Article: Is Christianity At War With Science? (6/20)

June 20, 2007

The following is a continuing list of Christians down through the centuries who, far from being constantly at war with science (commonly called ‘natural philosophy’ in previous times), took an active interest in seeking to understand how the universe worked. The first page in this list is here.

10th century: Gerbert of Aurillac: Contributed to mathematics, including creating his own abacus and introducing new mathematical methods to the European mathematical tradition. He also contributed to geography by making both celestial and terrestrial globes, and contributed to time keeping and mechanics by making a mechanical clock.

1137: Adelard of Bath: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. He was convinced that true faith should derive from evidence, not simply authority such as the authority of the church). Adelard rejected the concept of ‘blind faith’, taught that science is a useful tool of the Christian, and believed that scientific knowledge provides a witness to God and His creation. His scientific contributions include the theory of the conservation of matter (proved centuries later to be a law), an understanding of the centre of gravity, and a basic theory of how gravitational pull explains the position of the earth in space in relation to the other planets.

‘Those who are now called authorities reached that position first by exercise of their reason

Wherefore, if you want to hear anything more from me, give and take reason…’

Adelard of Bath, ‘Natural Questions’, 1116

Adelard believed that God had ordained natural laws which the universe followed, rejecting the popular idea that unexplained phenomena were necessarily the work of God, and did not believe that God regularly intervened to disrupt the natural order.

Article here.


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