Isaac Newton Said The World Is Ending In 2060: Was He Right?
English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727) contemplates the force of gravity, as the famous story goes, on seeing an apple fall in his orchard, circa 1665. Source: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
If you spent even a few minutes awake in science class, you'll recognize the name Isaac Newton as one of the most influential people in history. He was a physicist, mathematician, and astronomer as well as a prolific author and theologian. His groundbreaking 1687 book, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, laid the foundation for pretty much every subsequent breakthrough in the field of mathematics. Basically, he made your average scholar look like a burnout.
But this intellectual titan was far from the stuffed shirt you probably imagine him to be. Newton was also fascinated with the occult and dabbled in areas of inquiry that scientists would scoff at today, such as alchemy, Biblical codes, the belief in Atlantis, and even in doomsday prophecies. Let's look beyond Isaac Newton, the brilliant physicist, to learn about Isaac Newton, the occultist.
Newton has a lifelong interest in the occult. Source: (history.com)
Isaac Newton, the Alchemist
From childhood, Isaac Newton was keenly interested in geology and mineral science. Chemistry was a new scientific field of study, and Newton believed it may have been just the break alchemists had been waiting for all these years.
Alchemy, for those unfamiliar, was a pseudoscience born centuries ago that was based in the belief that one could alter the chemical makeup of one substance to transform it into another. Specifically, alchemists sought to turn lead into gold. In fact, according to the scant notes and journals he left behind, this seemed to be Newton's ultimate ambition.
To this end, Newton sought to discover the "philosopher's stone," the key ingredient needed to turn base metals into gold. Much of Newton's alchemical work was done in secrecy because much of it was outlawed in England at that time---and for good reason. It appears that Newton suffered some sort of mental breakdown during his alchemy period, mostly due to contact with mercury or lead.
Newton thought that Atlantis was a real place. Source: (treehugger.com)
Isaac Newton and Atlantis
One of the many books that Newton published was one called The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, which was printed in 1728. In it, Newton presented a detailed chronology of several ancient kingdoms, including Atlantis. Plato had mentioned the lost continent of Atlantis years earlier, but although Newton had no additional evidence of the existence of the lost continent, he took Plato's information at face value and expanded it by presenting a timeline for the Atlantian civilization and its rulers.
Newton's belief system was complex. Source: (atlasobscura.com)
Isaac Newton and Secret Societies
During his lifetime, Isaac Newton was a bit of a recluse and not one to socialize often. His name, however, has been linked to numerous secret societies. He may have been a 33-degree member of the Scottish Rite Freemasons and affiliated with the Rosicrucian movement. The Rosicrucians were anti-Catholic Christians who declared that they could live forever thanks to the secret elixir of life that was in their possession. More importantly, the Rosicrucians had a deep belief in the wisdom of ancient cultures and the secret knowledge that could be learned from the past.
Newton believed that the dimensions of Solomon's Temple were clues to secret knowledge. Source: (arounddeglobe.com)
Sacred Geometry in King Solomon's Temple
As a theologian and scholar of the Bible, Newton was intensely interested in Solomon's Temple, which he believed was built by Solomon himself using sacred geometry that was given to him by divine beings. Newton believed that many of the secrets of life were encoded in the building. He pored over the proportions and dimensions of the temple, certain that some sacred knowledge was embedded in its properties.
Newton thought he could find hidden messages within Biblical passages. Source: (ancientresources.com)
As a devout Christian, Newton believed that his intellect was God-given and preordained. He believed himself one of the chosen ones, part of a group of people who God had selected to interpret Biblical scriptures and glean hidden meaning from them. Not one to snub God's orders, Newton penned several treatises about codes in the Bible and his proposed interpretations of them. He concluded that prophecies were written into Biblical scriptures and wrote extensively on the subject with the authority of a scientist and academic.
For all his genius, Newton's beliefs were rooted in the occult. Source: (nationalgeographic.com)
Newton's 2060 Prediction
Some of Isaac Newton's previously unpublished documents that were released in 2003 seem to indicate that the physicist and occultist thought the world would end in 2060. To reach this date, Newton pulled numbers from several passages in the Bible and used them to develop a complex mathematical formula. When he plugged his numbers into his formula, his calculations revealed the year 2060 as the year of the apocalypse.
These documents, written around 1705, were likely his personal notes. Newton had previously written that he disliked when people published doomsday dates for monetary and sensational purposes, which is probably why he never published this prediction. Oops. Sorry, Newton.