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INTRO of Isaac Newton's book



By Sir Isaac Newton

London 1733

Reprinted by:

The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine

2251 Dick George Road

Cave Junction, Oregon 97523

(c) September, 1991



Arthur B. Robinson

Isaac Newton was the greatest scientist who has ever

lived. It is, in fact, generally accepted that he

is probably the greatest scientist who ever will live,

since no one, no matter how brilliant, will again be

in such a unique historical position.

Isaac Newton was born on Christmas day in 1642 and died

in 1727. His most famous work, Philosopiae Naturalis

Principia Mathematica, was published in 1687.

His discoveries span all aspects of the physical world

with special emphasis on experimental and theoretical

physics and chemistry and on applied mathematics. He

invented virtually the entire science of mechanics and

most of the science of optics. During this work, he

invented such mathematics as he needed or as interested

him including the discipline known as calculus.

Isaac Newton was both an experimental and theoretical

scientist. He personally constucted the models and

machinery with which he carried out extensive experiments

in chemistry and physics. For example, when he invented

the reflecting telescope, he first built a brick oven.

In that oven he carried out metallurgical experiments

to formulate the composition of the mirror. He then made

the mirror with which he constructed the telescope.

Of unequaled mental ability during his entire adult life

until his death at age 85, Newton's powers are legendary.

It is often told, for example, how later in his life a

problem in mathematical physics posed by the great mathe-

matician Bernoulli, was forwarded to Newton from the

Royal Society. The problem, to determine the curve of

minimum time for a heavy particle to move downward

between two given points, had baffled the famous 18th

Century mathematicians of Europe for over six months.

Receiving the problem in the afternoon, Newton solved it

before going to bed.

Although the solution was sent to Bernoulli anonymously,

he is said to have exclaimed upon reading it, "tanquam

ex ungue leonem - as the lion is known by its claw" in

reference to his recognizing Newton's method.

In addition to his scientific work (Newton would have

said as a part of his scientific work.), he devoted a

substantial portion of his enormous energy to the study

of the Bible and Biblical texts and history. He read the

Bible daily throughout his life and wrote over a million

words of notes regarding his study of it.

Isaac Newton believed that the Bible is literally true

in every respect. Throughout his life, he continually

tested Biblical truth against the physical truths of

experimental and theoretical science. He never observed

a contradiction. In fact, he viewed his own scientific

work as a method by which to reinforce belief in Bibli-

cal truth.

He was a formidable Biblical scholar, was fluent in the

ancient languages, and had extensive knowledge of

ancient history. He believed that each person should

read the Bible and, through that reading, establish for

himself an understanding of the universal truths it


Newton's strong belief in individual freedom to learn

about God without restraints from any other individual

or church or government, once almost cost him to give

up his position as Lucasian Professor at Cambridge. The

matter was resolved when King Charles II made the ex-

ceptional ruling that Isaac Newton would not be requir-

ed to become a member of the Church of England.

Regarding both science and Christianity, Isaac Newton

spent his life in intense scholarship, but he left the

publication of his work to Providence. Much that he

wrote has still never been published.

His (and the world's) greatest scientific work, the

Principia, was published only after his friend, Edmund

Halley, accidentally learned of the existence of Part

I which Isaac Newton had written 10 years earlier and

put in a drawer. Halley convinced him to finish Parts

II and III and allow Halley to publish the work.

Only one book of Newton's about the Bible was ever pub-

lished. In 1733, six years after his death, J. Darby

and T. Browne, published Observations Upon the Prophe-

cies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.

In 1988, having learned of this book in the rare books

card catalogue of the Library of Congress, I asked to

read it. I was astonished when, a few minutes later, I

was handed Thomas Jefferson's personal copy. (The book

is in excellent condition and has Thomas Jefferson's

initials on pages 57 and 137. Two hundred and fifty

years ago it was common practice for printers to label

the page signatures with capital letters at the bottom

of the actual text. Jefferson would turn to the "J"

signature and add a "T" before the "J" and then turn to

the "T" signature and add a "J" after the "T." In this

way he identified his personal books.)

With his prodigious knowledge of ancient history and

languages and his unequaled mental powers, Isaac Newton

is the best qualified individual in this millenium to

have written about the prophecies. His study of the book

of Daniel began at the age of twelve and continued to

be a special interest throughout his life. Moreover, he

writes of the prophecies with a modesty that indicates

that he, himself, is in awe of the words he has been

given an opportunity to read.

Isaac Newton concluded that it is intended that Revel-

ation will be understood by very few until near the

end of history, the time of judgment, and the begin-

ning of the everlasting kingdom of the Saints of the

Most High.

Isaac Newton states his belief that these books of

prophecy were provided so that, as they are histori-

cally fulfilled, they provide a continuing testimony

to the fact that the world is governed by the Provi-

dence of God. He objected to the use of the prophe-

cies in attempts to predict the future.

On page 251, for example, he writes:

"The folly of Interpreters has been, to fortel

times and things by this Prophecy, as if God

designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness

they have not only exposed themselves, but

brought the Prophecy also into centempt."

Through these 323 pages, he traces human history

since the writing of the prophecies. He shows that,

according to his scholarship and at his time in the

early 18th Century, part of the prophecies had been

fulfilled and part remained to be fulfilled. In

accordance with his evaluation, this is still true

in 1991.

Decorated (as are his scientific works) with inter-

esting asides such as derivations of the exact

dates of Christmas and Easter and of the number of

years during which Jesus taught, and permeated with

a depth of scholarship that no longer exists among

modern scholars, this book by Isaac Newton may be

the most important work of its kind ever written.

The central message of this book for modern readers

may not be so much in what it says but in what it

is. During his entire life, Isaac Newton continual-

ly compared his experimental and theoretical under-

standing of science with his reading of the Bible.

He found the content of these two sources of truth

to be so completely compatible that he regarded

every word in the Bible to be as correct as the

equations of mathematics and physics.

Therefore, throughout this book, Isaac Newton takes

each word of the Prophecies to be exactly correct.

He never doubts the content. He only seeks to

understand it.

He never strays from his determination not to

present predictions of the future based upon the

Biblical Prophecies. On pages 113 and 114, he does

give an identification of the last horn of the

Beast and a numerical evaluation of his reign. He

also gives the approximate time of the beginning of

this reign, but does not add the numbers or make

a prediction.

Addition of these numbers, however, places the time

of judgment and the beginning of the everlasting

reign of the Saints of the Most High approximately in

the time period between the years 2000 and 2050.

Are there errors in Isaac Newton's evaluation of the

Prophecies? He would reply that he would not have

written this evaluation unless he beieved it to be

without error, but that it is the obligation of

Christians to study the Bible and to reach their own


In recent years it has become fashionable to say that

Newton's laws of motion contained an error (the error

of assumption that mass is a constant), and that this

was corrected by Einstein's Theory of Special Relativ-

ity. As Petr Beckmann has pointed out in his book, A

History of Pi, this error never existed.

In the Principia Newton writes,

"Lex I. Corpus omne perseverare in statu suo

quiescendi vel movendi uniformiter in directum,

nisi quatenus illud a viribus impressis cogitur

statum suum mutare."

"Lex II. Mutationem motus proportionalem esse vi

motrici impressae, & fieri secundum lineam rectam

qua vis illa imprimatur."

"Lex III. Actioni contrariam semper & aequalem esse

reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo

semper esse aequales & in partes contrarias dirigi."

These are the famous three laws of motion.

In translation, the second law reads "The change of

momentum is proportional to the motive force impressed;

and is made in the direction of the right line in which

that force is impressed." Newton defines momentum as

follows: "The quantity of momentum is the measure of

the same, arising from the velocity and quantity of

matter conjointly."

Or, in the symbolic terms of Newton's calculus,

F = d(mv)/dt

Newton did not know whether or not mass was constant,

and he was too careful a scientist to assume so by plac-

ing it outside the differential. During the next 200

years, physicists assumed, for convenience, that mass

was constant and began to write F=ma or F=m dv/dt. It is

this later day shortcut which proved to be incorrect,

not Isaac Newton's original law.

Isaac Newton said of himself near the end of his life,

"I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to

myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on

the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then

finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than

ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all un-

discovered before me."

To Dr. Bentley, he had written, "When I had written my

Treatise about our system, I had an Eye upon such

Principles as might work with considering Men, for the

Belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more

than to find it useful for that purpose."

Isaac Newton's pebbles and shells formed the basis for

the scientific revolution and the industrial revolution

which created our current civilization. This demonstra-

tion of the incredible power of his discoveries is, how-

ever, itself minor in comparison with their role in 17th

and 18th century miracles that serve as a continuing

testimony of the literal truth of the Bible and of the

remarkable creations of the Lord.

In my own scientific work, I also have continually

compared the Bible with the findings of modern experi-

mental science. Like Isaac Newton, I do not know of any

verified scientific facts that are inconsistent with

the literal truth of every aspect of the Bible.

I am grateful to have had an opportunity to read Isaac

Newton's book about the Prophecies and am publishing

this reprint so that others may have this experience.

Thanks are due to the Manley Foundation and Dr. Richard

Pooley who helped finance this reprint; to Bruce Tippery

who gave essential help with its production; and also to

Andy Hopkins whose similar and independent desire to

reprint this book is hereby fulfilled.

This reprint has been made as an exact photographic dup-

licate of Thomas Jefferson's personal copy. This reprint

is dedicated to my wife, Laurelee, whose death in Novem-

ber 1988 delayed it for these past two years, but whose

life caused me to undertake it.

As Isaac Newton wrote in the second edition of the


"The true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful

Being. His duration reaches from eternity to eternity;

His presence from infinity to infinity. He governs all


Arthur B. Robinson

Cave Junction

July, 1991