His rejection of biblical creation by God
Charles Darwin was a man of his times. The 19th century saw many major social upheavals—political, philosophical, economic and religious—and Darwin was deeply shaped by them.
His grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a non-believer who had written on evolution, and his father Robert, also a nonbeliever, had great influence on him. The death of his beloved daughter Annie at the age of 10 greatly diminished any faith he had in God.
Some 11 years after writing The Origin of Species, he candidly admitted his two main purposes for writing it: "I may be permitted to say, as some excuse, that I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to show that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural selection had been the chief agent of change…
"Some of those who admit the principle of evolution, but reject natural selection, seem to forget, when criticizing my book, that I had the above two objects in view; hence if I have erred in giving to natural selection great power, which I am very far from admitting, or in having exaggerated its power, which is in itself probable, I have at least, as I hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations" (The Descent of Man, 1871, p. 92).
Notice that the first reason for writing his book was religious—for he sought "to overthrow the dogma of separate creations." In other words, he had no room for a religious version of origins involving the Creator God of the Bible. He promoted the idea that the world of matter and energy, mainly through natural selection and variation, might well account for all life we see around us—a philosophy of science known as scientific materialism.
"The publication in full of Darwin’s Early Notebooks," says philosopher of science Stanley Jaki, "forces one to conclude that in writing his Autobiography Darwin consciously lied when he claimed that he slowly, unconsciously slipped into agnosticism.
"He tried to protect his own family as well as the Victorian public from the shock of discovering that his Notebooks resounded with militant materialism. The chief target of the Notebooks is man’s mind, the ‘citadel,’ in Darwin’s words, which was to be conquered by his evolutionary theory if its materialism were to be victorious" (The Savior of Science, 1988, p. 126).
Moreover, it seems Darwin never took into account the creationists of his day who believed the earth was much older than 6,000 to 10,000 years and that God created each species with a great capacity for adaptation as we see in the fossil record and presently today.
Instead he pigeonholed creationists as having to believe in a recent creation and in "fixed" species confined to specific geographical regions. This was a straw man he set up so he could then bash it time after time in his writings. For him, evolution was "scientific" and was to be viewed with an open mind—but within a closed materialistic system—minimizing or eliminating any role for intelligent design or God.
Yet instead of the data accumulated during the next 150 years pointing toward blind and random causes of nature doing the creating, we now see it, based on molecular, chemical, biological and astronomical evidence, pointing to a supremely intelligent Designer of all.
As University of California law professor Phillip Johnson so elegantly expressed it: "Darwinian evolution… makes me think of a great battleship on the ocean of reality. Its sides are heavily armored with philosophical barriers to criticism, and its decks are stacked with big rhetorical guns to intimidate any would-be attackers…
"But the ship has sprung a metaphysical leak [due to the growing case for intelligent design], and the more perceptive of the ship’s officers have begun to sense that all the ship’s firepower cannot save it if the leak is not plugged. There will be heroic efforts to save the ship, of course… The spectacle will be fascinating, and the battle will go on for a long time. But in the end, reality will win" (Darwin on Trial, 1993, pp. 169-170).
Darwin’s bicentennial has arrived but, as Phillip Johnson predicts, Darwin’s ideas will eventually end up in the trash heap of history. Johnson concludes: "Every history of the twentieth century has three thinkers as preeminent in influence: Darwin, Marx, and Freud… Yet Marx and Freud have fallen… I am convinced that Darwin is next on the block. His fall will be the mightiest of the three" (Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, 1997, p. 113).
We eagerly await that day when people will throw off this pernicious lie of, as Romans 1 describes, exalting what has been created and will instead return at last to acknowledge and worship a loving Creator! GN