colin wrote:Sir Isac Newton believed that God himself had decreed the laws of physics so clearly his religious belief was not incompatible with evolution even though he had presumably never come across the concept in his time.
No I don't think so, and it was at a time when 'not believing' could have you lynched:
'Like many contemporaries (e.g., Thomas Aikenhead) he lived with the threat of severe punishment if he had been open about his religious beliefs. Heresy was a crime that could have been punishable by the loss of all property and status or even death (see, e.g., the Blasphemy Act 1697). Because of his secrecy over his religious beliefs, Newton has been described as a Nicodemite.
According to most scholars, Newton was Arian, not holding to Trinitarianism. 'In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, to him the fundamental sin'. As well as being antitrinitarian, Newton allegedly rejected the orthodox doctrines of the immortal soul, a personal devil and literal demons. Although he was not a Socinian he shared many similar beliefs with them. A manuscript he sent to John Locke in which he disputed the existence of the Trinity was never published. In a minority view, T.C. Pfizenmaier argued Newton was neither "orthodox" nor an Arian, but that, rather, Newton believed both of these groups had wandered into metaphysical speculation. Pfizenmaier also argued that Newton held closer to the Eastern Orthodox view of the Trinity rather than the Western one held by Roman Catholics and Protestants. However, S. D. Snobelen has argued against this from manuscripts produced late in Newton's life which demonstrate Newton rejected the Eastern view of the Trinity.
Newton refused viaticum before his death.'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious ... aac_Newton