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Author Topic: Newton: Biblical Scholar  (Read 1602 times)

Offline Tom

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Newton: Biblical Scholar
« on: June 19, 2007, 11:06:23 PM »
It appears Sir Isaac Newton was not only a brilliant scientist but also was able to read the Scriptures with an unusual degree of understanding.


Newton Papers Reveal Apocalypse Calculation
Documents Shed Light on Scientist's Religious Beliefs
By MATTI FRIEDMAN
AP
Posted: 2007-06-19 11:52:07
JERUSALEM (June 18) - Three-century-old manuscripts by Isaac Newton  calculating the exact date of the apocalypse, detailing the precise dimensions of the ancient temple in Jerusalem and interpreting passages of the Bible - exhibited this week for the first time - lay bare the little-known religious intensity of a man many consider history's greatest scientist.



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Newton, who died 280 years ago, is known for laying much of the groundwork for modern physics, astronomy, math and optics. But in a new Jerusalem exhibit, he appears as a scholar of deep faith who also found time to write on Jewish law - even penning a few phrases in careful Hebrew letters - and combing the Old Testament's Book of Daniel for clues about the world's end.

The documents, purchased by a Jewish scholar at a Sotheby's auction in London in 1936, have been kept in safes at Israel's national library in Jerusalem since 1969. Available for decades only to a small number of scholars, they have never before been shown to the public.

In one manuscript from the early 1700s, Newton used the cryptic Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the Apocalypse, reaching the conclusion that the world would end no earlier than 2060.

"It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner," Newton wrote. However, he added, "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."

In another document, Newton interpreted biblical prophecies to mean that the Jews would return to the Holy Land before the world ends. The end of days will see "the ruin of the wicked nations, the end of weeping and of all troubles, the return of the Jews captivity and their setting up a flourishing and everlasting Kingdom," he posited.

The exhibit also includes treatises on daily practice in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. In one document, Newton discussed the exact dimensions of the temple - its plans mirrored the arrangement of the cosmos, he believed - and sketched it. Another paper contains words in Hebrew, including a sentence taken from the Jewish prayerbook.

Yemima Ben-Menahem, one of the exhibit's curators, said the papers show Newton's conviction that important knowledge was hiding in ancient texts.


The Newton papers, Ben-Menahem said, also complicate the idea that science is diametrically opposed to religion. "These documents show a scientist guided by religious fervor, by a desire to see God's actions in the world," she said.

More prosaic documents on display show Newton keeping track of his income and expenses while a scholar at Cambridge and later, as master of the Royal Mint, negotiating with a group of miners from Devon and Cornwall about the price of the tin they supplied to Queen Anne.

The archives of Hebrew University in Jerusalem include a 1940 letter from Albert Einstein to Abraham Shalom Yahuda, the collector who purchased the papers a year earlier.

Newton's religious writings, Einstein wrote, provide "a variety of sketches and ongoing changes that give us a most interesting look into the mental laboratory of this unique thinker."


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2007-06-19 11:52:07
John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me."
Sometimes the Gospel is not presented clearly enough for the non-elect to reject it.

Online John Oscar

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Re: Newton: Biblical Scholar
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2007, 11:46:27 PM »
I have known he was a man of faith, but I think if he saw today, he'd change his mind on the "no earlier then 2060" claim.....
John O


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Re: Newton: Biblical Scholar
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2007, 09:40:04 AM »
It would be nice to know how he arrived at the year 2060.  Since he wasn't privy to the knowledge that technology would come so far, it would be interesting to know if that would influence his date of 2060.  There is no way that he could know that the following technology would be created:
  • Helicopters, jumbo jets & spacecraft.  Using jumbo jets is now the preferred way of transporting military troops and equipment for fast-action.
  • Wireless telephones.  Could he even visualize such a concept?
  • Global positioning satellites: These can be used for precision missile strikes.
  • TV: This makes the transfer of knowledge and news instantaneous.  
  • The internet! Try describing the internet to someone who lived in the 1700s!!! What a method of communication - both good and bad.
  • Paved roadways. This may sound simple, but it's unprecedented and it has allowed the U.S., Europe and other civilized countries to prosper in a miraculous way, such as transporting foodstuffs and other products.
  • Prior to the invention of these technologies, over 90% of the people were farmers and less than 10% lived in cities.  The advent of technology is reversing this trend.  Could anyone in the 1700s have ever foreseen such a stupendous reversal?
  • Electricity: We take it for granted, but try to describe to someone in the 1700s that every home could be lit and powered with it, to include entire cities.  They would think you're crazy.
  • Trucks, cars and trains.  We take it for granted, but try describing a horseless carriage that can go over 100 mph on a paved road all across Europe -- and he'll think you're crazy!!!
If Newton had knowledge that all these technologies would come into existence, then would his date-setting be different?

:smart:
"So then, stand firm and hold to the traditions :o which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

Offline Tom

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Re: Newton: Biblical Scholar
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2007, 11:29:14 AM »
It is my understanding that he set his date based upon the prophecy of end time events in Daniel and also used the dimensions God gave for the building of the Temple. How he used these facts and figures I don't know. I'm sure he is probably the only one to ever set a date so far in the future of his time. I also thought his reasoning for trying to set a date showed wisdom and respect for the Scripture.

"It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner," Newton wrote. However, he added, "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me."
Sometimes the Gospel is not presented clearly enough for the non-elect to reject it.

Online John Oscar

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Re: Newton: Biblical Scholar
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2007, 01:12:11 PM »
I once heard an evangelist friend of mine say that if God doesn't hurry up and judge America, then He owes Sodom and Gomorrah a sincere apology.

He said it in jest, but he makes a point- I have to wonder how much further we can go before His wrath starts to fall.....
John O


 

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