They were highly successful scientists and scholars who lived during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
Isaac Newton is one of the brightest and most influential scientific minds that ever lived. Descartes’ earned the title “father of modern philosophy” for his contributions on reason and scientific methodology. Galileo’s popularization of experimentation and mathematical analysis played a major role in shaping modern science. Boyle is a co-founder of the influential Royal Society and a founder of modern chemistry. Maxwell made groundbreaking discoveries in mathematics and physics, most notably in the area of electromagnetic theory. And Faraday revolutionized modern physics with his work in electromagnetism.
These men shaped the world in which we live. Without their contributions the world would be a very different place. They brought us out of the Dark Ages and laid a foundation of scientific progress and prosperity that continues to this day.
What some may not realize is that they were also devout believers. They were theists, which is to say that they believed in a Supreme Being who is actively involved in His creations. They believed in divine inspiration, guidance, and intervention, and accepted the divine mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this significant? It means that if you believe in God and believe in science (in the sense of recognizing science as a noble pursuit of truth), then you are in good company. You are in the company of men like Newton, Boyle, and Galileo.
I’d rather be in the company of these men than in the company of contemporary godless scholars such as Dawkins (author of The God Delusion), Stenger (author of God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist), and Hitchens (author of God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything). I don’t need to say anymore about their work; the titles of their recent books speak for themselves.
For the past 250 years atheists and agnostics have been driving God out of science, and they have largely succeeded. Science is now packaged to our children as a secular endeavor that is entirely free of religious ideas. In today’s environment, mixing scientific and religious beliefs is considered scientific heresy and unscholarly work. Ben Stein’s recent film Expelled illustrates the hostility towards religious beliefs that currently exists in academia, education, and science.
When believers reference deity and present evidence in favor of intelligent design, the response from atheists and agnostics is usually resentment and rejection. Objections from the non-believers usually sound like “There is no place for god in science!” and, “If we accept the supernatural into science we will digress to the way things were in the Dark Ages.” Scientific history indicates that these claims are misleading.
You see, Newton, Decartes, Boyle, Galileo, Maxwell, and Faraday would have disagreed with the claim that there is no place for God in science. For them, just the opposite was true. Newton mentioned the Creator several times in his book The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which is arguably the most influential science book ever written. Descartes claimed that the Creator played a major role in humanity’s acquisition of secular truth. Galileo thanked the Creator for his discoveries in astronomy that changed the way we view our place in the universe. Boyle believed that science enriched mankind’s understanding of the nature and purpose of God’s creations. Faraday’s belief in a unified Supreme Being likely contributed to his unification of electrical and magnetic forces. And Maxwell was motivated by the belief that the wisdom of the Creator’s handiwork can be found in scientific discovery.
Moreover, these men would disagree with the claim that allowing supernatural beliefs into science will hinder the latter. That they are among the greatest scientific minds that ever lived suggests their beliefs did not hinder their work. The opposite is true. Their religious convictions strengthened their resolve to uncover the mysteries of the God's creations and opened their minds to the enlightening power of the Spirit of the Lord.
When skeptics from academic, education, and scientific institutions scorn your beliefs in God, just remember, you are in good company.