Francis Bacon NEW ATLANTIS

November 23, 2018 Theology

Francis Bacon was the founder of the modern scientific method. Thefocus on the new scientific method is on orderly experimentation. For Bacon,experiments that produce results are important. Bacon pointed out the needfor clear and accurate thinking, showing that any mastery of the world inwhich man lives was dependent upon careful understanding. This understanding is based solely on the facts of this world and not as the ancients held it in ancient philosophy. This new modern science provides the foundation for modern political science. Bacon’s political science completely separatedreligion and philosophy. For Bacon, nothing exists in the universe exceptindividual bodies. Although he did not offer a complete theory of the natureof the universe, he pointed the way that science, as a new civil religion,might take in developing such a theory.Bacon divided theology into the natural and the revealed. Naturaltheology is the knowledge of God which we can get from the study of nature andthe creatures of God. Convincing proof is given of the existence of God butnothing more. Anything else must come from revealed theology. Science andphilosophy have felt the need to justify themselves to laymen. The beliefthat nature is something to be vexed and tortured to the compliance of manwill not satisfy man nor laymen. Natural science finds its proper method whenthe ‘scientist’ puts Nature to the question, tortures her by experiment andwrings from her answers to his questions. The House of Solomon is directlyrelated to these thoughts. “It is dedicated to the study of Works and theCreatures of God” (Bacon, 436). Wonder at religious questions was natural,but, permitted free reign, would destroy science by absorbing the minds andconcerns of men. The singular advantage of Christianity is its irrationality.The divine soul was a matter for religion to handle. The irrational soul wasopen to study and understanding by man using the methods of science.The society of the NEW ATLANTIS is a scientific society. It isdominated by scientists and guided by science. Science conquers chance anddetermines change thus creating a regime permanently pleasant. Bensalem,meaning “perfect son” in Hebrew, has shunned the misfortunes of time, vice anddecay. Bensalem seems to combine the blessedness of Jerusalem and thepleasures and conveniences of Babylon. In Bacon’s NEW ATLANTIS, the need forman to be driven does not exist. Scarcity is eliminated thereby eliminatingthe need for money. “But thus, you see, we maintain a trade, not for gold,silver or jewels… nor for any other commodity of matter, but only for God’sfirst creature which was light” (Bacon, 437). This shows a devotion to truthrather than victory and it emphasizes the Christian piety to which thescientist is disposed by virtue of his science. As man observes and bringsthe fruits of his observations together, he discover likeness’ anddifferences among events and objects in the universe. In this way he willestablish laws among happenings upon which he can base all subsequent action.Bacon realized that sometimes religious ideas and the discoveries of natureand careful observations were contradictory but he argued that society mustbelieve both.The NEW ATLANTIS begins with the description of a ship lost at sea.The crew “lift up their hearts and voices to God above, who showeth hiswonders in the deep, beseeching him of his mercy” (Bacon, 419). Upon spottingland and discerning natives the sailors praise God. When a boarding partycomes to their ship to deliver messages, none of the natives speak. Rather,the messages are delivered written on scrolls of parchment. The parchment is”signed with a stamp of cherubins’ wings… and by them a cross” (Bacon, 420).To the sailors, the cross was “a great rejoicing, and as it were a certainpresage of good” (Bacon, 420). After the natives leave and return to theship, they stop and ask “Are ye Christians?” (Bacon, 421). When the sailorsconfirm that they are, they are taken to the island of Bensalem. On Bensalem,the sailors are ‘confined’ to their resting place and are attended toaccording to their needs. The sailors reply, “God


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