Re: Newton not an Arian?
Jack Haas (HAAS@gordonc.edu)
Mon, 17 Mar 1997 12:08:38 -0500 (EST)
Helen Martin's claim that Newton was NOT an Arian flies in the face of
much historical evidence. Take Richard S. Westfall, "The Life of Isaac
Newton," Cambridge University Press, 1993. Starting at the bottom of p. 119
he details Newton's theological journey (he does this in greater detail
in his earlier "Never at Rest"). On p. 126 Westfall says: "In fact,
Arianism - or perhaps its victorious opponent, trinitarianism- provided
the key to Newton's interpretation. Interest in thr prophecies had been
rife in Puritan England, and a standard Protestant interpretation of Revelation
in which the Roman Church invariably played the role of the beast, had
emerged. Accepting the broad outlines of the Protestant interpretation, he
altered its meaning to fit his new perception of Christianity. The
Great Apostasy was no longer Romanism; it was trinitarianism."
On p. 127 Westfall notes: "The mere thought of trinitarianism, the
"fals infernal religion," was enough to fan Newton into a rage."
Joseph Priestley would later chide Newton for covering over his not-
trinitarian views even though he too felt the same way about the
diety of Christ.