References

  1. Schudel, M. Henry Morris; Intellectual Father of 'Creation Science.' The Washington Post. Posted on washingtonpost.com on March 1, 2006, accessed December 12, 2008.
  2. Scott, E. March 4, 2006. Quoted in Rudoren, J. Henry M. Morris, 87, A Theorist of Creationism, Dies. The New York Times.
  3. Morris, H. M. and J. C. Whitcomb. 1961. The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 124.
  4. Ibid, 453.
  5. Foth-Regner, K. 2008. Heaven Without Her. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
  6. Ham, K. February 25, 2006. Dr. Henry Morris has died. Posted to blogs.answersingenesis.org.
  7. Morris, H. 2006. Some Call It Science, revised ed. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research, 7.
  8. Ibid, 7.
  9. Ibid, 22.
  10. 2 Corinthians 11:4.
  11. Morris, Some Call It Science, 50.

* Ms. Dao is Assistant Editor.

Cite this article: Dao, C. 2009. Man of Science, Man of God: Henry M. Morris. Acts & Facts. 38 (2): 20.


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