Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries

This was a critical period for forming the foundation of modern scientific and medical practice. Christians were at the forefront of founding such great institutions as the Royal Society in London in 1660.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), astronomy

How exceedingly fine is the godlike work of the Best and Greatest Artist.

Nicolaus Copernicus, The Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres (Amherst: Prometheus Books, [1543, 1939] 1995), pp. 6, 27. The original title in Latin was De revolutionibus orbium coelestium. Quoted from James Nickel, Mathematics: Is God Silent? (Vallecito, CA: Ross House, 2001), p. 112

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627), pioneer of modern science

It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.

Francis Bacon, Essays, Civil and Moral, Chapter 16: Of Atheism

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), astronomy

The laws of nature are written by the hand of God in the language of mathematics.

Galileo Galilei (Il Saggiatore, 1623)

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), astronomy

I had the intention of becoming a theologian… but now I see how God is, by my endeavours, also glorified in astronomy, for “the heavens declare the glory of God”.

Ann Lamont, 21 Great Scientists who believed the Bible, p.23, Creation Science Foundation, © 1995

The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics.

Johannes Kepler, Defundamentis Astrologiae Certioribus, Thesis XX (1601)

Rene Descartes (1596-1650), pioneer of modern philosophy of science

But as regards God, if I were not overwhelmed by philosophical prejudices, and if the images of things perceived by the senses did not besiege my thought on every side, I would certainly acknowledge him sooner and more easily than anything else. For what is more manifest than the fact that the supreme being exists, or that God, to whose essence alone existence belongs, exists?

Adam, Charles, and Paul Tannery. 1964–1976. Oeuvres de Descartes, vols. I-XII, revised edition. Paris: J. Vrin/C.N.R.S., 7:68-69

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), maths prodigy

So I hold out my arms to my Redeemer, who, having been foretold for four thousand years, has come to suffer and to die for me on earth, at the time and under all the circumstances foretold. By His grace, I await death in peace, in the hope of being eternally united to Him. Yet I live with joy, whether in the prosperity which it pleases Him to bestow upon me, or in the adversity which He sends for my good, and which He has taught me to bear by His example.

Blaise Pascal, Pascal’s Pensées, trans. W.F. Trotter (London & Toronto: Dent & Sons; New York: Dutton, 1931), 222-223

Robert Boyle (1627-1691), pioneer of modern chemistry

We ought, whenever we speak of God, and of His attributes, to stand in great awe.

Boyle, R., 1772. Of the high veneration man’s intellect owes to God, peculiarly for his wisdom and power. In: The Works of the Honourable Robert Boyle, T. Birch (ed.), J. Rivington et al., London, Vol. 5, p. 157

Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), pioneer of modern medicine

Regarded as the ‘Father of English medicine’ or ‘England’s Hippocrates’, such was his great standing in medical science.

‘Whoever applies himself to medicine should seriously weigh the following considerations:

First, that he will one day have to render an account to the supreme Judge of the lives of sick persons committed to his care.

Next, whatever skill or knowledge he may, by divine favour, become possessed of, should be devoted above all things to the glory of God and the welfare of the human race.

Thirdly, he must remember that is no mean or ignoble creature that he deals with. We may ascertain the worth of the human race since for its sake God’s only begotten Son became man and thereby ennobled the nature that he took upon him.

Finally the physician should bear in mind that he himself is not exempt from the common lot but is subject to the same laws of mortality and disease as his fellows and he will care for the sick with more diligence and tenderness if he remembers that he himself is their fellow sufferer.

Kenneth Dewhurst, Dr. Thomas Sydenham (1624–1689): His Life and Original Writings, section: Theologia rationalis, in a message to his students in 1668, London, 1966

Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738)

Founder of the Leiden Medical College in Holland (1700s), which became the role model for other medical colleges, such as Edinburgh Medical School.

He asserted, on all occasions, the divine authority and sacred efficacy of the holy scriptures; and maintained that they alone taught the way of salvation, and that they only could give peace of mind. The excellency of the christian religion was the frequent subject of his conversation. A strict obedience to the doctrine, and a diligent imitation of the example of our blessed saviour, he often declared to be the foundation of true tranquility.

From Dr Samuel Johnson’s biography, Life of Hermann Boerhaave: His religious thinking, 1739

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727), pioneer of modern physics

Discovered the laws of gravity and motion, and invented calculus, the reflecting telescope and optics.

All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.

I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.