The aborted 1970 lunar mission of Apollo 13 is well known. But what isn’t known is the role played by the creation scientists of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.
At the ICR website there’s a new and very illuminating article titled Conversion of a Rocket Man: Charles P. Morse. It’s about Charles Phillips Morse. We’re told he was “MIT-educated” and a “rocket scientist” and also a “devout evolutionist.” It’s written by his son, Charles C. “Chas” Morse. At the end of the article we’re given this description of the author: “Mr. Morse joined ICR in 2009, where he presently serves as Director of Church and Seminar Ministries.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered a shocking speech before a special joint session of Congress describing his ambitious goal of sending Americans safely to the moon before the decade’s end. Little did Kennedy know that his space scheme was a cog in the Master’s plan to relocate my MIT-educated dad, with family in tow, to southern California to accomplish other purposes for His glory.
So that was the purpose of Kennedy’s announcement that we were going to land a man on the Moon! Now you know. But there’s more — much more:
As our nation raced toward space, God pursued rocket scientist and devout evolutionist Charles Morse. Through the ministries of godly men, my dad was confronted with his sin, realized his spiritually bankruptcy, and turned from his former life to trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. But he still held to an evolutionary view of the world.
Still an evolutionist? That means he wasn’t completely saved. What happened then? Let’s read on:
After suffering broken ribs from a sudden fall, my father spent a week confined to bed. The newly converted Charles Morse decided to read through the entire Bible in one week. …
At the same time, my dad was providentially introduced to Dr. Henry Morris’ work and read The Genesis Flood. Living in the area, it was convenient for him to drive to San Diego, where he met with Dr. Morris and other creation scientists. All his questions were answered, and his conundrums vanished!
How wonderful — the rocket scientist had become a creation scientist! He had been transformed into a worthy instrument for the space program. The tale continues:
After long days designing spacecraft engine parts and other rocket gizmos, my dad glued himself each night to his brown leather reading chair, studying science and researching answers to questions like “Where did the water come from in Noah’s Flood?” and “Where did the water go?
Isn’t this thrilling? By day, Morse designed rocket “gizmos,” and at night he studied creation science. The space program was fortunate indeed to have such a man on the team. Pay attention now, because here’s where the story gets really good:
Most people are all familiar with the macabre transmission from outer space “Houston, we have a problem.” With that, the breakdown of Apollo 13 effectively ended my dad’s lucrative engineering job and left him permanently unemployed.
That’s a bit ambiguous, but young Morse leaves us with the clear impression that his “Rocket Man” father was terminated because of the failure of Apollo 13. That near-catastrophe was thoroughly studied. Wikipedia describes NASA’s Accident analysis and response. We’ve scanned some of the footnoted reports, but we don’t see blame assigned to any specific individuals. We’ll have to accept young Morse’s claim that the Apollo 13 misadventure caused his father to be “permanently unemployed.” Moving along:
At that point, God took over and hired Charles Morse as a full-time creation speaker, debater, and researcher. The ex-rocket man was free to study, research, and prepare for speaking engagements while living off the seven years of plenty accrued during his Apollo heydays. My dad would sometimes attend conferences with Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Duane Gish and toured throughout California speaking at churches, schools, and colleges.
Isn’t this inspiring? If we’re reading this correctly, Morse the elder was dismissed from the space program because he was held responsible (at least to some extent) for the Apollo 13 incident. But then, having been forged by misfortune and disgrace, he was at last ready to be promoted by the Lord to an even greater assignment — a full-time career in creation science. Here’s another excerpt:
Honestly, my dad was largely unknown in the creation movement, but he was not unknown to his Creator.
Our guess is that he wasn’t unknown to those who investigated the Apollo 13 mishap either. The article ends on a high note:
Although my dad didn’t formally publish, he unknowingly inscribed his passion for creation and why Genesis matters on the heart of his only son and namesake, Charles (Chas) Morse. Because of this and for the glory of our Creator, I count it a blessing and privilege to now serve on staff at the Institute for Creation Research.
So there you are, dear reader. Now you know the rest of the story of Apollo 13.
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