Christian Homeschool Resources & Homeschooling Advice

Matthew Fontaine Maury In Profile Part 2

  • Ray & Gale Lawson
  • 2004 1 Sep
Matthew Fontaine Maury In Profile Part 2

Maury the Christian:
Psalm 8:8 reads, "The fowl of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." This verse, some say, was Maury's inspiration for his lifelong work. The phrase "paths of the seas" indicated to him that there was much to be learned from the design and function God put in place in the oceans.

Matthew Maury grew up with the Bible serving as his guide. His deep trust in God's word directed his path. Through his reading the Bible he was fascinated by the number of times references were made to "paths of the seas" further proving to him that God was the architect.

In his publication, "The Physical Geography of the Oceans," Matthew Maury referenced scripture numerous times. His peers often ridiculed him saying that he was trying to use the Bible as a scientific textbook. Certainly the Bible is not a text on oceanography but to Maury it provided numerous clues about God's intelligent design that he could use to guide his studies. Some of these clues included the following verses:

Psalm 107:23-24, "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in the great waters; These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep."

Ecclesiastes 1:6-7, "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again."
Job 36:27-28, "For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof; Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly."

Isaiah 43:16, "Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters."

There is an old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." This was as true in Maury's time as it is today. There were those who believed the Bible and those that did not, those who used the Bible as their guide and those who found fault with the Bible. As Maury once publicly stated:

"I have been blamed by men of science, both in this country and in England, for quoting the Bible in confirmation of the doctrines of physical geography. The Bible, they say, was not written for scientific purposes, and is therefore no authority in matters of science. I beg pardon! The Bible is authority for everything it touches. What would you think of an historian who should refuse to consult historical records of the Bible, because the Bible was not written for the purposes of history? The Bible is true and science is true, and therefore each, if truly read, but proves the truth of the other."

Career Decisions
The seas and oceans are still a place of curiosity and fascination. A great deal has been learned but there is still a lot that is not known, making oceanography a very interesting career path. Sometimes you may hear the phrase, exploring "inner space," as contrast to exploring "outer space." Inner space is concerned with the oceans.

If you decide to study oceanography, good subjects to take are mathematics, physical science, earth science, geology, geography and meteorology. All play a role in understanding the oceans. (Note: Many of the above courses are usually taught from an evolutionary perspective. Now would be a great time to study them from a Biblical creationist viewpoint, so you'll have a solid foundation for later study.)

An Experiment to Try at Home
Every wonder what a current looks like? Here is a set of experiments that will help you to visualize currents. You will need the following items:

  • Some food coloring (blue works well)
  • A clear glass or jar
  • A cup
  • A medicine dropper

One thing you can do to help see things a little better is to turn the lights off in the room and use a flashlight to shine through the clear glass/jar. This helps see the currents a little better.

Experiment: Turbulent Currents

  • Fill the glass/jar with hot water.
  • Mix some food coloring and cold water in a cup. Make sure the mixture is a dark color.
  • Stir the hot water in the clear glass/jar to get currents moving.
  • Use the medicine dropper to put a few drops of the colored cold water into the hot ocean water.
  • What happens and why?

In the Experiment the cold colored water sinks, but the currents in the hot "ocean" cause it to spiral around. Hot and cold differences are part of the reason (but not the entire reason) that ocean currents exist! Try repeating the experiment using hot food coloring and cold "ocean" water in the glass. See what happens. I would have included a picture for this experiment but it looks better in real life than in a photo!

About the Authors
Ray & Gale Lawson have been homeschooling their 3 children since 1995. Ray holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute and works for Washington Group International in Aiken, SC. Gale holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina and has been "full time mom and teacher" since the birth of their first child. Questions, comments and suggestions can be mailed to Ray at or Gale at

This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug '04 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine, and is part of an ongoing series of Profiles in Christianity & Science. For more information, please visit