Isaac Newton the Religious scholar

Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian who is considered by many scholars and members of the general public to be one of the most influential people in human history.

I really admire this guy. I must agree that he is indeed one of the most influential men in human history, who can deny his observations but only to improve on them.

Newton was once engaged in his late teens to a Miss Storey but he never married and is believed to have been asexual, being highly engrossed in his studies and work.

Newton was also highly religious, he wrote more on Biblical hermeneutics and occult studies than the natural science for which he is remembered today.

His words...

"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’ [pantokrator], or ‘Universal Ruler’. … The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect.".

"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

Newton's scientific work may have been of lesser personal importance to him, as he placed emphasis on rediscovering the occult wisdom of the ancients.

According to most scholars, Newton was Arian, not holding to Trinitarianism. 'In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, to him the fundamental sin'. As well as being anti-trinitarian, Newton also rejected the orthodox doctrines of the immortal soul, a personal devil and literal demons.

"An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture" is a dissertation by him. First published in 1754, 27 years after his death, it reviewed all the textual evidence available from ancient sources on two disputed Bible passages: 1 John 5:7 and 1 Timothy 3:16.

Newton describes this letter as "an account of what the reading has been in all ages, and what steps it has been changed, as far as I can hitherto determine by records", and "a criticism concerning a text of Scripture". He blames "the Roman church" for many abuses in the world and accuses it of "pious frauds". He adds that "the more learned and quick-sighted men. as Luther, Erasmus, Bullinger, Grotius, and some others, would not dissemble their knowledge".

In the King James Version Bible, 1 John 5:7 reads:

"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

Using the writings of the early Church Fathers, the Greek and Latin manuscripts and the testimony of the first versions of the Bible, Newton demonstrated that the words "in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," in support of the Trinity doctrine, did not appear in the original Greek Scriptures. He then traced the way in which the purportedly spurious reading crept into the Latin versions, first as a marginal note, and later into the text itself. He noted that "the Æthiopic, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, and Slavonic versions, still in use in the several Eastern nations, Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Muscovy, and some others, are strangers to this reading". He argued that it was first taken into a Greek text in 1515 by Cardinal Ximenes on the strength of a late Greek manuscript corrected from the Latin. Finally, Newton considered the sense and context of the verse, concluding that removing the interpolation makes "the sense plain and natural, and the argument full and strong; but if you insert the testimony of 'the Three in Heaven' you interrupt and spoil it."

1 Timothy 3:16

The shorter portion of Newton's dissertation was concerned with 1 Timothy 3:16, which reads (in the King James Version):

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

Newton argued that, by a small alteration in the Greek text, the word "God" was substituted to make the phrase read "God was manifest in the flesh." instead of  "He was manifest in the flesh." He demonstrated that early Church writers in referring to the verse knew nothing of such an alteration.

Summary of both passages

Newton concludes: "If the ancient churches in debating and deciding the greatest mysteries of religion, knew nothing of these two texts, I understand not, why we should be so fond of them now the debates are over."  Modern versions of the Bible usually omit 1 John 5:7, but some place it in a footnote, with a comment indicating that 'it is not found in the earliest manuscripts'. Modern translations of 1 Timothy 3:16 usually omit "God".

Newton did not publish these findings during his lifetime, likely due to the political climate. Those who wrote against the doctrine of the Trinity were subject to persecution in England. As late as 1698 the Act for the Suppression of Blasphemy and Profaneness made it an offense to deny one of the persons of the Trinity to be God, punishable with loss of office, employment and profit on the first occasion, and imprisonment for a repetition. Newton's friend William Whiston (translator of the works of Josephus) lost his professorship at Cambridge for this reason in 1711. In 1693 a pamphlet attacking the Trinity was burned by order of the House of Lords, and the next year its printer and author were prosecuted. In 1697 Thomas Aikenhead, an eighteen-year-old student charged with denying the Trinity, was hanged at Edinburgh, Scotland.

Hmm, so such is the punishment when one tries to fight against pious frauds.

Thomas Jefferson (1743 -1826) the third President of the USA and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) considered much of the new testament of the Bible to be lies. He described these as "so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture". He described the "roguery of others of His disciples", and called them a "band of dupes and impostors" describing (the Apostle) Paul as the "first corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus", and wrote of "palpable interpolations and falsifications". He called the concept of the Holy Trinity itself a "mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus".

Well, I do support Isaac Newton and Thomas Jefferson in these observations. And yes, only if we could improve on them. Kudos to them for speaking out. I loathe pseudo-Christianity.

1 comment:

  1. Muskaan Pal Mehlawat8 January 2011 at 02:46

    Perfect, as i hope you know that how did isaac newton got the idea of discovering GRAVITY. If not then read, one day isaac newton was sitting under a tree, suddenly an apple fell from the tree and hit isaac newton's head, afterwards he started to think that why did the apple fall, why didn't it float, then he did experiments and research and finally he found the answer.


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