The Creation Research Society (CRS) has just posted to its website a significant news item, which announces the passing of a noteworthy supporter of creation research. Entrepreneur and creationist benefactor Jay Van Andel (80) passed away on December 7, 2004. Mr. Van Andel was instrumental in funding an important CRS research facility in central Arizona, USA, which became the Van Andel Creation Research Center.
Dr. Kevin Anderson, director of the center, told AiG on Friday that “CRS mourns the loss of this successful businessman and supporter of creation research. With his death, creationists around the world have lost a dear friend and ally.”
The following are excerpts from the tribute that CRS posted on its website (which Dr. Anderson graciously allowed us to quote here):
“We also celebrate his life. A life dedicated to the service of his God. Jay Van Andel felt that a Christian’s purpose was not to accumulate wealth and possession, but to serve their creator. In ‘An Enterprising Life,’ he wrote, ‘The task of every person on earth is to use everything he is given, every ability he has, to the ultimate glory of God.’
“Jay Van Andel’s life story is well known to many people. One of the original founders and owners of the Amway Corporation, he and co-owner Rich DeVos began marketing products from their basements. They grew this small venture into the multibillion dollar company of today, making it truly one of the great American business success stories.
“What is far less known was his heart for creationists. One of the early goals of the Creation Research Society was the establishment of a research facility. In 1991, this dream became a reality with a generous contribution from the Jay and Betty Van Andel Foundation. Using these funds, the Van Andel Creation Research Center was built in Chino Valley, Arizona. In explaining the contribution, Jay Van Andel stated that he wanted to “give creationists a fighting chance.” However, the relationship between the Society and the Van Andel Foundation did not end with this initial gift. The foundation has continued to provide yearly support, which has increased over the years.
“Some newspaper tributes and obituaries have commented on Jay Van Andel’s support of ‘controversial’ activities, and the Van Andel Creation Research Center is typically cited as an example. But, we do not think Jay viewed the research center as controversial.
“Rather, this support was just characteristic of his life’s desire to serve his creator. And, considering the continual increase of scientific information supporting the creationist position (including carbon-14 data, geologic data of huge fossil beds, and genetic limitations to biological change), perhaps Jay understood far more of his creator than his critics comprehend.”
For more information about the work of the Creation Research Society, go to www.creationresearch.org . The CRS, by the way, is a co-host of the international “2005 Creation Mega-Conference” that will be held in Virginia USA next July.