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Can you recommend any good literature discussing Galileo and Kepler and their "faith and reason" view of the cosmos? I do not ask contentiously but with genuine curiosity. In the (post) modern era there seems to be much noise about faith (Christianity in particular) and science being irreconcilable.

What little I do know about many founders of the major fields of science seems to indicate that the founding men and women saw no such dichotomy. Or at the least were willing to struggle with the questions rather than throw the entire matter out as "unscientific."

Lord Kelvin and Michael Faraday seem to have both Christians and creationists. Newton was a Christian and claimed that "all my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer." Joule (the unit's namesake) was at least a theist. Then we have Louis Pasteur, Christopher Columbus, George Washington Carver, Samuel Morse, and Blaise Pascal - each "men of faith."

Not that the above list should be taken as an argument by authority for faith. Certainly not. However, it does leave me wondering how these great thinkers saw the world so differently.


David Seccombe, King of God's Kingdom, 280.

R. Hooykaas, Christian Faith and the Freedom of Science, 17. Encyclopedia Brittanica article: Kepler, Johannes.

Further, it's interesting that Kepler was schooled by a protege of Melanchthon, who was himself a key reformer with Luther and a contemporary of Tyndale. These men, together with Erasmus, were of the finest minds of their day, giants of the past, and giants still today.

"What little I do know about many founders of the major fields of science seems to indicate that the founding men and women saw no such dichotomy."

Yes, certainly "blind faith" and science are irreconcilable. Blind faith is a straw man. Men have wasted breath on it for years. Faith is quite different from blind faith. The two (faith and blind faith) are equally irreconcilable. Faith is simply acting today in the light of that which by reason one is fully persuaded of. It need not surprise that great men of reason and action are also men of deep, often Christian convictions about God.

"However, it does leave me wondering how these great thinkers saw the world so differently."

As John Newton wrote, "I once was blind but now I see". As Philip said to Nathanael, "come and see".

The Christian of the 1st century would convert from Judaism either after seeing the risen Jesus, as at least five hundred on one occasion in Jerusalem did at the time, or after hearing of him from those who had. Their witness, at pain of death, was based on what they had seen and heard. Former persecutors such as Saul of Tarsus, a protege of Gamaliel, converted after seeing the risen Christ for themselves. [1][2][3][4]

It is notable that at least two members of the Jewish ruling council, which tried Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, did not consent to the actions of the council and followed Christ. These men had education and wealth. They had access to Jesus and they believed, at great personal cost. Proclaiming a crucified criminal as Sovereign King, "God with us", would have been unthinkable for men such as these, were they not fully persuaded of God's raising him up, and of the entirety of the Old Testament Scriptures, one example being Isaiah 53, which pointed to a suffering and triumphant Messiah. "Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?" To a naturalistic worldview which claims the name of science whilst being far from it, the gospel is hard to accept. Is it true? Did it happen? In our ignorance, we think of God as silent, unyielding. God is not silent, he has spoken and revealed himself in history. Those with ears to hear, let them hear.

Today we see the Lord through the eyes of history, through the accounts of those who saw him. Our distance from the events need not be a hindrance, only the distance of the accounts from the events, and that is, in terms of history, a comparatively short span of only 20 to 60 years at most for the various accounts, today collectively known as the New Testament, the letters of Luke (a physician and meticulous historian in his own right by standards of ancient history), Peter, Paul, John, Matthew, Mark, James and Jude (brothers of Jesus) and outside of that, Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, Clement, Polycarp etc.

Concerning textual criticism of the New Testament documents, see:

F.F. Bruce, various works. Paul Barnett, various works. Sir Frederic Kenyon, director of the British Museum for 22 years, various works.

Note that the Wikipedia pages on these subjects are for once a poor source, they suffer from speculation, superstition, tradition, "sainthood", and the old school of form criticism ("Today it is no exaggeration to claim that a whole spectrum of main assumptions underlying Bultmann's Synoptic Tradition must be considered suspect." - Kelber, W.H.).

It is interesting that polemicists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens tend to avoid confronting the historicity of Christ, and Christ himself head on. They refuse to get into the ring, preferring easier prey. It is ironic that the brother of Christopher Hitchens, Peter Hitchens, a renowned journalist, would be an atheist who converted to Christ and has since written on the subject of "the rage against God".

[1] - "Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." - Luke, Luke 1

[2] - "I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church." - Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:3-9

[3] - "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. […] But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep." - Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:20

[4] - "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word [the Logos, light, reason] of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete." - John, 1 John 1

Though it is a small thing, I offer my deepest thanks for such a reply.

With pleasure, your comment showed great insight.

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