Great creation scientist

John Ray was born in 1627—the same year Robert Boyle was born and Francis Bacon died. Boyle was the founder of modern chemistry, and Bacon was the originator of the modern scientific method which combined experimentation with rational argument. In his book, The Founders of British Science, J.G. Crowther describes the relationship among the work of these three committed Christians as follows:

‘The work of recording and classifying the contents of nature, which, as Bacon had indicated, was the first step in creating a modern universal science, was led in chemistry by Boyle. In biology the comparable work was carried out by John Ray.’1

In the preface to his book on British plants published in 1690, Ray expressed gratitude to God that he was born in this era, when Bacon’s idea of experimentation and logic combined had replaced the previous philosophy of logical argument alone (i.e. without a starting point in the real world) which was a leftover from ancient Greek thinking.

Early life

John Ray was born on November 29, 1627, in the English village of Black Notley in Essex. He was the youngest son of the village blacksmith. His mother collected and used herbs for medicinal purposes, and she was well known in the area for her care and compassion for those who were ill. John’s interest in plants began in his early childhood while collecting herbs with his mother.

John received some basic education in his home village. It appears that the local vicar recognized that he had academic potential and arranged for him to attend grammar school in nearby Braintree. Again his potential was recognized and, at the age of 16, he entered Trinity College at Cambridge University….

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