To begin my search, I went to the Internet and entered ‘Sir Isaac Newton’ into Google. As was to be expected, the number of entries was enormous. I began by looking at Wikipedia and a short biography by Alfred Hall. In reading these two web site entries, I became interested in Newton’s religious views and how these compared to his scientific understanding. Newton lived in an age of considerable discord between the church and science and it seemed like a topic worthy of further research.
Though the information I had gained from Wikipedia and the biography were helpful, they were simply web sites and the information’s accuracy may be questionable. There was also simply not enough information on his religious views to be very helpful. I planned my next phase of research to be focused on finding credible resources that dealt with Newton’s seemingly contradictory religious and scientific views of the universe.
I again went to Google.com and entered ‘Isaac Newton religion’. Again, there were a vast number of entries. I went to the web site Newton.org and found some writings by a professor of History of Science and Technology at University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In one of his writings he comments on some recently discovered writings of Newton and says, "Leaving behind four million words on theology, Newton was one of the greatest lay theologians of his age. A study of Newton’s theology and prophetic views illuminates the life of this great thinker and helps us understand his science" (Snobelen b.). These words directed me towards the newly discovered works of Newton and the site provided several links to articles.
In reviewing the links from the web site, I decided to look for articles that were focused on the topic and were from reliable sources. I would restrict my searches to journals, university papers, and edited material that had been professionally reviewed. I was looking for fact and not opinion. I wanted articles that quoted Newton or gave some factual basis for the information they offered.
I reviewed a 1999 article that appeared in the British Journal of History and Science. It was a lengthy article that spoke about Newton’s dual nature of science and religion. The author claimed that Newton was a devout Christian that believed the church should be reformed and returned to its roots. Yet, we only have recently discovered that Newton was very religious. Why had he not made this known during his lifetime According to Haynes writing in the Religion of the Bible and the Religion of the Pulpit Compared, published in 1747 in London, "…it was fear of persecution and pressures from orthodoxy that stilled Newton’s tongue, weakened his zeal and prevented him from leading this return to primitive Christianity" (qtd. in Snoleben a. 391). This was evidence that was written in the age of Newton that suggested he was under pressure from the church to not create a controversy.
I had found and verified that Newton was a religious scientist and wanted to find out more specifically what his viewpoint of the universe and creation was. On the Isaac-Newton.org website I found a link to the Newton Project Canada. This was a web site sponsored by King’s College in Canada that had made Newton’s private manuscripts available to the public.
At the Newton Project, there were numerous original works by Newton available. I found