Historian Lynn White shows how the new scientific method launched an explosion of innovations and inventions starting in the thirteenth century. The fourteenth century was, according to Jean Gimpel, “one of the great inventive eras of mankind.” The technological revolution described by White and Gimpel was unlike anything known in classical times. Between the trial-and-error agricultural techniques of the monasteries and the new theoretical and experimental study of the universities, Europe developed a new way of understanding nature and making it work to human purposes. A continent once desolate was soon dotted with schools, farms, and workshops, all taking learning and agricultural production and trade to a new level. Inventions of the period included the waterwheel, the windmill, the chimney, eyeglasses, and the mechanical clock. Humble these may seem, but they are responsible for launching a civilization that would soon, in learning, affluence, and power, dwarf the other cultures of the world.

The first professional scientists can be traced to the late Middle Ages, and since this period the overwhelming majority of them have not only been Christians, but have also viewed their work as a fulfillment of Christian objectives. Morris Kline writes that “the Renaissance scientist was a theologian with nature instead of God as his subject.” This does not mean the Renaissance scientist was on a secular path. On the contrary, he saw himself as achieving God’s purpose in a new and better way, by going beyond God’s holy book and exploring His creation.