The Discovery of Kepler's Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy, and Religion

By Job S. J. Kozhamthadam | Go to book overview

1
KEPLER'S RELIGIOUS IDEAS

The rational God, who does nothing in vain, whose actions, though at times inscrutable for us humans, are never without a reason, who self-manifests in the universe through discernible, orderly laws of nature based on geometry and harmony, forms one segment of the circle of Kepler's religious view of the universe. The human being, the image of God, commissioned to give praise and honor to the supreme Deity by uncovering and making known those laws, constitutes the other segment. The circle consists in God's coming down to engage humans and their going up to embrace God, a movement mediated through nature. As Kepler put it: "What voice has the heaven, what voice have the stars, to praise God as man does? Unless, when they supply man with cause to praise God, they themselves are said to praise God."1 Since this encounter takes place in and through nature, the universe is an integral part of this meeting. The universe and the study of it cannot be divorced from Kepler's religion. Thus he could write to David Fabricius in 1603: "For me nature aspires to divinity."2 God is supremely rational and the human being, God's image and likeness, cannot but share in this rationality. Indeed, one of the main reasons why the human being is the image of God is precisely because of being rational. Religion, therefore, for Kepler had to be permeated by rationality. Hence God, the human

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The Discovery of Kepler's Laws: The Interaction of Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Kepler's System of Thought 9
  • 1 - Kepler's Religious Ideas 11
  • 2 - Kepler's Philosophical Ideas 47
  • 3 - Kepler's Scientific Ideas 84
  • Part 2 - The Discovery of the Laws 111
  • 4 - The Acceptance of Copernicanism 113
  • 5 - The Development of a Truly Heliocentric View 143
  • 6 - The Vicarious Hypothesis and Its Failure 162
  • 7 - The Final Break with Geocentrism 173
  • 8 - The Discovery of the Second Law 181
  • 9 - The Discovery of the First Law 199
  • Conclusion 246
  • Notes 265
  • Glossary of Select Technical Terms 297
  • Bibliography 301
  • Index 311
  • About the Author 316
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