David Jay Jordan's


                             Famous Christian Scientists

(from http://whychristianity.com)

Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

Copernicus was the Polish astronomer who put forward the first mathematically based system of planets going
around the sun. He attended various European universities, and became a Canon in the Catholic church in 1497. His
new system was actually first presented in the Vatican gardens in 1533 before Pope Clement VII who approved, and
Copernicus was urged to publish around this time. Copernicus was never under any threat of religious persecution -
and was urged to publish both by Catholic Bishop Guise, Cardinal Schonberg, and the Protestant Professor George
Rheticus. Copernicus referred sometimes to God in his works, and did not see his system as in conflict with the
Bible.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

Kepler was a brilliant mathematician and astronomer. He did early work on light, and established the laws of
planetary motion about the sun. He also came close to reaching the Newtonian concept of universal gravity - well
before Newton was born! His introduction of the idea of force in astronomy changed it radically in a modern
direction. Kepler was an extremely sincere and pious Lutheran, whose works on astronomy contain writings about
how space and the heavenly bodies represent the Trinity. Kepler suffered no persecution for his open avowal of the
sun-centred system, and, indeed, was allowed as a Protestant to stay in Catholic Graz as a Professor (1595-1600)
when other Protestants had been expelled!

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

Galileo is often remembered for his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church. His controversial work on the solar
system was published in 1633. It had no proofs of a sun-centred system (Galileo's telescope discoveries did not
indicate a moving earth) and his one "proof" based upon the tides was invalid. It ignored the correct elliptical orbits
of planets published twenty five years earlier by Kepler. Since his work finished by putting the Pope's favourite
argument in the mouth of the simpleton in the dialogue, the Pope (an old friend of Galileo's) was very offended.
After the "trial" and being forbidden to teach the sun-centred system, Galileo did his most useful theoretical work,
which was on dynamics. Galileo expressly said that the Bible cannot err, he saw his system as concerning the issue
of how the Bible should be interpreted.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

Descartes was a French mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern
philosophy. His school studies made him dissatisfied with previous philosophy: He had a deep religious faith as a
Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth. At the age
of 24 he had a dream, and felt the vocational call to seek to bring knowledge together in one system of thought. His
system began by asking what could be known if all else were doubted - suggesting the famous "I think therefore I
am". Actually, it is often forgotten that the next step for Descartes was to establish the near certainty of the
existence of God - for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences can we trust
our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy. What he really wanted
was to see his philosophy adopted as standard Catholic teaching. Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon (1561-1626) are
generally regarded as the key figures in the development of scientific methodology. Both had systems in which God
was important, and both seem more devout than the average for their era.

Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science
(including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly
religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding from the Bible God's plan for history. He did a lot of work
on biblical numerology, and, though aspects of his beliefs were not orthodox, he thought theology very important. In
his system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space. In Principia he stated, "The most
beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent
and powerful Being."

Robert Boyle (1791-1867)

One of the founders and key early members of the Royal Society, Boyle gave his name to "Boyle's Law" for gasses,
and also wrote an important work on chemistry. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says of him: "By his will he
endowed a series of Boyle lectures, or sermons, which still continue, "for proving the Christian religion against
notorious infidels."... As a devout Protestant, Boyle took a special interest in promoting the Christian religion
abroad, giving money to translate and publish the New Testament into Irish and Turkish. In 1690 he developed his
theological views in The Christian Virtuoso, which he wrote to show that the study of nature was a central religious
duty." Boyle wrote against atheists in his day (the notion that atheism is a modern invention is a myth), and was
clearly much more devoutly Christian than the average in his era.

Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

The son of a blacksmith who became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His work on electricity and
magnetism not only revolutionized physics, but has led to so much in our lifestyles today which depend on them
(including computers and telephone lines and so Web sites). Faraday was a devoutly Christian member of the
Sandemanians, which significantly influenced upon him and strongly affected the way in which he approached and
interpreted nature. The Sandemanians originated from Presbyterians who had rejected the idea of state churches, and
tried to go back to a New Testament type of Christianity.


                                                                  Famous Christian Scientists  PART TWO
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