Darwin’s Deadly Deception and the Devil’s Gospel

Darwin’s Deadly Deception and the Devil’s Gospel, Part 6


By Clint Bishard

Jesus Created Ministries

 Darwin, shortly after seminary, was recommended by Henslow for the position of naturalist on the now famous voyage of the “Beagle” from England to South America.  While on this voyage Darwin’s interest in geology grew even deeper.  As he noted in a letter back to Henslow during his voyage – “Tell Professor Sedgwick he does not know how much I am indebted to him for the Welsh Expedition; it has given me an interest in Geology which I would not give up for any consideration.”[1]  Most significant of all, Darwin’s interest in geology eventually led him to devour the doctrine of Charles Lyell.  As Darwin noted while on board the voyage –

“I had brought with me the first volume of Lyell's 'Principles of Geology,' which I studied attentively; and the book was of the highest service to me in many ways.  The very first place which I examined, namely St. Jago in the Cape de Verde islands, showed me clearly the wonderful superiority of Lyell's manner of treating geology, compared with that of any other author, whose works I had with me or ever afterwards read.”[2]

In a personal letter from Darwin to a friend, W. D. Fox, while on board the “Beagle” - “I am glad to hear you have some thoughts of beginning Geology.  I hope you will; there is so much larger a field for thought than in the other branches of Natural History.  I am become a zealous disciple of Mr. Lyell's views, as known in his admirable book.  Geologising in South America, I am tempted to carry parts to a greater extent even than he does.  Geology is a capital science to begin, as it requires nothing but a little reading, thinking, and hammering.”[3]

Lyell’s geology was the most un-Biblical view of geology put forward by any naturalist of Darwin’s day.  It rejected Noah’s Flood as having anything to do with the geologic column and taught that the geologic column was nothing more than the result of very slow and gradual processes of erosion and deposition as could be observed on the earth at the present time.  This idea that the “present is the key to the past” as put forward by Lyell, instead of the Bible being the key to the past, was one of the most significant events in the derailment of science away from its Biblical roots.  This new revolution in geology created by Lyell is noted very strongly by Darwin in his book on origins - “He who can read Sir Charles Lyell's grand work on the Principles of Geology, which the future historian will recognize as having produced a revolution in natural science, and yet does not admit how vast have been the past periods of time, may at once close this volume”[4]

Unfortunately, given Darwin’s statement above and the fact that I do not accept Lyell’s uniformitarian geology, I will have to stop this creation series given that Darwin did not want me to read his book any longer.  Seriously, I hope you will join me next time as we continue to look at how it was actually geology, and not biology, that first moved Darwin away from a belief in the Bible.


[1] Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, Chapter 1.6 (Personal letter from Charles Darwin to J. S. Henslow, Rio de Janeiro, May 18, 1832).

[2] Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, Chapter 1.2 – Autobiography.

[3] Francis Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, Chapter 1.6 (Personal letter from Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

Lima, July, 1835).

[4] Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species and The Decent of Man, The Modern Library (New York: Random House, Inc.), pg. 236.

Jesus Created Ministries (JCM) www.JesusCreated.org - Page last updated April 12, 2007