What world-famous chemist believed in a Creator and said this?
“God would not have made the universe as it is, unless He intended us to understand it.”
This scientist was the father of modern chemistry and one of the leaders of the 17th-century scientific revolution. He was a chemist, physicist, and inventor, as well as a follower of Christ who confidently believed the truth of the Bible.
He was well-known for his extensive writing in both science and theology. He believed God made the universe and intended for man to search out its mysteries.
Who is he?
This man’s favorite field was chemistry, but he is best known for a law of physics which is a fundamental principle of gas dynamics. He discovered the role of air in carrying sound waves and investigated the expansive force of freezing water.
He was recognized as the greatest physical scientist of his day. In 1680 the Royal Society of London (the leading scientific association of the time, of which he was a founder) elected him president, but he declined the honor because of Biblical scruples against taking an oath (Matthew 5:34-37). His great respect for the authority of Scripture is why he refused to take the president’s oath for the Royal Society of London.
In his works of 1663, Some Considerations Touching the Usefulness of Experimental Natural Philosophy [Science] and Some Considerations Touching the Style of the Holy Scriptures, this man expressed his high opinion of Scripture with these words: “the Truth and authority of the Scripture…whose prerogative it is to teach nothing but Truth.”
This man wrote often of the Creator’s amazing diversity of creation. He argued that obvious design in creation implicitly testifies of a Creator.
“I should think that this delightful and wonderful variety that we may observe, not only in animals themselves considered as entire systems, but in those parts of them that appear destinated for the same function, as particularly that of seeing was designed, at least among other ends, to display the multiplicity of the great creator’s wisdom, and show his intelligent creatures, that his skill is not confined to one sort of living engines, nor in the parts of the same kind (as eyes, ears, teeth, &c.) to the same contrivances; but is able to make for the same use, a multitude of surprising organs or instruments, though not perhaps all equally perfect.”
(From A Disquisition about the Final Causes of Natural Things, 1688)
Who is this respected scientist and creationist?
This same scientist said,
“When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chymical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself oftentimes reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast Thou made them all!” [Psalm_104:24] (From Seraphic Love, 1660)
Who is this renowned chemist, physicist, and creationist?
This man was born in Ireland in 1627, the 14th of 15 children. As a teenager he studied with Galileo in Italy.
His name was Robert Boyle.
Boyle’s Scientific Work
Boyle was an early proponent of the scientific method. He depended upon experiments to establish scientific theories. This was innovative at the time, since scientists in his day tended to make conclusions based on philosophical reasoning and speculation about how the universe should operate.
Ironically, “modern” evolutionists have reverted to 16th-century approaches as they base their conclusions and dictums on philosophical beliefs and speculative conclusions with no supporting physical evidence.
Boyle worked in the fields of mechanics, light, sound, color, electricity, medicine, physiology, hydrostatics, and hydrodynamics, as well as chemistry. He studied the chemistry of fire and of breathing with a wide variety of vacuum pump experiments.
Boyle used phosphorus, which had been discovered around 1669, to invent the first match in 1680. He coated the tips of sticks with sulfur and phosphorus. The sticks easily ignited because phosphorus combusts so easily in air.
He stated what is now known as Boyle’s Law around 1660 which he proved by careful experiments. It says that the volume of a gas is inversely proportional to its pressure at constant temperature.
This webpage on Boyle’s Law explains it clearly and makes interesting applications of Boyle’s Law to astronauts and deep sea divers.
Boyle published profusely throughout his scientific career. He also wrote extensively marveling at the wonders of the Creator that he discovered in his scientific investigations. He saw a perfect harmony between his faith and work. Early in his scientific career he wrote,
“I am exercising myself in making anatomical dissections of living animals: wherein I have satisfied myself of the circulation of the blood, … and have seen (especially in the dissections of fishes) more of the variety and contrivances of nature, and the majesty and wisdom of her author, than all the books I ever read in my life could give me convincing notions of.”
(From the six-volume work The Correspondence of Robert Boyle, edited by Hunter, M., Clericuzio, A., and Principe, L., London: Pickering and Chatto, 2001, vol 1, p 167.)
For Boyle, Chemistry was the science of determining the composition of materials through experimentation. He distinguished between compounds and mixtures and sought to determine component elements by experiments. He called this process “Analysis,” a term which is still used today.
In 1661 he published his masterpiece, The Sceptical Chymist, in which he criticized alchemy and laid the foundation for the atomic theory of matter. Boyle hypothesized that matter consisted of atoms and atom-clusters (molecules) in motion. He conjectured that every natural phenomenon was the result of collisions of these moving particles. He called for careful experimentation to determine the basic elements of matter, since his experiments showed they could not be limited to the classical list of earth, fire, air, and water. He called for chemistry to be a full-fledged science supported by rigorous scientific experimentation; theories had to be experimentally proved to be accepted. This foundational work is the reason Boyle is considered the founder of modern chemistry.
Robert Boyle was one of the greatest scientists of the 17th century. He was convinced of a Creator and was a fervent student of Scripture. For Boyle, creation required a Creator–the God of the Bible. Boyle would not have been fooled by the evolutionism that fools so many intellectuals today. The arrogance and hubris of today where man thinks he’s so advanced and despises the wisdom of previous generations regarding the existence of a Creator is foolish.
Belief in a Creator is common sense based on looking at what has been created, just as the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:18-23), President Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Isaac Newton, John Calvin, Dr. Werner von Braun, George Washington Carver, Johann Kepler, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, and innumerable others have argued. These men believed in a Creator and Intelligent Designer. None would have been fooled by the evolutionism that fools so many today. The vast majority of mankind throughout history has known that there must be a Creator.
Boyle believed in the Creator. Today’s intellectuals would do well to pay heed to one whose scientific discoveries far exceed those of most scientists today. Boyle has earned credibility and respect for his opinion.
The next post will discuss Boyle’s Christian faith.
(Note: Boyle’s statement at the top is taken from Robert Boyle: Trailblazer of Science by John Hudson Tiner, p 123.)
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the eleventh installment in the Famous Thinkers series highlighting geniuses of the past who believed in the Creator.
Read the prequels:
1. Famous Thinkers – Former U.S. President Supports Intelligent Design
2. Famous Thinkers – Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
3. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Supports Intelligent Design
4. Famous Thinkers – Theologian Testifies for Creation
5. Famous Thinkers – Rocket Scientist Supports Intelligent Design
6. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation 1
7. Famous Thinkers – Botanist Supports Creation 2
8. Famous Thinkers – Astronomer Is a Creationist
9. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist 1
10. Famous Thinkers – Mathematician Is a Creationist 2
Read the sequel which continues the discussion of Boyle:
12. Famous Thinkers – Chemist Is a Creationist 2
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday January 16, 2013 A.D.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)