Evolution and Creation

2 May

I wrote in my book on Edward Wilson that Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ ‘shook and challenged the church which taught that the universe was created in six days as described in Genesis’

Professor ‘Sam’ (R.J.) Berry, Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College London, and past president of the Linnean Society, has written to point out that this is not quite true.

Whilst many committed Christians must have been astonished and distressed at questions about the veracity of the Holy Gospel, apparently some very senior, established churchmen accepted the concept of evolution, though ‘natural selection’ was a more problematical concept — although the Creator could design an organism that was specifically adapted to its environment, this perfect specificity would be lost if the environment was not constant.

As far back as 1788, James Hutton had written that ‘the world was almost infinitely old’.

In Darwin’s time, the Reverend Charles Kingsley wrote that he had never fully understood God’s greatness, goodness and perpetual care until he was converted to Darwin’s views. Other eminent churchmen accepted that there was no conflict between knowledge of Nature and a belief in God. The concept of evolution had created a unity in the science of Nature, a unity that was to be expected in the hand of God.

Professor Berry writes that modern ‘Creationism’ was only born in the twentieth century through the efforts of the Canadian Adventist George McCready Price. Now the theory of ‘intelligent design’ a version of creationism that disputes the idea that natural selection alone can explain the complexities of life, is taught in many American schools, alongside the theory of evolution

Wilson seems to have had no problem with the concept of evolution, which must have been discussed in his home with his intelligent, enquiring family. He accepted that evolution was part of God’s plan. His faith remained the scaffolding of his existence. It sustained him on the final days as he died slowly in the Antarctic




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