Theological Impact on the Theories of Descartes, Maupertuis, & Faraday

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Theological Impact on the Theories of Descartes, Maupertuis, & Faraday René Descartes, Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, and Michael Faraday all lived in a time when religion was king, but science began experiencing great progress and advancement. While all accepted God, theological considerations affected their theories in different measures. Descartes relied heavily on the immutability of God to formulate his theories, Maupertuis accepted the presence of an all-powerful being in control, but Faraday did not exhibit many traces of theological implications in his work.

Descartes theories concern the conservation of motion. He affirms that all motion is caused by God’s hand and that God preserves it all. He writes in his Le Monde, “God alone is the author of all the movements in the universe.” From that statement, it is evident that Descartes strongly implements theological considerations in his theory. His ideas are grounded in the idea that God acts truly and wholly with no attempt of deception. Thus, what occurs happens for the reason that he is causing it. Descartes refers to this conception as the immutability of God. He notes “God imparted various motions to the parts of matter when he first created them, and now he preserves this matter in the same way… and follows that God likewise conserves the same quantity of motion in matter.” Descartes’ laws of nature are based on nothing but God’s perfection. “He appealed to God’s immutability to justify his law of the conservation of motion and his version of the principle of inertia, the foundations of his physics.” It is clear that Descartes applied much theological thought in his practices and theory.

Maupertuis, like Descartes, justified his laws of nature through God. He too concerned his studies with conservation of motion. He claims that it is “more useful to deduce these laws from attributes from an all-powerful and all-wise being.” He continues to question how the universe is to be observed and...
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