By Dr. Henry M. Morris
In the six decades of the 19th century before the appearance of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the climate of the western world was increasingly one of religious skepticism. The industrial revolution had fostered a climate of evolutionary optimism; at the same time its excesses were also creating a spirit of revolution. Nevertheless, faith in God and the Bible were still strong, especially in America. Scientists for the most part maintained at least nominal allegiance to the Scriptures, but there was a strong undercurrent of doubt and desire to cast off these shackles. When Darwin proposed his theory of natural selection, it was like a dam breaking, and in only a few short years practically the entire scientific world seemed to have capitulated to unbelief. Nevertheless, even in this period there were many notable men of science who maintained strong and vital Christian testimonies.
Michael Faraday (1791-1867) is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest physicists of all time. He was especially gifted in scientific experimentation, particularly in developing the new sciences of electricity and magnetism. He discovered electromagnetic induction and introduced the concept of magnetic lines of force. He invented the generator and made many other other key discoveries and inventions. Two basic units, one in electrolysis, one in electrostatics, are named in his honor. He also made many key contributions in the field of chemistry.
Yet this great man was one of the most humble and sincere Christians one could ever find. His family was desperately poor, but deeply spiritual, members of a small Christian church whose teaching included emphasis on God’s creation as purposeful and harmonious, designed for man’s well-being. He had an abiding faith in the Bible and in prayer.
Unlike Newton, however, he made little attempt to “harmonize” his science with his Biblical faith, supremely confident that the two were both based on divine truth and were necessarily in agreement. He was very regular and faithful in the various ministries of his church, both public and personal. He fully believed in the official doctrine of his church, which said: “The Bible, and it alone, with nothing added to it nor taken away from it by man, is the sole and sufficient guide for each individual, at all times and in all circumstances…Faith in the divinity and work of Christ is the gift of God, and the evidence of this faith is obedience to the commandment of Christ.”
Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) is justly famous for his invention of the telegraph, one of the most important milestones in human history. The first message sent in 1844 over the wire, “What hath God wrought!” was from the Bible (Numbers 23:23). It was indicative of Morse’s entire life and purpose, desiring to honor the Lord in all things.
Morse was profoundly influenced by Timothy Dwight at Yale, where he graduated in 1810. In addition to his inventive genius, Morse was an outstanding artist, serving for 20 years as the founder and first president of the National Academy of Design. In 1831 he was appointed Professor of Sculpture and Painting at New York University, the first chair of fine arts in America. He also built the first camera in America and made the world’s first photographic portrait. Today he is ranked among the greatest portrait artists of all time.
Just four years before he died, Morse wrote, “The nearer I approach to the end of my pilgrimage, the clearer is the evidence of the divine origin of the Bible, the grandeur and subtlety of God’s remedy for fallen man are more appreciated, and the future is illumined with hope and joy.”
From Men of Science, Men of God: Great Scientists Who Believed the Bible, by Henry M. Morris, Master Books, © 1982, 1988. Used with permission.
Dr. Henry M. Morris is a respected scientist and author of a number of science textbooks. He is president of the Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, California.