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Insects: 'The Wonders Of God In The Humblest Creatures'

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Chapter Summary

In 1715 Nieuwentijt's Regt gebruik drew the attention of the 'godless' to the fact that the creator was pre-eminently manifest in the worm, mosquito, fly and cheese mite. God's greatness is visible all around us, Nieuwentijt claimed, and the minuscule anatomy of insects was no exception. He exhorted his readers to use the magnifying glass to conduct investigations and to follow the example of the collectors. Within a century insects moved from the margin of reflections on the Book of Nature to the centre. Johannes Swammerdam operated in the same spirit. He made hardly any use of the microscope for his pioneering Historia. On the one hand, Swammerdam's redefinition of the Book of Nature was in line with traditional natural theology. On the other hand, his conviction that God's works obeyed underlying regularities but were basically impenetrable was to lead to the physico-theology of the eighteenth century.

Keywords: God; insects; Johannes Swammerdam; Nieuwentijt



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