The Creation Science Movement in Korea
by Chon-Ho Hyon
It was during October, 1980, when the World Evangelization Crusade was held in Seoul, that public interest on creation science was first raised with a four-day seminar entitled "Creation or Evolution" held as a subcommittee conference at that time with Drs. Henry Morris and Duane Gish of ICR as featured speakers. The response drew an audience of 4,000, including students, professors, and scientists as well as church leaders and laymen.
With the assistance of Dr. Morris and Dr. Gish, Dr. Young-gil Kim, the only Korean lecturer at the conference, set up a meeting during the Crusade with twenty-five other fellow Christian scientists. This led to the founding of the Korea Association of Creation Research (KACR) on the 31st of January, 1981, after several months of prayer and discussion.
As the creation science movement spread, local branches were established by local Christian scientists. Starting from two branches, in 1981, KACR now has 16 branches in Korea and 3 abroad within just 15 years of its founding.
The total number of members of KACR is now over 1000, including about 500 Ph.D.'s. Most of the members hold jobs as university professors, research scientists or engineers.
Seminars on "Creation Science" have been held every year since its founding. As of 1995, about 100 members of KACR had lectured in the cities and towns of Korea. The ICR science staff has also contributed much by presenting excellent lectures to the Korean audience.
- In 1985, Dr. Gish of ICR visited Korea and gave a series of lectures at universities and churches. Those lectures raised much interest in the college and church communities.
- These activities led to a television debate on "Creation or Evolution" for the first time on KBS-3 TV. Six scientists, three creationists and three evolutionists, participated in the program. The TV coverage aroused public interest among non-Christians as well as Christians.
- On August 22-24, 1991, recognizing the 10th anniversary of KACR, an International Symposium on Creation Science was held at Ohnnuri Church in Seoul. Lecturers consisted of four from the United States, one from Australia, one from Japan, and two in-country Korean scientists. American lecturers were: Dr. Duane Gish, Dr. John Morris, Dr. Richard Bliss, and Dr. Steven Austin, all from ICR. Total attendance reached almost four thousand.
- Also in 1991, for the first time, Creation Science became a regular course in a university. A minister and scientist, Woong-sang Lee, began teaching Creation Science in Myungjee University, and still teaches there to this day, Since that time, a few seminaries and other universities have begun to offer Creation Science courses.
- A second International Symposium on Creation Research was held in Daejeon, on August 6-7, 1993, coinciding with the World Expo which was opened during that time. In this symposium, six lecturers from abroad (including ICR's J. Morris, Gish, and Austin) and five in-country scientists delivered lectures to large audiences.
- The news magazine "Creation" has been published since the founding of KACR in 1981. At the beginning the printing was irregular with only several hundred distributed, but within a few years it matured to become a regular bimonthly news magazine with 4,000 copies in distribution today.
- The first book on creation science in Korean was published in August 1981, only seven months after the founding of KACR, "Is Evolution a Scientific Fact?" In the early days, members of KACR decided to translate several materials published by ICR and edited into readable volumes for the public. This one book, now in its 13th printing, has contributed more than others to public understanding of creation science. Since then about 40 other science books and materials have been published.
- In particular, the publication of "The Natural Sciences" in 1990, a textbook to be used in colleges and universities is worth mentioning. It was written and edited by Dr. Young-gil Kim and 26 other fellow scientists in Korea with a creationist viewpoint. The textbook drew the interest of college communities, and today, many seminaries and universities are using the book as a text.
Although KACR has achieved much for the creation science movement in the past through lectures, seminars, and literature publications, not much has been done in the area of research due to the lack of full-time researchers, but several interesting projects are now under way.
- A project recently completed on "Safety Investigation of Noah's Ark in a Seaway" by Dr. S. W. Hong and others at Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering, demonstrated that the Ark's design was the best of all possible designs.
- Current Study Areas of Interest include:
- "An Analysis of Studies on the Origin of Mankind from the Creationist's Point of View" by J. I. Cho, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Junnam University
- "Assessment of the Secondary metabolism of Plant Kingdom in View of Creationism" by B. J. Choi, Associate Professor, Industrial Science Department, Kongju University
- "Analysis of Published Articles on the Creation of God and Healing of Persons" by H. B. Lee, Professor, Medical School, Hanyang University
- "The Error of Uniformitarianism" by W. K. Lee, Professor, Earth Science Department, Kongju University
- "A Comparative Study of Scientific Dating Methods" by B.S. Choi, Professor, Chemistry Department, KAIST.
As the public interest in creation science increased, many agreed on the need to have an education center, and in 1989 a Creation Science Education Center Development Plan was announced. The plan was very ambitious in its scale. The project was initiated but was unable to proceed as planned mainly because of the difficulties in raising funds to construct the center. However, when the World Expo was opened in August-October 1993 at Daejeon, members of KACR with the help of many other Christian volunteers built a Creation Science Exhibition Center, near the World Expo site in Daejeon. During the three months Expo period alone, over sixty thousand visited the Exhibition Center to see some of the historic and scientific evidences of God's creation of the world.
The most distinctive feature in recent years is that creation science is spreading into those universities where KACR members are working as professors. Only three universities are mentioned here.
- At Handong University, Dr. Young-gil Kim was inaugurated as president in March 1995. Several other members of KACR are actively working as faculty in the university.
- At Myungjee University, Dr. Woongsang Lee is a biology professor and at the same time is working as the chaplain of the university. This university has a center for creation research.
- The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is where the Research Association of Creation Science was founded and many graduate students are actively involved.
A second distinctive feature is that a considerable number of pastors are realizing the importance of creation science education for the youth in their churches. In 1994, Rev. Hongnam Lee, Pastor of Chanyang Presbyterian Church in Daejeon persuaded a few other fellow pastors to join him in support of the KACR mission, especially to give financial assistance for the Creation
Science Exhibition Center. In 1995, they founded an organization called "The Creation Science Supporters' Association." The purpose of the association was to support the mission of KACR and at the same time to reclaim the younger generation in their churches who had been tainted by evolutionary ideology.
In order to raise support the association together with KACR give lectures, seminars, and other programs related to science to the churches. The Creation Science Supporters' Association now has about 200 pastors and continues to grow.
It is our vision to strengthen world missions by using creation science as a tool. Drs. Bunsam Yim and Chongsung Kim in Indonesia, a Moslem country, are already using this missionary approach with positive results.
Other plans for the future include the following:
- Training of selected college students for future tasks
- Sending creation science missionaries abroad
- Placing science text books with the creationist viewpoint in public schools
- Building the Creation Science Education Center for research, exhibition, and education
There are basically two different types of cooperation needed.
The first one is close cooperation between pastors and creation scientists. Both pastors and creation scientists have the same objective, that is, to glorify God by using creation science as a tool, and eventually expanding the Kingdom of God, but each has a different role. The pastor's role is to apply the result of creation science research to church communities, whereas the creation scientist's role is to do the scientific research on the subject, to exhibit the results, and to educate the people concerned.
The second need is international cooperation between KACR and ICR. We need to join together in fighting against atheistic evolutionary theory. We need to encourage each other.
Some of our young scientists and university graduates desire to study creation science at ICR or at some other Christian university in the United States. We need your assistance in arranging such a program.
The founding members of the Korea Association of Creation Research were confident from the beginning that "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
Our colleagues have experienced the grace of God again and again. We have confidence that God will keep His promise as long as we depend on Him. Please pray for us so that our missions may succeed in the Lord. We expect your assistance in the future as in the past. It is our hope that we may mutually help each other in the future.
* Dr. Hyon has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and has recently returned from an administrative position with Korea's Agency for Defense Development.