Galileo Galilei was both a Christian, and a scientist. Galileo Galilei was an Italian polymath. Galileo is a central figure in the transition from natural philosophy to modern science and in the transformation of the scientific Renaissance into a scientific revolution. Galileo Galilei, famous for his scientific achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and physics, and infamous for his controversy with the church was, in fact, a Christian. Galileo was born on February 15, 1564.
He was born in Pisa, Italy. He was the first of six born to a musician father. In 1574, the family moved to Florence, where Galileo started his formal education at the Camaldolese monastery in Vallombrosa. In 1583, Galileo entered the University of Pisa to study medication, but became interested in a wide variety of subjects, including math and physics. Galileo is known for multiple things. A few main things include, Kinematics, the Telescope, Analytical Dynamics, and Heliocentrism. Kinematics is a branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of points, bodies, and systems of bodies without considering the mass of each or the forces that caused the motion.
A small telescope is generally considered by professional astronomers to be any reflector-type telescope with a primary mirror of less than 2 metres diameter. In classical mechanics, analytical dynamics, or more briefly dynamics, is concerned with the relationship between motion of bodies and its causes, namely the forces acting on the bodies and the properties of the bodies. Heliocentrism is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the Solar System. All of these things are still very relevant today.
Kinematics is used in astrophysics to describe the motion of celestial bodies and collections of such bodies. In mechanical engineering, robotics, and biomechanics kinematics is used to describe the motion of systems composed of joined parts such as an engine, a robotic arm or the human skeleton. The telescope is used by many people across the world, for studying astronomy, or if you just want to look at the stars. Dynamics continue to be considered the two pillars of classical mechanics. Dynamics is still included in mechanical, aerospace, and other engineering curricula because of its importance in machine design, the design of land, sea, air and space vehicles and other applications. Heliocentrism is still a basis of astronomy. Many of Galileo’s ideas conflicted with the church, and that as a whole, changed people’s views and beliefs.
Galileo said “God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word.”. Galileo was also quoted saying that nothing discovered in nature could contradict the deep truth written in the Holy Bible. Galileo held the belief that the primary aim of scripture was to not scientific truths, but to worship God and save souls. He used scripture as the basis for many of his scientific discoveries. Galileo’s faith greatly impacted his work. He is somewhat infamous for going against the church, although he was Catholic. When Galileo built his telescope, in 1604, he began noticing that the moon was not a smooth sphere, that Jupiter had moons, and that Venus had phases, indicating it orbited the sun.
He began collecting evidence, and openly supporting the copernican theory, that the earth and planets revolve around the sun. The problem was, this theory challenged the doctrine of Aristotle and also the established order set by the Catholic Church. Galileo was ordered to not advocate the copernican theory, but proceeded to do it anyways. The church reacted, was convicted of heresy (after being threatened with torture), and was sentenced to house arrest. He was ordered to not have any visitors, and also not to publish any of his works outside of italy.
He ignored both of these, and had copies of his works published in Holland. Also, he wrote “Two New Sciences” and published that in Holand. Galileo’s works were affected by his faith, even though he was going against the normal beliefs, and he was even in trouble with the church (what is suppose to be representing his faith) and still persevered in his works. As I quoted previously, Galileo claimed that studying science only increased his faith, and said how it couldn’t decrease it, as nothing in nature could contradict the Bible.
The whole situation with the church did bring new achievements, as he had something to prove, but it also held him back, as he was attempted to be silenced. The purpose of science is not to verify nor to add to inspired Scripture, but science can help us eliminate improper ways of reading it. Although, there are many things that can point back to God. The Bible even talks about studied the things God has made, take Psalms 111:2 for example.
It says “Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.”. This (in my opinion) is one of the most clearest examples stating that you can be both a christian and a scientist. Another example is how God speaks to us through creation (Romans 1:18-20) so studying creation and using science, could only help in the evangelization of the world.