FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 218 The Scientist Francis Bacon Featured artist is Colin Self




Francis Schaeffer pictured below:


Francis Schaeffer has written extensively on art and culture spanning the last 2000years and here are some posts I have done on this subject before : Francis Schaeffer’s “How should we then live?” Video and outline of episode 10 “Final Choices” episode 9 “The Age of Personal Peace and Affluence”episode 8 “The Age of Fragmentation”episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” episode 6 “The Scientific Age” , episode 5 “The Revolutionary Age” episode 4 “The Reformation” episode 3 “The Renaissance”episode 2 “The Middle Ages,”, and  episode 1 “The Roman Age,” . My favorite episodes are number 7 and 8 since they deal with modern art and culture primarily.(Joe Carter rightly noted,Schaefferwho always claimed to be an evangelist and not aphilosopher—was often criticized for the way his work oversimplifiedintellectual history and philosophy.” To those critics I say take a chill pillbecause Schaeffer was introducing millions into the fields of art andculture!!!! !!! More people need to read his works and blog about thembecause they show how people’s worldviews affect their lives!

J.I.PACKER WROTE OF SCHAEFFER, “His communicative style was not that of acautious academic who labors for exhaustive coverage and dispassionate objectivity. It was rather that of an impassioned thinker who paints his vision of eternal truth in bold strokes and stark contrasts.Yet it is a fact that MANY YOUNG THINKERS AND ARTISTS…HAVE FOUND SCHAEFFER’S ANALYSES A LIFELINE TO SANITY WITHOUT WHICH THEY COULD NOT HAVE GONE ON LIVING.”

Francis Schaeffer’s works  are the basis for a large portion of my blog posts andthey have stood the test of time. In fact, many people would say that many of the things he wrote in the 1960’s  were right on  in the sense he saw where ourwestern society was heading and he knew that abortion, infanticide and youthenthansia were  moral boundaries we would be crossing  in the coming decadesbecause of humanism and these are the discussions we are having now!)

There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true asSchaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? There is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This linkshows how to do that.

Francis Schaeffer in Art and the Bible noted, “Many modern artists, it seems to me, have forgotten the value that art has in itself. Much modern art is far too intellectual to be great art. Many modern artists seem not to see the distinction between man and non-man, and it is a part of the lostness of modern man that they no longer see value in the work of art as a work of art.” 

Many modern artists are left in this point of desperation that Schaeffer points out and it reminds me of the despair that Solomon speaks of in Ecclesiastes.  Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chanceplus matter.” THIS IS EXACT POINT SCHAEFFER SAYS SECULAR ARTISTSARE PAINTING FROM TODAY BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED ARE A RESULTOF MINDLESS CHANCE.

 Schaeffer noted:

How Do We Know We Know?
During the early stages of modern philosophy (as distinguished from medieval philosophy) – that is, around the seventeenth century in Europe – the question that was troubling philosophers was this: how do we know that we know?
The early modern scientists had made advances in the physical sciences by rejecting previous human authority. For example, they rejected much of what had been inherited from the science of the Middle Ages. At that time, investigation had been governed and restrained by the concepts of Aristotle. In the field of astronomy, this had meant that the Ptolemaic system held sway. Suddenly, observations were made which cast doubt on that entire system of understanding the heavenly bodies. The result was, of course, the Copernican revolution: the discovery that the sun does not move around the earth but, rather, the earth around the sun. Thus, a general attitude was developed toward the ideas which had prevailed till then. The scientists said, “We must not accept the ideas passed down to us or derived from various previous authorities. We must start from scratch and simply observe the world and see how it works. Otherwise, we may be hampered from seeing what is there.”
The early modern scientists did not, however, reject the knowledge that God gave in the Bible as they rejected previous human authority and opinion. For example. in Novum Organum (1620) Francis Bacon wrote: “To conclude, therefore, let no man out of weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill applied moderation, think or maintain that a man can search too far of be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works.”81 “The book of God’s word” is the Bible. “The book of God’s works” is the world which God has made.
Modern scientists in general lived, thought, and worked in the framework of rejecting human authority, while respecting what was taught in the Bible in regard to the cosmos – right up to the time of Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell in the second half of the nineteenth century.
The philosophers (and later the materialistic scientists) went further. Their error was to confuse the escape from past human authority (which was indeed confining) with putting man at the center and rejecting God’s authority as well. They wanted to reject all outside authority. They wanted to establish everything only on human observation. That was how the question of epistemology (how we know we know) became so important in modern philosophy. It has remained so right up to our own day.

The philosopher who first raised these questions was Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Descartes wrote in Meditations on First Philosophy:
How often it happened to me that in the night I dreamt that I found myself on this particular place … whilst in reality I was lying on my bed! At this moment it does seem that it is with eyes awake that I am looking at this paper …. But in thinking over this I remind myself that on many occasions I have in sleep been deceived by similar illusions, and in dwelling carefully on this reflection I see so manifestly that there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep that I am lost in astonishment. And my astonishment is such that it is almost capable of persuading me that I now dream.82
Here is the modern epistemological problem expressed three centuries ago! All knowledge comes through the senses, but how can we rely on our own senses? Sometimes, as in dreaming, we seem to be experiencing things very really, yet the reality is only in our heads.

We are reminded of the 1966 film by Michelangelo Antonioni called Blow-Up, in which one of the central issues was this same question. A photographer had taken a picture of a murdered man in a park in London and then became uncertain whether this was, in fact, part of reality or an experience of fantasy similar to a drug trip. Within the humanist world-view there is no final way of telling. And Antonioni ends his film by making the point graphically. Tennis players play the game without a ball. The invisible “ball” goes back and forth and the spectators watch its “path” from side to side until finally the “ball” (which does not exist) goes out over the surrounding wire and “falls” at the photographer’s feet. He pauses for a moment, uncertain about what he should do. (Is observation simply a matter of the majority? Does the reality of things come from the general agreement in society and nothing more?) Then the photographer stoops down, picks up the “ball,” and throws it back onto the court. Here, depicted brilliantly, is the problem of any system which builds its epistemology on man alone. This film was a philosophic statement of the period in which we are living.


Philosophy: Sir Francis Bacon
Biography, Quotes, Pictures of the Famous Philosopher / Scientist

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. (Francis Bacon)

Francis Bacon Biography & Summary of his Main Ideas in Philosophy, Science & Religion

Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626 CE)

A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion. (Francis Bacon)Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, spy, freemason and essayist. He was knighted in 1603, created Baron Verulam in 1618, and created Viscount St Albans in 1621; both peerage titles becoming extinct upon his death.

He began his professional life as a lawyer, but he has become best known as a philosophical advocate and defender of the scientific revolution. His works establish and popularize an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method. Induction implies drawing knowledge from the natural world through experimentation, observation, and testing of hypotheses. In the context of his time, such methods were connected with the occult trends of hermeticism and alchemy.

Francis Bacon’s works include his Essays, as well as the Colours of Good and Evil and the Meditationes Sacrae, all published in 1597. His famous aphorism, “knowledge is power”, is found in the Meditations. In the fragment De Interpretatione Naturae Prooemium (written probably about 1603) Bacon analyses his own mental character and establishes his goals, which were threefold: discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church. Francis Bacon also wrote In felicem memoriam Elizabethae, a eulogy for the queen written in 1609; and various philosophical works which constitute the fragmentary and incomplete Instauratio magna, the most important part of which is the Novum Organum (published 1620).

Francis Bacon did not propose an actual philosophy, but rather a method of developing philosophy; he wrote that, whilst philosophy at the time used the deductive syllogism to interpret nature, the philosopher should instead proceed through inductive reasoning from fact to axiom to law. Before beginning this induction, the inquirer is to free his mind from certain false notions or tendencies which distort the truth. These are called “Idols” (idola), and are of four kinds: “Idols of the Tribe” (idola tribus), which are common to the race; “Idols of the Den” (idola specus), which are peculiar to the individual; “Idols of the Marketplace” (idola fori), coming from the misuse of language; and “Idols of the Theater” (idola theatri), which result from an abuse of authority. The end of induction is the discovery of forms, the ways in which natural phenomena occur, the causes from which they proceed.

Bacon’s somewhat fragmentary ethical system, derived through use of his methods, is explicated in the seventh and eighth books of his De augmentis scientiarum (1623). He distinguishes between duty to the community, an ethical matter, and duty to God, a purely religious matter. Any moral action is the action of the human will, which is governed by reason and spurred on by the passions; habit is what aids men in directing their will toward the good. No universal rules can be made, as both situations and men’s characters differ.

Bacon distinctly separates religion and philosophy, though the two can coexist. Where philosophy is based on reason, faith is based on revelation, and therefore irrational – in De augmentis he writes that “[t]he more discordant, therefore, and incredible, the divine mystery is, the more honor is shown to God in believing it, and the nobler is the victory of faith.”

Francis Bacon Quotes, Portraits & Pictures

'Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.' (Francis Bacon) A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor.

As the births of living creatures are at first ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time.

Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.

Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable.

Fashion is only the attempt to realize art in living forms and social intercourse.

Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.

Friends are thieves of time.

Friendship increases in visiting friends, but in visiting them seldom.

'Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.' (Francis Bacon)He that hath knowledge spareth his words.

Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend.

If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.

If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.

Knowledge is power.

Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted … but to weigh and consider.

Science is but an image of the truth.

The correlative to loving our neighbours as ourselves is hating ourselves as we hate our neighbours.

Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.

Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.

Young people are fitter to invent than to judge; fitter for execution than for counsel; and more fit for new projects than for settled business.

A bachelor’s life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch, and a miserable dinner. (Francis Bacon)

Francis Schaeffer “BASIS FOR HUMAN DIGNITY” Whatever…HTTHR

Dr. Francis schaeffer – The flow of Materialism(from Part 4 of Whatever happened to human race?)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical flow of Truth & History (intro)

Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of History & Truth (1)

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – The Biblical Flow of Truth & History (part 2)


Here is a fine article below that mentions Francis Bacon at this link:

Bible-Believing Scientists of the Past


Scientists and Their Gods

(Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?)

Copyright © 1999 Dr. Henry F. Schaefer. All rights reserved.

The Genesis of This Lecture

I first began teaching freshman chemistry at Berkeley in the spring of 1983. Typically we lectured in halls that held about 550. On the first day of class you could fit in 680, which we had that particular morning. It was a full auditorium. Those of you who have had freshman chemistry at a large university will know that many have mixed feelings about that course.

“Many scientists do believe in both science and God, the God of revelation, in a perfectly consistent way.” — Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in physics

I had never addressed a group of 680 people before and was a bit concerned about it. But I had a fantastic demonstration prepared for them. At Berkeley in the physical science lecture hall, the stage is in three parts. It rotated around, so you could go to your part of the stage and work for several hours before your lecture, getting everything ready. My assistant, Lonny Martin who did all the chemistry demonstrations at Berkley, was in the process of setting up 10 moles of a large number of quantities — 10 moles of benzene, iron, mercury, ethyl alcohol, water, etc. At just the right time, at the grand crescendo of this lecture, I was going to press the button and Lonny would come turning around and show them the ten moles of various items. The student would have great insight as they realized that all these had in common was about the same number of molecules of each one.

It was going to be wonderful. We got to that point in the lecture and I said, “Lonny, come around and show us the moles.” I pressed the button to rotate the stage but nothing happened. I didn’t realize that he was overriding my button press because he wasn’t ready with the moles. This was very embarrassing. I went out in front of the 680 students and was really at a complete loss of what to say, so I made some unprepared remarks. I said, “While we’re waiting for the moles, let me tell you what happened to me in church yesterday morning.”

I was desperate. There was great silence among those 680 students. They had come with all manner of anticipations about freshman chemistry, but stories about church were not among them!

I continued, “Let me tell you what my Sunday School teacher said yesterday.” That raised their interest even more. “I was hoping the group at church would give me some support, moral, spiritual, or whatever for dealing with this large class, but I received none. In fact, the Sunday School teacher asked the class, in honor of me:

What was the difference between a dead dog lying in the middle of the street and a dead chemistry professor lying in the middle of the street

The class was excited about this and I hadn’t even gotten to the punch line. They roared with laughter. The very concept of a dead chemistry professor lying in the middle of the street was hilarious to them. I’m sure some of them began to think, “If this guy were to become a dead chemistry professor very close to the final exam, we probably wouldn’t have to take the final exam. They’d probably give us all passing grades and this would be wonderful.”

I told them my Sunday school teacher had said that the difference between the dead dog lying in the middle of the road and the dead chemistry professor lying in the middle of the road is that there are skid marks in front of the dead dog.

The class thought this was wonderful! Just as they settled down, I pressed the button and around came Lonny with the moles. It was a wonderful beginning to my career as a freshman chemistry lecturer.

About 50 students came down at the end of class. About half had the usual questions like “Which dot do I punch out of this registration card?” There is always some of that. But about half of these students all had something like the same question. Basically they wanted to know “What were you doing in church yesterday?” One in particular said, “The person I most have admired in my life was my high school chemistry teacher last year. He told me with great certainty that it was impossible to be a practicing chemist and have any religious view whatever. What do you think about that?”

We didn’t have a long discussion at that time, but the students asked me if I would speak further on this topic. That became the origin of this lecture.

I gave this talk in Berkeley and in the San Francisco area many times. When I moved to the University of Georgia several years ago, the interest increased. And some faculty members complained to the administration. It was an interesting chapter in my life. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the largest newspaper in the southeastern United States, came out with an editorial supporting my right to give this talk, saying, “Fanatics are demanding rigorous control over the dissemination of ideas.”

A Perspective on the Relation of Science and Christianity

Let’s put this question of the relationship between science and Christianity with as broadest, most reasonable perspective we can. The relation between science and other intellectual pursuits has not always been easy. Therefore, many feel there has been a terrible warfare between science and Christianity. But I feel this is not the whole story.

For example, the recent literature text by Susan Gallagher and Roger Lundeen says,

Because in recent history, literature has often found itself in opposition to science, to understand modern views about literature the dominance of science in our culture. For several centuries, scientists have set the standards of truth for Western culture. And their undeniable usefulness in helping us organize, analyze, and manipulate facts has given them an unprecedented importance in modern society.

Not everybody has liked that. For example, John Keats, the great romantic poet, did not like Isaac Newton’s view of reality. He said it threatened to destroy all the beauty in the universe. He feared that a world in which myths and poetic visions had vanished would become a barren and uninviting place. In his poem Lamia, he talks about this destructive power. In this poem, he calls “science” “philosophy”, so I will try to replace the word “philosophy” with “science” because that is what he means.

Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold science?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven
We knew her woof and texture.
She is given in the dull catalog of common things.
Science will clip an angels wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air and gnome’s mind,
Unweave a rainbow.

My point is there has been some sparring between science and virtually every other intellectual endeavor. So it should not be entirely surprising if there weren’t a bit of that between science and Christianity.

Has Science Disproved God?

Nevertheless, the position is commonly stated that “science has disproved God.” C. S. Lewis says, in his autobiography Surprised by Joy, that he believed that statement. He talks about the atheism of his early youth and credits it to science. He says,

You will understand that my atheism was inevitably based on what I believed to be the findings of the sciences and those findings, not being a scientist, I had to take on trust, in fact, on authority.

What he’s saying is that somebody told him that science had disproved God and he believe it, even though he didn’t know anything about science.

A more balanced view is this by one of my scientific heroes, Erwin Schrodinger. He was the founder of wave mechanics and the originator of what is the most important equation in science, Schrodinger’s equation. He says,

I’m very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight, knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

People do tell good stories. Scientists do tell some interesting stories about religion. This one is from Chemistry in Britain, which is kind of like the Time Magazine of the chemical profession in England. Talking about the release of a new book on science policy, they explore an interesting idea.

If God applied to the government for a research grant for the development of a heaven and earth, he would be turned down on the following grounds:

  • His project is too ambitious.
  • He has no previous track record.
  • His only publication is only a book and not a paper in a refereed journal.
  • He refuses to collaborate with his biggest competitor.
  • His proposal for a heaven and earth is all up in the air.

The Alternatives to Belief in the Sovereign God of the Universe

I want to give examples of two atheists.

Lev Landau
The first is Lev Landau, the most brilliant Soviet physicist of this century. He was the author of many famous books with his coworker Lifchets. I actually used some of these books as a student at M.I.T. This is a story about Landau from his good friend and biographer Kolotnikov. This appeared in Physics Today.This is a story from the end of Landau’s life. Kolotnikov says

The last time I saw Landau was in 1968 after he had an operation. His health had greatly deteriorated. Lifchets and I were summoned to the hospital. We were informed that there was practically no chance he could be saved. When I entered his ward, Landau was lying on his side with his face turned to the wall. He heard my steps, turned his head, and said, “Kollat, please save me.” Those were the last words I heard from Landau. He died that night.

Chandrasekar was a famous astrophysicist. He won the Nobel prize in physics in 1983. He was a faculty member at the University of Chicago for many years. At the back of his biography is an interview. Chandrasekar says,

In fact, I consider myself an atheist. But I have a feeling of disappointment because the hope for contentment and a peaceful outlook on life as the result of pursuing a goal has remained largely unfulfilled.

His biographer is astonished. He says:

What? I don’t understand. You mean, single–minded pursuit of science, understanding parts of nature and comprehending nature with such enormous success still leaves you with a feeling of discontentment?

Shandresekar continues in a serious way, saying:

I don’t really have a sense of fulfillment. All I have done seems to not be very much.

The biographer seeks to lighten up the discussion a little saying that everybody has the same sort of feelings. But Shandresekar will not let him do this, saying:

Well that may be, but the fact that other people experience it doesn’t change the fact that one is experiencing it. It doesn’t become less personal on that account.

And Chandrasekar’s final statement:

What is true in my own personal case is that I simply don’t have that sense of harmony which I’d hoped for when I was young. I’ve persevered in science for over fifty years. The time I’ve devoted to other things is miniscule.

Is it Possible to be a Scientist and a Christian?

So the question I want to explore is the one that I was asked by that young man after my freshman chemistry class at Berkeley, “Is it possible to be a scientist and a Christian.” The student and his high school chemistry teacher obviously thought it was not possible.

C. P. Snow
Let me begin from pretty neutral ground by quoting two people with no particular theistic inclination. The first one is C. P. Snow. C. P. Snow used to be very famous as the author of a book called The Two Cultures. C. P. Snow was a physical chemist at Oxford University. He discovered about halfway through his career that he also was a gifted writer and he began writing novels. They are about university life in England. One in particular is called Masters, which I would recommend. C. P. Snow became quite wealthy doing this and then he was able to sit in an in–between position, between the world of the sciences and the world of literature.

He wrote this book, which in it’s time was very famous, about the two cultures—the sciences and the humanities. He said statistically slightly more scientists are in religious terms, unbelievers, compared with the rest of the intellectual world, although there are plenty that are religious and that seems to be increasingly so among the young. So is it possible to be a scientist and a Christian? C. P. Snow, who was certainly not a Christian, said yes.

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman, Nobel prize in physics in 1965, was a very unusual person. He said some 9 years before receiving the Nobel prize, “Many scientists do believe in both science and God, the God of revelation, in a perfectly consistent way.” So is it possible to be a scientist and a Christian? Yes according to Richard Feynman.

A good summary statement in this regard is by Allen Lichtman, who has written a very well–received book called Origins. He’s an M.I.T. professor who has published this book with Harvard University Press. He says,

References to God continued in the scientific literature until the middle to late 1800’s. It seems likely that the lack of religious references after this time seem more from a change in social and professional conventions among scientists rather than from any change in underlying thought. Indeed, contrary to popular myth, scientists appear to have the same range of attitudes about religious matters as does the general public.

Now one could regard that statement as strictly anecdotal. Americans love statistics. Here’s the result of a poll of the professional society Sigma Zi. Three thousand three hundred responded, so this is certainly beyond statistical uncertainty. The headline says, “Scientists are anchored in the U. S. mainstream.” It says that half participate in religious activities regularly. Looking at the poll is that 43% of Ph.D. scientists are in church on a typical Sunday. In the American public, 44% are in church on a typical Sunday. So it’s clear that whatever it is that causes people to have religious inclinations is unrelated to having an advanced degree in science.

Michael Polyani
Let go a little deeper with a statement from Michael Polyani, professor of chemistry and then philosophy at the University of Manchester. His son, John Polyani, won the Nobel prize in 1986. I think that it’s probably true that when John Polyani’s scientific accomplishments, which have been magnificent, have been mostly forgotten, his father’s work will continue.

Michael Polyani was a great physical chemist at the University of Manchester. About halfway through his career, he switched over to philosophy. He was equally distinguished there. His books are not easy to read. His most influential book is called Personal Knowledge. He was of Jewish physical descent. He was born in Hungary. About the same time he switched from chemistry to philosophy, he joined the Roman Catholic church. He said,

I shall reexamine the suppositions underlying our belief in science and propose to show that they are more extensive than is usually thought. They will appear to coextend with the entire spiritual foundations of man and to go to the very root of his social existence. Hence I will urge our belief in science should be regarded as a token of much wider convictions.

If you read the rest of the book, you will probably make the same conclusion that I make. I’ve concluded that Polyani is pointing out that the observer is always there in the laboratory. He always makes conclusions. He is never neutral. Every scientist brings presuppositions to his or her work. A scientist, for example, never questions the basic soundness of the scientific method. This faith of the scientist arose historically from the Christian belief that God the father created a perfectly orderly universe.

Now I want to give you some evidence of that.

Science Developed in a Christian Environment
I’d like to begin with an outrageous statement that always causes reaction. This is a statement from a British scientist, Robert Clark. It will make you think. He says,

However we may interpret the fact scientific development has only occurred in a Christian culture. The ancients had brains as good as ours. In all civilizations, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, India, Rome, Persia, China and so on, science developed to a certain point and then stopped. It is easy to argue speculatively that science might have been able to develop in the absence of Christianity, but in fact, it never did. And no wonder. For the non–Christian world felt there was something ethically wrong about science. In Greece, this conviction was enshrined in the legend of Prometheus, the fire–bearer and prototype scientist who stole fire from heaven thus incurring the wrath of the Gods.”

I’d prefer if he had said “sustained scientific development.” I think he’s gone a little too far here, but this will certainly give people something to think about.

Francis Bacon
Let’s explore the idea involved in the statements that Clark and Polyani made, that is, that science grew up in a Christian environment. I was taught that Francis Bacon discovered the scientific method. The higher critics now claim he stole it from somebody else and just popularized it. We’ll leave that to the science historians to settle.

One of Francis Bacon’s statements is called the two–books statement. It’s very famous. He said:

Let no one think or maintain that a person can search too far or be too well studied in either the book of God’s word or the book of God’s works.

He’s talking about the Bible as the book of God’s words and nature as the book of God’s works. He is encouraging learning as much as possible about both. So right at the beginning of the scientific method, we have this statement.

Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler posited the idea of elliptical orbits for planets. He’s considered the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion. He was a devout Lutheran Christian. When he was asked the question “Why do you do science?”, he answered that he desired in his scientific research to obtain a sample test of the delight of the Divine Creator in his work and to partake of his joy. This has been said in many ways by other people, to think God’s thoughts after him, to know the mind of man. Kepler might be considered a Deist based on this first statement alone. But he later said:

I believe only and alone in the service of Jesus Christ. In him is all refuge and solace.

Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal was a magnificent scientist. He is the father of the mathematical theory of probability and combinatorial analysis. He provided the essential link between the mechanics of fluids and the mechanics of rigid bodies. He is the only physical scientist to make profound contributions to Christian thinking. Many of these thoughts are found in the little book, The Pensees, which I had to read as a sophomore at M.I.T. (They were trying to civilize us geeks at M.I.T., but a few years later decided that it wasn’t working, so we didn’t have to take any more humanities courses.)

Pascal’s theology is centered on the person of Jesus Christ as Savior and based on personal experience. He stated:

God makes people conscious of their inward wretchedness, which the Bible calls “sin” and his infinite mercy. He unites himself to their inmost soul, fills it with humility and joy, with confidence and love, renders them incapable of any other end than Himself. Jesus Christ is the end of all and the center to which all tends.

Pascal also said:

At the center of every human being is a God–shaped vacuum which can only be filled by Jesus Christ.

Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle was perhaps the first chemist. He developed the idea of atoms. Many of my freshman chemistry students know Boyle’s law. Every once in a while I’ll meet one of my former chemistry students. I ask them “What do you remember from the course?” Occasionally they will say: pv = nrt. Then I know I was successful. This is the ideal gas law of which Boyle’s law is a part.

Boyle was a busy man. He wrote many books. One is The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation. He personally endowed an annual lectureship promoted to the defense of Christianity against indifferentism and atheism. He was a good friend of Richard Baxter, one of the great Puritan theologians. He was governor of the Corporation for the Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England.

Isaac Newton
Although I disagree, a recent poll on who the most important person of history was gave that honor to Sir Isaac Newton. Newton was a mathematician, physicist, co–discoverer with Liebnitz of calculus, the founder of classical physics. He was the first of the three great theoretical physicists. He wrote about a lot of other things. He tried to do chemistry, but was a little bit before his time. He wrote more books on theology than on science. He wrote one about the return of Jesus Christ entitled Observations on the prophecy of Daniel and the Revelation of Saint John. He said:

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.

One might assume from this statement that Newton was a Deist (system of natural religion that affirms God’s existence but denies revelation). However, quotes like this shows this is not true:

There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.

One concludes that Newton was a Biblical literalist. It was not enough that an article of faith could be deduced from Scripture, he said:

It must be expressed in the very form of sound words in which it was delivered by the apostles. For men are apt to run into partings about deductions. All the old heresies lie in deductions. The true faith was in the Biblical texts.

George Trevellian, a secular historian, summarized the contributions of these individuals as follows:

Boyle, Newton and the early members of the Royal Society were religious men who repudiated the skeptical doctrines of Thomas Hobbs. But they familiarized the minds of their countrymen with the idea of law in the universe and with scientific methods of inquiry to discover truth. It was believed that these methods would never lead to any conclusions inconsistent with Biblical history and miraculous religion. Newton lived and died in that faith.

Michael Faraday
My very favorite — and probably the greatest experimental scientist of all — is Michael Farraday. The two hundredth birthday of Michael Faraday’s birth was recently celebrated at the Royal Institution (multi–disciplinary research laboratory in London). There was an interesting article published by my friend Sir John Thomas, who said if Michael Faraday had been living in the era of the Nobel prize, he would have been worthy of at least eight Nobel prizes. Faraday discovered benzene and electromagnetic radiation, invented the generator and was the main architect of classical field theory.

Let me contrast the end of his life with the end of Lev Landau’s life. Faraday was close to death. A friend and well–wisher came by and said, “Sir Michael, what speculations have you now?” This friend was trying to introduce some levity into the situation. Faraday’s career had consisted of making speculations about science and then dash into the laboratory to either prove or disprove them. It was a reasonable thing to say.

Faraday took it very seriously. He replied:

Speculations, man, I have none. I have certainties. I thank God that I don’t rest my dying head upon speculations for “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.”

John Clerk Maxwell
The second of the three great theoretical physicist of all time would certainly have been James Clerk Maxwell. Someone has documented Maxwell’s career this way:

Maxwell possessed all the gifts necessary for revolutionary advances in theoretical physics—a profound grasp of physical reality, great mathematical ability, total absence of preconceived notions, a creative imagination of the highest order. He possessed also the gift to recognize the right task for this genius—the mathematical interpretation of Faraday’s concept of electromagnetic field. Maxwell’s successful completion of this task resulting in the mathematical [field] equations bearing his name, constituted one of the great achievements of the human intellect.

I disagree with one statement made above. If Maxwell indeed had a total absence of preconceived notions, he would have accomplished a total absence of science. So this is obviously written by somebody who is not a scientist (a squishyhead). However, this statement is basically good.

Maxwell said:

Think what God has determined to do to all those who submit themselves to his righteousness and are willing to receive his gift [of eternal life in Jesus Christ]. They are to be conformed to the image of his Son and when that is fulfilled and God sees they are conformed to the image of Christ, there can be no more condemnation.

Maxwell and Charles Darwin were contemporaries. Many wonder what he thought of Darwin’s theories. In fact, once he was to go to a meeting on the Italian Riviera in February to discuss new developments in science and the Bible. If you’ve ever spent time in Cambridge, England, you know it is very gloomy in the wintertime. If I had been a faculty there, I would have taken an opportunity to go to the Italian Riviera at this time of the year.

Maxwell turned down the invitation. He explained:

The rate of change of scientific hypotheses is naturally much more rapid than that of Biblical interpretation. So if an interpretation is founded on such a hypothesis it may help to keep the hypothesis above ground long after it ought to be buried and forgotten.

This is true. An example of this is the steady–state theory, which was popularized by Fred Hoyle and many others. It is one of the two competing theories of the origin of the universe. The steady–state hypothesis basically says that what you see is what was always there. It became less tenable in 1965 with the observation of the microwave background radiation by Arnold Pansias and Robert Wilson. There are not very many people left who believe in the steady–state hypothesis. It is interesting to go back to about 1960 and find commentaries on the book of Genesis and see how they explain how the steady–state hypothesis can be reconciled with the first chapter of Genesis. Any reasonable person can see that Genesis is talking about a beginning from nothing (ex nihilo), so it takes interesting explanations to reconcile a beginning with the steady–state hypothesis.

The steady–state hypothesis is going to be, within about 20 years, gone and forgotten. These commentaries will probably still be available in libraries and no one will be able to understand them….

David Cole & Francis Collins
Since my area of expertise is right between chemistry and physics, I cannot speak as well for the field of biological sciences. However, my longtime colleague, Berkeley biochemist David Cole and cystic fibrosis pioneer, Francis Collins — director of the Human Genome Project, the largest scientific project ever undertaken — are both well–known as outspoken Christians.

Why Are There So Few Atheists Among Physicists?

Many scientists are considering the facts before them. They say things like:

The present arrangement of matter indicates a very special choice of initial conditions. — Paul Davies

In fact, if one considers the possible constants and laws that could have emerged, the odds against a universe that produced life like ours are immense. — Stephen Hawking

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. — Fred Hoyle

As the Apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Romans:

Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.

Why the Perception of Ongoing Battle?

The last question I want to ask, then, is this, Why do so many people still think that there is an ongoing battle between science and Christianity? I don’t deny that there is an ongoing discussion. But I think the facts are that, what you think about God doesn’t depend on whether you have a Ph.D. in the sciences.

Why would some people like to think that this supposed battle rages on? At least in part, I honestly feel it is a misrepresentation. Let me give you just one example. Andrew Dickson White was the first president of Cornell University, the first university in the United States formed on strictly secular principles. (All others had been founded on a Christian basis.) He wrote a very famous book, The History of the Warfare of Science With Theology, in 1896. An excerpt:

[John] Calvin took the lead in his commentary on Genesis, by condemning all who asserted that the earth is not the center of the universe. He clinched the matter by the usual reference to the first verse of the 93rd Psalm and asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

(This is not making John Calvin look very good!) What’s the real story behind this? Alistair McGrath, Brampton Lecturer at Oxford University and perhaps the greatest living scholar on Calvin, has recently written an authoritative biography of Calvin, in which he goes into question with great detail:

This assertion of Calvin is slavishly repeated by virtually every science writer on the theme of religion and science, such as Bertrand Russell in his History of Western Philosophy. Yet it may be stated categorically that Calvin wrote no such words in his Genesis commentary and expressed no such sentiments in any of his known writings. The assertion that he did is to be found characteristically unsubstantiated in the writings of the nineteenth century….

It would be fair to ask what Calvin really thought of Copernicus’ heliocentric theory of the solar system, and the answer is that we don’t know. He probably didn’t even know about him—Copernicus was not exactly a household name in France or Switzerland in 1520. But in his preface of his translation of the New Testament into French, Calvin wrote:

The whole point of Scripture is to bring us to a knowledge of Jesus Christ and, having come to know Him with all that this implies, we should come to a halt and not expect to learn more.


I hope that I have given you a flavor of the history of science. Those of you who have taken a freshman chemistry or physics course will surely find many of these people familiar. In fact, the reason I have prepared this talk is that these represent the very people I have taught in such courses.

There is a tremendous tradition of distinguished scientists who were and are Christians. I hope that my work is considered sufficiently outstanding to fall into the distinguished among that category. I also hope I have given you enough evidence that you will never again believe that it is impossible to be a scientist and a Christian.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer – Episode VII – The Age of Non Reason

Featured artist is Colin Self


In his new exhibition, One Thousand Sketches, the British pop artist mixes political subversion with a sense of fun
colin self

Detail from A Canary and Tangles! (Daddy Colin Self and Coleen) xxx by Colin Self PR

For an exemplary artistic life in modern Britain, it’s worth visiting Colin Self’s exhibition, One Thousand Sketches, at James Hyman Gallery in London. It is full of the joy of the outsider, the fun of rebellion – both political and artistic.

In the early 60s Self was part of the pop generation of British artists who competed with Americans in their appetite for modern life: but British pop art often had a political edge, and like the movement’s visionary founder, Richard Hamilton, Self criticised the establishment. In works such as Leopardskin Nuclear Bunker No 2 (1963), now in the Tate collection, he used savvy sarcasm to confront the masters of war. Pop art was never just about soup cans and celebrities. The bomb was one of the icons of modern life that transfixed it – and at a time when folk song was usually seen as the style of protest, Self showed how a pop iconography could be turned against the cold war.

He continues to be a dissident. His drawings at James Hyman Gallery mix Disney-like cartoons, erotic longings, intimate portraiture, notes for mad projects and Marxist revolutionary dreams. What is lovely about this exhibition, though, is the sense of fun. Here is someone who enjoys his job. Humour never seems to desert him, even when he’s angry. All the sketches come from unexpected directions, all flowing into each other like pages in a visual diary. Boundless creativity, steady introspection and honesty shine through to make this a testimony to decades of artistic and political subversion.

Artists of Self’s generation had a different attitude to drawing and artistic tradition than the superficially comparable pop generation of 90s Britain. Self, like Hamilton, possesses positively Old Masterish skills. But married to a fascination with modern images, his passion for drawing makes a rich and comic art for our time.

Colin Self

Still Life with Art Deco Goldfish Bowl, Curtain and Shells



Colin Self. Streetseen, Hearts and Glances

24 Nov — 18 Dec 2015 at Mayor Gallery in London, United Kingdom

Colin Self, Craigie’s dog “Waynie” (Craigie Aitchison), 15/10/15, Mixed media collage and pencil, 18 x 21 cm
Colin Self, Craigie’s dog “Waynie” (Craigie Aitchison), 15/10/15, Mixed media collage and pencil, 18 x 21 cm

Colin Self (b.1941 Norfolk, England) is a significant figure in British art history. Self studied at Norwich School of Art before attending the Slade School of Art in London during the early 1960s, where he met fellow artists David Hockney and Peter Blake. Born during World War II, his earlier work demonstrated a sensibility to political issues and nuclear paranoia, making him the only British Pop artist to refer explicitly to the Cold War. He also produced works featuring apparently harmless motifs from contemporary life and consumer society, which at times conveys an unexpected atmosphere of violence and sexual threat. His intention was to produce a detailed record of his society, which, in the event of its destruction, would convey its essential qualities to anyone coming across his work in the future. Deeply suspicious of the commercial art world, in 1965 Self returned permanently to Norwich where his subject matter and his repertoire of techniques continued to expand, taking in atmospheric Norfolk landscapes, still-lifes and studies of human behaviour.

The 103 ‘Glances’ exhibited in this show “are more or less an art equivalent to passing a glance at someone in the street or acknowledging or nodding at them without time to have a full conversation. They’re not sketches but complete records in themselves, maybe some parallel to the way we think, having some 60,000 thoughts a day. Sometimes the items have been lost by somebody or dropped as litter; A bit like historical archaeology where scraps from the past are clues and have significance but they are of our times. Who knows if they owe a little something to Kurt Schwitters, when I see his collages I am left wondering who dropped the tram tickets on the street for him to pick up like clues for a detective…” Colin Self.

Alongside the ‘Glances’ series The Mayor Gallery has selected 14 artworks including the classic Colin Self imagery of Cinemas, Hotdogs, Ploughman, and more recent lenticular Hearts collages.

Colin Self is currently participating in The World Goes Pop at the Tate Modern and in International Pop a touring exhibition at the Walker Art Centre, Dallas Museum of Art and Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Colin Self

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Colin E Self (born 1941 in Rackheath, Norfolk) is an English Pop Artist, whose work has addressed the theme of Cold War politics.

As a student at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1961 to 1963 Colin Self received encouragement for his drawings and collages from the artists David Hockney and Peter Blake. Visits to the USA and Canada in 1962 and 1965 heightened his consciousness of Cold War politics and events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the CND marches led him to create highly-innovative prints such as Nuclear Bomber No.1 (1963), one of the earliest multiple plate etchings, and paintings such as ‘Waiting Women and Two Nuclear Bombers’ (1962–63).[1] He also explored the relationship between violence and sexual threat in drawings of glamorous models and his iconic ‘Leopard-skin Nuclear Bomber’ sculptures.

Following his trip to the United States in 1965 he produced a series of drawings based on American nuclear fall-out shelters, Art Deco cinema interiors and of hot dogs, which he described as being ‘as important a 20th century development as (say) a rocket.’ His highly personal and distinctive style of drawing led the artist Richard Hamilton to call him ‘the best draughtsman in England since William Blake.’ During the 1960s Self showed with the Robert Fraser Gallery, London. As printmaker, Self has been a great innovator and was a central figure in the 1960s boom in printmaking. Drawing images from a variety of commercial sources, he created the Power and Beauty series of screenprints (1968) at Editions Alecto while his etching suite Prelude to the 1000 Temporary Objects of Our Time (1970–71) sought to provide a unique record of society in the event of its possible destruction[2]

Suspicious of the commercial art world Self worked in isolation during the 1970s, seeking a sense of solace through the production of atmospheric watercolours and charcoals of the landscapes of his native county Norfolk, and Scotland. From 1972 to 1974 Self worked in collaboration with the German potter Mathies Schwarze at the Töpferei Schwarze Pottery near Cologne, Germany. A trip to the former Soviet Union in 1985-6 provided further stimulus to his explorations of Cold War culture. His collages from the 1980s to the present day combine his interest in Surrealist juxtaposition and the subconscious, with an inventive visual imagination. Some of these works such as ‘Burning Man Jumping from Building’ (1983) and ‘New York Disaster’ (1998) appear remarkably prescient in the light of events such as the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, while others create lighter, often humorous narratives from found material in everyday life – an extension of the language of Pop art. In 1997 the Tate Gallery held a show of all its holdings of his work. Since 2000 Self has worked on his ‘Odyssey/Iliad’ suite of etchings, in which the artist has returned to his 1960s technique of multiple-plate etching to re-tell the classical story by Homer using contemporary found-imagery and themes.

A retrospective of his work entitled ‘Colin Self: Art in the Nuclear Age’ was held at Pallant House Gallery in 2008, curated by art historian Simon Martin.[3]


  1. Jump up^ collection: Pallant House Gallery, Chichester UK
  2. Jump up^ Tessa Sidey, Editions Alecto: Original Graphics, Multiple Originals 1960-1981, Lund Humphries, 2003
  3. Jump up^ Pallant House Gallery Exhibitions

External links[edit]


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