I often read how atheists who don't believe in God believe in the empirical science that they can see. They espouse science as the absolute answer to
However one of the greatest scientific minds in the last few hundred years believed very strongly in God and the bible, was he stupid, naive,
No because he was Sir Isaac Newton (4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727)
Here are comments on Newton
Newton remains influential to scientists, as demonstrated by a 2005 survey of scientists and the general public in Britain's Royal Society asking
who had the greater effect on the history of science, Newton or Albert Einstein. Newton was deemed to have made the greater overall contribution to
science, although the two men were closer when it came to contributions to humanity.
Newton was also highly religious, though an unorthodox Christian,
Historian Stephen D. Snobelen says of Newton, "Isaac Newton was a heretic. But ... he never made a public declaration of his private faith —
which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. He hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs." Snobelen
concludes that Newton was at least a Socinian sympathiser (he owned and had thoroughly read at least eight Socinian books), possibly an Arian and
almost certainly an antitrinitarian. In an age notable for its religious intolerance there are few public expressions of Newton's radical
views, most notably his refusal to take holy orders and his refusal, on his death bed, to take the sacrament when it was offered to him. In a view
disputed by Snobelen,[ T.C. Pfizenmaier argues that Newton held the Eastern Orthodox view of the Trinity rather than the Western one held by Roman
Catholics, Anglicans, and most Protestants.In his own day, he was also accused of being a Rosicrucian (as were many in the Royal Society and in the
court of Charles II). Although the laws of motion and universal gravitation became Newton's best-known discoveries, he warned against using them to
view the Universe as a mere machine, as if akin to a great clock. He said,
Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or
can be done.
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. […] This Being
governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called "Lord God"
παντοκρατωρ [pantokratōr], or "Universal Ruler". […] The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, [and] absolutely perfect.
Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many
Newton was not only a passionate theist, but also a firm believer in the Bible and biblical predictive prophecy. Newton’s omnipotent and
omniscient God knows the end from the beginning and is thus able to reveal the future to humanity. For Newton, “the holy Prophecies” of God’s
Word contain “histories of things to come”.But these “histories of things to come” are set out in symbolic and metaphorical language that
demand exacting interpretative skills. This was a challenge that Newton took up with unflagging enthusiasm for the last fifty-five years of his life.
Thus for Newton the 1260 years represent the time in which the true, uncorrupt church would be oppressed by the false, corrupt Trinitarian church
of the Great Whore. This is the period of deepest apostasy, a time when only a tiny remnant upheld pre-Trinitarian theology. Newton believed he was
part of this remnant.
WHY NEWTON REJECTED THE TRINITY
Through his scientific studies Newton came to have a high regard for the ‘Book of Nature’ and saw in it the evidence of design by God, the great
Author. He also believed that the Bible was the revelation of God, and that it was always in harmony with the testimony of creation.
The Bible was Newton’s touchstone for testing teachings and doctrine. In discussing the creeds of the Church, Newton made this position very clear.
On the basis of the eighth of the Thirty-nine Articles dealing with the Nicene, Athanasius’ and Apostles’ Creeds, he said of the Church of
“She doth not require us to receive them by authority of General Councils, and much less by authority of Convocations, but only because they are
taken out of the Scriptures. And therefore are we authorised by the Church to compare them with the Scriptures, and see how and in what sense they can
be deduced from thence? And when we cannot see the Deduction we are not to rely upon the Authority of the Councils and Synods.”
His conclusion was even more emphatic:
“Even General Councils have erred and may err in matters of faith, and what they decree as necessary to salvation is of no strength or authority
unless they can be shown to be taken from the holy Scripture.”
Newton’s principal reason for rejecting the Trinity was that when he sought to verify the statements of the creeds and the councils he found no
support in Scripture for the doctrine.
In weighing this evidence, Newton firmly held that reasoning should be used. He argued that nothing created by God was without purpose and reason, and
Bible teachings would be sustained by similar application of logic and reason. Speaking of the apostle John’s writings, Newton said: “I have that
honour for him as to believe that he wrote good sense; and therefore take that sense to be his which is the best.”
So, as a second reason for rejecting the Trinity teaching, Newton declared: “Homoousion [the doctrine that the Son is of the same substance as the
Father] is unintelligible. ’Twas not understood in the Council of Nice, nor ever since. What cannot be understood is no object of belief.”
Dealing with this same aspect of the Trinity is a Newton manuscript entitled “Queries Regarding the Word Homoousios.” It reveals a third reason
for his denial of the Trinity. This teaching was not part of early Christianity. Queries twelve to fourteen all highlight the doctrine’s lack of
original first-century character:
“Query 12. Whether the opinion of the equality of the three substances was not first set on foot in the reign of Julian the Apostate
[361-363 C.E.], by Athanasius, Hilary, etc.?
Query 13. Whether the worship of the Holy Ghost was not first set on foot presently after the Council of Sardica? [343 C.E.]
Query 14. Whether the Council of Sardica was not the first Council which declared for the doctrine of the Consubstantial Trinity?”13
In another manuscript, now preserved in Jerusalem, Newton summed up the only answer to such questions. “We are commanded by the Apostle (2 Timothy
1:13) to hold fast the form of sound words. Contending for a language which was not handed down from the Prophets and Apostles is a breach of the
command and they that break it are also guilty of the disturbances and schisms occasioned thereby. It is not enough to say that an article of faith
may be deduced from scripture. It must be exprest in the very form of sound words in which it was delivered by the Apostles.”
So on the basis of Scripture, reason and the authentic teaching of early Christianity, Newton found that he could not accept the doctrine of the
Trinity. He believed strongly in the supreme sovereignty of God, and the proper position of Jesus Christ, neither derogating him as the Son of God nor
elevating him to the position occupied by his Father.
The man was so ahead of his time both scientifically and spiritually.