The Revival of Modern Creationism (II: ICR, For Such a Time as This) | The Institute for Creation Research
The Revival of Modern Creationism (II: ICR, For Such a Time as This)

There has, indeed, been a remarkable revival of strict creationism (as distinct from theistic evolutionism or progressive creationism) in the past three decades. The Scopes Trial in 1925, however, had resulted in such an overwhelming media victory for the evolutionists that Christians as a whole seemed to want to ignore the entire controversial subject of origins, especially shying away from any attempt to influence public education.

They no longer dared to question the evolutionary ages of the geologists (even William Jennings Bryan had tried to use the day-age theory at the Scopes Trial, a tactic which resulted in even more ridicule of the Bible by Clarence Darrow), and many Bible teachers tried to insert these ages into a postulated "gap" between the first two verses of Genesis. Geologists, of course, could never accept this gap theory, because their "ages" were based on the assumption of uniformitarianism, which has no room for the global pre-Adamic cataclysm required by any such theory. More and more, the scientific and educational worlds gravitated to total evolutionism, while Christians concentrated on "personal Christianity."

At the great Darwinian Convocation at the University of Chicago in 1959, gathered to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of Darwin's Origin of Species, evolutionists from all over the world paid homage to Darwin, eulogizing him for delivering the world out of what they thought was Biblical bondage into evolutionary freedom. The keynote speaker, Sir Julian Huxley, proclaimed the complete triumph of evolutionary humanism, and other speakers urged the schools henceforth to center their curricula around the "fact" of evolution.

It was at that very time, however, that John Whitcomb and I were writing The Genesis Flood. The book was finally published early in 1961, and the Lord graciously used it as a catalyst to stir up the modern creationist revival. There had been a few attempts earlier to establish an organized witness for scientific creationism, but these had floundered. The Religion and Science Association, founded in 1935, had lasted only two years. Then the Society for the Study of Creation, the Deluge, and Related Sciences lasted from 1938 to 1945. In both cases, the failure was caused by divisive arguments between strict creationists and those who wanted to accommodate the geological ages in their systems.

These two systems are like oil and water; they will never mix because they are founded on two different premises. The one believes that Scripture should govern our interpretation of scientific data; the other believes that current scientific majority opinion should control our interpretation of Scripture. Neither evolution nor creation can be scientifically proved, since they are dealing with history instead of repeatable science. It is possible to build a case for either view, and the decision finally boils down to what one wants to believe. Furthermore, the case for believing in evolution is far from self-consistent, as shown in many ICR books and articles.

We who believe in a recent, six-day, literal creation of all things believe that Christians ought to take God at His Word, allowing the Bible to say what its writers, guided by the Holy Spirit, intended it to say. They wrote for people of all time, and they wanted their readers to understand what they wrote.

When one holds this high view of Scripture, he necessarily must accept Genesis at face value. This not only means six literal days of creation, but also no geological ages, and that's the pill that many Christians refuse to swallow. Then, accepting the geological ages requires abandoning the doctrine of the global flood of the days of Noah, since such a cataclysm would have destroyed all evidence of the supposed geological ages. But the Scriptures clearly and emphatically teach that there was such a global and cataclysmic flood. This can only mean that the Flood and its after effects must explain most of the stratigraphic and fossil evidences that are commonly found in the earth's crust.

This is what our book, The Genesis Flood, tried to show, and it did soon find acceptance by many scientists and others, who—like John Whitcomb and myself—wanted to take God's Word as divinely inspired in all its words, and easily understood by anyone willing to believe it.

Two years later, in 1963, the Creation Research Society (CRS) was formed, mostly by men who had reviewed the manuscript for The Genesis Flood before it was published, and who then decided the time was ripe to establish a society of scientists who were strict creationists and who would do their research and writing in the light of true Biblical creationism.

The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), had been organized in 1941, ostensibly to oppose evolution, but it also was soon divided into two camps—those who wanted to accommodate the geological ages and those who did not. The progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists soon had gained almost complete control of the ASA (a situation which persists to this day), and this was another stimulus for forming the Creation Research Society.

Beginning with only ten scientists, the CRS grew rapidly, and currently has a membership of over 700 scientists with post-graduate degrees, all committed to strict creationism and flood geology. CRS has also published a quarterly journal of research papers in scientific creationism, ever since its inception.

Dr. Walter Lammerts, a prize-winning plant geneticist, was CRS president for its first five years, and then I succeeded him for another five years. It was during this period, starting in 1961 with publication of The Genesis Flood, that my own life was becoming more complicated.

I had resigned in 1957 from my job as Head of Civil Engineering at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and then taken a similar appointment at Virginia Tech, accepting a salary reduction in the process (plus even a greater cut thirteen years later to start our work here in San Diego). I had learned from the Scriptures and from experience that financial gain should never be a motivating factor in spiritual decisions. Although we had six children by then, the Lord has wonderfully provided our needs everywhere we have been (six different states, nine different jobs). We had long since learned to live simply and frugally, and have tried to apply these same principles on an organizational level at ICR.

At Virginia Tech, God greatly blessed. Our Civil Engineering Department grew to be the third largest in the nation, with a strong Ph.D. program and the second-largest research program at the University. My textbook on applied hydraulics and water resources was published in 1963 (the 1972 edition is still being used in some places).

I think the most important event during those years at Virginia Tech, however, was the publication of our book, The Genesis Flood. Not only did this seem to catalyze the modern creationism revival, but it also drastically changed my own life!

I began to get speaking invitations all over the country. For a while I tried to accept them all, but this eventually became impossible. I was also writing other books and articles, and all of this became practically a full-time job, in addition to my teaching and administrative job at the University, not to mention family responsibilities.

My wonderful wife (Mary Louise) certainly deserves most of the credit for the fact that all six of our children (three sons, three daughters) all became active Christians. Each of them at one time or another has even served on the staff at either ICR or Christian Heritage College. Our middle son, Dr. John Morris, is, of course, our Outreach Ministries Vice President at ICR.

In any case, the Lord used these extra-curricular activities at Virginia Tech eventually to lead us to California to start our full-time creationist ministry here. Much of my speaking had been at Christian colleges and seminaries, as well as churches, and these had greatly increased my awareness of the urgent need for creation teaching even in Christian institutions, not to mention the pervasive dominance of evolutionism in secular schools.

Accordingly, in September 1970, I resigned from Virginia Tech and accepted the invitation from Dr. Tim LaHaye to move to San Diego, where we proposed to start a creation-oriented, Christian liberal arts college with an associated center for creationist research and extension ministry.

Next month, in Part III of this series, I want to discuss the organization and early history of Christian Heritage College and its association with the Institute for Creation Research, as vital stages in the battle for true education and true evangelism.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. 1995. The Revival of Modern Creationism (II: ICR, For Such a Time as This). Acts & Facts. 24 (8).

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