I will quickly sum up the final thoughts of chapter one of Ian Taylor's book after the coming and passing of Galileo. This all led to:
Voltaire, Rousseau, Locke, Hume, and Mill all envisioned a Utopia without a priest or a king.
Francis Bacon: A member of the Church of England. He was unimpressed with most of Aristotle but he did like his empirical method for finding knowledge. He adapted those principles of induction into the modern method for scientific investigation. However, I think he was a Christian who believed in the supernatural. Induction is a wonderful thing. It alone can’t produce faith; only Jesus can do that. But it is not only for people who doubt. It can strengthen faith in God. It only depends on the Holy Spirit’s action.
Rene Descartes began to question Bacon and wondered if the human senses were reliable at first sight. He decided to doubt everything, and then he became aware of his self-awareness. If he could think, then he was real. “I think, therefore I am.” That was his base for building a rational philosophy. What’s funny, is Descartes was also a true believer. He was woefully mistaken to make himself the base of knowledge and God. Where would his thinking come from if not from God. Christ is the only reason for knowledge whether by faith or empirical. Descartes believed but his folly led so many people into humanistic thinking.
“Furthermore, his position contains the implication that man is good and therefore not subject to self-deception. But self-deception is caused by preconceived ideas or prejudice and lies at the very root of many problems in science, as we will see in subsequent chapters. Preconception causes us to hear only what we want to hear and to see only what we want to see, sometimes even seeing objects of our expectations, objects that do not exist. All this is well known to researchers today, yet preconception still leads to erroneous interpretations of data.”
Isaac Newton proved the theory of Gravity, making it a law. He saw the mathematical laws that govern the universe. This also has led people to believe that man and the cosmos are just mechanisms and nothing more. But if we go back to Aquinas’s thinking, where would the mechanisms come from? For something to be in motion, it must have had a start. If people would take off their deistic biases, then the mathematical order in the universe would prove God and his constant care.
In a way, both Bacon and Descartes are right. The inductive scientific method is great for honing our knowledge of God. It ultimately cannot produce faith but can strengthen it depending on if a person is saved or not. And Descartes is right to doubt the senses as humans do err, and faith is so much beyond the senses. Both can accompany in belief in the supernatural and do not mean that people disbelieve in the resurrection and God’s miracles. I greatly believe in them with my whole life, but I cannot verify the stories people tell about NDEs without the Bible’s testimony which says nothing about them after the year 70. Faith isn’t based on somebody almost dying and seeing heaven or hell. It is based on the testimony of the Holy Spirit found in the Scriptures. With that we can be certain of God and his intervention. We have no need for people who saw heaven or tongue speakers or healers. We only need to be content with God and the situation he has us in now, trusting that it will all end for his Glory.