“To prohibit the whole science [that the sun is the center of the universe, not the earth] would be but to censure a hundred passages of holy Scripture which teach us that the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvelously discerned in all his works and divinely read in the open book of heaven.”
Due to his notable achievements in astronomy, physics, and engineering, Galileo has been called the father of modern science by scientific geniuses like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking. Galileo was also one of the first scientists to apply math principles to natural law. For his day, this was a new approach to scientific experiments that provided the foundation for modern scientific method.
Galileo’s work in astronomy changed the way we view the solar system and helped spark the Scientific Revolution. At the time, most educated people believed that planets revolved around the earth as the center of the universe. However, Galileo’s observations of the heavens, like the phases of Venus and motions of sunspots, helped disprove this theory and confirmed that heavenly bodies instead revolve around the sun. Also, Galileo was the first scientist to conclude that supernovas were distant stars, and he discovered the three largest moons of Jupiter.
CENTERED ON CHRIST
Galileo, a devout Christian, considered being a priest as a young man before studying math and natural philosophy. Even as he made new discoveries about the heavens, Galileo continued to view science and religion as interrelated, adopting the perspective that “God is known first through Nature, and then again, more particularly, by doctrine; by Nature in His works, and by doctrine in His revealed word.”
In considering reason and belief in God, Galileo wrote: “I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.”
Galileo continued to hold onto his faith, despite being banned by the Catholic Church as a heretic and placed under house arrest. The church viewed Galileo’s observations about the solar system as misinterpreting the Bible about how God made the universe. Galileo rebuked this censorship of truth by stating, “[T]o prohibit the whole science [that the sun is the center of the universe, not the earth] would be but to censure a hundred passages of holy Scripture which teach us that the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvelously discerned in all his works and divinely read in the open book of heaven.”