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  • Created on: 11-05-13 16:12

The medieval world-view
In the middle ages, the accepted structure of the universe was based on observation and mathematics. Scholars were aware that the movement of the planets were different to the movements of the sun or moon, but any irregularities were put down to movement of the heavenly bodies, because scientific reasoning had to be within the Christian faith.
It was accepted that God created the universe and was maintaining and controlling it still.
The accepted world view was that the universe was geocentric; earth was flat and motionless in the center of the universe, and the planets orbited it, God put humans on earth, at the centre of creation and gave them dominance over all living things and Gods representative on earth was the pope.
The Christian church taught that a persons present existence didn't matter and all that mattered was their eternal fate after death. All the scholars were theologians, who were more concerned with how to achieve heaven, than how the universe functioned. People were not really interested in finding out about the world they lived in. There was no concept of natural laws because everything that happened was explained as work of God. God was the first and final cause of everything.

St Thomas Aquinas
Aquinas wrote commentaries on Aristotle's unmoved mover, and concluded that it was God.
He rejected Aristotle's assertion that the world was eternal. The God of the old testament was much more personal and involved in the creation of the universe than Aristotle's unmoved mover. God had created the universe in a fixed time and on the sixth day, he placed human life on earth at the centre of creation. The earth which God created was changing, and could be corrupted by sin. Above the earth there was the incorruptible realm of God, in which the heavenly bodies moved in circles.

The discoveries of Galileo and Newton
Galileo Galilei was the first astronomer to make systematic observations of the universe through a telescope. He realised that we didn't live in a closed, earth-centered universe, but an immeasurable space. Galileo's observations supported a heliocentric universe in which the heavenly bodies were not made of a substance superior to the earth. He proved that the heavenly bodies were not unchanging or infinite, and that the movement of planets was natural and was not the result of a mover. 
Though Galileo was not anti-Christian, he believed that the scripture must be metaphorical, but still accepted that by studying the universe, we would find out more about God.

Isaac Newton based his findings on a Christian world-view. He believed that because man was made in the image of God, he had a perception of God's creation. Newton discovered the laws of gravity and motion, and demonstrated that the same physical laws we know today are applicable throughout the whole universe.

The origin of modern scientific principles
Newton developed a new kind of reflecting telescope, essentially inventing modern techniques of scientific investigation. Science no longer depended…


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