Norman Geisler dies

07.02.2019

Norman GeislerThe theologian Norman Geisler died on July 1, 2019, at the age of 86, according to Christianity Today (July 1, 2019), which wrote, "Described as 'a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham,' Geisler was a prolific author, apologist, and professor, as well as the co-founder and former president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in North Carolina and co-founder of Veritas International University in California." He wrote or edited over a hundred books during his long career.

During the 1981 trial in McLean v. Arkansas, in which a state law mandating the teaching of creation science in Arkansas's public school was challenged as unconstitutional, Geisler (then a professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary) was the lead expert witness for the defense, although he disagreed with the creation science view that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. After the court decided that the law was indeed unconstitutional, Geisler continued to defend it in his book The Creator in the Courtroom (1982). He also engaged in a debate about his views of creationism in the pages of Creation/Evolution in 1983 and 1984. In Origin Science (1987), coauthored with J. Kerby Anderson, he articulated a distinction between "operation science" and "origin science," in which the latter — including evolution — is intrinsically suspect; the distinction is now widely invoked by young-earth and old-earth creationists alike to try to impugn the scientific status of evolution. Geisler revisited and updated The Creator in the Courtroom with Creation and the Courts (1997), with a preface by the young-earth creationist Duane Gish.

Geisler was born on July 21, 1932, in Warren, Michigan. He received a B.A. in philosophy from Wheaton College in 1958, a M.A. in theology from Wheaton Graduate School in 1958, a Th.B. from William Tyndale College in 1964, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Loyola University in 1970. He served in a variety of academic and pastoral institutions, including Dallas Theological Seminary and Southern Evangelical Seminary as well as Southern Evangelical Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.