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Pasteur: Pioneer of Careful Science

Pasteur statue: Photo credit: dreamstime 40356525

Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895).was one of the greatest scientists of all time and is often called the father of microbiology and the founder of modern medicine and bacteriology. This brilliant man used careful research and experimentation with detailed logs to document his work at a time when many others used speculation and depended on the beliefs of other scientists from the past.

Louis Pasteur realized it was germs that were spoiling milk and making people sick and developed a method of heating the milk to kill these tiny creatures. Now pasteurization is as common as milk itself. He also discovered through his research that some microscopic living organisms are helpful, while others cause diseases. His work proved that germs can cause illness and knowledge about these organisms is an important element of modern medicine.

Against the Scientific Consensus

At the time of Louis Pasteur’s work, many scientists resented him for disproving their theories and doctors rejected his view on germs making people sick. One of the views many scientists disagreed with Pasteur about was their belief in spontaneous generation, or life came from non-life.

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At that time, the study of microorganisms was a brand new field, and it was widely believed that all of these tiny creatures arose spontaneously wherever they happened to be, whether on meat or in milk. Louis Pasteur was a Bible believing Christian and took the account of creation found in Genesis as fact. This firm belief that God created all life after its kind as written in the first chapter of God’s Word was foundational to all of his work.

In 1850, a man named Felix Pouchet, a popular naturalist and well-known professor, wrote this in an article to the Academy of Science,

By meditation it became clear to me that spontaneous generation was one of the means which nature employs for the reproductions of her creatures.  I applied myself to discover by what process one could prove this truth.”

This comment angered Louis.

Professor Pouchet arrives at scientific truth merely by thinking about it?

He could not imagine anybody that would call himself a professor at a university accepting an idea as fact without first testing it by experiments and careful research.

Real World Research

For five years Louis worked diligently studying how microscopic life arose. Through spending hours looking through his microscope and by careful experiments, he proved that even microscopic life must reproduce from a living being like themselves. Tiny microorganisms do not arise by spontaneous generation.

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Louis always thought that the theory of evolution was foolish, partly because, as a Christian, it went against the creation account in Genesis. And as a scientist, Darwin did not base any of his ideas on experimental proof. All of Charles Darwin’s writings and lectures were based on imagination and beliefs and not on hard scientific facts.

Louis Pasteur understood the importance of ideas and theories, but if they could not be backed up by scientific research and experiments, those ideas and theories should be thrown out.

Did the Bible influence scientists in the past?

The answer to that question is yes. Many scientists from the past and even today build their scientific work on what they know to be true: that God created the universe as stated in his history of the world, his Word.

Scientists, past, present, and future, from all parts of the world, take the Genesis account of creation as historical fact and build their research based on that fact. They understand that the universe was placed here by a Designer who has established certain laws that are to be studied.

Once God’s laws and creation are understood well enough, then people can benefit from that understanding. God has given people the mental intellect to learn about the world that He has placed us in. Louis Pasteur is an example of a great scientist who used what he knew of God’s creation to help the world be a better place.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

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Written by Doug Velting

Doug has a heart for kids and has taught elementary and Junior high students biblical creation for over 30 years.

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5th Century AD copy of Genesis close up.

An Early Copy of the Book of Genesis

Archaea bacteria illustration: Illustration 236063317 © VectorMine |

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