Charles Darwin – The Role of a Hypothetical Creator is Compatible with the Evolution of the Biological Species

Charles Darwin resting against pillar covered with vines.
  • Article (book excerpt)
  • 700 words
  • Level: high school and above

Charles Darwin argues that the idea of evolution is a more elegant explanation for the action of a Creator than the idea that each species was individually created as is.  Darwin writes:

It accords with what we know of the law impressed on matter by the Creator, that the creation and extinction of forms, like the birth and death of individuals should be the effect of secondary [laws] means. It is derogatory that the Creator of countless systems of worlds should have created each of the myriads of creeping parasites and [slimy] worms which have swarmed each day of life on land and water (on) [this] one globe. We cease being astonished, however much we may deplore, that a group of animals should have been directly created to lay their eggs in bowels and flesh of other,— that some organisms should delight in cruelty,—that animals should be led away by false instincts,—that annually there should be an incalculable waste of eggs and pollen. From death, famine, rapine, and the concealed war of nature we can see that the highest good, which we can conceive, the creation of the higher animals has directly come. Doubtless it at first transcends our humble powers, to conceive laws capable of creating individual organisms, each characterised by the most exquisite workmanship and widely-extended adaptations. It accords better with [our modesty] the lowness of our faculties to suppose each must require the fiat of a creator, but in the game proportion the existence of such laws should exalt our notion of the power of the omniscient Creator.

Click here for an excerpt selected by the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (Inters.org), which is edited by the Advanced School for Interdisciplinary Research, operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome, and directed by Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti.

Click here for the above excerpt as published by NYU press (1987).

Click here for these ideas reflected in the concluding section of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (from an 1870 edition).

 

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