|Born|| October 6, 1918 |
|Died|| February 25, 2006 |
San Diego, California
Henry Madison Morris (October 6, 1918 – February 25, 2006) was a prominent young earth creationist, Christian apologist, scholar, and hydrologist. He is most notable in his role in the modern creation science movement, co-authoring The Genesis Flood and co-founding the Institute for Creation Research and serving as its president from 1970 until 1995 and as president emeritus until his death. Dr. Morris was the intellectual father of the modern creation science movement, and he also first coined the term "creation science".
A strong proponent of a young Earth, Morris believed the creation account of the Bible was literally true and scientific inquiry would support his assertions. He was a scientist himself, having graduated from Rice University in 1939 and that earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering from the University of Minnesota. He was an author of many books against evolution and supporting creationism.
Early life and education
Morris was born in Dallas, Texas on October 6, 1918. He graduated from Rice University in 1939 with a B.S.C.E. "with distinction". Growing up, Morris was "religiously indifferent", but during his time at Rice University, he "began to undertake serious study of the Bible", and shortly after graduating from Rice he became a Christian, accepting "the Bible--from Genesis to Revelation--as the infallible and inspired Word of God." Morris was married to his wife, Mary Louise Beach, on January 24, 1940.
Career in hydraulics
After graduating from Rice University, Morris worked as a hydraulic engineer in the International Boundary and Water Commission, in El Paso, Texas. From 1942 until 1946, "he returned to Rice to teach civil engineering". It was during this time that Morris began to ponder questions regarding origins.
From 1946 to 1951, Morris taught at the University of Minnesota, where he also completed an M.S. in hydraulics in 1948 and a Ph.D. in hydraulic engineering in 1950. In 1946, Morris published his first book concerning creation, That You Might Believe, that showed how weak the evolutionary position is.
From 1951 to 1956, Morris served as a professor an chair of civil engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. From 1956 to 1957, he served as a professor of applied science at Southern Illinois University, and from 1957 to 1970, he served as a professor of hydraulic engineering and department chair of civil engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Morris "was a respected teacher" at Virginia Polytechnic and he wrote a textbook in 1963, Applied Hydraulics in Engineering, that as of his death "remains a cornerstone of the field." In addition to this, Morris wrote numerous scientific papers and articles, including eleven articles on hydraulics in technical journals and four hydraulics articles in the Encyclopedia Americana.
In 1961, Morris and Dr. John C. Whitcomb of Grace College published The Genesis Flood, arguably the most influential book of the modern creation science movement which gives strong scientific evidence for a young earth and for a real, global flood. Even Stephen Jay Gould, who strongly opposed biblical creation, called the book "the founding document of the creationist movement."
In 1963, Morris, Duane Gish, and eight other biblical creationists founded the Creation Research Society, of which Morris served as president from 1967 to 1973. In 1970, after resigning from his position at Virginia Polytechnic, Morris co-founded Christian Heritage College, and along with it the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), with prominent pastor and writer Tim LaHaye in San Diego. Morris would serve as the president of ICR from its foundation until January 1996, and he continued to serve as president emeritus until his death. In addition, Morris served as president of Christian Heritage College from 1978 to 1980. ICR was given approval from the state of California in 1981 to grant master's degrees in science education, and the same year it became autonomous of Christian Heritage College.
In his book The Long War Against God (1989), Dr. Morris takes the nonconformist position that most human beings started out believing in a single Creator God, but then gradually moved towards polytheism and animism. Most anthropologists—who uncritically accept evolutionary theory, long ages, and reject the Bible as historically accurate—take the opposite position. Morris's position is affirmed in Romans 1:21-22.
Morris's favorite Bible translation was the King James Bible, as he believed it to be the most accurate and powerful English translation. He did admit, though, that the KJV, like every other translation of the original text, was imperfect, and thus he did not oppose other translations.
Morris was married to his wife, Mary Louise, for 66 years, and together they had six children, seventeen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. Two of his sons, John D. Morris and Henry Morris III, succeeded him at ICR. Morris died on February 25, 2006, after suffering from repeated strokes, at the age of 87.
Morris is arguably the most important figure of the modern creation science movement, and he has been called the "father of modern creation science" or the "Darwin of the creationist movement." In fact, he has been said to have "coined" the term "creation science". He wrote numerous books about creation, and his most important book is The Genesis Flood, which was still in print when he died and sold about 250,000 English copies. Even many evolutionists, including Stephen Jay Gould and Eugenie C. Scott, acknowledged Morris as the most important modern creationist.Morris was an inspirational figure for many creationists. John Whitcomb, who would co-author The Genesis Flood with Morris, changed his creation position from the gap theory to a young Earth after listening to a lecture by him at Grace College in 1953. The Genesis Flood played a major role in influencing Ken Ham, who would become the president of Answers in Genesis, to become a major figure in the creation movement himself. Ham said,
"The grass-roots movement you see across America right now, with the school board battles, with the students questioning evolution in colleges, all of that is really in a big part due to the work of Dr. Henry Morris...All of us in the modern creationism movement today would say we stand on his shoulders."
- Schudel, Matt (March 1, 2006). Henry Morris; Intellectual Father of 'Creation Science'. The Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Dao, Christine (2009). Man of Science, Man of God: Henry M. Morris. ICR.org (taken from Acts & Facts. 38 (2): 20). Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Rudoren, Jodi (March 4, 2016). Henry M. Morris, 87, a Theorist of Creationism, Dies. The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Henry M. Morris. Creation Science Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Linder, Doug (2004). Henry M. Morris. umkc.edu. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Looy, Mark (March 2, 2006). He Followed God’s Decrees to the End (Psalm 119:33). Answers in Genesis. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- Morris, Henry M. (2005). Preserving the Words of God. ICR.org (from Acts & Facts. 34 (4)). Retrieved December 25, 2016.
- Looy, Mark & Ham, Ken (February 20, 2011). A Flood of Memories. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved October 13, 2016.