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Isaac Newton's views on religion

laska

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Found an interesting article from a physics professor at BYU on Isaac Newton. I'll cut and paste and summarize some key points and post a link at the end for those who want to read the complete article.


"Newton was certainly one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. He laid out the three laws of motion in his extraordinary Principia Mathematica. He discovered the law of universal gravitation, the famous inverse-distance-squared law. He wrote much about light and optics after performing his own original experiments on light. He invented calculus. He rejected the authority of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and promoted experiment-based science.


But it is not commonly known that Newton was also a devout Christian who wrote extensively about Christianity. We learn from his writings that he deeply studied the Bible along with writings of early Christian leaders. Notably, Newton concluded that the dogma of a Triune god was false doctrine and therefore refused ordination in the Anglican Church, a most unpopular decision that almost cost him his position at Cambridge University. Newton also believed that a general apostasy from Christ’s doctrines occurred early on in the history of the Christian church, and he wrote that a restoration of the Lord’s church would come at some future time."



He thought one of the first signs of the apostasy was the corruption of the nature of God. Newton: “That apostasy was to begin by corrupting the truth about the relation of the Son to the Father in putting them equal.” Newton saw two major flaws in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity: it was unsupported from the scriptures and it was illogical. Newton used scriptural passages to demonstrate that the Trinitarian doctrine was incorrect, and that the scriptures instead taught that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are separate and distinct beings, three members of the Godhead. For example, the Son confessed that the Father was greater than him and called him his God. The Son also acknowledged the original prescience of all future things to be in the Father only. Newton especially took exception to the Athanasian Creed, which was the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity was explicitly stated.



Newton concluded a lengthy treatise on the Book of Revelation by saying: “If you now compare all with -the Apocalyptic Visions, and particularly with the flight of the woman into the wilderness and the reign of the whore of Babylon, they will very much illustrate one another: for these visions are as plain as if it had been expressly said, that the true Church shall disappear, and in her stead an idolatrous church reign in the world.”




It is interesting to compare this with the LDS scripture the Doctrine and Covenants 86, where the Lord explains the meaning of the parable of the wheat and the tares:


"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, concerning the parable of the wheat and the tares:
Behold, verily I say, the field was the world, and the apostles were the sowers of the seed; And after they have fallen asleep the great persecutor of the church, the apostate, the whore, even Babylon, that maketh all nations to drink of her cup, in whose hearts the enemy, even Satan, sitteth to reign—behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness." (D&C 86:1–3)


Newton on the pattern of apostasy and restoration:
"The worship which is due to this God we are to give to no other nor to ascribe anything absurd or contradictious to his nature or actions lest we be found to blaspheme him or to deny him or to make a step towards atheism or irreligion. . . . For as often as mankind has swerved from them, God has made a reformation. When the sons of Adam erred and the thoughts of their heart became evil continually, God selected Noah to people a new world. And when the posterity of Noah transgressed and began to invoke dead men, God selected Abraham and his posterity. And when they transgressed in Egypt God reformed them by Moses. And when they relapsed to idolatry and immorality, God sent Prophets to reform them and punished them by the Babylonian captivity. And when they that returned from captivity, mixed human inventions with the law of Moses under the name of traditions, and laid the stress of religion not upon the acts of the mind, but upon outward acts and ceremonies, God sent Christ to reform them. And when the nation received him not, God called the Gentiles. And now the Gentiles have corrupted themselves, we may expect that God in due time will make a new reformation. And in all the reformations of religion hitherto made, the religion in respect of God and our neighbor is one and the same religion . . . so that this is the oldest religion in the world."

https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/converging-paths-truth/brief-survey-sir-isaac-newtons-views-religion
 

ashurbanipal

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Newton was an interesting cat. I have a few quibbles with the above:

Newton was certainly one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. He laid out the three laws of motion in his extraordinary Principia Mathematica. He discovered the law of universal gravitation, the famous inverse-distance-squared law. He wrote much about light and optics after performing his own original experiments on light. He invented calculus. He rejected the authority of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and promoted experiment-based science.

Kepler actually discovered the inverse square law. Newton figured out how to make Kepler's laws consistent with Galileo's kinematics of uniformly accelerated motions. He did invent calculus, though Leibniz had done so a decade before and kept it private. He also accepted the necessity of rational principles, though he did want to see results confirmed in experiment. He actually turned to alchemy as a means to try to demonstrate through experiment the omnipresence of God. He hoped, perhaps dimly, that he could actually distill a few ounces of God and show it to some of his closest friends--John Locke and Robert Boyle, in particular.

He was anti-trinitarian, though this was at least partially for scientific reasons. He thought God is literally a substance that suffuses all of space. He was committed to the principle of sufficient reason, and to the ultimate intelligibility of the universe. These commitments, in turn, were part of a larger Neoplatonic turn in early modern philosophy, of which Newton was a part. God was, for Newton, the ultimate ground of being, and from God, all things emanated through a number of "aethers," each of which was gradually more material. God's omnipresence was needed to explain physics, in Newton's view. The Holy Spirit fit into the scheme, but Christ was a wholly different thing, one that didn't fit into the scheme in the same way. He speculated at times that Christ's incarnation might be useful to explain the mind/body problem, but he never came anywhere close to formulating anything consistent or coherent on this point.

One further point: Newton disputed (as had Erasmus and Luther, and many others, before him) 1John 5:7--often called the Comma Johanneum. They were probably not aware, but Cyprian of Alexandria, writing in the 3rd century, appears to have quoted this passage from John's First Epistle, suggesting the passage is original, or at least very early.
 
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laska

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Newton was an interesting cat. I have a few quibbles with the above:



Kepler actually discovered the inverse square law. Newton figured out how to make Kepler's laws consistent with Galileo's kinematics of uniformly accelerated motions. He did invent calculus, though Leibniz had done so a decade before and kept it private. He also accepted the necessity of rational principles, though he did want to see results confirmed in experiment. He actually turned to alchemy as a means to try to demonstrate through experiment the omnipresence of God. He hoped, perhaps dimly, that he could actually distill a few ounces of God and show it to some of his closest friends--John Locke and Robert Boyle, in particular.

He was anti-trinitarian, though this was at least partially for scientific reasons. He thought God is literally a substance that suffuses all of space. He was committed to the principle of sufficient reason, and to the ultimate intelligibility of the universe. These commitments, in turn, were part of a larger Neoplatonic turn in early modern philosophy, of which Newton was a part. God was, for Newton, the ultimate ground of being, and from God, all things emanated through a number of "aethers," each of which was gradually more material. God's omnipresence was needed to explain physics, in Newton's view. The Holy Spirit fit into the scheme, but Christ was a wholly different thing, one that didn't fit into the scheme in the same way. He speculated at times that Christ's incarnation might be useful to explain the mind/body problem, but he never came anywhere close to formulating anything consistent or coherent on this point.

One further point: Newton disputed (as had Erasmus and Luther, and many others, before him) 1John 5:7--often called the Comma Johanneum. They were probably not aware, but Cyprian of Alexandria, writing in the 3rd century, appears to have quoted this passage from John's First Epistle, suggesting the passage is original, or at least very early.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment much on this. I will say as far as John 5:7, I don't know if the earliest Greek manuscripts that Newton studied pre-dated the Cyprian's quote. All I know from a quick google search is that the website i found states the earliest John fragments date to the 2nd and 3rd century. But let's say the Cyprian quote is earlier, from a LDS(Mormon) perspective, the Book of Mormon implies that very early on and before it went out to the world, as soon as the written testimonies of the apostles went from Jewish to Gentile hands, that the apostate Christian church made alterations to the text, and then published it to the world. So we do not have the original as penned by the apostles. The Book of Mormon does imply that overall much of the New Testament was faithfully translated but that many "plain and precious" parts were taken out that has caused a lot of confusion.

To me the interesting thing about Newton's religious views is he believed in a complete apostasy of the Church very early on, and that God would restore it through an angel sometime in the future, establishing a new covenant, and that it would simply be a restoration of the ancient religion. All of this fits exactly with The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints.

I've got an idea how to show this, maybe post it later.
 

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I was pretty sure that this was all fairly well known. But now I'm second guessing myself. Maybe the author of that article is right and this is all "not commonly known". If that's the case, where are we going wrong? Surely they still teach about Isaac Newton in school.
 

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I was pretty sure that this was all fairly well known. But now I'm second guessing myself. Maybe the author of that article is right and this is all "not commonly known". If that's the case, where are we going wrong? Surely they still teach about Isaac Newton in school.

wouldn't be so sure of that. very rarely does my daughter or sons have science homework unless it is a project or something.
 

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Newton interpreted the woman fleeing into the wilderness in the Book of Revelations as New Testament Church departing from the earth through persecution of Babylon(the world).

clip_image0046.jpg

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had to flee into the wilderness to escape complete extermination. This in America, a land not by accident built on religious freedom. She had to put a continent and the Rocky mountains between her and her enemies in order to survive her infancy and mature in strength.

download (20).jpg
 

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I have read two bios of Newton, the psychbabble version by Manuel, and the legitimate scholarship by Westfall.

Unfortunately I read them over 20 years ago, and cannot now put my hand on either. If I find Westfall I may have more to say here.

He did invent calculus[Newton], though Leibniz had done so a decade before and kept it private.
This is incorrect.

It was Newton who invented calculus years before Leibniz, and kept it secret. Leibniz's notation is much easier to use, though, and has been universally adopted.

The two great geniuses eventually became embroiled in a horrendous priority dispute over the invention of calculus, more as the result of Newton's aggression than Leibniz's, although both discredited themselves during the affair.



He hoped, perhaps dimly, that he could actually distill a few ounces of God and show it to some of his closest friends--John Locke and Robert Boyle, in particular.
A mere human "distilling" The Creator?- where did you get this from?- I doubt Newton would be a party to any such.



He thought God is literally a substance that suffuses all of space.
Are you sure this is Newton's view? It sounds more like Spinoza to me.



One further point: Newton disputed (as had Erasmus and Luther, and many others, before him) 1John 5:7--often called the Comma Johanneum. They were probably not aware, but Cyprian of Alexandria, writing in the 3rd century, appears to have quoted this passage from John's First Epistle, suggesting the passage is original, or at least very early.
Newton thought that all reference to the Trinity in the Bible was fraudulent interpolation, and no part of the canon was excepted. BTW Newton, who had a sound command of of Latin and Greek from the usual academic requirements of the time, taught himself Hebrew, and became quite an expert of not only of the complete scriptures but also of the first several centuries of church history, with full command of the primary sources.
 

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I have read two bios of Newton, the psychbabble version by Manuel, and the legitimate scholarship by Westfall.

Unfortunately I read them over 20 years ago, and cannot now put my hand on either. If I find Westfall I may have more to say here.


This is incorrect.

It was Newton who invented calculus years before Leibniz, and kept it secret. Leibniz's notation is much easier to use, though, and has been universally adopted.

The two great geniuses eventually became embroiled in a horrendous priority dispute over the invention of calculus, more as the result of Newton's aggression than Leibniz's, although both discredited themselves during the affair.




A mere human "distilling" The Creator?- where did you get this from?- I doubt Newton would be a party to any such.




Are you sure this is Newton's view? It sounds more like Spinoza to me.




Newton thought that all reference to the Trinity in the Bible was fraudulent interpolation, and no part of the canon was excepted. BTW Newton, who had a sound command of of Latin and Greek from the usual academic requirements of the time, taught himself Hebrew, and became quite an expert of not only of the complete scriptures but also of the first several centuries of church history, with full command of the primary sources.

The ironic thing is that when the Archimedes palimpsest was analyzed and the contents of it was retrieved.. Archimedes came up with very similar principles and techniques for calculus in the 3rd century bc.
 

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USViking said:
I have read two bios of Newton, the psychbabble version by Manuel, and the legitimate scholarship by Westfall.

Unfortunately I read them over 20 years ago, and cannot now put my hand on either. If I find Westfall I may have more to say here.

Westfall is pretty good.

USViking said:
This is incorrect.

It was Newton who invented calculus years before Leibniz, and kept it secret. Leibniz's notation is much easier to use, though, and has been universally adopted.

The two great geniuses eventually became embroiled in a horrendous priority dispute over the invention of calculus, more as the result of Newton's aggression than Leibniz's, although both discredited themselves during the affair.

That is not what I've read on the subject...well, except for the last part about the public dispute. Leibniz' notation, and more importantly the manner in which he conceives of taking the derivative of some expression, is indeed more useful than Newton's.

USViking said:
A mere human "distilling" The Creator?- where did you get this from?- I doubt Newton would be a party to any such.

It's an inference based on his stated desire to distill immaterial aethers (compare Aere et Aether to Praxis and On Nature's Obvious Laws of Vegetation), and his further belief that these emanate from a substantival and omnipresent God. Like any good Neoplatonist, he was working his way "up the chain," so to speak, only he wanted to use the experimental method to demonstrate the existence of what he posited.

To be clear, and I should have said this earlier, it looks like he had abandoned the attempt, though not necessarily the hope that it was in principle possible, by about 1708.

USViking said:
Are you sure this is Newton's view? It sounds more like Spinoza to me.

The Gregory Memorandum seems to confirm this was indeed Newton's view as early as 1705, the posthumously published third edition of the Principia also contains a declaration that God is omnipresent "not only virtually but also substantially."

USViking said:
Newton thought that all reference to the Trinity in the Bible was fraudulent interpolation, and no part of the canon was excepted. BTW Newton, who had a sound command of of Latin and Greek from the usual academic requirements of the time, taught himself Hebrew, and became quite an expert of not only of the complete scriptures but also of the first several centuries of church history, with full command of the primary sources.

Yes, correct. That does not mean he had access to Cyprian's text (I'm not sure how commonly available his writings were at the time), or that Newton himself was right, especially in light of Cyprian's apparent early quote of 1John 5:7.
 

ashurbanipal

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USViking said:
It was Newton who invented calculus years before Leibniz, and kept it secret. Leibniz's notation is much easier to use, though, and has been universally adopted.

Nevermind. I looked back at my undergrad notes on this; I was reversing something in my memory. You are correct--Newton seems to have grasped the essentials of calculus first.
 

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Westfall is pretty good.
The standard as of now, I think.



It's an inference based on his stated desire to distill immaterial aethers (compare Aere et Aether to Praxis and On Nature's Obvious Laws of Vegetation), and his further belief that these emanate from a substantival and omnipresent God. Like any good Neoplatonist, he was working his way "up the chain," so to speak, only he wanted to use the experimental method to demonstrate the existence of what he posited.

To be clear, and I should have said this earlier, it looks like he had abandoned the attempt, though not necessarily the hope that it was in principle possible, by about 1708.

The Gregory Memorandum seems to confirm this was indeed Newton's view as early as 1705, the posthumously published third edition of the Principia also contains a declaration that God is omnipresent "not only virtually but also substantially."

I'll have to find my copy of Westfall before I can reply confidently, but the idea of being able to manipulate God in a scientific laboratory would I think be considered heretical even to someone of Newton's unorthodoxy. Mix a little ABC in a test tube, add to a little beaker of XYZ, heat for 20 minutes, stir, shake, strain, and the residue is God's essence, or substance, or something? Hm. I'll also need Westfall's comments on the Neoplatonism.



Yes, correct. That does not mean he had access to Cyprian's text (I'm not sure how commonly available his writings were at the time), or that Newton himself was right, especially in light of Cyprian's apparent early quote of 1John 5:7.
But Newton would have considered any Trinitarian reference of any vintage except the original (e.g. the Gospel of Mark in Mark's own hand) to be interpolation, so it does not matter whether he knew of Cyprian's quote, because if he had known of it it would have been just another fraud to him.
 

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The standard as of now, I think.





I'll have to find my copy of Westfall before I can reply confidently, but the idea of being able to manipulate God in a scientific laboratory would I think be considered heretical even to someone of Newton's unorthodoxy. Mix a little ABC in a test tube, add to a little beaker of XYZ, heat for 20 minutes, stir, shake, strain, and the residue is God's essence, or substance, or something? Hm. I'll also need Westfall's comments on the Neoplatonism.




But Newton would have considered any Trinitarian reference of any vintage except the original (e.g. the Gospel of Mark in Mark's own hand) to be interpolation, so it does not matter whether he knew of Cyprian's quote, because if he had known of it it would have been just another fraud to him.

Newton:“If you now compare all with -the Apocalyptic Visions, and particularly with the flight of the woman into the wilderness and the reign of the whore of Babylon, they will very much illustrate one another: for these visions are as plain as if it had been expressly said, that the true Church shall disappear, and in her stead an idolatrous church reign in the world.”

The Book of Mormon teaches that when the apostles wrote their books they were perfect but that before they went out to the world they went from Jewish to gentile hands and that the "great abominable church" "the whore of Babylon" altered the text and many plain and precious things were taken from them and then it went out to the world.


Newton was a sharp guy and it is pretty obvious that the New Testament itself tells of an apostasy of the Church. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/12/early-signs-of-the-apostasy?lang=eng
 

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USViking said:
he standard as of now, I think.

Well, keep in mind he's only one Newton scholar with a good reputation. There are plenty of others with different perspectives, including I. Bernard Cohen, Andrew Janiak, and Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs. They haven't all written biographies, but they're intimately familiar with Newton's life and thought, and they have quite a number of different perspectives. You have to read them all, as well as Newton's own writings, to get a grip on Newton.

USViking said:
I'll have to find my copy of Westfall before I can reply confidently, but the idea of being able to manipulate God in a scientific laboratory would I think be considered heretical even to someone of Newton's unorthodoxy. Mix a little ABC in a test tube, add to a little beaker of XYZ, heat for 20 minutes, stir, shake, strain, and the residue is God's essence, or substance, or something? Hm.

I think this may do a bit of a disservice to alchemy as Newton (or most other alchemists) understood it. The matter is both complex and unclear--I recommend B.J.T. Dobbs two books, "Hunting the Greene Lyon" and "The Janus Faces of Genius" for a good starting point; she's the only person to have written scholarly, book length examinations of Newton's alchemical manuscripts.

USViking said:
But Newton would have considered any Trinitarian reference of any vintage except the original (e.g. the Gospel of Mark in Mark's own hand) to be interpolation, so it does not matter whether he knew of Cyprian's quote, because if he had known of it it would have been just another fraud to him.

As to what Newton would have thought, you'll get no argument from me.
 

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Newton:“If you now compare all with -the Apocalyptic Visions, and particularly with the flight of the woman into the wilderness and the reign of the whore of Babylon, they will very much illustrate one another: for these visions are as plain as if it had been expressly said, that the true Church shall disappear, and in her stead an idolatrous church reign in the world.”

The Book of Mormon teaches that when the apostles wrote their books they were perfect but that before they went out to the world they went from Jewish to gentile hands and that the "great abominable church" "the whore of Babylon" altered the text and many plain and precious things were taken from them and then it went out to the world.


Newton was a sharp guy and it is pretty obvious that the New Testament itself tells of an apostasy of the Church. https://www.lds.org/ensign/1984/12/early-signs-of-the-apostasy?lang=eng

I am not in this thread as an advocate for one side or the other of the Trinitarian issue. Nor am I an authority on scripture and church history, but there are certainly plenty of mainstream Christians who are who can offer protrinitarian arguments as plausible as Newton's antitrinitarian ones.

As for this "abomination" epithet no religion is immune from just indictment, although some are definitely worse than others, ane all are superstitions we would do well to be rid of.

BTW this Steve Jones guy has an apparent weakness for the fringes, did you know that? I was wondering if he was the same Jones who was involved in the "Cold Fusion" fiasco of the late 1980s, and googling indicates he was indeed, and is still at it close to 30 years later with no success in sight, his blogsite notwithstanding. He is also one of those tedious 9/11 conspiracy theory Truther types. That seems to have resulted in his leaving BYU under pressure.
 

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I am not in this thread as an advocate for one side or the other of the Trinitarian issue. Nor am I an authority on scripture and church history, but there are certainly plenty of mainstream Christians who are who can offer protrinitarian arguments as plausible as Newton's antitrinitarian ones.

As for this "abomination" epithet no religion is immune from just indictment, although some are definitely worse than others, ane all are superstitions we would do well to be rid of.

BTW this Steve Jones guy has an apparent weakness for the fringes, did you know that? I was wondering if he was the same Jones who was involved in the "Cold Fusion" fiasco of the late 1980s, and googling indicates he was indeed, and is still at it close to 30 years later with no success in sight, his blogsite notwithstanding. He is also one of those tedious 9/11 conspiracy theory Truther types. That seems to have resulted in his leaving BYU under pressure.

I wasn't aware of his history. He doesn't represent LDS views on those things, was let go by BYU with his nutty views. Does the article misrepresent Newton? And I disagree with all are superstitious and all are guilty of something. Are there good and bad people in all religions, yeah.
 
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Well, keep in mind he's only one Newton scholar with a good reputation. There are plenty of others with different perspectives, including I. Bernard Cohen, Andrew Janiak, and Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs. They haven't all written biographies, but they're intimately familiar with Newton's life and thought, and they have quite a number of different perspectives. You have to read them all, as well as Newton's own writings, to get a grip on Newton.
What are some of these different perspectives?



I think this may do a bit of a disservice to alchemy as Newton (or most other alchemists) understood it. The matter is both complex and unclear--I recommend B.J.T. Dobbs two books, "Hunting the Greene Lyon" and "The Janus Faces of Genius" for a good starting point; she's the only person to have written scholarly, book length examinations of Newton's alchemical manuscripts.
Ah- so Cohen is a specialist on Newton's career as an alchemist. That is a subject I have negative interest in, and I admit I skipped most of Westfall's lengthy treatment.

I cannot get out of my mind what an awful intellectual tragedy it was for Newton to devote so must effort to alchemy when he could possibly have been a second Boyle, or, in another direction, being an expert lensgrinder, a second van Leeuwenhoek.



As to what Newton would have thought, you'll get no argument from me.
He devoted about 1/3 of his time to each of Math'physics, alchemy, and theology. The latter two efforts are nothing but massive curiosities of no value-added to the human condition. It is sad.
 

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As for this "abomination" epithet no religion is immune from just indictment, although some are definitely worse than others, ane all are superstitions we would do well to be rid of.

The abomination epithet was used by an angel of God in the Book of Mormon:

"The phrase "great and abominable church," which appears in an apocalyptic vision received by the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi 1 in the sixth century B.C. (1 Ne. 13:6), refers to the church of the devil and is understood by Latter-day Saints to be equivalent to the "great whore that sitteth upon many waters" described in Revelation 17:1. This "whore of all the earth" is identified by Nephi's brother Jacob as all those who are against God and who fight against Zion, in all periods of time (2 Ne. 10:16). Nephi did not write a detailed account of everything he saw in the vision, as this responsibility was reserved for John the apostle, who was to receive the same vision; however, Nephi repeatedly refers to its content and teachings, using various images and phrases (1 Ne. 13:4-9, 26-27, 34;14:1-4, 9-17).

Like John, Nephi and Jacob describe persecutions that evil people will inflict on God's people, particularly in the last days. The angel who explained the vision to Nephi emphasized that this great and abominable church would take away from the Bible and "the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord" (1 Ne. 13:26), causing men to "stumble" and giving Satan "great power" over them (1 Ne. 13:29; D&C 86:3; Robinson, "Early Christianity," p. 188). Though many Protestants, following the lead of Martin Luther, have linked this evil force described in Revelation 17 with the Roman Catholic church, the particular focus of these LDS and New Testament scriptures seems rather to be on earlier agents of apostasy in the Jewish and Christian traditions" (see A. Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 6, pp. 1036-38, Nashville, Tenn., 1977)...
-Great and Abominable Church-Wright, Dennis A.
 

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I wasn't aware of his history. He doesn't represent LDS views on those things, was let go by BYU with his nutty views. Does the article misrepresent Newton?
All I read was what you quoted in OP, and AFAIK it accurately represent's Newton's religious views.

Did you know that Newton's religious views almost cost him his job at Cambridge University?

Faculty at the time were required to take holy orders, and that meant Church of England holy orders, which were of course trinitarian. Newton did not let on that he was antitrinitarian (that might have landed him in jail!), but his conscience was too strong to allow him to become an Anglican priest under false pretenses and false oaths, so it looked as though he would have to retire to the family farm at the age of 32 or so.

Good argument there for separation of church and state!!!

Well, his predecessor as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics (a chair now held by the overrated Stephen Hawking) was Isaac Barrow, who became an intimate and personal chaplain of none other than King Charles II of England himself. Barrow was no slouch as a mathematician and theologian either, so it was due as much to merit as to royal favor that he was appointed Master of Trinity College (Newton's college) in 1672. It is not known for sure who obtained dispensation for Newton from the requirement that he become a priest, but Barrow is a leading candidate. Newton surely did not tell Barrow of his unorthoxy, and is thought to have gotten away with simply insisting he had no aptitude for the ministry, or some such thing. Barrow fully appreciated Newton's genius and must not have been too inquiring about Newton's religious views.

Newton had already done much of his great work in the so-called "Miracle Year" of 1666, when he was only about 24, but it is reasonable to wonder if he and his work would ever have been recognized if he had had to spend the last 50 years of his life in the stultifying countryside.



And I disagree with all are superstitious.
OK, but you should let go of the "abomination" stuff.



Get rid of superstitious and racism and white supremacy. What's your thoughts on that?
I agree.
 

USViking

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The abomination epithet was used by an angel of God in the Book of Mormon:

"The phrase "great and abominable church," which appears in an apocalyptic vision received by the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi 1 in the sixth century B.C. (1 Ne. 13:6), refers to the church of the devil and is understood by Latter-day Saints to be equivalent to the "great whore that sitteth upon many waters" described in Revelation 17:1. This "whore of all the earth" is identified by Nephi's brother Jacob as all those who are against God and who fight against Zion, in all periods of time (2 Ne. 10:16). Nephi did not write a detailed account of everything he saw in the vision, as this responsibility was reserved for John the apostle, who was to receive the same vision; however, Nephi repeatedly refers to its content and teachings, using various images and phrases (1 Ne. 13:4-9, 26-27, 34;14:1-4, 9-17).

Like John, Nephi and Jacob describe persecutions that evil people will inflict on God's people, particularly in the last days. The angel who explained the vision to Nephi emphasized that this great and abominable church would take away from the Bible and "the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord" (1 Ne. 13:26), causing men to "stumble" and giving Satan "great power" over them (1 Ne. 13:29; D&C 86:3; Robinson, "Early Christianity," p. 188). Though many Protestants, following the lead of Martin Luther, have linked this evil force described in Revelation 17 with the Roman Catholic church, the particular focus of these LDS and New Testament scriptures seems rather to be on earlier agents of apostasy in the Jewish and Christian traditions" (see A. Clarke, Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 6, pp. 1036-38, Nashville, Tenn., 1977)...
-Great and Abominable Church-Wright, Dennis A.
It is an unfortunate choice of words almost everywhere encountered, especially when used in religious scripture as libel against non-belief.
 

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It is an unfortunate choice of words almost everywhere encountered, especially when used in religious scripture as libel against non-belief.

I guess when they kill innocent people and alter the word of God in express purpose to harm people the angel thought it was a true description.
 

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I guess when they kill innocent people and alter the word of God in express purpose to harm people the angel thought it was a true description.
I said "libel against non-belief".

Non-belief is not the same thing as killing innocent people, which is an abomination, as when Herod massacred the innocents of Bethlehem, and as when, at an earlier date, God massacred the first-born of Egypt.
 

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USViking said:
What are some of these different perspectives?

To really explain that, I'd have to basically type out everything these folks have written. Janiak, for example, thinks Newton is best thought of as a philosopher, and he makes a pretty good argument for it. Cohen agrees with your view about alchemy, Dobbs on the other hand thinks alchemical ideas, especially the notion of attractive force, was critical to Newton's physics.

USViking said:
I cannot get out of my mind what an awful intellectual tragedy it was for Newton to devote so must effort to alchemy when he could possibly have been a second Boyle, or, in another direction, being an expert lensgrinder, a second van Leeuwenhoek.

Well, first, Boyle was his chief mentor in alchemy, and that Boyle, Locke, and Newton were all members of a secret alchemical fraternity. You should read, and really study deeply, some of Newton's "other" work to understand how he thought about things. As for it being an intellectual tragedy...well, that's the popular view of alchemy, certainly. I doubt Newton would have formulated either his physics or his optics without the aid of alchemical ideas, though. B.J.T. Dobbs makes a good case for this point.

USViking said:
He devoted about 1/3 of his time to each of Math'physics, alchemy, and theology. The latter two efforts are nothing but massive curiosities of no value-added to the human condition. It is sad.

Depending on what you mean by the latter two (that is, what you mean by alchemy and theology), you may or may not be right. If by "theology" you mean the development of defenses of dogmatically-held beliefs, then sure, it's probably a worthless endeavor. If, on the other hand, you mean the attempt to grapple with and understand the great mystery of the divine, I'm not sure I understand why any other knowledge is more worth having.
 

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I said "libel against non-belief".

Non-belief is not the same thing as killing innocent people, which is an abomination, as when Herod massacred the innocents of Bethlehem, and as when, at an earlier date, God massacred the first-born of Egypt.

The angel defines the use of abominable in the Book of Mormon:

"And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity.

6 And it came to pass that I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.(1 Nephi 13:5-6)

That is not libel against unbelief.
 

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The hundred or so guys that painted their faces black and killed Joseph and his brother Hyrum would be part of the great and abominable church, the church of the devil. The people that killed the New Testament apostles, that killed the faithful members of the Church that followed them in the 1st and 2nd centuries would be part of the church of the devil. The religious leaders that had Christ killed, the same thing. Throughout history there have been people who have an all encompassing hatred for God's true prophets and gospel. If there is an ever consuming desire and hatred against the church of the Lamb, that is a sign that the adversary likely has power over you. The devil has an eternal hatred for the church of the lamb.. That is why out of all the myriads of religious sects in the United states, the land of the free, only one and all hell breaks loose. Only one Church was there is an extermination order put out on it by a sitting governor of a state. And had to flee into the wilderness.
 

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Isaac Newton looked at a future date when God would restore the true Church once again on the earth. This would fit the pattern of mankind rejecting the fulness of the gospel through apostasy and then God at a later date raisng up a choice prophet to restore the original(Noah, Abraham, Moses, Christ, etc). It appears Newton especially looked for an angel to restore the true Church as the Book of Revelations states the following: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters."-Rev 14:6-7)


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints fits this scenario and those verses beautifully. Lets analyze these verses above. There must be an angel with the everlasting gospel for the people on the earth, must go forth to every nation and kindred in their own tongue, and he adds a warning with a loud voice. On September 22, 1827 the angel Moroni gave Joseph the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. This book states it "contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel" in the introduction. The word Mormon is an Egyptian word and it means "mor"-love and "mon"-established forever. It is published in many languages around the world where lovely LDS missionaries teach from it in the languages of the nations they are in. In ancient Israel the trump was used as a warning with a loud voice, and the feast of Trumpets there are trumps blown that marked the beginning of ten days of consecration and repentance before God. This was an autumn feast and manyJewish scholars tie this feat with the last days and a new covenant. The day September 22, 1827 when the angel Moroni visited Joseph to give permission to Joseph to obtain the gold plates, it was the Autumn equinox and the Feast of Trumpets on the Hebrew Calendar. On top of most LDS temples there is a golden angel Moroni usually facing East blowing a trumpet. Facing east as Christ's Second Coming He will appear to come from the East in the sky. The latter day Joseph and the restoration is a forerunner to the Christ's second coming.

ne12aug06-ALL-beauty-all-around-N1208_J_DCTemple.jpg
 
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