Charles Darwin On God

Charles Darwin (1809-1882), founder of the Theory of Evolution

1.  Charles Darwin ended his most fundamental scientific work The Origin of Species (1872, 6th edition) with the words:

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.” (Darwin 1928, 463).

2.  “Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting, I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.” (Darwin 1995, 60).

3.  “To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.” (Darwin 1928, 462; The Origin of Species).

4.  “With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically.

I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.” (Darwin 1993, 224).

5.  In 1879, three years before the end of his life, Darwin wrote that he had “never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.” (Darwin, as cited in Bowden 1998, 273).

6.  In 1873 Darwin stated: “The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.” (Darwin, as cited in Bowden 1998, 273).


Charles Darwin held a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology(1831) at Christ College, Cambridge University

2 thoughts on “Charles Darwin On God

  1. why does everything that does not have an explanation be termed as the “work of God?”

    and its astonishing that the person most associated with the theory of evolution is the one talking about God!!

    • Hey Kay,

      Thank you so much for your comment. The question, namely:

      why does everything that does not have an explanation be termed as the “work of God?”

      Is misleading because the grand and wondrous universe has a knowable explanation. Teleological Argument for Existence of God argues the wondrous of a fine tuned universe from a vast fields of modern science which is well mastered.

      Thus “work of God” does not come as an explanation of thing we do not understand but from things we do understand.

      What do we understand in Philosophy is that there is being who is the metaphysically necessary, self-existent, beginningless, uncaused, timeless, spaceless, immaterial, personal, omnipotent, omniscient Creator and Designer of the universe, who is perfectly good, whose nature is the standard of goodness, and whose commands constitute our moral duties.

      These attributes do not come from things we do not know or can not explain, but things we do know and can explain. This being that carries these attribute is what Christian define as God.

      N:B Being as used here means the state or quality of having existence.

      Evolution does not entails denial of God, thus it is not “astonishing” that C. Darwin(MDiv in Christian Theology) speaks about God.

      It is the false presupposition that portray religion and science as opposite to each other. The true presupposition is that religion and same scientific philosophy(e.g Materialism,Macro-Evolution) mascaraed under the science umbrella are opposing each other.

      As Max Planck will say

      “Both religion and science need for their activities the belief in God, and moreover God stands for the former in the beginning, and for the latter at the end of the whole thinking. For the former, God represents the basis, for the latter – the crown of any reasoning concerning the world-view.

      …“It is the steady, ongoing, never-slackening fight against scepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition, which religion and science wage together. The directing watchword in this struggle runs from the remotest past to the distant future: ‘On to God!’”

      N:B: The great late ex-atheist Antony Flew came to believe in existence of God because of Teleological Argument

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