This week one of the great giants of our faith went to be with the Lord: Dr. John Whitcomb. I had the great privilege of meeting and spending time with Dr. Whitcomb when he taught at a training for pastors that our church sponsored a few years ago. What an amazing man of God! One of my favorite stories was that he showed us a picture of him and his Egyptian guide standing on the very pinnacle of the Great Pyramid. How many people do you know who have done that?
Dr. Whitcomb and Dr. Henry Morris published their ground-breaking book “The Genesis Flood” in 1960. Let me tell you the story from my vantage point of how important their work became.
1859: Before 1859, when Darwin published his book presenting the theory of evolution titled, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” most people held to the Biblical story of God’s special creation. As Darwin’s theory was promoted, especially among those who were skeptical of the Bible in the later enlightenment period, more and more were beginning to question the truth of the Bible’s story of creation.
Science ran with the theory of evolution and began looking for evidence to support it. As the theory gained traction and acceptance it moved into American schools. In the early 1900s several states had outlawed the teaching of evolution in the classroom.
Psalm 8:3–4 (NLT) When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?
1925: This brings us to the high school teacher John Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee, who taught his class the theory of evolution in defiance of Tennessee state law. He was brought up on charges and his trial became national sensational news. Scopes’ was defended by the famous defense attorney, Clarence Darrow. William Jennings Bryan, a Nebraska congressman, three-time presidential nominee, and Secretary of State, was the attorney for the prosecution. Bryan was a committed Christian who believed in the Biblical account of creation.
In the process of the trial Darrow called Bryan to the witness stand and challenged him to defend the Bible’s creation story. Bryan was ill-prepared to answer Darrow’s questions and people were left with the impression that the Bible story was indefensible. For the next several decades Christians flew under the radar on the subject of creation.
1960: That is when, in 1960, Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. John Whitcomb published their ground-breaking book, “The Genesis Flood.” Dr. Henry Morris was one of the world experts in hydraulic engineering (the flow and impact of water erosion). Dr. John Whitcomb was a theologian who provided the theological framework. This book offered significant evidence in support of the Biblical flood, and launched the discipline we know today as “creation science.” Through their witness, Christians gained confidence that the Biblical story of creation and the flood can be defended with evidence from science.
Psalm 19:1–2 (NLT) The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known.
TODAY: Ministries like Answers in Genesis (Creation Museum and Ark Encounter), Institute for Creation Research, Is Genesis History, and many others have gained traction in looking for evidence from scientific research that supports the Biblical narrative.
Romans 1:20 (NLT) For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
STILL A THEORY: When I was in high school our science teacher taught evolution as a theory, not as fact, as it is taught today. I would say emphatically evolution is still a theory. Let me say this as clearly as I can. Evolution is still a theory. It is NOT a fact!
One more thought I would add…in reality “creation science” is somewhat of an oxymoron. God’s act of creation was not natural, but by definition supernatural…and this includes the flood. God created from nothing all that now exists. Scientists can never properly explain creation and the flood unless they posit a creator God who is not bound by the confines of the natural world…which leads them outside the discipline of science.
A MATTER OF WORLDVIEW: If you believe in an all-powerful Creator God you will find evidence that more than adequately supports your worldview. If you reject belief in an all-powerful Creator God you will find evidence that supports your unbelief. I would suggest that a Biblical worldview has advantages that make it far superior in answering the great questions of life and origins! I recommend the Biblical worldview to you without reservation.
Romans 11:33–36 (NLT) Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
Thank you, Dr. Whitcomb, for your contributions! In paraphrasing Proverbs 31:31 I say, “Reward [him] for all [he] has done. Let [his] deeds publicly declare [his] praise.”
Onward in the faith,