A statement I have sometimes heard from Christians, mostly of the Young Earth Creationist variety, is something along the lines of this:
“Well, Issac Newton believed in Creationism, are you calling him stupid?”
This statement is also sometimes used as if the fact that Isaac Newton was a Creationist somehow gives credibility to the YEC claims. Many people throughout history, including many that accomplished great things, believed in God, Creationism, or some form of religion. But where they liars? Delusional? Stupid, even? I don’t think so. I do not hold the fact that these people were religious extremists as anything more than trivia, and I will especially not let it influence my view on their intelligence. Why? Because they didn’t know any better.
It doesn’t matter what these people believed. In fact, it should be of little importance, because they didn’t have any way of knowing how old the earth was, or how the universe came to be, or any of the other questions we can now answer. These people lacked the science that we have today, so they believed in all sorts of things to try and explain it.
The fact that Newton believed in God, and that he accepted a literal genesis, means nothing. The only other alternatives were to change to a different religion or just be satisfied with having no answer, and in those days that looked pretty impossible due to the fact that almost everything was explained in one supernatural way or another.
Furthermore, Newton believed that metals had magical properties that could change them into gold. Does this claim have any credibility due to the fact that Newton believed in it? No, it doesn’t make it any more likely or plausible, so why would his belief in Creationism or God?
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net