*This information was quoted directly from ‘Did Darwin Kill God’ by Conor Cunnigham…I am using it to show that Evolution and Christianity can work in unity.
The show reveals a timeline for Christian belief in Creationism – and for the original non-belief in it:
- Philo of Alexandria (1st century Jewish philosopher) – believed that where contradictions appear a deeper meaning was at work and was the passages were not to be taken at ‘face value’ (this included Genesis 1 and 2 namely)
- Augustine (4th century bishop) – Quote “it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of scripture, talking nonsense on these topics’ (The Literal Meaning of Genesis)
- James Ussher (Reformation minister) – The first person to calculate the genealogies of the bible as literal and came up with a date for the creation of the earth (Oct 22, 4004 BCE). Wouldn’t have been much of a big deal but this little ditty made it into the KJV bible linear notes for many years (widely read in Europe)
- William Paley (British Apologist) – wrote the watchmaker analogy in 1802 “the argument states that design implies a designer” (Wikipedia – Watchmaker analogy)
- The Genesis Flood (1961) – written by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb – proposed a scientifically accurate account and explanation for the flood via literal biblical means
- Intelligent Design Movement (1987) – Re-creation of Paley’s idea for the 20th and 21st Centuries
The invention of the intelligent design movement only finds it roots as far back as the Reformation and only really caught it’s ‘fire’ in the American Evangelical movements in the early 20th century (1920’s) and again the mid 20th century (1960’s). But if we go back in history the earliest reports on Genesis never make points about literalism about a mythological/allegorical account.
In the same time frame as Darwin proposed evolution the European Victorian society around him was already well acquainted with sceintific discovery – the same system that helped produce a Darwin in the first place. According to Peter Corsi (Oxford professor) geology was a well established science in Victorian England within a faith system (Anglicanism) and within 20 years of evolution the idea of 6 day creationism belief was on the ‘lunatic fringe’.
Darwin developed the ‘Origin of Species’ in Nov 1859 about the common ancestry to the evolution of life. The idea that this ‘shattered Christianity’ is all but a hoax. What it did smash was a small community’s belief in literal translation of Genesis – which was a small exterior crowd in Britain. In fact, Catholic Bishop John Henry Newman and Anglican Bishop Charles Kingsley (within 9 years of the publishing of ‘Origin’) called it a ‘larger idea of divine providence and skill’ and ‘a noble conception of deity’.
According to Nick Spencer (who wrote ‘Darwin and God’) the pivotal moment that caused Darwin’s faith to crash was the death of his daughter (Annie) at the age of 10. The same problem of suffering that many faiths wrestle with on a daily basis in every generation…not evolution.
2 Darwin quotes worth recognition surrounding the ‘Origin of Species’ (taken from documentary):
- “There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved’
- “It seems to me absurd to doubt a man may be an ardent theist and evolutionist”
Many current scientists and philosophers agree with Darwin, theism and evolution are not in throws of chaos. Francis Collins (DNA genome project) who studied the depths of dna remains a devouted Christian. Michael Ruse (philosopher/athiest – Florida State University) see’s a ‘false dichotomy’ at play. Ruse thinks people use their backgrounds to define their philsophical leanings – whether in atheism or theism – science proves nothing concerning God.
Ultra Darwinism toys with theories like the ‘selfish gene’ and ‘memetic theory’ to prove ‘no God’. However, the greatest dna scientists admit this may not be exact about genes (since a grape has more genes than we do). And mimetic theory may have a serious flaw; if memes are merely transmissions of illusion – who is to be sure what meme is more accurate – religion or science? Maybe both memes are illusions which merely survived and not to be trusted over one another.
Simon Conway Morris (paleobiologist – Cambridge) notices from varying evolutionary streams (ie: birds, humans, whales) the element of ‘song’. The supposition is that evolution is to be used a ‘search engine’ with Darwinism as the algorithm in discovering something that may be ‘pre-existent’.
One needs to remember science changes, Newton’s physics as a great example. Evolution as a science is open-ended and provisional…so how can that kill God?