Please insert your text here.

Charles Darwin: The Struggle For His Eternal Soul

(Copyright @2009 by Yonko Mali, All rights reserved.)

Welcome to the Yonko Mali program. My main topic today is “Charles Darwin: The Struggle For His Eternal Soul.”

Do you know that The complete title of Charles Darwin famous book is “On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.”

While Charles Darwin used the phrase “Struggle for Life” in his long title of his famous book, I want to talk about Charles Darwin’s own struggle with his belief in God - and it was a struggle for his eternal soul!

Charles Darwin was born 200 years ago on February 12, 1809 and he grew up in a fairly wealthy middle-class family. His father was a successful physician. When his mother died when he was only 8 years old, Darwin was devastated. His father was emotionally distant and this made it even harder on young Darwin. This was the first of several – serious, emotional crises in his life.

When Charles Darwin was only 16, he enrolled in medical school in Edinburgh. During this time he met Robert Grant, who was an evolutionist and Robert Grant also was very anti-religious. Robert Grant was only one of many people who would influence Darwin’s anti-religious beliefs. Two years later at the age of 18, Darwin dropped out of Medical School to pursue his love of nature. And so the next year he enrolled at Christ College in Cambridge at the age of 19.

Darwin’s grandfather was an atheist and an evolutionist and Charles Darwin’s brother Erasmus named after their grandfather was also a non-believer. But Darwin’s father rejected atheism and became an Anglican and raised Darwin with exposure to the scriptures and Christian orthodoxy. However, historians are suspect of Darwin’s father’s joining the Anglican Church. Was it only his attempt as a physician to become more respectable? In fact, Darwin himself claimed that his Father and his brother were essentially like himself in their religious beliefs.

Charles Darwin’s mother and his sisters were Unitarians. And Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood who was also a Unitarian. And so Darwin’s children were raised as Unitarians. All these Wedgewood women had some Christian influence on Darwin.


But Darwin also had even some stronger Christian influences in his teenage and young adult life. There were his mentors, Christian botanist Reverend John Henslow, who was the one who suggested to Darwin that he go one his now famous trip around the world in the HMS Beagle. And there was Christian geologist Reverend Adam Sedgwick. And during his famous 5 year journey around the world, the captain of the ship, Robert FitzRoy was a strong evangelist. And last week I told you about his relationship with Christian Vice-Admiral B.J. Sullivan and the South American Missionary Society.

But by the time Darwin married at the age of 30, he already had strong doubts about the existence of a personal God, he doubted that the Bible was inspired and he even doubted that man had a soul and therefore without a soul, man had no hope of eternal life. And this makes logical sense to an evolutionist. Because how do you resolve the concept of the human soul and evolution? Did the human soul also evolve like the human body? Of course if you believe that man does not have a soul, that he does not have a spirit life than the problem goes away?

But there was a secret in Darwin life that increasingly nagged him as he developed a chronic stomach illness of some kind at the age of 29 and continued throughout his life. My personal guess is that Charles Darwin had Chron’s Disease. As the principles of Heredity became more evident, Darwin began secretly to suspect that his stomach illness was congenital. You see his parents were first cousins when they married. He mother was a Wedgewood and Darwin himself married his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood. So he began to blame himself for his illness – for marrying his first cousin - and the early signs of disease in his own children bothered him greatly. And so it was very devastating to Darwin when his eldest daughter Anne died at the age of 10. Darwin was 42 years old when this occurred.

Darwin alternated between blaming himself and blaming God. What kind of God could allow the death of his 10 year old daughter? What kind of God would allow such devastating effects of genetics if God created and designed the genes? After all - it was not immoral to marry your first cousin.

He confessed his secret to a colleague. Darwin told his colleague that he had married his first cousin and that his parents were first cousins and that he believed that according to the latest scientific evidence, that the chronic illness that he suffered from and now his children suffered from was a result of his marrying his first cousin. Later he wrote, that telling his secret to his colleague was like confessing a murder! Darwin was 45 years old and his eldest daughter was five.

You see we all need to confess our sins, real or imagined. Don’t we. It’s built into ours soul. If people do not confess their sins to God, they will confess them to their friends and some will even confess their sins to strangers. We have this powerful need to confess our sins to help alleviate our guilt. You know that policemen use this to help capture and convict criminals. Policemen know that when they arrest criminals for crimes, many are willing to confess. It just takes a little prodding and asking the right questions in the right way. Policemen also know that criminals find it hard to conceal their crimes. They will either brag about their crimes or to seek solace from their fellow criminals. So the police keep contacts in the streets and capture many criminals who brag about their exploits.

Getting back to my story on Darwin:
Unlike his father, Darwin had developed a strong emotional tie with his daughter Anne. His daughter’s death was very difficult because her death was preceded by a year-long, serious illness. His daughter episodes of stomach illness came more often and were more severe than Darwin’s. Darwin took his daughter to a health retreat where he had received the most relief from his symptoms but his daughter found no relief at the health retreat and the doctors were puzzled by this stomach illness and had no remedies. Darwin was at his daughter’s side during her last days. He watched his daughter who was in agony, wasting away and then finally slipping into a coma before dying. What a terrible time this was for Darwin.

Now if what I told you is not enough of a tear-jerky story about Charles Darwin, listen to this:
His wife, Emma saw how Charles Darwin was slipping into unbelief over the years of their marriage and she was anxious about him and did not want him to descend into the fires of hell so she wrote him letters to express her feelings and her love for him. She implored him to accept Jesus. In one letter, which Darwin would call her “beautiful letter”, she said, ‘There is danger in your giving up revelation… in casting off what has been done for your benefit as well as for that of all the world…I should be most unhappy if I thought that we did not belong to each other forever.”

Darwin, wrote this note to Emma on top of her letter : “When I am dead, know that I kissed and wept over this.”

Even this was not enough to save Charles Darwin.
But you know our God is good, Jesus is the hound of Heaven. Jesus pursued Darwin. He pursued him with the Christian scientists that Darwin studied under . He pursued him with his Christian friends, especially the Captain of the HMS Beagle. Jesus slapped Darwin in the face, by sending missionaries to the Feugians people of South America to prove to Darwin that his ideas about these people were wrong, that they were not sub-human, that they had a complex language and that they could be Christianized. Jesus pursued Darwin, in having his Mother and Father and Sisters expose him to the scriptures and to Christian theology. God whispered to Darwin with his wife’s love and concern for him and finally God shouted at Darwin with the death of this daughter. But sadly to no avail.

I had learned some time ago, that if you want to understand someone who does not believe in God, try to find out the HURT in their lives. Many times you will find that these people are angry at God

Like Darwin, are you angry with God. Has there been some tragedy in your life that prevents you from fully accepting God’s purpose for your life? Then remember that the Messiah died not only for our sins but also for our illnesses, for our imperfections, for our genetic disorders, and for our disabilities. In Isaiah 53:4:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

So if you have some hurt in your life, do not be angry with God; that is a sin in itself. Instead know that God will make it up to you. God did not intend evil against you. Your sin, my sin and the original, first sin of Adam and all the sins of all mankind, causes all the evil in the world.

So do not be angry with God over your hurts. Instead, accept his great gift of love for you. And cherish the hope, not only of eternal life, but the hope that all things will be renewed; all things will be made perfect again. Accept the healing and the peace that God offers graciously.

So put your life and your hurts into the loving hands of Jesus!

[ I’m just a sinner saved by grace!]



[Make this part of the last music CLOSE.]
So you probably will not hear about this aspect of Charles Darwin’s life on the regular media in the comings weeks. I am telling it to you so you can understand Charles Darwin and his agnosticism and how his ideas about Evolution and Natural Selection became his God, his explanation for the way the world came about. Next week, I will bring you my concluding story about Charles Darwin.
= = = =

Side note: In the old testament, Jacob and Rachel were first cousins and Rachel was the mother of 3 of the 12 tribes of Israel.
No matter how short or long our lives, God gives everyone a chance for salvation.
Charles Darwin: The Struggle For His Eternal Soul

Welcome to the Yonko Mali program. My main topic today is “Charles Darwin: The Struggle For His Eternal Soul.”

Do you know that The complete title of Charles Darwin famous book is “On the Origins of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.”

While Charles Darwin used the phrase “Struggle for Life” in his long title of his famous book, I want to talk about Charles Darwin’s own struggle with his belief in God - and it was a struggle for his eternal soul!

Charles Darwin was born 200 years ago on February 12, 1809 and he grew up in a fairly wealthy middle-class family. His father was a successful physician. When his mother died when he was only 8 years old, Darwin was devastated. His father was emotionally distant and this made it even harder on young Darwin. This was the first of several – serious, emotional crises in his life.

When Charles Darwin was only 16, he enrolled in medical school in Edinburgh. During this time he met Robert Grant, who was an evolutionist and Robert Grant also was very anti-religious. Robert Grant was only one of many people who would influence Darwin’s anti-religious beliefs. Two years later at the age of 18, Darwin dropped out of Medical School to pursue his love of nature. And so the next year he enrolled at Christ College in Cambridge at the age of 19.

Darwin’s grandfather was an atheist and an evolutionist and Charles Darwin’s brother Erasmus named after their grandfather was also a non-believer. But Darwin’s father rejected atheism and became an Anglican and raised Darwin with exposure to the scriptures and Christian orthodoxy. However, historians are suspect of Darwin’s father’s joining the Anglican Church. Was it only his attempt as a physician to become more respectable? In fact, Darwin himself claimed that his Father and his brother were essentially like himself in their religious beliefs.

Charles Darwin’s mother and his sisters were Unitarians. And Darwin married his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood who was also a Unitarian. And so Darwin’s children were raised as Unitarians. All these Wedgewood women had some Christian influence on Darwin.


But Darwin also had even some stronger Christian influences in his teenage and young adult life. There were his mentors, Christian botanist Reverend John Henslow, who was the one who suggested to Darwin that he go one his now famous trip around the world in the HMS Beagle. And there was Christian geologist Reverend Adam Sedgwick. And during his famous 5 year journey around the world, the captain of the ship, Robert FitzRoy was a strong evangelist. And last week I told you about his relationship with Christian Vice-Admiral B.J. Sullivan and the South American Missionary Society.

But by the time Darwin married at the age of 30, he already had strong doubts about the existence of a personal God, he doubted that the Bible was inspired and he even doubted that man had a soul and therefore without a soul, man had no hope of eternal life. And this makes logical sense to an evolutionist. Because how do you resolve the concept of the human soul and evolution? Did the human soul also evolve like the human body? Of course if you believe that man does not have a soul, that he does not have a spirit life than the problem goes away?

But there was a secret in Darwin life that increasingly nagged him as he developed a chronic stomach illness of some kind at the age of 29 and continued throughout his life. My personal guess is that Charles Darwin had Chron’s Disease. As the principles of Heredity became more evident, Darwin began secretly to suspect that his stomach illness was congenital. You see his parents were first cousins when they married. He mother was a Wedgewood and Darwin himself married his first cousin, Emma Wedgewood. So he began to blame himself for his illness – for marrying his first cousin - and the early signs of disease in his own children bothered him greatly. And so it was very devastating to Darwin when his eldest daughter Anne died at the age of 10. Darwin was 42 years old when this occurred.

Darwin alternated between blaming himself and blaming God. What kind of God could allow the death of his 10 year old daughter? What kind of God would allow such devastating effects of genetics if God created and designed the genes? After all - it was not immoral to marry your first cousin.

He confessed his secret to a colleague. Darwin told his colleague that he had married his first cousin and that his parents were first cousins and that he believed that according to the latest scientific evidence, that the chronic illness that he suffered from and now his children suffered from was a result of his marrying his first cousin. Later he wrote, that telling his secret to his colleague was like confessing a murder! Darwin was 45 years old and his eldest daughter was five.

You see we all need to confess our sins, real or imagined. Don’t we. It’s built into ours soul. If people do not confess their sins to God, they will confess them to their friends and some will even confess their sins to strangers. We have this powerful need to confess our sins to help alleviate our guilt. You know that policemen use this to help capture and convict criminals. Policemen know that when they arrest criminals for crimes, many are willing to confess. It just takes a little prodding and asking the right questions in the right way. Policemen also know that criminals find it hard to conceal their crimes. They will either brag about their crimes or to seek solace from their fellow criminals. So the police keep contacts in the streets and capture many criminals who brag about their exploits.

Getting back to my story on Darwin:
Unlike his father, Darwin had developed a strong emotional tie with his daughter Anne. His daughter’s death was very difficult because her death was preceded by a year-long, serious illness. His daughter episodes of stomach illness came more often and were more severe than Darwin’s. Darwin took his daughter to a health retreat where he had received the most relief from his symptoms but his daughter found no relief at the health retreat and the doctors were puzzled by this stomach illness and had no remedies. Darwin was at his daughter’s side during her last days. He watched his daughter who was in agony, wasting away and then finally slipping into a coma before dying. What a terrible time this was for Darwin.

Now if what I told you is not enough of a tear-jerky story about Charles Darwin, listen to this:
His wife, Emma saw how Charles Darwin was slipping into unbelief over the years of their marriage and she was anxious about him and did not want him to descend into the fires of hell so she wrote him letters to express her feelings and her love for him. She implored him to accept Jesus. In one letter, which Darwin would call her “beautiful letter”, she said, ‘There is danger in your giving up revelation… in casting off what has been done for your benefit as well as for that of all the world…I should be most unhappy if I thought that we did not belong to each other forever.”

Darwin, wrote this note to Emma on top of her letter : “When I am dead, know that I kissed and wept over this.”

Even this was not enough to save Charles Darwin.
But you know our God is good, Jesus is the hound of Heaven. Jesus pursued Darwin. He pursued him with the Christian scientists that Darwin studied under . He pursued him with his Christian friends, especially the Captain of the HMS Beagle. Jesus slapped Darwin in the face, by sending missionaries to the Feugians people of South America to prove to Darwin that his ideas about these people were wrong, that they were not sub-human, that they had a complex language and that they could be Christianized. Jesus pursued Darwin, in having his Mother and Father and Sisters expose him to the scriptures and to Christian theology. God whispered to Darwin with his wife’s love and concern for him and finally God shouted at Darwin with the death of this daughter. But sadly to no avail.

I had learned some time ago, that if you want to understand someone who does not believe in God, try to find out the HURT in their lives. Many times you will find that these people are angry at God

Like Darwin, are you angry with God. Has there been some tragedy in your life that prevents you from fully accepting God’s purpose for your life? Then remember that the Messiah died not only for our sins but also for our illnesses, for our imperfections, for our genetic disorders, and for our disabilities. In Isaiah 53:4:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows… and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

So if you have some hurt in your life, do not be angry with God; that is a sin in itself. Instead know that God will make it up to you. God did not intend evil against you. Your sin, my sin and the original, first sin of Adam and all the sins of all mankind, causes all the evil in the world.

So do not be angry with God over your hurts. Instead, accept his great gift of love for you. And cherish the hope, not only of eternal life, but the hope that all things will be renewed; all things will be made perfect again. Accept the healing and the peace that God offers graciously.

So put your life and your hurts into the loving hands of Jesus!

[ Music: I’m just a sinner saved by grace!]

So you probably will not hear about this aspect of Charles Darwin’s life on the regular media in the comings weeks. I am telling it to you so you can understand Charles Darwin and his agnosticism and how his ideas about Evolution and Natural Selection became his God, his explanation for the way the world came about. Next week, I will bring you my concluding story about Charles Darwin.
= = = =

Side note: In the old testament, Jacob and Rachel were first cousins and Rachel was the mother of 3 of the 12 tribes of Israel.
No matter how short or long our lives, God gives everyone a chance for salvation.