Despite his success as a minister, Mather felt a strong pull toward science. Consequently, for forty years he struggled to make a connection between two apparently opposite world views. He firmly believed in the literal truth of the Bible (the holy book of the Christian faith), and he never doubted that God controlled world affairs. Nevertheless, when he was in his thirties he became one of the leading scientists of the early eighteenth century. In an effort to reconcile religion with science, he asserted that the world was created by God and understood through scientific study.
Mather's first publication was an analysis of the validity of the story of Noah's Ark. (According to the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible, Noah was a Jewish patriarch, or one of the original leaders of the Jews. He built a boat in which he, his family, and living creatures of every kind survived a flood that destroyed the rest of the world.) His masterpiece, Magnalia Christi Americana, a religious history of New England, appeared in 1702. Admitted to the Royal Society in 1713, he studied the work of such European scientists as Robert Boyle (1627-1691) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727). Mather published his views about the connection between religion and science in The Christian Philosopher (1721). In this work he argued that everything in the universe has a reason and a purpose. According to
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