Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) is considered to be the founder of physical astronomy. To some extent, he built upon the foundational studies of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, as well as utilizing the telescope developed by Galileo. But it was he who discovered the laws of planetary motion and who established the discipline of celestial mechanics. He conclusively demonstrated the heliocentricity of the solar system and published the first ephemeris tables for tracking star motions, contributing also to eventual development of the calculus.
Kepler was an earnest Christian and studied for two years in a seminary, leaving only with reluctance to enter the study and teaching of astronomy when the Lord opened that door. He was apparently the first scientist to state that, in his astronomical researches, he was merely “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” a motto adopted by many believing scientists since his time. His astronomical studies also led him into studies of Biblical chronology, and he believed that the world was created about 7,000 years ago. Kepler wrote in one of his books:
Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.
Excerpted from Men of Science, Men of God by Henry M. Morris. Copyright 1982, 1988 by Henry M. Morris. Used by permission.