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THE GREATEST SCIENTIST OF ALL TIME

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, January 27, 2002


"Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:14).

The greatest scientist who ever lived was an Englishman named Isaac Newton. He was born in 1642, so that his youth was lived out during Puritan times. He died in 1727, eleven years before John Wesley was converted and the Methodist revival began. There has never been a scientist greater than Isaac Newton. Albert Einstein was a slow and shallow thinker compared to him.

When Newton was 22 years old, with only pen, paper, and his own brain, he invented calculus. That achievement alone would have made him one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Over three hundred years later, Dr. Cagan had to sweat through learning what Newton had figured out for the first time on his own. He marveled at the beauty of calculus, and years later had the honor of teaching it to others.

Using the mathematics he had invented, Isaac Newton derived both the law of gravity and the mathematical motions of the planets, the moon, the comets, and all moving objects. He did this with only pen and paper, with all the computations figured out in his own mind. He didn't have a calculator, a computer, or an Internet connection. Isaac Newton had to think for himself. He wrote his scientific findings in his book, the Principia.

In the conclusion to this book, the Principia, he wrote:

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful 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…called Lord God Pantocrator, or Universal Ruler; for God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God not over his own body...but over servants. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect...And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done.

This sounds like conservative theology, but it was written by Sir Isaac Newton, in the conclusion of one of the most important scientific books of all time. Newton had the wisdom to study the heavens and believe in God.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where there voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world"

(Psalm 19:1-4).

I. Isaac Newton believed in God.

Dr. Cagan was an atheist for many years, but he became convinced that there is no real excuse for atheism. The Bible tells us:

"For the invisible things of him (God) from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

How can anyone look up at the stars and fail to believe in God? Yet many do just that. It isn't because they are intelligent. None of them are more intelligent than Sir Isaac Newton! It is because they don't want to find God or His truth, and instead "hold (literally "hold down" or "suppress") the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). The reason people don't want to believe in God today is because they want to hold down and suppress His truth - in order to live their lives in rebellion against Him.

"Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:14).

Today many of these people feel that it is unscientific to believe in the God of Scripture. They believe that science has disproved the Bible. They say that the Red Sea couldn't be divided, the sun couldn't stand still, a virgin couldn't become pregnant without a man, and Jesus couldn't rise from the dead. After all, the laws of science forbid such things, they say.

What they don't want to admit is that the God who made the rules can make exceptions to them. True, he doesn't do this very often - that's why the exceptions are exceptions, and that's why they are called "miracles." But God can make an exception to His rules whenever He chooses.

Now, that isn't so hard to understand, is it? As the father in his home, Dr. Cagan is the head of his family and makes the rules there. One of these rules is that his two small boys have to hold the rail when they walk up and down the stairs. That's a rule in his home. But the person who made the rule can change it. Sometimes, late at night, the boys are asleep, and he has to carry them up the stairs. But isn't it a rule that they have to hold the rail as they go up the stairs? Well, yes, it is - but it was Papa who made the rule, and Papa can make an exception when he needs to. Papa can carry the boys one by one up the stairs as they sleep, and they don't have to touch the rail. This isn't wrong, it's just an exception to the rule. And it's the same way with God, who created and governs the universe. After all, God is the person who made the rules, and He has the right and the power to change them. The Bible teaches that God sent His Son Jesus Christ, who was born of his virgin mother Mary, crucified on a cross for my sins, and who rose from the dead and even now lives forever to intercede in prayer for me in Heaven (Hebrews 7:25).

John W. Wenham was warden at Latimer House, Oxford, when he wrote Christ and the Bible. This book shows that Christ had full confidence in the miracles recorded in the Old Testament. Wenham said:

Curiously enough, the narratives that are the least acceptable to the so-called "modern mind" are the very ones that he seemed most fond of choosing for his illustrations (John W. Wenham, Christ and the Bible, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1984, p. 13).

Gleason L. Archer pointed out that "A careful examination of Christ's references to the Old Testament makes it unmistakably evident that He fully accepted as factual even the most controversial statements in the Hebrew Bible pertaining to history and science" (Gleason L. Archer, Ph.D., Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1982, p. 21).

Christ's complete confidence in the Old Testament record shows that He firmly believed that God can intervene in the order which He created and sustains.

The scientific world around us in fact points us toward God, but many people turn away from Him. One man who did this was a scientist named Pierre Simon Laplace. He lived in France about one hundred years after Newton's time. Laplace wrote a complicated book of mathematics which analyzed the movements of the heavens. Unlike Newton, he gave no credit to God.

One day Laplace had a conversation with Napoleon Bonaparte. The Emperor Napoleon pointed out to Laplace that he had built his scientific system without referring to God. Laplace answered, "Monsieur (sir), I had no need for that hypothesis!"

What Laplace did was just what so many people have done since that time. He took the gift and rejected the Giver. Laplace said that this beautiful, precise universe, with all its mathematically elegant forms and laws, simply existed by itself, for itself, on its own, without God.

I have come to believe that it is actually much harder to hold that idea than to believe in God! To believe that the incredibly huge and complicated universe governs itself with mathematical perfection as if there were an intelligent Creator - but in fact without any Creator - is to me incredible speculation. To believe that this complex universe just exists by itself and runs itself perfectly without any God, seems harder to believe in my mind than simply to accept the idea of a Creator.

So why did Pierre Laplace refuse to believe in God? I think that his problem was not intellectual, but moral. It seems to me that he wanted to live his life as though God did not exist. He wanted to live his own way, not in obedience to God.

Aldous Huxley was an atheist who destroyed the faith of many and was hailed as a great intellectual, but toward the end of his life Huxley admitted that his views were biased, based on a rejection of Biblical morality. He said, "For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political" (quoted in Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, San Bernardino, California: Here's Life Publishers, 1979, p. 11).

"...they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

That's what Laplace did. He constructed his philosophical position in order to get away from God, and he became what the Bible calls "a fool."

William A. Dembski holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Dembski tells us:

The revelation of God in creation is typically called general revelation, whereas the revelation of God in redemption is typically called special revelation. Consequently theologians sometimes speak of two books, the book of nature, which is God's self-revelation in creation, and the book of Scripture, which is God's self-revelation in redemption. If you want to know who God is, you need to know God through both creation and redemption (William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1999, p. 235).

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God" (Psalm 53:1).

II. Isaac Newton was never converted.

Although Newton was mentally gifted and believed in the existence of God, sadly he was never converted. Newton is an interesting example of a man who believes in God but is not a Christian. He is like Dr. Cagan was when God became real to him, two years before he was converted. Yes, he believed in God, but he did not know Jesus Christ personally.

After Newton's death, it was discovered that he had spent time with the Puritans as a young man, at the age of twenty, in 1662. These Puritans had spoken to Newton about his soul and tried to get him converted. Newton had even written out a list of his sins and thought about his salvation. For the rest of his life, he retained a curiosity about the Bible. But at some point in that year or two with the Puritans, he rejected conversion. Although Newton still had his mathematical abilities, he no longer spoke to the Puritans about his salvation. While he believed in God, it was a mental and mathematical God of intelligence and not the Trinitarian God of Scripture. Although he believed in a Creator God, Newton denied the deity of Jesus Christ. Others followed Newton in unbelief, using his mathematical abilities as a refuge for their rejection of true Christianity.

Although he was academically far more intelligent than you or I, and although he believed in the existence of the Creator, Newton died without Jesus Christ. For all his God-given scientific abilities, he did not know the Saviour.

Will you be like him, too self-satisfied to become a real Christian? Or will you be saved through by trusting Jesus?

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"

(Acts 16:31).

To the lost person, God's immense knowledge is a warning. The Bible says, "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Jesus told us, "That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36). God knows every sin, and every word you say. He keeps a perfect and precise record of them in His books: "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12). God will judge you correctly and precisely, unless those sins are washed away by the Blood of Jesus (Revelation 1:5; I John 1:7).

That's why we say to you - "Come to Jesus and be saved."  That's why say to you, "Why be lonely - Come home - to church" next Sunday!  And make sure you come to Jesus Christ.  He died to pay for your sins on the Cross.  He has risen from the dead.  He is now in Heaven at the right hand of God.  Jesus is the only one who can wash away your sins, by His Blood - and save your soul for all time and eternity!  Come to Him!

(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Psalm 19:1-4.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon,

"Jesus, Only Jesus" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."




THE OUTLINE OF

THE GREATEST SCIENTIST OF ALL TIME

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways" (Job 21:14).

(Psalm 19:1-4)

I.   Isaac Newton believed in God, Romans 1:20,18; Job 21:14;
Hebrews 7:25; Romans 1:21-22; Psalm 53:1.

II.  Isaac Newton was never converted, Acts 16:31; Ecclesiastes 12:14;
Matthew 12:36; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 1:5; I John 1:7.