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Henry Morris on Trial: Morris' Theological Distortions
By Tommy Huxley
Posted on: 4/20/2002
Part III of a detailed, four-part examination of some of the ideas of Henry Morris.
Henry Morris on Trial: How Creation Science Abuses the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Misrepresenting Both Science and Scripture
Now, let’s examine how young-Earth creationists misrepresent the book of Genesis. It’s ironic that in the introduction of Henry Morris’ own annotated Bible, The Defender’s Study Bible (1995, World Publishing), Morris writes:
There is no doubt that Christ and the apostles all believed the Old Testament Scriptures to be the divinely inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative, written Word of God. They quoted from it and referred to it profusely, always with absolute confidence in its accuracy and integrity. Consequently, the notes attached to the text here in The Defender’s Study Bible all are based on this premise.Morris declares that his commentary follows the Biblical text with exact precision. Yet if you browse through Henry Morris’ Bible and examine his annotations, you’ll discover that he engages in wild, reckless speculations that don’t exist in Scripture. Instead, Morris concocts a personal theology that conforms to his idealistic worldview and then proof-texts the Old Testament to match his vision.
But before I offer my first example, I must inform everyone that the Defender’s Study Bible is a King James Bible, while all my scriptural quotes are from the New International Version (NIV). I don’t mean to confuse anyone by this trade-off, but I hope that my examples will be clearer since the NIV is now the best-selling translation among evangelical Protestants.
For one example of Morris’ characteristic proof-texts, read this annotation to Genesis 1:31 that says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”:
The evolutionary ages of geology represent a billion years of wasteful inefficiency and profound cruelty if they were, indeed, a part of God’s work. They would completely discredit God as a God of order, intelligence, power, grace and love. Death represents the “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23), not of divine love.The above passage reveals much about Henry Morris’ psychology. Earlier, I said that young-Earth creationists are deaf to scientific criticism, but is that any wonder? According to Morris, accepting conventional geology is the same as conceding that God is cruel and powerless. And how can we have any hope in the future if God turns out to be less than what we expect? And how can we accept basic scientific explanations of natural history if it means that we’ll lose our eternal salvation in the process?
Thus, the gap theory (placing the geological ages before the creation week) and the day-age or progressive creation theory (incorporating the geological ages during the creation week) in effect imply that the Creator is either a bumbler or a monster. In reality, the geological ages are nothing but evolutionary delusions; the fossils are much more realistically explained in terms of the Flood.
But, really, what difference would it make when God cursed the earth? Is death and suffering less painful because we can blame our plight on Adam and Eve’s disobedience? Does that make God’s “curse” easier to bear because they’re ultimately responsible instead of Him?
And would wasteful “geological ages” before The Fall make God less cruel? In Deuteronomy 28:53-57, for example, God threatens to punish Israel for disobedience by forcing mothers to eat their newborn children, including their placentas, in secret so as not to share the infants’ remains with their starving family members. Is that less cruel than allowing animals to suffer extinction before Adam and Eve’s transgression? Where is Morris’ sense of proportion?
And how can 20th-century American Protestants like Henry Morris claim to speak for God, anyway? Morris alleges that if God did allow death and suffering to occur before Adam’s sin, then God “is either a bumbler or a monster.” Didn’t Morris ever read Isaiah 55:9 where God warns us that, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Is Henry Morris asserting that he has the authority to judge God’s unknowable motives?
Actually, the Bible implies that the Second Law of Thermodynamics existed before the fall. Let’s examine the following passage from Genesis 1:30:
“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.Henry Morris explains that verse in this way:
It is plain that both men and animals were originally intended to be vegetarian and herbivorous in their appetites. There was adequate nourishment and energy value available in the fruits and herbs to enable both to accomplish the work God had given them to do. The supply could not be exhausted, since these plants were designed to replicate themselves through the seeds they produced.As must be obvious to any student of the Bible, Morris invents a lot of fictional detail here. But oddly, he ignores a more critical problem. If all the animals on Earth ate green plants for food, then death, decay and decomposition occurred before The Fall. How else do digestive processes work? Where does fecal matter come from? Did all the animals before The Fall take in food without eliminating waste? Isn’t waste the byproduct of death, decay and decomposition?
The fact that their food would be available everywhere, “upon all the face of all the earth,” shows that in the originally created world there were no deserts or other uninhabitable regions, no frozen tundras or ice caps, [and] no rugged high mountain ranges. With lush vegetation everywhere, the animals no doubt soon had populated all the earth.
And in a perfect world where all animals are immortal, why would they require food? What would happen if they stopped eating? Would they die? Were animals really immortal before The Fall? If just one critter stopped eating, could he have introduced death into the world before Adam?
And does that verse really say that God prohibited animals from eating other animals? Although God says, “I give you every green plant for food,” does that offer hold an implied restriction? Or is Henry Morris arguing from silence? Most carnivorous animals are in reality, omnivorous. If you look at the number one ingredient in dry dog or cat food, it’s not flesh but ground corn meal.
In Genesis 3:20, the Bible says, “Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.” Mother of all the living what? People? Apes? Insects? It just says “all the living,” period. If Morris is allowed to interject the word “people” here because he thinks that assumption logically follows, couldn’t I “logically” assume that God placed no restrictions on the animal’s natural diet? Morris can’t dictate incomplete conjectures as orthodoxy.
And isn’t waste the result of increasing entropy? Plants eliminate oxygen as a waste that we, in turn, breathe. But if plants were exhaling waste, too, doesn’t that contradict a perfect world? If plants were not eliminating waste, did we inhale a different gaseous element? Since we eliminate carbon dioxide as waste, did respiration even exist before The Fall, or is breathing, too, a consequence of the curse?
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Henry Morris and his disciples make Genesis chapter three more complicated than it really is. After God reprimands his two favorite creations for their sin, does he then alter the laws of physics over the entire universe?
No. He only kicks them out of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24):
And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”Clearly, God created Adam and Eve as mere mortals. They never attained physical immortality because God denied their access to the magical fruit of the Tree of Life. God originally constructed the Garden of Eden as a paradise to shelter them from the rest of the unsafe world. When God turned around and kicked them out of their shelter, Adam and Eve had to endure the worldly hardships that already existed.
So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
After he drove the man out, he placed on the East Side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Is my interpretation of Genesis more accurate than Henry Morris’? I think so. Does that mean my interpretation is infallible? No. Unlike Morris, I don’t believe that my rendering of Scripture should be established as essential Christian orthodoxy. Morris and his followers should concede that Christians have the freedom to interpret the Old Testament freely without the benefit of a priesthood to decipher Scripture for them. That’s what it means to be a Protestant!
Morris carries his presumptions over into the New Testament, too. Consider the following passage from the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12, 14, 17-18:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all [men] sinned.Now, here’s Morris’ freakish exegesis of verses 12 and 14:
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
For if by the trespass of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ?
Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
Thus there was no death before sin entered the world. The finished creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), with an abundance of food and all other provisions for man and animals. There was certainly no struggle for existence, or survival of the fittest, for every creature was created fit for its own environment. When Adam sinned, God brought the curse of decay and death not only upon Adam, but also upon his dominion (Genesis 3:17-20, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, Romans 8:20-22).Notice that the Biblical reference only says that death happens to all men because all men sin. Nowhere does it mention animals. Furthermore, it says that just as Adam’s trespass condemns all men, Jesus’ resurrection brings eternal life to all men. Did Jesus save all the world’s animals, too? Should I baptize my cats?
The only creatures in history who have not sinned like Adam (Romans 5:12) are the animals. But death reigns over these also because of Adam’s sin. In fact, the very ground was cursed, out of which all living bodies had been made, when their God-appointed steward sinned.
Paul repeats this more succinctly in 1 Corinthians 15:21-22:
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.Again, the Bible makes it clear that spiritual death, not physical death, is the result of Adam’s sin. And since most creationists insist that animals have no eternal soul or spirit because only humans are created separately in His image, how can Christ resurrect departed animals from the dead?
Here’s another passage from Romans 8:20-22 that every Christian I know misinterprets with great flair:
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.Here’s Henry Morris’ garbled interpretation of that same passage:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
“Corruption” is equivalent to “decay,” and this is yet another way of stating the entropy principle. Everything tends to decay, running down from a created state of organized complexity to one of randomness and disorganized chaos. This law is thus called a “bondage;” the universe is enslaved by it, and there is no natural principle available to supersede it. Such a law is clearly the exact converse of the notion of evolution, which views the universe as gradually organizing itself over long ages by natural processes into its present state of high complexity and activity. The entropy law, which is supported without exception by all observation and scientific study, seems to stipulate that evolution on any significant scale is impossible. It also explains the fact that evolution has never been observed to occur in the present and the fact that there is no evidence it ever occurred in the past.Notice that the passage in Romans is only talking about the future glory that will happen when God creates a new Heaven and Earth. It does not talk about the past. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, are the words ‘sin,’ ‘trespass’ or ‘curse’ ever mentioned or implied in these verses.
The reference to “the whole creation” indicates that the divine curse extends through the entire created cosmos, not just to the earth. Scientific observation has confirmed this. That is, the law of entropy operates throughout the cosmos. Since it was man’s sin that brought God’s curse on the ground — the very elements of the created earth, the “dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) out of which all things were made by God — it may be that his sin had universal repercussions. On the other hand, it may be that Satan’s sin, which took place in the angel’s domain in the heavens, brought on the curse there.
In fact, Paul says that the whole creation has been in bondage to decay since the beginning. It has even been suffering from the pains of childbirth right up until the present. There’s an interesting parallel between this verse and Genesis 3:16 where God tells Eve, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.”
Did you notice that God said he would greatly increase Eve’s birth pains? He didn’t say that he would “introduce” them. How can you increase something that doesn’t exist in the first place? That’s like multiplying any number by zero! But Henry Morris says:
Had Eve not sinned, the experience of childbirth would have been easy and pleasant like every other experience in the perfect world that God had made. The Curse, however, fell in a peculiar way on Eve and her daughters, and the pain and sorrow of conception and birth would be greatly multiplied.Again, how can Morris multiply anything by zero? Romans 8:20-22 says that the universe has always been in bondage to decay since its birth. And Paul assures his followers that in the future, God will create a new heaven and Earth that will be free from its present state. Paul doesn’t tryto explain why nature behaves this way. He only admits that it does.
Lest you missed it, Morris also suggested in his commentary on Romans 8:22 that Adam’s penalty brought about death on planet Earth, only. You can attribute cosmological decay to Satan and the third of the angels that rebelled against God and were tossed from Heaven (Revelation 12:3-4). Morris also suggests in his commentary on Genesis 3:19 that:
The curse evidently applies to the entire physical cosmos, as well as to planet Earth, though it is possible that the decay principle operating in the stars and the other planets may relate also to the prior sin of the angelic host of heaven.So rebellious angels are equally culpable for initiating the Second Law of Thermodynamics, too? I must also point out that in a book Morris wrote in 1978, The Remarkable Birth of Planet Earth (Bethany House Publishers), he suggested that the craters on the moon happened as a result of collateral damage in a war between Satan, his angels, and Michael the Archangel.
But is any of this in the Bible? Henry Morris and his like-minded creationists have always insisted that if there’s ever a conflict between science and Scripture, then the Bible’s version of events should take precedence. But how can we trust Morris’ scientific integrity if we can’t trust his theological integrity? He just makes up stories whenever it’s convenient and then has the chutzpa to stamp his tales with Biblical authority!
And it’s not just Henry Morris who’s guilty. Ironically, many young-Earth creationists call themselves strict Biblical literalists, yet they, too, accept much of Morris’ unbalanced reasoning as Gospel. And they still call themselves Fundamentalists!
And some of Morris’ disciples are the most unlikely converts. For example, I often listen to Hank Hanegraaff’s daily Bible-Answer Man radio broadcasts when I’m driving home from work. This President of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), the same man who always admonishes his listeners to “accept the Bible, always, as the final court of arbitration,” parrots Henry Morris’ distortions about the Second Law of Thermodynamics with the same gravity he applies to the Resurrection Gospel.
But why? Isn’t Hank a Bible scholar? What kind of hold does Henry Morris have on fundamentalists who wouldn’t normally stray one hair’s breadth from The Literal Word?
Of course, the Bible-Answer Man also tells his listeners that Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species as a pseudoscientific treatise to justify the natural order of white racial superiority. Hank probably figures that arguing the scientific merits for or against natural selection is a tedious waste of time. So why not play the race card instead and ignite bitter passions? That’ll shut your opponents up!
Creationists are always linking evolution to abortion, homosexuality, genocide, and other hot button issues that involve personal immorality because for them, those rooted issues are easier to grasp than the ever-changing nature of the natural sciences.
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