Matthew Fontaine Maury

Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury USNMatthew Fontaine Maury (1806 -1873), known as “the Pathfinder of the Seas” was, to all intents and purposes, the founder of the modern sciences of hydrography and oceanography. On a plaque at Goshen Pass, (Previously stated by Dr. Morris, “Tombstone at the Naval Academy”, but corrected by the CSHF to a “plaque at Goshen Pass”) is inscribed the eighth Psalm, especially verse 8: “… whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.” He believed if God said there were paths in the seas, a man could find them, and he dedicated his life to doing just that. Most of his career was spent with the U.S. Navy, charting the winds and currents of the Atlantic, with his latter years spent as Professor of Meteorology at Virginia Military Institute.
Matthew Fontaine Maury. Statue on Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA. Photo: William Maury Morris.Excerpted from Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris. Copyright 1982, 1988 by Henry M. Morris. Used by permission.

Statement from the Creation Science Hall of Fame on Matthew Fontaine Maury

Several atheists have recently laid with us what they believe to be evidence that Matthew Fontaine Maury does not deserve a place in the CSHF. They claim that Maury:

  1. Was deficient in his belief of Christianity,
  2. Did not believe in a supernatural creation as written in Genesis,
  3. Had no Bible-in-the-hand statue, and
  4. Had no inscription on his tombstone at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond referring to Psalm 8

Upon receiving these accusations, the CSHF sought the truth in history.

After much research we discovered the following 4 proofs that support our decision to induct Maury into the CSHF.

Proof 1: Maury was never deficient in his belief in Christianity

The book Tributes to M.F. Maury is dedicated to the memory of Captain James Maury Werth, U.S. Navy (Retired) (September 15, 1917 – January 8, 2008), a great-grandson of Matthew F. Maury and the former Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1968 to 1972. Author Howard Cohen graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and minor in Oceanography. He served as a Licensed Deck Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Mr. Cohen is currently a Marine Analysis Professional Advisory Board Manager in the Workforce and Development Tradecraft Office. He has written extensively about NGA’s Maritime Domain’s heritage, products, services, and accomplishments. His articles have been published in Hydro International, Via Inmarsat, IMO News, and NOAA’s Mariners Weather Log. Mr. Cohen was a Public Affairs Officer in the Office of Corporate Relations and holds a Masters of Arts in Communications from American University, 1969.

Quote from the book, Tributes to M.F. Maury:

Miss Belle Maury, the daughter of R. H. Maury, who was ten at the time, remembers servants hauling tubs of water to the third floor front room for the experiments. Both Matthew Maury and his wife, Ann Herndon, were deeply religious; however, his wife was opposed to her husband’s underwater experiments because it was an “Unchristian like way to kill people.”

Proof 2: Maury was never deficient in his belief in a supernatural creation as written in Genesis

Here is what Maury wrote in a letter entitled “The Bible and Science”

I pass by the history of creation as it is written on the tablet of the rocks and in the Book of Revelation, because the question has been discussed so much and so often that you, no doubt, are familiar with the whole subject. In both, the order of creation are the same. First the plant to afford sustenance, and then the animals, the chief point of apparent difference being as to the duration of the period between ‘the evening and the morning.’ ‘A thousand years are in His sight as one day,’ and the Mosiac account affords evidence itself that the term ‘day,’ as there used, is not that which comprehends our twenty-four hours. It was a day that had its ‘evening and morning’ before the sun was made.

This seems to indicate that he is open to an old earth. However, later in the same letter, he says,

If the two [science and Scripture] cannot be reconciled, the fault is ours, and is because, in our blindness and weakness, we have not been able to interpret aright either the one, or the other, or both.

Thus, the Creation Science Hall of Fame believes that Maury thought science says the earth is old and that the Bible says the earth is young, and that apparent contradiction is our fault, not that of science or Scripture.

These quotes come from a book called, “A Life of Matthew Fontaine Maury” by Diana Fontaine Corbin and Nannie Corbin, pp. 159-160.

Proof 3: The Maury statue does depict Maury with a Bible close by.

The problem: the Bible wasn’t in his hand. It lay by his left foot. See here from Pathfinder of the Seas by J. W. Wayland, p. 161.

Matthew Fontaine Maury's statue in Richmond, VA. Note the Bible lying at his feet.

Matthew Fontaine Maury; annotated photograph of the statue on Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA, USA. From: Wayland JW, Pathfinder of the Seas, p. 161

Proof 4: A memorial plaque to Maury does refer to Psalm 8

The inscription was on a plaque instead and not on a tombstone. See below:

Matthew Fontaine Maury, memorial plaque at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, USA.

MATTHEW FONTAINE MAURY PATHFINDER OF THE SEAS THE GENIUS WHO FIRST SNATCHED FROM THE OCEAN AND ATMOSHERE THE SECRET OF THEIR LAWS. BORN JANUARY 14TH, 1806 DIED AT LEXINGTON, VA. FEBRUARY 1ST, 1873 CARRIED THROUGH GOSHEN PASS TO HIS FINAL RESTING PLACE IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. EVERY MARINER FOR COUNTLESS AGES, AS HE TAKES HIS CHARTS TO SHAPE HIS COURSE ACROSS THE SEAS, WILL THINK OF THEE HIS INSPIRATION HOLY WRIT PSALMS 8 & 107, VERSES 3, 23 & 24 ECCLESIASTES CHAP. 1, VERSE 8
A TRIBUTE BY HIS NATIVE STATE VIRGINIA 1923
Photo courtesy Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

RETURN TO LIST OF DECEASED INDUCTEES.

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