The enlightenment time for evolution, though existing beforehand, was manifest into the biological literature in 1859 with the release of Charles Darwin’s book, “The Origin of Species by Natural Selection or The Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle For Survival.” Darwin had many influences in his life that factored into his writing of The Origin of Species. Charles Lyell’s book, which described the millions of years of geology set a framework for his biological processes to “do their magic.” Darwin’s grandfather, who was a humanist and was very influential to young Charles, had worked diligently to write works that espoused evolution without a proper mechanism. Darwin also observed the suffering and death that was prevalent throughout his studies, and he had trouble attributing this to a “good” God. Sadly, this tragedy struck home when Darwin’s daughter died of a stomach ailment, and he could not cope with the problem of evil and a good God. With all of these influences, he voraciously strove to publish a scientific replacement for God. Darwin lamented, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Despite the strong influence of Christian thought in his culture, Darwin wrote, “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.”
Fully understanding the moral implications of his theory of evolution, on page 94 of his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.” Darwin understood that without having the God of the Bible, that there is no objective foundation for morality. Moral relativism is inevitable with evolution.
Lynn Margulis writes, “Darwin was brilliant to make natural selection a sort of godlike term, an expression that could replace God, who did it-created forms of life.” Darwin’s published works, which describe in detail the process of evolution, have led Martin Lings to write “More cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution…than to anything else.” So Darwin had what he thought was his mechanism to replace God as creator: natural selection.