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The Mandate

Three Founders of Modern Science

By Editorial Staff
Published April 22, 2008

By Dr. Henry M. Morris

Johann Kepler (1571-1630) is considered to be the founder of physical astronomy. To some extent, he built upon the foundational studies of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, as well as utilizing the telescope developed by Galileo, but it was he who discovered the laws of planetary motion and established the discipline of celestial mechanics. He conclusively demonstrated the heliocentricity of the solar system and published the first ephemeris tables for tracking star motions, contributing also to eventual development of the calculus.

Kepler was an earnest Christian and studied for two years in a seminary, leaving only with reluctance to enter the study and teaching of astronomy when the Lord opened that door. He was apparently the first scientist to state that, in his astronomical research, he was merely “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” a motto adopted by many believing scientists since his time. His astronomical studies also led him into studies of Biblical chronology, and he believed that the world was created about 7,000 years ago. Kepler wrote in one of his books, “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Lord Chancellor of England, is usually considered to be the man primarily responsible for the formulation and establishment of the so-called “scientific method” in science, stressing experimentation and induction from data rather than philosophical deduction in the tradition of Aristotle. Bacon’s writings are also credited with leading to the founding of the Royal Society of London.

Sir Francis was a devout believer in the Bible. He wrote, “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.”

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was one of the greatest early philosophers and mathematicians and is considered the father of the science of hydrostatics and one of the founders of hydrodynamics. In mathematics, he laid the foundation for the modern treatment of conic sections, as well as differential calculus and the mathematical theory of probability. His other scientific and mathematical contributions were legion, including the development of the barometer.

He is equally famous, however, for his religious contributions, his best-known work being his Pensées. He was a deeply spiritual man.

To him is attributed the famous Wager of Pascal, paraphrased as follows: “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 nonbelieving 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!”

From Men of Science, Men of God: Great Scientists Who Believed the Bible, by Henry M. Morris, Master Books, ©1982, 1988. Used with permission.

Dr. Henry M. Morris is the author of many books on scientific and Biblical creationism, as well as a respected scientist and author of a number of science textbooks. He is president of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, California.


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