There were almost 450 people who gathered together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (Superbowl Sunday, no less!), January 26, 1986, to participate in the thrilling outdoor dedication service for the new ICR Headquarters Building (see article and photos in March Acts & Facts). Following a brief report on the Institute's history by ICR President Henry M. Morris, the main address was given by Dr. John C. Whitcomb, Professor of Old Testament and Director of Doctoral Studies at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. These two messages (slightly edited) are included herein for the benefit of those who where unable to attend the service.
I would add my own sincere thanks to those just express by Dr. Duane Gish, to all of you who have joined us this afternoon and to all those everywhere who have worked and prayed with us for this occasion. Before Dr. Whitcomb speaks, there are three wonderful verses in the Psalms that seem especially appropriate just now.
The first is Psalm 68:11: " The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it." The work accomplished through ICR these past 15 years and now represented in a special way by this beautiful new building, has been the work of a great company of concerned men and women. Of course, there are the dedicated faculty and staff of the Institute, and then our wonderful Board of Trustees, as well as the scientists on our Technical Advisory Board. The find graduate students in our ICR Graduate School must be recognized, and the many volunteer workers who have helped in so many ways. Our colleagues at Christian Heritage College and the Christian Unified Schools of San Diego, and, of course, the members and staff at Scott Memorial Baptist Church who first sponsored both ICR and the College back in 1970, are also represented here. We must also thank the builders themselves, and their suppliers, all of whom have done a splendid and most generous job on the building. Certainly not least are our thousands of prayer and financial supporters across the country who have made it all possible.
This ICR "team" is a greater team even than the Chicago Bears or the New England Patriots! "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (I Corinthians 9:25). This "great company" has, of course, had a great word to publish--the word that Jesus Christ is Creator, Sustainer, and Reconciler of all things (Colossians 1:16-20).
That brings me to the second text: "This is the LORD'S doing: it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). By the Lord's grace, the ICR ministries--the many books, the debates, the seminars, research projects, graduate school, evangelism, missions, and many others--have had a truly worldwide impact. There are now over 100 creationist organizations around the world, and one measure of our effectiveness has been the tremendous opposition that has been generated against the creation movement in general, and ICR, in particular, by the scientific and educational establishments in recent years. One leading evolutionary humanist, addressing a scientific convention, said that the three greatest dangers facing society today are: (1) nuclear war; (2) over-population; and (3) creationism. At least we have their attention!
Finally, the third verse I want to mention is Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the LORD hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it." This particular day has a special significance to me, for it was exactly 16 years ago today that Dr. Tim LaHaye and I first met and began the discussions that soon led to the founding of Christian Heritage College and its research division, which eventually would become known around the world as the Institute for Creation Research. Then, just five years ago this week, ICR became an independent organization, in order to begin its unique graduate school of science in a creationist context.
All of this has, indeed, been the Lord's doing, and He has brought us to this special day. I trust it will be not only a day of dedication for a beautiful new building, but also a day of rededication for the entire ICR team--a day of renewed commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Creator, our Savior, and our Coming King!
And now, I am especially delighted that my long-time colleague and dear friend, Dr. John Whitcomb, is here to bring our Dedication Message.
I congratulate each one of you who has come here today to share in this public testimony to the providence of God. In a world that is basically in opposition to the Creator and Lord of the universe, under the blinding and deadening influence of vast armies of evil spirits culminating in the god of this world, Satan himself, only an infinite God could have accomplished what we see here today.
What we see is indeed impressive. It is a beautiful building, with space in its library for 20,000 volumes; a fascinating Museum of Creation and Earth History; and excellent facilities for science laboratories, lecture halls, classrooms, offices, computers, and shipping.
What we do not see here, however, is even more important. Those who may be first-time visitors are probably unaware of the amazing history behind this physical structure. It is the end product of one of the most unexpected and spectacular movements in the history of the Christian church, known as "scientific creationism." The story has been well told by Henry Morris in a new book entitled, A History of Modern Creationism. There we are reminded that neither the Scopes Trial of 1925 nor the Darwin Centennial of 1959 could destroy the seeds of truth that the living God has always been planting in the minds of men through His created works and through the written revelation of Scripture that uniquely interprets those works. Amazingly, a book called The Genesis Flood, published in 1961--just two years after the great Darwin Centennial, was one of the many small stones God chose to use to destroy the nearly absolute monopoly enjoyed by that Goliath known today as Uniformitarian Evolutionism. Now, by God's mercy, Biblical and scientific creationism are seen throughout much of the evangelical world as valid and even superior alternatives to evolutionism in all its forms.
But there is something else represented by this building which is even more important than modern intellectual and spiritual movements culminating in such organizations as the Institute for Creation Research. It is the prospect of incomparably greater things to come. Twenty-five hundred years ago, many aged Jews wept when they saw the foundations of the new Temple which Joshua the High Priest and Zerubbabel the Governor had laid (Ezra 3:12). To them, it was nothing compared to the magnificent Temple of Solomon which had stood on that very hill at the north edge of Jerusalem only two generations before.
In a similar fashion, some of us might weep today as we think back over the years of great educational institutions in North America such as Harvard and Yale and Princeton, which were established at great cost, by godly men, for the glorification of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as our Creator and our Sovereign Lord. But today, in these great universities, one of which is my alma mater, and in many hundreds of others like them, materialism and evolutionism dominate the lecture of others like them, materialism and evolutionism dominate the lecture halls and the textbooks. Even more tragically, most colleges that profess to be Christian, and are even controlled by evangelical church groups, likewise reject the clear teachings of the Bible concerning Creation and the Flood.
"Weeping may endure for a night," the psalmist tells us, "but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). It is the joy that only hope can bring--a hope that is solid, and that is based upon nothing less than the promises of an all-knowing God. And so Ezra tells us that while some wept, "many shouted aloud for joy" when they realized the true significance of that second Temple. In fact, "the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard far away." If any doubts remained, they were removed when the prophet Haggai gave this message from heaven: "`All you people of the land take courage,' declares the Lord, `and work, for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts . . . `And I will shake all the nations . . . and I will fill this house with glory.'" (Haggai 2:4,7).
We are far from suggesting that this beautiful building we are dedicating to the Lord today will be God's Temple in the Kingdom Age! In fact, it will probably not survive the awful calamities that our God has programmed for a world that has rejected His claims to be the Creator of all things. But there is one thing that will not only survive but will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea: that is the true knowledge of the Lord for which this building stands (cf. Isaiah 11:9).
This is the solid hope that gives us great joy today. Many battles against our unseen enemy have been lost, and literally hundreds of Christian institutions, together with their impressive buildings and financial structures, have fallen into ruins. But the long-term war cannot be lost, for our Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, delivered the death blow to Satan when He cried from the Cross, "It is finished!"
Some day, not just a handful of people like this, but a vast throng from every age of history and from every nation of the world will join together in a heavenly chorus of praise to our Lord Jesus Christ and will shout aloud: "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11). May God enable us to participate in that great future event, even today, by praising Him in our hearts and with our lips as our great and glorious Creator and Lord, and to determine to make Him known throughout the world in this generation. To Him be the glory from this day forth and forever. Amen.