Quote of the Day – A Perfect Order

 

It is the function of science to discover the existence of a general reign of order in nature and to find the causes governing this order. And this refers in equal measure to the relations of man – social and political – and to the entire universe as a whole.

– Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri MendeleevWhen the question of what evidence I have of God’s existence comes up, my first thought is always the origins of the periodic table of elements. It’s an odd thing for a “not-a-scientist” to think of, but the story testifies to the amazing order of the world we live in and the faith of the old scientists who sought out that order.

In the 1860s, Mendeleev took cards with each of the 63 elements then known (out of 118 currently) and arranged them in today’s periodic table of elements. He assumed an order originating from an ordered God and predicted the existence of nearly twice as many elements as were known to him.

I saw in a dream a table where all the elements fell into place as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper.

– Dmitri Mendeleev

His faith has inspired over 150 years of searching for new elements, having made the prediction that they exist. As recently as 2016, three more were discovered.

But Mendeleev is only one scientist and mathematician whose faith informed his pursuits. Leonhard Euler, arguably one of the best mathematicians of all time, was also an avid believer in the order originating from a creator God. Renee DesCartes was also a theologically minded mathematician.

For since the fabric of the universe is most perfect and the work of a most wise Creator, nothing at all takes place whose meaning is not that of some maximum or minimum.

– Leonhard Euler

Learning about these men inspired my pursuit of mathematics in college. As I peeled back the onion on an ancient algebraic example having to do with procreating bunnies, I learned about its parallels to the golden ratio that governs everything from greek statuary to fractals and nautilus spirals.

Nautilus Spiral
Fibbonaci Spiral

 

All it did was fill my mind with wonder and awe and solidify the blind faith I had as a child. I invite you to discover the wondrous world hidden beneath the surface that these great men pursued with religious fervor and devotion, as worship to their creator God.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

Proverbs 25:2

Published in Religion & Philosophy
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There are 13 comments.

  1. Saint Augustine Member

    Stina: He assumed an order originating from an ordered God and predicted the existence of nearly twice as many elements as were known to him.

    Leibniz was much inspired by another scientist who made similar assumptions that led to nice discoveries.

    Darn. I can’t find the name of the scientist in my head or in my notes. It was either in the Monadology or the Discourse on Metaphysics. The name probably started with an F. He studied light, I think.

    • #1
    • August 26, 2019, at 4:56 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Stina: He assumed an order originating from an ordered God and predicted the existence of nearly twice as many elements as were known to him.

    Leibniz was much inspired by another scientist who made similar assumptions that led to nice discoveries.

    Darn. I can’t find the name of the scientist in my head or in my notes. It was either in the Monadology or the Discourse on Metaphysics. The name probably started with an F. He studied light, I think.

    Faraday?

    The book of nature that we have to read is written by the finger of God.

    Father of electricity, magnetism, and early laser/light science.

    • #2
    • August 26, 2019, at 5:12 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor

    With the secularism of our society, I’m always encouraged when I remember the great scientists who believed in G-d, and also the modern scientists who are coming around and seeing the connection between, rather than the breach between, science and religion. There is hope. Thanks, Stina.

    • #3
    • August 26, 2019, at 5:44 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  4. Saint Augustine Member

    Stina (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Stina: He assumed an order originating from an ordered God and predicted the existence of nearly twice as many elements as were known to him.

    Leibniz was much inspired by another scientist who made similar assumptions that led to nice discoveries.

    Darn. I can’t find the name of the scientist in my head or in my notes. It was either in the Monadology or the Discourse on Metaphysics. The name probably started with an F. He studied light, I think.

    Faraday?

    The book of nature that we have to read is written by the finger of God.

    Father of electricity, magnetism, and early laser/light science.

    No, that was the guy from LOST.

    Seriously, the name doesn’t sound quite right. Google suggests he came around after Liebniz.

    I’m also thinking maybe 2 syllables.

    It’s a great post, btw. I might get back to you if I have a better idea.

    • #4
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Saint Augustine Member

    Got it.

    Snell and Fermat.

    • #5
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Vectorman Thatcher

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Leibniz was much inspired by another scientist who made similar assumptions that led to nice discoveries.

    Darn. I can’t find the name of the scientist in my head or in my notes. It was either in the Monadology or the Discourse on Metaphysics. The name probably started with an F. He studied light, I think.

    I never realized Leibniz was such a major philosopher! I only remember him as a contemporary of Issac Newton for Calculus, who was also famous for the study of light. Leibniz is famous for monads (Monadology), which are centers of force; substance is force, while space, matter, and motion are merely phenomena. Effectively this concept of monads is well before the Space-Time of Einstein, particle/wave (quantum) of Bohr, and the recent thoughts of multiple universes. Discourse on Metaphysics was published after his death.


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    • #6
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:23 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    With the secularism of our society, I’m always encouraged when I remember the great scientists who believed in G-d, and also the modern scientists who are coming around and seeing the connection between, rather than the breach between, science and religion. There is hope. Thanks, Stina.

    I’m always a combination of amused and alarmed by the angry atheists who have pushed the claim that science is the polar opposite of religion, but waive off the question of what came before the Big Bang they all agree the universe sprung from. The idea that there was any intelligent design behind creation enrages them — they know faith is only for idiots, but have no answer to the ultimate scientific question (and for the angriest, since they have no way to wipe out faith they get irate and demand it be censored into oblivion in the name of science).

    • #7
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:28 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  8. Vectorman Thatcher

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    With the secularism of our society, I’m always encouraged when I remember the great scientists who believed in G-d, and also the modern scientists who are coming around and seeing the connection between, rather than the breach between, science and religion. There is hope. Thanks, Stina.

    I’m always a combination of amused and alarmed by the angry atheists who have pushed the claim that science is the polar opposite of religion, but waive off the question of what came before the Big Bang they all agree the universe sprung from. The idea that there was any intelligent design behind creation enrages them — they know faith is only for idiots, but have no answer to the ultimate scientific question (and for the angriest, since they have no way to wipe out faith they get irate and demand it be censored into oblivion in the name of science).

    Jon, you’re absolutely correct!

    When I try to find quotes from famous “scientists,” the most highly regarded (voted) by the masses are Einstein (Correct), Carl Sagan (OK), Neil deGrasse Tyson (IMO basically an entertainer), and Richard Dawkins (Yuck!). 

    • #8
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Saint Augustine Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    I’m always a combination of amused and alarmed by the angry atheists who have pushed the claim that science is the polar opposite of religion . . . .

    A claim also nicely refuted from the religion side. I’ve been babbling about that for years. William James, John Dewey, C. S. Lewis, Allama Iqbal (Islam), Eliezer Berkovits (Judaism), Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (Hinduism), the Dalai Lama. There’s some Augustine too. And, from the more purely philosophy side, Richard Swinburne, William Alston, Kai Man Kwan.

    • #9
    • August 26, 2019, at 6:50 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Percival Thatcher

    James Clerk Maxwell:

    He attended high school in Edinburgh – Edinburgh Academy – where he published his first academic paper, Oval Curves at the age of just 14. By this age, he had also completely memorized the Bible. Maxwell was an evangelical Protestant, who believed his religion was a private affair. Like Isaac Newton, he saw no disagreements between his science and his religion.

    • #10
    • August 26, 2019, at 8:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Percival Thatcher

    • #11
    • August 26, 2019, at 8:36 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. Stina Member
    Stina Post author

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    but waive off the question of what came before the Big Bang they all agree the universe sprung from

    The big bang theory also came from a religious man…

    Georges Lemaitre was a Belgian Catholic priest.

    • #12
    • August 26, 2019, at 9:27 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  13. Bob Thompson Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    With the secularism of our society, I’m always encouraged when I remember the great scientists who believed in G-d, and also the modern scientists who are coming around and seeing the connection between, rather than the breach between, science and religion. There is hope. Thanks, Stina.

    I’m always a combination of amused and alarmed by the angry atheists who have pushed the claim that science is the polar opposite of religion, but waive off the question of what came before the Big Bang they all agree the universe sprung from. The idea that there was any intelligent design behind creation enrages them — they know faith is only for idiots, but have no answer to the ultimate scientific question (and for the angriest, since they have no way to wipe out faith they get irate and demand it be censored into oblivion in the name of science).

    I’m re-reading Paul Davies’ The Mind of God in which he notes that the word ‘eternal’ can have two rather different meanings.

    “It can mean that God has existed for an infinite duration of time in the past and will continue to exist for an infinite duration in the future; or it can mean that God is outside time altogether. Saint Augustine (not ours) opted for the latter when he asserted that God made the world ‘with time and not in time’. By regarding time as part of the physical universe, rather than something in which the creation of the universe happens, and placing God right outside it altogether, Augustine neatly avoided the problem of what God was doing before the creation.”

    • #13
    • August 26, 2019, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 5 likes