Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 19, 2020

Remembering a Giant

(4 Minute Read plus video)

Dr. John C. Whitcomb

A giant is usually capable of exerting remarkably great influence, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. The giant I am remembering today is a man who exerted prodigious influence — influence not only in his own day, but also influence on succeeding generations.

This giant was not an athlete or a politician. He was not a general or a movie star or a musician. This “giant of influence” was simply a theology professor. His name was John Clement Whitcomb Jr.

Dr. John C. Whitcomb (1924–2020) died Tuesday, February 5, at the age of 95.

Have you ever heard of Dr. John Whitcomb? Even if you have never heard of that name, it is likely that he has influenced your life in some way through the results of his work, either directly or indirectly. Read on to learn how this may have happened.

John Whitcomb fought in the December 1944 Battle of the Bulge in Belgium during World War II and graduated from Princeton University after returning home. For over 50 years, Dr. Whitcomb enlightened students as a professor at Grace Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. He wrote over 20 books including The World that Perished, The Early Earth, The Bible and Astronomy, plus commentaries on Daniel and Esther.

But Dr. Whitcomb is best known as one of the founders of the modern creationism movement, calling the church back to believe a literal Genesis. He co-wrote The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications with hydraulic engineer Dr. Henry M. Morris.

Fifty years after the book’s initial publication in 1961, chemist Russell Grigg wrote this about it:
“No other single work before or since has so effectively encouraged Christians’ belief in the historicity of Genesis, and the divine inspiration, scientific accuracy, and authority of the Bible as a whole. The Genesis Flood challenged the key principle of the atheistic theory of evolution — long ages — meaning that the earth and most of the fossils in it were millions of years old. Combining what the Bible actually said with scientific data from hydrology, geology, and archaeology, Whitcomb and Morris showed that the Biblical text required there to have been a world-wide Flood (not just a local or a tranquil one), and that scientific evidence substantiated this. Furthermore, they showed that this was recent (i.e. during the days of Noah, some 4,500 years ago), and that it could account for the fossils in the so-called ‘geological column’.”
(Russell Grigg, Turning the Tide, Creation Magazine, Volume 33, July 2011, p 18-19.)

John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, said this of the book:
The Genesis Flood is as timely, thought-provoking, and helpful as ever. A tour de force and a must-read resource for pastors, teachers, scientists, and anyone who is troubled by the conflict between the Biblical account of creation and the ever-changing claims of modern evolutionary theory.”

I myself first read The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb & Morris back in the mid-70s when I found a hardback copy in a used book store in Atlanta, Georgia. I knew of the book and was thrilled to get it for only $3 in August 1976.

As I paid for the book, I was amused that the proprietor warned me about the book. He cautioned me that the book was an unconventional, off-the-wall treatment of science and the Bible. He confided that the authors did not accept scientific evolution. I surprised him with, “Great! That’s good.” I devoured the book, and then I lent it to my girlfriend. After she read it, we got married, and we have shared enthusiasm for God’s glory in creation ever since.

GenesisFloodBk

The Genesis Flood book had its inception in 1953 at an American Scientific Affiliation conference in Indiana where Dr. Henry Morris spoke on evidence for a global flood in the days of Noah. He presented a paper titled The Biblical Evidence for Recent Creation and Universal Deluge.

In the audience was John Whitcomb, a professor of Old Testament at Grace Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Indiana. Morris’ paper inspired Whitcomb to investigate the topic of Noah’s flood for his doctoral thesis. Whitcomb’s dissertation defended a literal interpretation of Genesis 6-9.

Upon completion of Whitcomb’s dissertation in 1957, Morris and Whitcomb began collaborating on The Genesis Flood book which they published in 1961. A condensation of Whitcomb’s dissertation formed the theological part of the book. Morris wrote the scientific portions, more than two-thirds of the total book.

The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications by Whitcomb and Morris launched the modern creationist emphasis throughout the Christian and scientific world. The founding of the Creation Research Society followed soon after in 1963 with Morris’ help. The Genesis Flood has had a profound influence globally, equipping millions of people to defend a literal interpretation of the Genesis record of Creation, the Flood, and the Tower of Babel.

Whitcomb Video Lecture

Here is a video of one of Dr. Whitcomb’s lectures. He delivered How Did The Human Race Begin? in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on November 5, 2005, at a Voice of Christian Youth America rally. The video begins at the 8:20 mark with the introduction of Dr. Whitcomb, and then he speaks for about 50 minutes.

Wisdom of Whitcomb

This statement by Dr. Whitcomb sums up his life:
“I want to be in the full-time business of finding out what God says and telling as many people as I can.”

Dr. Whitcomb’s life verse was 2 Timothy 2:2:
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Thousands of Whitcomb’s students are now following his example and teaching the Bible to others worldwide.

Why Genesis Still Matters is a November 2017 article by Mike Matthews based on his interview of Professor Whitcomb. The article conveys Whitcomb’s intriguing perspectives on life, faith, and his seminal Genesis Flood book.

Questions to Ponder

1. Who has been a “giant of influence” in your life?
2. Intentionally or not, you are likely a “giant of influence” in someone’s life. Are you an influence for good or ill?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday February 19, 2020 A.D.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:11-12)

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