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Who was Henry Morris?

Henry Morris

Dr. Henry Madison Morris (1918—2006) was an American engineer and Christian apologist who left an indelible mark on the field of creationism. Known as the Father of Modern Creationism, Morris founded the Institute for Creation Research, an educational entity dedicated to investigating scientific evidence that confirms the biblical record. Henry Morris’s extensive writings and lectures in defense of the Bible and a literal interpretation of Genesis further solidified his influence.

Henry Morris was born in Dallas, Texas, to Henry Madison Morris and Emily Ida Hunter. At eight, he became a Christian and was baptized at First Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, Texas. Morris attended Rice Institute in Houston, graduating in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. In 1940, he married Marie Louise Beach, with whom he had six children and remained married to for life. The couple raised their young ones in the local Southern Baptist church. Morris joined the Gideons in 1942.

Morris began working as a hydraulic engineer with the International Boundary and Water Commission at El Paso. When the war broke out, he returned to Rice Institute as an instructor of civil engineering. In 1946, he attended the University of Minnesota, earning his master’s degree in hydraulics (1948) and a PhD in hydraulic engineering (1950).

By this time, Morris had developed a firm conviction in the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of Scripture. This belief led him to publish his first book, That You Might Believe (1946), a work that challenged the theory of evolution and advocated for a literal, young-earth, six-day creation and a worldwide flood. In this book, he also explored the gap theory, a belief that there was a time gap between the first two verses of Genesis. Later, Morris concluded the Bible did not support the theory. In 1949, Morris joined the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), intending to influence the association’s views on matters of science and faith.

Beginning in 1951, Morris served as a professor and chair of civil engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he later became the acting dean of engineering. He then became a professor of applied science at Southern Illinois University. In 1957, Morris moved to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) to head the civil engineering department.

While at Virginia Tech, Henry Morris co-wrote The Genesis Flood (1961) with Old Testament theologian Dr. John C. Whitcomb. Based on data from the scientific fields of hydrology, geology, and archaeology, the two showed how the systematic study of natural geological features affirms the reality of a global flood during Noah’s time. This book laid the groundwork for all subsequent creationist thinking and is regarded as the pioneering document of the creationist movement.

In 1963, Henry Morris joined several other young-earth creationists to co-found the Creation Research Society. That same year, he published a standard textbook in his professional field, Applied Hydraulics in Engineering. However, Morris’s interest in the weightier questions of faith and science and his increasing work in creationism led him to resign from the faculty of Virginia Tech in 1969. He partnered with Tim LaHaye in 1970 to found the Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian College), where Morris was also the professor of apologetics and vice president of academic affairs.

Henry Morris established the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in 1970 in Dallas, Texas, as the research division of Christian Heritage College. ICR’s three-fold focus was research, communication, and education in fields related to the study of origins. Five decades later, the institute continues performing scientific research from a biblical creation perspective to challenge evolutionists’ teachings with the truth of God’s Word.

Morris spent much of his career collaborating with scientists and Bible scholars around the world. He wrote numerous books on biblical creationism, science, evolution, and Christian apologetics, including Scientific Creationism (1974), Many Infallible Proofs (1974), The Genesis Record (1976), The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (1984), Science and the Bible (1986), The Long War Against God (1989), Creation and the Second Coming (1991), and Some Call It Science (2006). His published works form the basis for annotations in The New Defender’s Study Bible (1995).

Henry Morris traveled extensively, speaking at universities, churches, and conferences, and participated in more than one hundred debates against renowned evolutionary biologists, zoologists, and paleontologists. His work generated several creationist groups in the United States, Europe, and around the globe. In addition, he served as president of Christian Heritage College (1978—1980), president of ICR (1970—1995), and president emeritus of ICR (1996—2006).

After retiring in 1996, Henry Morris handed the leadership of ICR to his sons Henry M. Morris III and John D. Morris. He continued writing books, devotionals, and articles until suffering a series of strokes that led to his death on February 25, 2006, in Santee, California. He was 87 years old.

Here are some quotes from the writings of Dr. Henry Madison Morris:

“Any other gospel is another gospel and is not the true gospel. Without the creation, the gospel has no foundation; without the promised consummation, it offers no hope; without the cross and the empty tomb, it has no saving power.” (Some Call It Science)

“Our purpose in using the evidences is not to win arguments but to win souls, and also to win a more favorable intellectual environment for the presentation of the gospel.” (Many Infallible Proofs).

“It is impossible to devise a scientific experiment to describe the creation process, or even to ascertain whether such a process can take place. The Creator does not create at the whim of a scientist.” (Scientific Creationism)

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This page last updated: June 6, 2024