Science’s Founding Fathers: Part III

Here’s part three of the series on the founding fathers of science. The gist of this series is meant to shine the light on the faith of these men and how their Christian beliefs were integral to the founding of modern science, something that is mostly ignored or denied today. Today there’s outright hostility by some when faith and science are mixed, but that’s not how it was at the beginning.

1: Johannes Kepler (1571- 1630) was born in Germany. He was a committed Christian who studied both theology and science at the University of Tubingen. He wrote, “The world of nature, the world of man, the world of God—all three fit together.” Amen! Like other Christian scientists of his day, he expected consistency, order and logic within nature because that’s how God created the universe, and it was this kind of reasoning that gave us the scientific method. Science and faith were in harmony.

It didn’t take long for Kepler’s accomplishments to catch the attention of another great scientist of the day, Tycho Brahe, who was also a committed Christian. After some time working together, Kepler published the book, The New Astronomy in 1609, where he described the first two laws of planetary motion. Later, he published his third law of planetary motion in the book, Harmony of the Worlds, where he also wrote, “Great is God our Lord, great is His power and there is no end to His wisdom.”

Interestingly, Kepler believed in intelligent design, writing, “We see how God, like a human architect, approached the founding of the world according to order and rule and measured everything in such a manner.” He accepted creation and described God as “the kind Creator who brought forth nature out of nothing.”

Among other accomplishments, Kepler discovered the solar wind, improved the telescope, contributed to the field of optics and mathematics, published star charts, and accurately described how vision works.

I’ve often heard evolutionists wrongly claim that creationists are replacing science with superstition. But the opposite is true. According to biographer J.H. Tiner, Kepler “began the process that eventually replaced superstition with reason.” This is because he believed God created our minds to be rational, so we can understand logic and reason. Kepler also wrote what some refer to as the first modern science fiction novel, The Dream.

2: Next up is the Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus (1707- 1778), another biblical creationist who is well-known for his classification system: kingdom, phylum, class, order, genera, species and variety. Known as the “Father of modern taxonomy” and “Prince of Botanists”, he formalized a two-word naming system, called binomial nomenclature, using Greek or Latin, incorporating it into a scientific format.

In addition to being a botanist and taxonomist, Linnaeus was also a physician and zoologist. He believed in a literal six-day creation and incorporated his worldview into his work. He wrote, “We reckon the number of species as the number of different forms that were created in the beginning.” Not only did he believe God created organisms to reproduce after their kind, but he recognized their ability to diversify, stating, “The number of varieties is the number of differing plants that are produced from the seed of the same species.”

Although he made some errors early on, his use of the scientific method allowed him to correct himself, and today his views are in line with modern creationists.

There’s no mistaking Linnaeus’ attempt to give glory to God, or his recognition that even the tiniest things reveal God’s handiwork, as we wrote, “God infinite, omniscient and omnipotent, woke me up and I was amazed! I have read some clues through His created things, in all of which, is His will; even in the smallest things, and the most minute! How much wisdom! What an inscrutable perfection!”

3: This brings us to the French mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623- 1662). The man who invented the first calculation machine, Pascal was a creationist who believed in a young earth. He wrote, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” He understood how problematic it was to compromise Scripture with old-earth views. He found the theological implications incompatible. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Pascal believed, “man’s wretchedness is explicable only as an effect of the Fall” and that “Jesus Christ is the second Adam, inconceivable without the first.”

His accomplishments include contributions to hydrostatics and hydrodynamics, where he formulated Pascal’s Law. He invented the syringe, hydraulic press, and Pascal’s Triangle, which determines the probability of certain outcomes. His work on the mathematical properties of cycloids paved the way for calculus. He and fellow mathematician Pierre de Fermat created the Theory of Probability.

Pascal was a committed Christian who freely wrote about his religious beliefs, and his writing is credited with the establishment of modern French prose. He wrote about the necessity of faith in science, stating, “Faith tells us what the senses cannot, but it is not contradictory to their findings.”

In other words, he believed the heavens and earth were created in six days because God revealed this truth in Scripture. Sadly, some modern scientists think keeping God out of science is the best way to gain knowledge. But only Scripture can reveal what we cannot observe- the beginning of all things.

Most famously Pascal is known for Pascal’s Wager, which states: “How can anyone lose who chooses to become a Christian? If, when he dies, there turns out to be no God and his faith was in vain, he has lost nothing—in fact, he has been happier in life than his non-believing friends. If, however, there is a God and a heaven and hell, then he has gained heaven and his skeptical friends will have lost everything in hell.”

These three founding fathers of science, along with those previously mentioned in Parts 1 & Part 2, demonstrate how there is harmony between science and faith. The only hostility in science is between atheism and theism. One tells us that man can determine truth, while the Bible makes it clear that God is truth.

Johannes Kepler

Carl Linnaeus

Blaise Pascal


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