Newton: The Dark Heretic

Ratings: 8.22/10 from 18 users.


Newton: The Dark HereticA BBC documentary uncovers, for the first time, the original manuscript where Newton forecast the date of the end of the world. Newton, the father of modern mathematics, dedicated a large part of his life to a quest to decode the Bible which he believed to be the word of God. For over 50 years, he studied the Bible trying to unravel God's secret laws of the Universe.

He was fanatical in his quest to discover the date for the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. Scholars have spent years trying to unravel Newton's writings on the Book of Revelation to establish when he thought the apocalypse was coming. For the first time, Newton: The Dark Heretic reveals the date he forecast is within many people's lifetimes - 2060.

The BBC was given rare access to Newton's original manuscripts in the Hebrew National Library in Jerusalem. Buried in his papers, Dr Stephen Snobelen, from the University of King's College in Nova Scotia, found the original document where Newton had written down his prediction. In 2060, Newton believed the dramatic events forecast in the apocalyptic Book of Revelation would occur: massive plagues and fires; the terrible battle of Armageddon between good and evil and the destruction and eternal damnation of the wicked.

Producer Malcolm Neaum says: "Newton prayed daily for the end of the world which he believed would herald the Second Coming of Christ. This would usher in the 1000 year rule of the Saints and Newton believed he would then take his place as Chief Saint." (Excerpt from

More great documentaries

42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. zahid

    myth was over newtons head....

  2. Epicurean_Logic

    Only me again. I just wanted to add that if you found the previous joke funny, you are probably a mathematition at heart, so study more maths and use the above link.

  3. mrcomentator

    can you explain the joke?

  4. Dave

    Never realized just how arrogant and full of pride sir Issac had become...Chief Saint? Well excuse me sir Imfulofmyself!

  5. Jonathen Hayek

    @mrcomentator what is the "POINT" of etc,,, get it??euclidean geometry contains points and lines etc...

  6. clay dawson

    A shame that Newton spent so much energy on this fruitless endeavor. Herein we again see the effect of centuries of clerically-conditioned thinking on a rational man--attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable; much like Rene Descartes and other early philosophers.

  7. richoracle

    Sides of a great man. good thing he was smart enough to acknowledge that there is God.

  8. Cas

    I read the works of Richard Dawkins, then watch a documentary like this; the man of Newtonian logical, so could easily believe that he is far removed from Religion, but then one word comes to your mind; CONTEXT. There was so much undiscovered in his age, so not hard to imagine that religion still manifested in the human mind. This makes you finally realize the bigger picture: Religion is like any scientific theory. Since we had a brain complex/big enough to be self aware, we sought a way to define is instinctive that we place ourselves in higher position in relative to anything that is different than us (racism sounds familiar?).... MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS...UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE JUST A COMPLEX MOLECULE/VIRUS THAT SELF REPLICATED ITSELF TO A COMPLEXITY THAT MADE ITSELF AWARE OF ITSELF.

  9. Warmech

    You mean insane enough. But your opinion is noted.

  10. Warmech

    It's brainwashing. I went to a catholic school for 8 years. Why was i not taught about the other religions? I can't make up my own mind? You don't trust me to see the truth? Or maybe they knew i would see the truth. I mean, so, a billion people can't be wrong i heard. But if that is true, what about the BILLIONS of people who believe in something else? Such a waste of energy. And if he read the bible enough times as his fanatisism suggests, he should know that it says, no man will ever be able to predict when the end comes (thats hilarious. I can just see the nut who threw that little loophole in there. Or maybe Newton's time had a different bible!?). Maybe that is why he went crazy about trying to figure it out. An impossible challenge set before a genious with no peers. Such a waste of energy from a brilliant mind...

  11. Jeff

    Without that brainwashing religion would not exists, as there is no God (most likely). If there was God, no childhood indoctrination would be necessary - we would simply be born with faith. Some say that God gives us free will. Then children should not be indoctrinated. They should be allowed to study religion and choose, when they are fully formed (intellectually) - say in their 20-ties. So since children need to be indoctrinated and are not born with faith "in-built", that means that there is no God, or there are many Gods (at present) and they propagate via early indoctrination, otherwise they would cease to exist (like many before them) ... I'm quite certain, that If one would invest several billions into the matter, or gain power over (a/some) nation, one could revive ... say ... Ra ... via early indoctrination (Ra religion teaching) ... religion is a curious thing.

  12. Jeff

    Your note reminds me of conversation with a priest (I had) and his argument, that many mature (or older if you prefer) men converted. In his opinion that mean that conversion of such highly intellectual non-believers proves existence of God. I did not pursue that topic in that conversation, I had nothing to say/answer to that point made. I was ca. 30 years old then. Now when I'm good 15 years older, I think I know, where this sudden conversion comes from. Fear is powerful factor. Fear of inevitable future. Death, which will end every existence. You cannot judge actions of a person scared as his own decision. This decision is influenced by growing fear. I'll give you an example. Lets say you are a father (or mother). You have a daughter - 5 years old. You love her very much. Also you are deeply religious. Lets assume that someone grabs your daughter, puts a sharp knife against her throat (excuse this vivid example). And he says: "Say that God does not exist! Say it! Renounce your faith! Now! Or I cut her throat!". What would you do? Would you stick to your faith and let your little sunshine die? Or would say anything to save her life? Would that renouncement be even considered as sin, or action under duress to stop a madman? So death is such madman. And decision of a person, who in his/her prime would never consider such decision, but now they do is of very little value. This decision is forced by a "madman".

  13. GinnyMD

    I'm amazed how close Sir Isaac Newton 's theological papers are to the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, who are the only Christian religion I know of who teach and prove from scripture that the Trinity is not scriptural, that we are not immortal, we depend on a resurrection, made possible by Jesus ' own death and resurrection , that we are living deep in the time of the end, soon to face the greatest tribulation ever and God's Kingdom with Jesus as King, is soon to take over the affairs of our Earth. See Dead Sea Scrolls, recently digitised by Google, Book of Isaiah Chapter 11.1-9, and Chapter 35.

    I feel, that the way the above introductory article was written, could be misleading, for example; "He was fanatical in his quest to discover the date for the second coming of Christ and the end of the world"

    Most followers of Christ and serious students of the bible are extremely anxious to know when these things will be and what would be the sign of Christ's presence and the conclusion of this wicked system of things.

    I read from a book written about 1920 , that the reason Sir Isaac mentioned a well into the future date for the Apocalypse was some in his day were making predictions that didn't happen and he feared that people would be turned off reading Gods Word altogether.

    He knew from his careful study of the scriptures that the preaching and teaching of the Kingdom work needed to be done on a global scale first , (Matthew 24.14 )(Acts 1.8) and that wouldn't happen under the religious climate of his day. He saw no organization able to carry it out.

    I believe from his notes, that he discerned from scripture, we are not all going to Heaven ( only 144 ,000, who are bought from earth to rule with Jesus in the Heavenly Kingdom 2nd Timothy 4.18, over obedient mankind on earth ) ( Revelation 5.2, 9-10, & Rev. 14.1-3) Hell, purgatory or limbo .

    But the righteous would possess the earth and live forever upon it. Just as their Creator Jehovah purposed. (Psalm 37.29)having exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37.11) So earth not to be destroyed, just wicked ungodly mankind.

  14. Ian Guidera

    ah religion man's inevitable mistake, lets be honest if religion didn't exist we'd only invent it, live and let live

  15. harry lippy

    I wouldn't call Newton "THE" father of modern mathematics. He was one of many. In fact, Euler should probably get (much) more credit.

  16. bburke

    If he was so sure the world would end in 2060, why did he bother praying about it at all?

  17. haloween

    He may not have been always right but at least he thought for himself and studied and made an effort to learn, more than what most do today, it seems most can't think for theirselves about anything just follow and repeat like parrots.

  18. Don Orcutt

    Thanks for the comments on whether it was worth watching,just what was watched.

  19. Ricky Laming

    thats comical,the second coming of christ!like a movie...(monotone voice)JESUS partII hes back and this time he means buissness...!lmmfao!!!yeah ya know were bout overdue for him to die for some more sins!...and of course ask him about the mysterious dinosaur fossils that are proven to date back BEFORE god created man/earth/universe!?!why are peoples minds stuck on this notion of god or no god depending on if he caters to every insignificant thing its like taking extreme measures not to kill the bacteria on your hands by washing them,tunnelvision thinking isnt what you want to do. god created the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th right?-WRONG what was a day before earth..a jupitor day perhaps???

  20. Kat Ratcliff Thomas

    Y was the dr confused or something, dont get it

  21. Janus Agerbo

    Maybe if you could decide whether to make a statement or ask a question, you could begin to "get" simple things.

  22. Shaun Martin

    Wow, as a Jehovah's Witness I can say that if Isaac Newton were alive today his beliefs would make him one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Apart from the 2060 date that is.

  23. SIKR

    There is no God.There is an Idea of God (gods).

    BTW, Newton also believed in alchemistry and was vigorously trying to convert Mercury into Gold in chemical reaction (which we know now is not the way to go about it). This does not diminish the greatness of his achievements.

  24. Kat Thomas

    simple as pie, like taking candy from a baby

  25. Justin_Khase

    If it's live and let live then one can't logically characterize religion as "mans' inevitable mistake" can one ?

  26. Justin_Khase

    What's even funnier is how atheists are no better than theists when it comes to proving/disproving the existence of a Supreme Being. Atheism is the supreme form of human arrogance at best and dangerous stupidity at worst as it's based on the "bird in the hand" mentality.

  27. over the edge

    atheism is the lack of belief in the god claims of others. why would an atheist have to prove disprove the claims of others? the burden lies with those making the claim. please see Russel's Teapot.

  28. Big boss

    Only a fool will say there is no God. If truely life began after the big bang or as some argue from evolution. What happened before the big bang? what started the first organism which began to evolve? Its so amazing how we try so hard to argue that there is no God because we truely know our inherent and secret evil lifes and since we dont want any moral accountability we have to indulge into illusions and try to justify our immoral acts internally that nobody will hold us accountable when we eventually die. Strangely enough all the so called masters of science, people whose lifes work and dedication formed the backbone of science upon which we are benefitting through this forum today in their later years openly acknowledged secretly and openly the existence of God. Stop wasting your precious time on earth holding God responsible for your woes and troubles and try to discover, invent and create better ways to make the world happy place.There is God to whom I believe . if I die and I don't see him, I have nothing to loose but if I die and see him then I sorry all those who spent thier time insulting and abusing him.

  29. Achems_Razor

    Pascal's wager, Eh?'s_Wager

  30. natasha0

    And who made God?

  31. sonya

    Absolutely! Newton was a God fearing, reverencing man! No one can CREATE a living single cell. Therefore there must be a Creator! Theorists/Physicists like my husband know this & this is how our origin is defined. It is so simple-so don't believe the lies that you came from a monkey! You are perfectly made and in a manner of SPLENDOR from the Almighty!

  32. sonya

    No one! He is the Eternal God. He has always been. He is not he or she, but Creator and has always existed. The Uncreated Creator Who displays His existence through both visible and invisible worlds.

  33. sonya

    Then how did you get here? Where do you explain that you came from and the innumerable visible & invisible things that we see & do not see? Can anyone here Create a universe by the way? Think not, but it's here isn't it! People's minds are so cluttered & blocked by human pride that no wonder why it takes child like faith to SEE.

  34. Achems_Razor

    "God of the gaps" fallacy Eh?

  35. natasha0

    And you know this how? Seems like an easy answer, when in truth what do you really know... By saying he has always existed what you are really saying is existence itself is infinite, thats one way of looking at things, but in that case, why would such a perfect being make such imperfect other beings?

    To simply swipe away the quest to understand our origins with a simple answer such as yours, the quest for knowledge and understanding ends. Most religions are essentially the act of not thinking.
    Dont you honestly think there is more to life than that answer? Or does it comfort you to believe things are that straight-forward?

  36. sonya

    You know, it would be such that a Wise and intelligent Creator Who is Perfect would Create a whole new race of beings that could know "Him" and Love Him out of freewill. If He forced us to believe in Him & to love Him, then what would be the point of Creating such an awesome Creation? Why has the whole of humanity believed that we are somehow "made" through sex and then just dumped onto this planet which by the way is a universal point in the cosmos to try to exist each day as societies fall apart minute by minute and the global elitists are forming a new world order to control the population through the most corrupt and evil ways on this planet? Your answer to your own heart is simply one question away and that is to ask the Creator yourself if He exists. There are over 2 billion people on planet Earth who believe in the God of the "Bible" How can that be??? How could each individual know such a thing??? That is because they searched and asked and they know in their own heart & conscience-there is a definite starting point and that is through a Loving Creator-btw, He cannot help man's freewill to do evil, that is part of the deal & a Perfect Creator does to act like man.

  37. dewflirt

    Ever thought that us godless folk might actually be more morally accountable than the average believer? When we mess up, behave badly, we have no one to blame but our selves, our guilty conscience is our own and we are (as we all are, God or no) judged by those around us and can't take comfort in an imaginary friend that will love us despite our shortcomings. We aren't absolved of our 'sins' because we say sorry to the sky. It's a harsher reality, but at least it's an honest truth. I think you knit yourself a wooly bumper from the lamb of god ;)

  38. dumbworld

    No one is saying anyone created living cells. Christian's are the ones telling everyone that a "god" created living cells. Do you see what you did there? Contradicted yourself. Now I am but a mere mortal human, naive and perhaps a little arrogant in my stance on god. God for me is a concept which in the description of the current religions I refuse to accept. I do not deny the existence of perhaps some greater power than man, but our minds if such a thing did exist could not comprehend it.

    Your bible stories are such simple man made lies that can be pulled apart and nullified, as most of them have been. You said in an earlier comment we didn't come from apes yet science tells us that indeed all living creatures can trace back lineage. Have you not heard of systematic phylogenetics? Surely your great scientist husband knows of it and has taken it into account when you discuss your theories of the universe with him? If not, there's a documentary on this website called "Falsifying Phylogeny", perhaps you should watch it.

  39. dumbworld

    "Only a fool will say there is no God. If truely life began after the big bang or as some argue from evolution". Just from reading that I can tell you are confused about everything to do with science. Evolution is a theory to explain how man came to be, it doesn't try to explain how "life began". You believe in a god created by man, your mind would not be able to comprehend a being greater than us. It's so easy to see it, in the bible writings, it's no different to any of the other god creations. Stories written by ignorant men in the desert. Your religion has failed, 2000 years of christianity and look at the state of the world and your country.How do you have the audacity to dare speak in the modern age?

  40. Pysmythe

    Had a sudden hankering tonight for a good doc on jolly ol' completely lovable Isaac N. for a change. Reckon I'll go ahead and jump right in and see just what kind of lamentable heresies one of history's very greatest geniuses simply had to have been up to whilst in his time apart from all that serious stuff... And, yes, when I say "serious stuff," I'm already somewhat aware with what fervor he regarded what has come to be known as his fruitless sidetracks into scientific dead-ends, and by which I mean that they were at least serious to him. Go right ahead and fault the man for it, if you wish, but at least it was indicative of an insatiable curiosity still rarely found to this day.

  41. Pysmythe

    For some years this business of Newton's bizarre fascination with occult and religious matters baffled me, until a bright day when it at last dawned on me what was probably the major impetus of it for him. Isaac Newton, clearly, knew precisely what he was, of course,,, that his intellectual value was considerably beyond that of his peers and predecessors. And so, while I could be entirely wrong, I suspect that on some level he felt that ONLY he, and no other, would be capable of ferreting out any truly useful information that all those in the centuries before had failed to uncover, should it so happen to be hidden there, and maybe with even a kind of megalomania, if you will, which is not, after all, a trait uncommon to people of very high genius. And if we can say that he failed at this particular task, I think we can also safely say that the lessons he learned from it greatly helped to inform him of the much more important work that lay ahead of him, by helping him to keep his focus on experiments of which the results could be repeated by anyone, in any age. So, the point being, perhaps we shouldn't fault him too much for venturing into territory that would be viewed now as complete quackery.

  42. andre

    well said

Leave a comment / review: