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TRACY R. TWYMAN | Isaac Newton: Heretical Scientist

By Tracy R. Twyman

Originally written for Dagobert’s Revenge Magazine, Copyright 1998. (Does not necessarily represent author’s current viewpoint.)

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Newton was a lifelong student of alchemy

Isaac Newton was Grand Master of the Priory of Sion between 1691 and 1727, and was the father of physics. He is known mostly today for his Theory of Gravity, Theory of Light, Laws of Motion and Laws of Thermodynamics, as well as the invention of the Calculus. He claimed to be a descendant of “ancient Scottish nobility”, and as benefits an aristocratic Brit, he attended school at Cambridge. He was inducted into the Royal Society in 1672 at age 30, where he met Robert Boyle in 1673. He met their mutual friend, John Locke about 16 years later. It was around this time that he also encountered a Genevan aristocrat named Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, a former spy against Louis XIV. According to Holy Blood, Holy Grail, de Duillier “appears to have been on intimate terms with every important scientist of the age”, and he immediately struck up a close friendship with Newton that lasted for ten years.

Six years after meeting de Duillier, Newton was made warden of the Royal Mint, and was therefore involved in fixing his country’s gold standard, an interesting occupation for a practicing alchemist presumably capable of creating gold at will. He was elected president of the Royal Society four years later, and also became acquainted with a Frenchman and Royal Society member named Jean Desaguliers, whom, as we shall soon discuss, was instrumental in the spread of Freemasonry across the continent.

Although we have no proof that Isaac Newton was a Freemason, he did belong to a quasi-Masonic organization called the Gentleman’s Club of Spalding, to which the poet Alexander Pope also belonged. And Newton was clearly interested in the subjects to which Freemasonry addresses itself. For instance, he considered Noah to have been a far more important source of God’s wisdom than Moses, a common theme throughout Freemasonry. He also wrote a very interesting book called The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, which traces the origins of the institution of monarchy, especially the Jewish monarchy of King David. As Holy Blood, Holy Grail describes it, Newton “attempted to establish… the primacy of Israel over other cultures of antiquity.” Like many Freemasons, Newton believed that the ancient Jewish mysteries contained true revelations and divine secrets, but that they had largely been corrupted over time by the editors of the Torah and the Holy Bible. He had great interest in the theories of Pythagoras, especially the “music of the spheres”, which he considered to be an analogy for his own gravitational theories. He was interested in the Masonic and Pythagorean science of sacred geometry, and believed that there were numerological connections between music and architecture. In fact, even more overtly Masonic, he believed that the secrets of alchemy were embedded into the precise dimensions of Solomon’s Temple. His favorite alchemical metaphor was the myth of the Quest for the Golden Fleece. He believed this story to be key to properly dating the events described in both classical and biblical myth, which he considered (as we do) to be real historical records. Newton’s library contained copies of The Rosicrucian Manifestos covered in his own scribbled notes, and over a hundred books on alchemy. One of these alchemical texts was written by none other than Nicolas Flamel, and had been hand-copied by Newton himself. Newton continued to correspond with his friends Robert Boyle, John Locke, and Nicolas Fatio de Duillier about alchemy for the remainder of his life, even at times writing these letters in cryptic codes.

As if it wasn’t obvious from what we’ve already discussed, Newton was an enthusiastic embracer of heresy. He denied the existence of the Trinity, the divine nature of Jesus, and the veracity of the New Testament. He also avidly studied and wrote about Gnosticism, rejecting the mechanistic theories of the universe held dear by his fellow scientists in favor of a material world that derived itself from the spirit. There was another Gnostic-oriented, Cathar-like group in whom Newton, along with his friend Fatio de Duillier, held considerable interest: the Camisards, also known as the Prophets of Cevennes, a group that arose out of the same areas of Southern France as the Cathars, and just like their predecessors had been driven out by the Vatican with military force, escaping into Geneva and London in the early part of the eighteenth century. They too hated the Catholic Church and denied the divinity of Jesus, and just like both the Cathars and the Knights Templar, they dressed themselves in white tunics.

As interesting as Isaac Newton’s life was, his death was, perhaps, even more so. Sensing his impending doom weeks ahead of time, he and his closest friends set about cremating large portions of his private papers, presumably to preserve the secrets of alchemy, as well as the secrets of the Priory of Sion. And in an eerie parallel to the death of Berenger Sauniere, who was refused Last Rites, Newton specifically requested that he not receive Last Rites.

Although there is little doubt about the depth of Isaac Newton’s genius, there are some, shall we say, “interesting” circumstances surrounding his two greatest discoveries: the Theory of Gravity, and the Calculus. We are all familiar with the story of the apple that supposedly fell on Newton’s head as he sat under a tree, providing the inspiration for his Theory of Gravity. Is this story a metaphor for divine inspiration, or for receiving the “forbidden fruit” of secret knowledge? The apple is certainly emblematic of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge consumed by Eve in the Garden of Eden, and the story of it falling from the tree onto Newton’s head brings to mind the story of the Grail stone falling from Heaven. The story surrounding Calculus is even more suspicious. As it turns out, Newton had been working on the Calculus for some time, and he was not the only one. He was in a neck-and-neck race with a German mathematician named G.W. Leibnitz. In either a bizarre twist of fate or a bizarre conspiratorial plot, he and Leibnitz completed their formulas for the Calculus on the same day. To Leibnitz’s great dismay Newton went down in history as the man who “invented” Calculus. However, the German may have gotten the last laugh, for it is his far more simply expressed equations which are used in mathematics today.