Christianity and Famous Inventors

     The influence of Christianity on society can be felt in the area of technology. Technology is the science of industrial art or applied science according to New Webster’s dictionary; so if science means to know then technology means to apply what you know. The Bible says, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25) How can one tell what is legitimate technology and what is not? The truth is simple. True technology frees those who use it; while others are enslaved by the mere “sleight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” (Eph. 4:14) This is the difference between a real medical doctor and a witch doctor.
     The Middle Ages were known as the Dark ages because ignorance of the Scriptures abounded and there was no technological innovation. The Gospel is responsible for such men as Johann Gutenburg, who aided in turning the light on all over Europe. By his invention of the movable type printing press, 1455, the Gospel spread like fire. Now the truth was free to be read by all who would hear. Gutenburg said, “Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of men. Through it, God will spread His word; a spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light hitherto fore unknown to shine among men.” The first book he printed on it was a 42 line Bible that bears his name. His invention led to what is known now as the Reformation. Men began to study and to learn what God expected of them; consequently, they improved their lifestyles according to the Scriptures and thereby improved society.
     Sir Isaac Newton, who was born in 1642, discovered the laws of gravity and motion. From him we get our understanding of thermodynamics, taught more explicitly through Calculus, a branch of math he developed. These laws always applied. Men still fell if they jumped off a cliff, but now they could understand why and apply it in their area of trade. He constructed the first reflective telescope and developed the particle theory. Where did he get such understanding? – the Bible. He would have never made such inroads in scientific discovery if Gutenburg had not invented the printing press for the Gospel to enlighten his path. Before, only monks had the privilege of reading the Bible. Newton confesses, “We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever…. Worshipping God and the Lamb in the temple: God, for his benefaction in creating all things, and the Lamb, for his benefaction in redeeming us with his blood” (Federer, 272).
     Robert Boyle, born in 1626 and Newton’s contemporary, is known as the father of modern chemistry. He was responsible for discovering such laws of nature as gas pressure to temperature and volume. He would lecture from his work to the spreading of the Gospel. He said, “The Books of Scripture illustrate and expound each other; as in the mariner’s compass, the needle’s extremity, though it seems to point purposely to the north, doth yet at the same time discover both east and west, as distant as they are from it and each other, so do some texts of Scripture guide us to the intelligence of others, for which they are widely distant in the Bible” (Federer, 61).
      Blaise Pascal, born in 1623 and another one of Newton’s contemporaries, is known as “’Father of the Science of Hydrodynamics.’” Through his publication of his Essay on Cones, he contributed to the theory of probability, differential calculus, and helped develop the barometer through his study of fluid mechanics. He also built a calculating machine later in life. “He had stood boldly as a champion of freedom of conscience, of truth, and justice against the all-powerful Jesuits disregarding the fear of the Bastille or galleys, even though his body suffered utmost physical agonies” (Fellows, 253). He wrote numerous articles of his belief in Christ. He was a Jansenist, a Calvinistic sect, who defended the Huguenots during the French persecutions. It was the Gospel that gave him such understanding of nature and enabled him to enhance society through his discoveries and inventions.
      Antonius van Leeuwenhoek, a Dutchman born in 1632, was not a scientist; yet he invented the microscope with double convex lenses of a magnitude of +40-160. He was responsible for discovering microbes in a tiny drop of water, which led to the science of today called microbiology. He proved what the Bible already said, “ So is this great and wide sea wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts” (Psalm 104:26). He overthrew spontaneous generation, from which scholars of his day believed insects and animals came. He also discovered the capillary circulation of the blood. He is an example of what David said in the Bible, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:11).
     In the mid-1800’s, during a time when disease was so rampant and uncontrollable, Louis Pasteur was born. It was God’s answer to men’s plagues. He chose to remind men of His word and truth by bringing help through Louis Pasteur, who was responsible for developing pasteurization of milk to kill the bacteria infecting so many people. He also developed vaccines to cure anthrax, rabies, and more. Pasteur stated, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Into his tiniest creatures, God has placed extraordinary properties that turn them into agents of destruction of dead matter” (Federer, 493). Solomon states, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2)
     Eli Whitney, born in 1765 and a graduate from Yale College, was the grandson of Timothy Dwight, President of Yale, and the Great-grandson of Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher. He befriended Nathaniel Greene’s Widow in Savannah Ga., and helped a company of rich planters who asked him to invent a cotton gin to aid in the manufacturing of cotton. This he did in a remarkable amount of time. He never profited from it though he won the claim to having invented it; however, he did profit from his inventions that aided the gun manufacturing business. It is said of his character that “dishonesty, envy and greed had pursued him for a dozen years left no bitterness to poison his life” (The New Student Reference Work, V: 2080). He was responsible for helping to make the South rich.
     And, Alexander Graham Bell, born in 1847 in Edinburgh to a famous preacher, invented the telephone and the first thing spoken on his new invention was “what hath God wrought!”
     Time would fail me in mentioning all the great inventors and innovators brought about by the introduction of one book to the common man – the Bible. Yet, one last one that could not be left unmentioned perhaps as one of the greatest innovators of our day is George Washington Carver, 1864-1943. When the South was reeling from the outcome of the Civil War, famine swept across the land. The Cotton that once made the South rich was now infected by the boll weevil. Families were literally starving and having to move West. God again looked down in pity on the poor Southerners and sent Carver, son of a slave. He discovered multiple uses of the peanut, soybean, pecan, and sweet potato, which also replenished the soil that was depleted through years of cotton growth. The peanut did so well in recovering the South’s economy that the South even dedicated a statue to the Boll weevil to remind people of God’s blessing. When he was asked how he came to discover the hundreds of uses of the peanut, Carver replied, “Years ago I went into my laboratory and said, ‘Dear Mr. Creator, please tell me what the Universe was made for?’
   “The Great Creator replied, ‘ You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask for something more your size, little man.’
   “Then I asked, ‘Please, Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for?’
   “Again the Great Creator replied, ‘You are still asking too much. Cut down the extent and improve the intent.’
   “So then I asked, ‘Please, Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?’
   “That’s better but even then it’s infinite. ‘What do you want to know about the Peanut?’
   “’Mr. Creator, can I make milk out of the peanut?’
   “’What kind of milk do you want? Good Jersey milk or just plain boarding house milk?’
   “’Good Jersey Milk.’
     “And then the Great Creator taught me to take the peanut apart and put it together again. And out of the process have come forth all these products.” (Federer, 95) When Carver was offered a six-figure income by another inventor, Edison, he said that he was committed to helping the South. Roosevelt rewarded him as a liberator “to men of the white race as well as the black.” (Federer, 98). Later, when he was asked how he learned all these things, he claimed it was from an old book – the Bible.
        All of these inventors openly acknowledged that the secret of their success was found in the Word of God. The technological discoveries enjoyed today are a direct result of the Reformation. These inventors freed society and elevated it to greater usefulness. In all lands where the Gospel has been repressed, technology has been suppressed; and men have been held in bondage by fear and ignorance. When America, who has introduced in many lands the technology American society enjoys, rejects the Gospel, will she continue to make technological advancements that frees men, or will she decay like other lands from lack of knowledge? “… If there be any virtue, if there be any praise; think on these things.” (Phil 4:8)


Federer, William. America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotes. Fame Publishing Inc. Coppell, Texas. 1994.

Fellows, Timothy. Of Whom the World was not Worthy: Today in Church History. Copyrighted: 1981.

The New Student’s Reference Work. F. E. Compton and co. Chicago: 1915.

Wolthius, Enno. Science, God and You. Baker Book House. Michigan: 1963.