Sir Isaac Newton: Physicist, Mathematician, Bible Believer


AP: “Manuscript Shows Isaac Newton Calculated Date of Apocalypse

Sir Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician . . . Bible believer? Making headlines this week is a new exhibit in Jerusalem that, for the first time ever, gives the public a glimpse of documents that highlight the “religious intensity of a man many consider history’s greatest scientist.” An Associated Press story explains:

Newton [. . .] is known for laying much of the groundwork for modern physics, astronomy, math and optics. But [. . .] he appears as a scholar of deep faith who also found time to write on Jewish law [. . .] and combing [sic] the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel for clues about the world’s end.

One particular manuscript receiving significant attention shows that Newton speculated on the date of the apocalypse, concluding the world’s end would occur later than the year 2060. Newton, however, explains the motivation for his prediction as

not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail.
Newton’s religious activity is neither surprising nor obscure. Newton clearly asserted his belief both in God the Creator and in the Bible as God’s Word

Other documents include Newton’s exposition that the Jews would return to their homeland, his elaborate examinations of the Jewish temple plan, and—more pedestrian—some of his bookkeeping.

To many, such as us here at Answers in Genesis, Newton’s religious activity is neither surprising nor obscure. Newton clearly asserted his belief both in God the Creator and in the Bible as God’s Word, writing, “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” Newton used his religious views as a springboard to understanding natural laws, showing that science and faith in the historically accurate Word of God are not diametric opposites, but rather—when properly understood—are complementary and corroborate one another.

For this reason, there are thousands of Christian scientists (such as those listed on our website) who conduct excellent scientific research not by diluting or compartmentalizing their faith, but by understanding science as an outgrowth of an orderly, understandable universe created by the God who also created logic. [Editor’s note: for more on this topic, see A Reader Challenges Our Claim of a Logical, God-Created Universe.]

Of course, the influence of secular scientists—who see religion as an undesirable legacy of a sometimes mischaracterized pre-scientific past—is easily discerned in this AP article: “The Newton papers [. . .] also complicate the idea that science is diametrically opposed to religion.” Newton’s centuries-honored science and God-honoring faith, in many ways, are exhibit A in countering that common belief.

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