shedding new light on stories of old

The Milestone Minute, Volume One

History was no longer scattered and random, and for the first time we felt like part of the process too

History Under Construction

The Story of the First Timeline

Ever since the first attempts by Isaac Newton, in the late 17th century, to create a timeline, which correlated world events, the ongoing saga of Western civilization has been a subject of much speculation.

Is there any real meaning to be found through a study of history? Can examining historical processes reveal anything more than random data?

Take a minute to consider just some of the ironies of history which remind us how much we can discover from such a study.

In today’s world, the word century is synonymous with time. We are all aware that a century spans one-hundred years, of course. But before the 1700s, the word referred primarily to objects, that is, anything in groups of one-hundred. Prior to that, it was rarely used in relation to the concept of time.1

Why? Because back then, the idea of history was very different than it is today, and as a result, so was the concept of time. Until then, the notion of history was still a scattered, fragmented affair. It was not until the time of Isaac Newton that anyone began to weave the threads of history into a coherent narrative.2

As his fame grew, Newton, the brilliant, mercurial scientist and mathematician, devoted more and more of himself to the pursuit of spiritual realities.3

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Story Continues Below
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Story Continues From Above

During a lifetime of research, he became convinced that the limits of human cognition were such that reason alone could not encompass all that could be known. Because of this, he spent endless hours studying The Bible and the prophecies contained in it. 4

He wrote extensive treatises on these subjects, hoping to apply his sophisticated techniques of astronomical dating to confirm the literal truth of events related in The Bible.5

According to Daniel J. Boorstin in The Discoverers, “it was this effort of Newton’s—to coordinate planet-wide events—that provided the foundation for the world’s first, practical chronology of human history.”6

And so, people began to think of history in a completely new way. Now they could imagine their own past as a sequence of events, divided into centuries, which was moving forward through time. History was no longer seen as scattered and random. It was going somewhere, and, for the first time, we began to feel like we were a part of that process, too.7

More on Isaac Newton’s perspective of The Bible

From the Introduction of Sir Isaac Newton’s Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John by Arthur B. Robinson.

In addition to his scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton devoted a substantial portion of his energy to the study of biblical texts. Throughout his life, he read The Bible daily and wrote over a million words of notes regarding his study of it. Newton believed that The Bible was literally true in every respect. Throughout his life, he continually tested biblical truth against the physical truths of experimental and theoretical science. He never observed a contradiction. In fact, he viewed his own scientific work as a method by which to reinforce belief in biblical truth.

He was a formidable biblical scholar, was fluent in the ancient languages, and had an extensive knowledge of ancient history. He believed that each person should read The Bible and, through that reading, establish for himself an understanding of the universal truths it contains.

It is, in fact, now generally accepted that Sir Isaac Newton is perhaps the greatest scientist who will ever live, since no one, no matter how brilliant, will ever again be in such a unique historical position. Newton was born on Christmas day in 1642 and died in 1727. His most famous work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, was published in Latin in 1687. His discoveries span all aspects of the physical world, with special emphasis on experimental and theoretical physics, chemistry, and applied mathematics. He invented virtually the entire science of mechanics and most of the science of optics. During this work, he invented such mathematics as he needed or as interested him, including a discipline known as calculus.

Because Newton was both an experimental and a theoretical scientist, he personally constructed the models and machinery with which he carried out his extensive experiments in chemistry and physics. For example, when he invented the reflecting telescope, he first built a brick oven. In that oven he carried out metallurgical experiments to formulate the composition of the mirror. He then made the mirror with which he constructed the telescope.

Newton’s strong belief in individual freedom to learn about God, without restraints from any other individual or from a church or government, once almost caused him to give up his position as a professor at Cambridge. The matter was resolved when King Charles II made the exceptional ruling that Isaac Newton would not be required to become a member of the Church of England.

Regarding both science and Christianity, Isaac Newton spent his life in intense scholarship, but he left the publication of his work largely to Providence. Much that he wrote has still never even been published.

So ends this Article of THE LOST STORIES JOURNAL, VOLUME ONE. To read more, please click on one of the following links:

Read the Next Article to see how patterns repeat themselves throughout history, providing us with a pattern of patterns.

Read the Previous Article to learn how Divine Providence intervenes so we obtain what we could never obtain by our own efforts.

Read the First Article of The Journal, Volume One, to learn how by harmonizing a multiplicity of perspectives our results can then be trusted.

Read the First Article of The Journal, Volume Two, to find the most important thing is to avoid overemphasizing one discipline at the expense of the rest.

Selected Biographies

Daniel J. Boorstin (1914 - 2004 A.D.) American Author and Historian, Librarian of Congress Won Pulitzer Prize for The Americans: The Democratic Experience (1974).

Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727 A.D.) English Philosopher, Scientist, and Mathematician Invented reflecting telescope, developed Law of Universal Gravity.

Selected Glossary

Cognition: the intellectual process by which knowledge is gained through perception.

History: a narrative devoted to the interdependence of unfolding events, which includes a philosophic explanation for the cause of such events.

Irony: a result which is the complete reverse of what is to be expected.