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Robert Boyle’s Religious Life, Attitudes, and Vocation

Edward B. Davis
S & CB 19 (2)
October 2007


Robert Boyle is an outstanding example of a Christian scientist whose faith interacted fundamentally with his science. His remarkable piety was the driving force behind his interest in science and his Christian character shaped the ways in which he conducted his scientific life. A deep love for scripture, coupled ironically with a lifelong struggle with religious doubt, led him to write several important books relating scientific and religious knowledge. Ultimately, he was attracted to the mechanical philosophy because he thought it was theologically superior to traditional Aristotelian natural philosophy: by denying the existence of a quasi-divine ‘Nature’ that functioned as an intermediary between God and the world, it more clearly preserved God’s sovereignty and more powerfully motivated people to worship their creator.

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