Newton was certain that the universe was a cryptogram set by the almighty

Stabroek News
July 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

I notice that Messrs. Gossai and DeFreitas persist in erroneously maintaining that the Faculty of Natural Sciences (FNS) is promoting one religious viewpoint, namely, the Christian one. Read the resolution of the FNS again, published Friday 13th July 2001 in the Stabroek News. It is independent of any reference to a religion.

That is quite clear to most people who expected a reply. It verily seems that these gentlemen are afraid that Christianity in particular might be true. Let people decide for themselves from the evidence. And let the Hindus or others fit their account of origins to either creation or evolution, or propose a third belief system. The FNS has (as yet?) no mandate or obligation to do it for them.

Some more details: the resolution as adopted at the retreat was tabled in advance for consideration by members of the Faculty. Each member received a copy with his/her invitation. None of the Hindus and Muslims in the FNS said there was a threat to their religion.

Neither my original seminar nor the 4-page outline contained any religion. Even the two vocal evolutionists present at that one would have to admit that no religion was discussed. Not even afterwards, since most of the participants had heavy schedules.

This time around, 5.00 p.m. Wed. Aug. 8, in the LRC at UG, while the seminar will confine itself, as before, to a consideration of evidence agreed upon by both evolutionists and creationists, religion will be entertained in any discussions afterwards; and I will include a small addendum on science from my favourite scripture in the 4-page outline.

I believe in open discussion. That is why this outline is being offered in advance at no cost to anyone who writes me in care of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Guyana, PO Box 101110, Georgetown, or who emails for an attachment, before the end of July.

The legacy of Isaac Newton

But why ever not have religion and science? Both are systems of knowledge. Isaac Newton, standing between the Prophet Mohamed at no. 1 and Jesus Christ at no. 3 in the Hart list of the most influential persons in history (publicised recently in the Stabroek News by Dr. McDonald), was a scientist. But what is not well known was that he was also a religious man. In fact he spent the last 40 of his 85 years writing religion. The plebeians of his day thought he had gone mad. What a pity, they said, how much more he could have achieved!

The plebeians of today, without ever taking the trouble to try and find out what exactly Newton was doing, parrot the same ignorance. It was not until the physicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar finally cleared out Newton's office in Cambridge University in the early 1990's, 300 years after he wrote the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, that the full import of Newton's genius began to become known to a few people.

Earlier, when John Maynard Keynes became provost at Cambridge University, he discovered there the papers that Newton had packed up in 1696 when he retired as provost. Keynes was shocked. Most of the million words in Newton's own handwriting were not about mathematics or physics, but very advanced theology, which only sometimes used the mathematics and physics. They revealed that the great scientist was certain that the Bible, and indeed the whole universe, was a "cryptogram set by the Almighty", and wanted to "read the riddle of the Godhead, the riddle of past and future events divinely fore-ordained".

Newton studied Hebrew and the Bible, and was obsessed with this ultimate quest, the prediction of the future, for over 40 years. Yes, we can make observations, and by his mechanics we can forecast the behaviour of terrestrial and celestial bodies, the accuracy of the forecast depending only on the accuracy of the observations. Yes, we can even control the behaviour of our engines, depending upon the accuracy of the design and manufacture. But no, that was not enough for Newton.

He wanted to find the key to forecasting every single event in the life of every single person who ever lived. Talk about astrology and the ultimate horoscope! No wonder the plebs thought he was mad.

The long and short of it is, he did not succeed. But, don't sigh with relief just yet. His mathematical models did not work because he could not, even in 40 years, make enough trials.

300 years later, a few people who appreciated his genius enough to study what he was trying to achieve, realized they now had a means of making vast numbers of trials in a relatively short time, namely, the modern computer. You had to know Hebrew, like Newton, to do it. So it was no surprise that the first to succeed were Israeli mathematicians and computer experts.

They lined up the 304,000 Hebrew letters of the first five books of the Bible, and laid them in strips of arbitrary but constant length for a trial. They inputed in turn the names of 34 sages found in an encyclopaedia.

Matching biographical data turned up in parallel and/or cross words near or through the names!

A top pentagon code breaker heard about it and did not believe it, but thought it was a worthy challenge for him to show up the fallacies. He found none. In fact, he was flabbergasted to find that his methods confirmed the thing.

They even tried it out on other books like Tolstoy's War and Peace. No matches above the random threshold were found. (What I have not yet heard is whether anyone got around to trying it in Arabic on the Holy Qur'an, and in Sanskrit on the Bhagavad-Gita.)

All this took place in the last decade. Naturally, they used it to forecast the future. It took a great deal of careful work, and it worked. But that's another long story.

I have studied mathematical logic including Zermelo's Axiom of Choice and right up to the theoretical limits of human reasoning as embodied in Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. The outcome of Newton's researches is therefore absolutely credible to me.

I cannot expect you who exercise your selves with the all-pervasive economical realities of life to believe what I have related here. But it lies within the power of any seeker of knowledge to find the truth by testing the evidence, which lies all about us, and which we do not recognise because we presume it belongs to us.

It was obvious to Newton after he solved the known physical universe that he would have to seek the ultimate maker of its laws. The greatest mathematician of our time could only feel at home with a greater, the Creator. He saw with unremitting clarity that the unbreakable laws of nature had to have been spoken by a guarantor whose word was at least as immutable. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away" [Matt. 24:35]. That is why he chose to take those words religiously seriously.

We in the FNS are not any less accomplished because we have chosen to remain and study, research and teach in our own country. Citations like those from the authors of the Encyclopaedia of Pseudoscience against creationists count as ad hominem. Do like Newton: ignore the detractors and consider the evidence for yourself. If you would like to do so one way or the other via any of our courses, just qualify to pay the fees to the UG bursary.

Because most of the public institutions of the USA now base their policies on evolutionary science is no reason for us to import this decadence. The Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the North Europeans, have all had their empires. When the Americans lose theirs, their examples will no longer appear so compelling.

Cassandra is right in that creation and evolution are each based on faith. But he is wrong that it does not matter. Nothing less than the inheritance of eternal life is at stake in this controversy. The creationist expects everlasting life in paradise; the evolutionist has only death and extinction to look forward to. There is no logical compromise. Therefore to evolutionist colleagues debating my creationism I leave a conundrum with respect to this life and the next one that you deny: I win, I win; I lose, I lose. You win, you lose; you lose, you lose.

Yours faithfully,

Alfred Bhulai