Charles Darwin (1809-1882):
A Fulcrum Appreciation
by Michael Roberts
He was a quiet family man, whose life was marred by illness. He was born into an affluent home in
His priority on the voyage was geology, and he also collected many biological specimens. On return
The great achievement of
The Effect of
on Christian Belief Darwin
Christian opposition to Darwin and Evolution
The popular perception is that the Christians have always been implacably opposed to
During the last twenty years in
A more recent anti-evolution movement is Intelligent Design, which is now closely associated with YEC. Neither YEC nor ID has any credence as science.
Anglicans and Darwinian Evolution
Contrary to some opinion the Anglican Church has been very postive towards all science for 500 years. While Galileo was under house arrest, the Revd John Wilkins published a Copernican book. Many of the early fellows of the Royal Society were Anglican clergy; I shall only mention John Ray. From 1780 many Anglicans supported the rising science of geology and some of the most significant world geologists before
The reaction to
This rapprochement between Christianity and evolution continued until 1980, with most, including the majority of evangelicals, accepting evolution, with a minority rejecting evolution but not geology. In fact, I can only find one YEC Anglican from 1855 until the 1970s. That was W. H. Griffith Thomas, who accepted evolution while principal of Wycliffe Hall,
Things began to change after the publication in
Against that, the majority of Christians, whether or not Anglicans simply don’t care about doubts about evolution and take it for granted! For the last 130 years most Anglican theological writers have happily accepted evolution, whether they were conservative or liberal. Some have focussed on science and religion and from a previous generation include Mascall, Yarnold, Raven and Smethurst. The late Arthur Peacocke and John Polkinghorne have dominated the scene since 1980, with Alister McGrath of increasing significance. Very few concentrate on
Understandably some don’t like the thought that they are descended from apes and ultimately from an amoeba. At first sight this makes us less than human and that our morals have no basis. Atheists like Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion claiming that you have to choose between God and evolution, or even science, do not help this. Compared to that strident claim, those who take the bible literally with a six day creation as in Genesis seem plausible – until you examine their arguments and find that their science is simply appalling, as well as their biblical interpretation.
In one sense I can see why some Christians are disturbed by
Now where do I stand? I became a Christian through a Christian Union a few weeks before I graduated in geology. For several years I was unaware there was a clash between science and faith! The conflict between science and faith came as a surprise to me, partly for family reasons as my physicist uncle was ordained and my biochemist father non-religious. I happily keep my faith and science together. To me, all science enhances my faith. I have a particular interest in
The Revd Michael Roberts, Vicar of Cockerham, Winmarleigh and Glasson is an authority on
The literature is vast and of uneven quality.
Janet Browne has probably written the best biography.
More popular is
Van Wyhe, John, 2008,
Alexander, Denis, 2008 Creation or Evolution. Monarch
Young, Davis & Stearley, 2008 The Bible, Rocks and Time. IVP
Miller, Ken, 1999. Finding
Roberts, M., 2008 Evangelicals and science.