The Biblical Roots of Modern Science Part 3
Belief in the Fall of Adam: how it inspired science
Prof. Harrison has researched another commonly overlooked factor in the development of science: belief in a literal Fall of a literal first man Adam. These founding modern scientists, including Francis Bacon, reasoned that the Fall not only destroyed man's innocence, but also greatly impaired his knowledge. The first problem was remedied by the innocent Last Adam, Jesus Christ, - His sacrifice enabled our sin to be credited to Him (Isiah 53:6) and His perfect life enabled His righteousness to be credited to believers in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). But as for recovering what they believed to be Adam's encyclopaedic knowledge, they looked to science.
"New [sic] literal readings of the creation narratives in Genesis provided 17th century thinkers with powerful motivating images for pursuing the natural sciences. Adam was thought to have possessed a prefect knowledge of all sciences, a knowledge lost to posterity when he fell from grace and was expelled from the Garden of Eden. The goal of 17th century scientists such as Francis Bacon and his successors in the Royal Society of London was to regain the scientific knowledge of the first man. Indeed, for these individuals, the whole scientific enterprise that, along with the Christian Religion, was to help restore the original race to its original perfection. The biblical account of the creation, this provided these scientists with an important source of motivation and in an age still thoroughly committed to traditional Christianity, the new science was to gain social legitimacy on account of these religious associations."
"For many champions of the new learning in the seventeenth century the encyclopaedic knowledge of Adam was the benchmark against which their own aspirations were gauged... The experimental approach, I shall argue, was deeply indebted to Augustinian views about the limitations of human knowledge in the wake of the Fall and thus inductive experimentalism can also lay claim to a filial relationship with the tradition of Augustinianism."
Some atheists admit that science was in effect a child of Christianity, but now claim that it's time science grew up and cut the apron strings. However, none other than former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher answered that type of claim:
"I think back to many discussions in my early life when we all agreed that if you try to take the fruit of Christianity without its roots, the fruit will wither. And they will not come again unless you nurture the roots. But we must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behaviour; but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ expressed so well in the hymn: 'When I survey the wondrous Cross, On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.'"
- Atheists often disparage the Bible, especially its account of creation. Yet...
- Science requires certain presuppositions to work at all and these are found in the Bible.
- Europe in the Middle Ages, with its general Christian worldview, advanced greatly in science and technology.
- The Reformation, with its emphasis on the authority and a historical-grammatical understanding of Scripture, led to a great leap forward in science as such methods were carried over into the study of nature.
- Belief in a literal first man Adam and his Fall inspired science as a means to rediscover knowledge Adam had before the Fall.
- It is futile to expert continued fruit of the scientific enterprise while undermining the roots in biblical Christianity.
Extracted from the Creation Magazine Vol. 32 No. 4 2010