With the worldwide proliferation of television sets and personal computers, along with the proposed global superhighway of information, one wonders if books may soon become as outdated as slide rules.
I would hope not, of course, because I have always loved books myself, and they do have a long and vitally useful history. Even our first father Adam probably wrote a book (note "the book of the generations of Adam"—Genesis 5:1), and King Solomon could say, a thousand years before Christ, that "of making many books there is no end" (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Just before his martyrdom, the apostle Paul still wanted to study his books, urging young Timothy to bring them to his prison cell (II Timothy 4:13), having earlier exhorted Timothy himself to "give attendance to reading" (I Timothy 4:13).
The Bible, of course, is the Book, written by God Himself, using the talents and resources of divinely prepared men to convey it down to man, after it had been "for ever . . . settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). God is still writing books in heaven (note His "book of remembrance"—Malachi 3:16—and "the books" in which are written "their works," books which are to be opened at the judgment—Revelation 20:12). There is also the wonderful "book of life" with the names of all who have been redeemed through faith in Jesus Christ as their great Creator, Savior, and coming King. The very last section of the Bible then contains a grave warning against altering even the words of God's Book (Revelation 22:18,19).
The Bible, of course, has been the most widely read and most influential book ever written, but many other books have also had great impact on the life of the world—not always for good.
One thinks immediately of the deadly effects of such books as Mein Kampf and Das Kapital, leading multitudes into misery and death. And what about Darwin's Origin of Species, the influence of which has dominated every course in the schools and colleges of the world for over a hundred years now.
So books are important, and people ought to read, but it is important which books they read! Every Christian, of course, should seek to be a diligent reader and student of the Bible, as well as sound books defending and expounding its teachings, not wasting his limited and precious time on harmful or trivial reading, but rather "redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16).
No doubt, as an inveterate bookworm myself, I am open to the charge of bias on this subject, but I know what a blessing the Bible, as well as many other books, have been in my own life. As a child and teenager, I must have spent all my spare time either playing ball (I once had the soon-aborted hope of becoming a professional baseball player, believe it or not!) or reading books. I read all the Oz books, the Tarzan books, the Sherlock Holmes books, and countless other library books—even Pilgrim's Progress—as well as the Bible my mother had given me, and which, more than anything else, led me to Christ.
It was more or less natural, then, that I would soon think of becoming a writer. I was editor of my junior high school paper and sports editor of my senior high school paper, so I had hopes of then majoring in journalism in college. Those were the years of the depression, however, and finances would not allow going off to the University of Texas to do this. Instead, I enrolled at Rice University to study engineering, so I could live at home and go to a (then) tuition-free university.
This was all in the providence of God, although I certainly did not realize it at the time. The Lord has given me, by His grace, a productive career in both science (engineering is "applied science") and writing. This combination turned out later to be especially effective in encouraging people to return to true Biblical, creationist Christianity at a time when our nation was rapidly drifting away from its theistic foundations into deep paganism and materialism.
When I returned to Rice as a teacher in 1942, I soon felt the need for a small book scientifically and Biblically explaining and defending the Christian Gospel. I had begun trying to win students to Christ, and this led to the publication of my first Christian book, That You Might Believe. That was exactly fifty years ago, in 1946, so this is sort of a jubilee year for me! That book has gone through several revisions and has been used to lead many to salvation. It is still available through Moody Press under the title Science and the Bible.
My first book, however, was an engineering monograph, The Rio Grande Water Conservation Investigation, explaining various hydrological studies which led eventually to the construction of a number of large dams on the Rio Grande and tributaries. I later wrote a number of other engineering books, one of which, Applied Hydraulics in Engineering (John Wiley and Sons) is a senior and graduate level book first published in 1963 and expanded in 1972. It has been used as a textbook in over 100 universities. It is still in print in 1996, which is quite unusual for a scientific or engineering book last updated almost 25 years ago.
Most of my books, however, have been written in defense and exposition of our Christian faith, especially upholding the truth of literal Biblical creationism and opposing all forms of evolutionism. Again in God's providence, the most influential of these, co-authored with Dr. John Whitcomb, was The Genesis Flood, published in 1961 by Presbyterian and Reformed. Many subsequent writers, both creationists and evolutionists, have said it was this book that catalyzed the modern revival of creationism, leading to a great proliferation of other creationist books and ministries around the world. Although it was not written as an evangelistic book, the Lord did use this book also to lead many to faith and a changed life through Christ.
I guess that, after this, writing became sort of an "occupational disease" with me. I have kept at it so that in these fifty-plus years, God has enabled me to write fifty or more books, plus numerous booklets and articles. At least 30 of these books are still in print, and all have been wonderfully used by the Lord in reaching people for Christ and in strengthening the faith and testimony of believers.
Among the more significant of these books have been: The Genesis Record, perhaps the most widely used commentary on the foundational book of the Bible; Scientific Creationism, probably the most widely used text and reference book on creationism; Many Infallible Proofs, an equally influential book on the practical evidences of the truth of Christianity, due out in a new edition this fall; The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, the only textbook dealing in depth with each major science in its Biblical context; The Long War Against God, the most complete and documented exposition of the history and modern influence of evolutionism; History of Modern Creationism, the only complete history of the creation movement written from a sympathetic perspective; and Biblical Creationism, an exposition of every passage in the Bible dealing with creation or the other events of early earth history.
Then, of course, most recently published is the Defender's Study Bible, with extensive footnotes and appendices especially written with the purpose of defending and expounding literal Biblical Christianity. There are many other excellent study Bibles available, but this particular aspect, I believe, is unique.
Coming out this fall will be The Modern Creation Trilogy, co-authored by Dr. John Morris and consisting of a boxed, three-volume set (Scripture and Creation, Science and Creation, and Society and Creation).
There are now many other valuable creationist books, of course, written by other scientists, and we would encourage people to read many of these too. I can speak first hand about God's blessing on my own books, but whether people read my books or not, I strongly encourage them to maintain a life long practice of reading sound God-honoring, faith-stimulating Christian literature.
So—use the Internet and other modern technologies judicially, but we trust you will also keep on reading and studying the Bible and good books that support the Bible, whether mine or others. There can really be no substitute for this component in developing and maintaining a consistently sound and fruitful Christian life and witness.
God, in His grace and providential leading, thus allowed me to be involved in both writing (my early interest and desire) and practical science (my training and experience). He has enabled me to combine the two in the much-needed defense and propagation of Biblical creationism, supporting the full integrity and authority of the wonderful, written Word of God.
For all this, along with countless other blessings (including many testings and trials, of course), I am deeply thankful to our God of all grace. Thanks also to the many kind people who have written or spoken to me about the impact my books have had on their own lives.
With my recent "retirement" and advancing age (77.7 as of this writing!), people more frequently now ask about my testimony. Well, whatever else may have been involved, books (the Bible, most of all) have surely played a key role, and I would commend them to you as well. As Paul urged Timothy: "Give attendance to reading!"
Dr. Henry Morris has hardly retired. He still puts in a full day's work at ICR, providing spiritual and technical guidance. Having turned day-to-day administration of ICR over to others, he is able to devote more time to writing. And this is where he has made and will continue to make his most-lasting contribution. Other creationist scientists may be making key discoveries in the lab or in the field, and others are carrying the message to millions of people, but all are building on the Scriptural and scientific foundation laid by Dr. Henry Morris. (Ed.)
* Dr. Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.