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What I Wish my Pastor Knew About: the Science and Faith of Robert Boyle

A seventeenth-century chemist speaks to contemporary issues in faith and science.

Edward Davis

I became a scientist partly because I loved getting soot all over my hands. The rapture I felt in my twenty-third year, when I discovered the profound joys of the chemical laboratory, is deeply embedded in my memory. The fire of my furnace so transported and bewitched me, that the delights I tasted there made me fancy my laboratory a kind of Elysium, where I would enjoy eternal bliss. At the very same time, however, I realized that the contemplation of the creatures contributes to the glory of their Author. And, I imagined that I could do something to improve our mortal condition and ameliorate suffering, by the application of experimental natural philosophy to medicine—a dream that remained mostly out of our reach in my lifetime, but has today been partly accomplished.

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