Modern science has done a lot of good over the centuries, but it has also been abused. The purpose of this post is to focus on the good, and, more specifically, to highlight the founding fathers of science and the role they played.
Few people are aware that modern science was founded by Bible-believing Christians, and it was their belief in God and the Bible that inspired them to pursue knowledge about the world, and truth about the universe. They believed it was possible to understand God and his creation through rational thought.
A short list of these early scientists includes Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Galileo Galilei, Johann Kepler, Robert Boyle, Carolus Linneaus, Georges Cuvier, Michael Faraday, Blaise Pascal, Gregor Mendel, James Clerk Maxwell, and Joseph Lister. All were creation scientists, and, starting with this post, I’ll briefly highlight a few of these remarkable people.
Francis Bacon (1561- 1626) is the one considered most responsible for the scientific method, which requires experimentation, observation and induction. He’s known as the “Father of Empiricism”, and his writings are credited for founding the Royal Society of London. He read the Bible to avoid error, and encouraged others to do the same. He said, “There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”
He believed nature was the product of a great mind and creator. Therefore, because our rational minds are made in the image of God, we can perceive order and design. And since nature has regularities that can be described with mathematical precision, we can formulate the laws of nature. Bacon recognized a contingent order of nature, which means God could have chosen to create the universe any way he wanted, but the design he chose is the only one we have; therefore, scientists are free to investigate the empirical world to find out how it operates.
Next is Isaac Newton (1642- 1727), known as the “Father of Physics”. He was born on Christmas Day and discovered Newtonian physics and invented calculus. He published the Principia in 1687, describing the planetary laws of motion, and is famous for his work on universal gravitation. He used prisms to demonstrate that sunlight was made up of all the colors of the rainbow, and he was the first to construct a telescope with a curved mirror.
Newton saw evidence for design, then investigated it; it was such desire that led him and others to learn about God’s design and understand it. Newton recognized a lawful order in nature and saw it as the product of a divine mind. He understood that God sustains the universe by his power with a regularity we can trust.
Recognized as one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Newton believed ideas should be tested before being accepted. It was his conviction that scientific investigation leads to a greater knowledge of God the Creator of the universe.
Newton said, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. … This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all.”
At that time, science was a theological study, so science and the Bible were deeply intertwined. All this contributed to the scientific revolution. Science and religion were in harmony.
Concluding this post will be Louis Pasteur (1822- 1895). This French chemist has quite a resume. Among his accomplishments includes the founding of the Pasteur Institute, and the introduction of the field of stereochemistry. He revived France’s silk industry, discovered the basis of fermentation, introduced antiseptic practices, led breakthroughs in disease prevention, and developed the first anthrax and rabies vaccines. If you like beer, you can thank him for discovering ways to prevent spoiling. The process of pasteurization was named after him, and he’s considered the founding father of bacteriology and microbiology. But my favorite aspect of his career is the work he did to dispel the myth of abiogenesis- or the idea that life can come from non-life. His experiments showed that microbes couldn’t grow on broth if it was protected. This refuted the belief in spontaneous generation in nature.
He once said, “No, there is now no circumstance known in which it can be affirmed that microscopic beings came into the world without germs, without parents similar to themselves. Those who affirm it have been duped by illusions, by ill-conducted experiments, spoilt by errors that they either did not perceive or did not know how to avoid.” Perhaps my favorite quote of his is one I’ve used many times over: “Life comes only from life.” So true.
The purpose for highlighting these scientists is mainly due to the misconception promoted by atheists who wish to separate science from religion, as if the two can’t coexist. This kind of thinking has been promoted in modern times by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson to keep religion out of science. But, as we can see, that’s not how science was intended to operate. Thus, it’s appropriate to point out that science has been hijacked by secular scientists to promote a secular agenda, and I’d contend that this action is harmful and destructive, as it censors truth and inhibits progress
Nonetheless, there are still plenty of Bible-believing scientists practicing good science today. They, like the forefathers of modern science, believe in a biblical creation, and I will highlight them in the latter part of this series.
Francis Bacon: Artist unknown