As I've delved into the ancient history of civilizations and cultures, there is none that fascinates me more than the founding of this great nation. From the time I was about nine-years-old, I inhaled every history book I could get my hands on. I loved learning about the Pilgrims and their flight from religious persecution to come to the New World where they could freely worship their Christian faith without "state" interference. I often wished I could have lived in colonial times, and in my childhood innocence, I dreamed of what it would have been like to have grown up during the American War for Independence. I loved the stories about early American heroes, pioneers, and adventurers -- Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark.
I appreciated the freedom our nation offered to worship as we wished, while applauding the inventive and scientific minds of our young nation. I truly thought that faith and science could co-exist in harmony and mutual respect in this land of opportunity. Sadly, I'm also feeling like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain and she realizes everything she's heard about the magical land of Oz is tarnished. Mind you, I still count my blessings that God chose to send my spirit to live in this country. In the history of nations and empires, no other country has come the closest to allowing men and women to have dominion over their lives. Ideally, we would have transferred that idea of "dominion" into God's plan for us to take dominion [authority] for His Kingdom on earth. That's still my goal [and a reality] but I am also seeing how, from the beginning of this Republic we call the United States, the Enemy has been undermining our founding principles and there is an alternative history that has been running commensurate with our idealistic narrative. Let me share that undercurrent, which has been existing in the shadows throughout our history and is now ready to stake its claim on our future.
In a fascinating article titled Christianity, Science, and the Enlightenment, a group of authors contributed this concept: "The 17th Century was the moment when opposition to Christianity's cultural authority came to be located, not so much among scientists, but among intellectuals who championed science as an alternative to Christianity." Here's how those anti-Christian intellectuals saw it ... the Bible could not adequately explain the causes of the world's natural phenomena. Therefore it was claimed that Christian intellectuals were not connected to reality. But Christian authorities did themselves no favor by declaring that many of the "scientists" of the day were heretics. It also didn't help the relationship between Christianity and Science that Church authorities asserted that faith transcended any scientific reality.
And that brings us to one of our most fascinating Founding Fathers and the beginning of a cultural clash in America between Christianity and Science. As schoolchildren, we have all been taught about Ben Franklin's experiment using a key and a kite during a lightning storm to prove the existence of electricity and its properties. At that time in our nation's religious conscience the events of a storm, with angry clouds and lightning, were often considered to be representative of God's wrath; a judgment against unrighteous living. Franklin didn't see it that way. He saw the need to protect homes from the devastating consequences of a lightning strike and set about trying to figure out the causes of this natural phenomena, which led to his invention of the lightning rod. In fact, he wrote a letter to the provincial governor of New York, stating, "It has pleased God in His goodness to Mankind, at length to discover [to them] the means of securing their habitations and other buildings from mischief by thunder and lightning". Obviously, Franklin found no conflict between God or Science. But then, just as now, the religious spirit which was alive and well in the colonies, found many inhabitants who objected to the invention of the lightning rod on the grounds that it was subverting God's will!
Franklin's discovery concerning electricity, and his subsequent invention, brought him to the attention of the Royal Society of London, founded in 1660 by King Charles 11. And this is where we begin to see the conflict between Christianity/Religion and Science. The official title of this organization was "The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge", and their primary charge was to study and disseminate scientific understanding of the world. Founded by Freemasons, its Fellows have included some of the most preeminent figures in history, including: King George IV; Sir Isaac Newton; Sir Winston Churchill; the philosopher Voltaire; scientists Benjamin Franklin and Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles); James Watt, Scottish mechanical engineer who invented the steam engine and brought about the Industrial Revolution; Edward Jenner, a physician who developed the smallpox vaccination; Sir Alexander Fleming, bacteriologist who discovered penicillin; and Enrico Fermi, an Italian nuclear physicist who became part of the Manhattan Project, which was responsible for developing the atomic bomb.
By now, I hope you are seeing where history is taking us. The Royal Society of London is closely associated with the period of history called "The Enlightenment". The website, British Literature Wiki, says, "The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, began in Europe in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Its purpose was to challenge ideas based on faith and without scientific merit." One of the most influential men of The Enlightenment [and a President of the Royal Society] was Sir Isaac Newton. Described as a mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, Newton also discovered calculus, the fundamentals of optics, his famous law of gravity, and three basic laws of motion. He was definitely a scientist. But he also identified as a naturalist [the philosophy that everything can be explained by natural laws and forces without reference to the supernatural, aka God]. Sir Isaac was also deeply religious, and wrote this stunning statement: "The 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 ... The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, and absolutely perfect". Sounds like a devout Christian, right? Newton was also a Freemason, and here is where his world (our ours) of science and religion collide.
According to the website, Answers In Genesis, "Few people know that Newton spent much more time researching and writing on theology than science. Most of his time was consumed with harmonizing biblical history and the chronology of other ancient peoples, as well as attempting to decode biblical prophecy." In the Enlightenment, these "men of reason" were attempting to rescue the "true knowledge" and "pure religion" from what they saw as a corrupted and perverted theology. Like many men of this era, Newton was a complex man. But if you haven't already, I would urge you to read my previous post, How God's Sacred Knowledge Got Corrupted. There you will see that from the beginning of mankind, there has been a struggle between two opposing forces, both claiming that they possessed "true Knowledge" and "true Faith". Both claim Adam as their ancestral father, and both claim they have the "sacred Knowledge" that God deposited in the Tree of Knowledge.
But we can clearly see how that knowledge has been used for both good and evil. I believe that God created the sciences, which He hoped to share with mankind for their betterment -- in His time and His ordained ways. If man had followed His commandment not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge on his own, but wait on the Lord, then can we presume that man would have always credited God with being the provider of all things good? Don't you think God had determined from the beginning that He would give man what he needed to survive in the world and to progress in understanding and knowledge as He led us in righteous growth and development? Instead, man fell for Satan's lie that he could become his own god, which has led to that sacred knowledge becoming corrupted and exploited. Evil forces have mixed and blended faith and science, and unfortunately there have been times when science has dethroned faith. One only needs to think on the Nazi Holocaust and the evil medical experiments on prisoners, conducted by Dr. Josef Mengele, or the Tuskegee experiments and Agent Orange experiments, to see how supernatural forces can distort and subvert what God meant for good. Understanding in the science of the human body has led to good ... penicillin, for instance; the study of vitamins and minerals in proper nutrition and health; and the study of the human anatomy has taught us how muscles and movement affect our overall health.
Because of disparate views of if -- and how -- God intervened in the natural world, there soon became a split between Christianity and Science. They began in harmony with both positions seeing the world as "a mirror of God's greatness", and Christian intellectuals actually embraced the new knowledge and sought to celebrate science as proof of the truth of Christianity. But Christianity and Science soon took divergent paths. As scientific investigation advanced, Christian intellectuals credited everything as the result of a Divine hand -- from spider webs to the law of gravity to human emotions. Everything was argued as evidence for the existence of the Christian God. But these Christian thinkers rarely advanced to the upper echelons of state churches, and there soon came a new belief system known as Deism. The definition of Deism will show its profound influence on how Christianity and Science began their moves away from each other.
Deism is defined as 1) A religious belief holding that God created the universe and established rationally comprehensible moral and natural laws, but does not intervene in human affairs through miracles or supernatural revelation; 2) The doctrine that God is distinct, and separated from the world; and 3) Belief in the existence of a personal God, accompanied with the denial of revelation and of the authority of the Christian church. You can see how this belief system could give men permission to pursue Science apart from the influence of Christianity and faith. Matthew Tindal, a major Deist figure in the 17th and 18th centuries, and a Freemason, stated that "All that was right and moral in Christianity might be reasoned from the laws of nature without recourse to Scripture and the fabulous stories it contained."
Now, keeping in mind that the Royal Society of London, one of the foremost promoters of intellectual Science in the world (even today), was founded by Freemasons, I refer to my post from yesterday, Gnosticism, Freemasonry, Moral Relativism, and the Modern Church. In that article I made the following statement, which should begin to tie up the loose ends of the compatibility of Christianity and Science ... "The modern era of Freemasonry became popular in the 18th century, and coincided with the birth of modern science which began to separate itself from religion. This new effect of science on Christianity resulted in a theology that began to reject and deny the literal truth of the Bible in favor of one that became infected with allegorical interpretations. [This created a huge schism between literal and interpretative translations of the Bible]." So, here we see that both Christianity and Science became infected with belief systems that were corrupted from God's original plan.
Ben Franklin, both a Deist and a member of the Royal Society of London, most definitely played an important role in advancing the split between Christianity and Science in the early days of our nation. While we have, for the most part, maintained our identity as a Christian nation, we can see the influence of decidedly non-Christian forces in our laws that seek to minimize Christianity in favor of a humanistic and scientific worldview. It has become vastly apparent in these last view years. So, are Christianity and Science compatible? I guess that depends on your view of God, and if He reigns supreme in your heart and mind. Where we are headed as a nation and in the world does not look promising at the moment. But I am one who waits on the Lord and trusts Him to see His will done on earth as it is in Heaven. That does not mean He will swoop in and rescue us from all the tragedies that come when mankind places his authority over the sovereignty of the Most High God. He has shown in His Word that He will not suffer disobedience and rebellion forever. Those who place their scientific authority above His will and purpose will soon come to know the fallacy of their pride. They who believe that our faith is merely filled with "romances void of possibility"; who worship "a hero composed of qualities impossible to define"; and whose Name "is only a vague word", will find that all that they have invented by the power of their own minds will soon be burned up in His Divine wrath. As it stands now, I am afraid Christianity and Science do not have much in common. Let us continue to pray that brilliant minds turn back to the Creator. The survival of millions who put their faith in mankind depends on it.
For a deeper analysis on this fascinating subject, read the entire article, Christianity, Science, and the Enlightenment.
Ecclesiastes 8:17 Then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.