Johannes Kepler and the Finger of God

Horsehead

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a respectably religious and intelligent recipient of the Christian faith. The harmony between the scientific as well as Christian worldview (or to put it better, “perspective of things”) can be found most exemplified in his 1618 work, Harmonies of the World (Harmonic Mundi). In this work, which has been considered “a great cosmic vision, woven out of science, poetry, philosophy, theology, [and] mysticism” (Max Caspar, quoted from S. Hawking, On the Shoulders of Giants, cp. 2002, p. 632), one is captured by the reverential discourse Kepler puts in his work. In Book V (Proem), Kepler writes:

The very nature of things, in order to reveal herself to mankind, was at work in the different interpreters of different ages, and was the finger of God – to use the Hebrew expression… (Ibid. p. 636).

Kepler thence continues in a truly moving passage in regards to his reverence for “harmony and order, and all that he discovered… linked with his vision of God” (p. 633):

I dare frankly to confess that I have stolen the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle for my God far from the bounds of Egypt. If you pardon me, I shall rejoice; if you reproach me, I shall endure. The die is cast, and I am writing the book, to read either now or by posterity, it matters not. It can wait a century for a reader, as God himself has waited six thousand years for a witness. (Ibid. p. 637)

As Stephen Hawking comments, “Kepler believed he had discovered God’s logic in designing the universe, and he was unable to hide his ecstasy” (Hawking, p. 632).

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