The theory about how human beings and plants came to exist was explained by a well known scientist called Charles Darwin. Generally his works were given a common name, Darwinism. This basically refers to the set of ideas which are related to evolution and as well as the concepts behind Darwin’s theory (Brown 67). He did not acknowledge that human beings and plants existed through divine intervention; his opinion was that they both came into being through natural processes like biological mechanisms. He argued that organisms with advantageous characteristics competed for the scarce resources available and survived by them. They later passed on their features to their descendants thus a cycle was created where other organisms were reproduced by other organisms of a later age. Darwinism holds that no supernatural means or assistance was used in the evolution theory it was all but pure science.
Darwinism was so popular and thus many countries were familiar with it. America is one of the countries whose scientist too tried to evaluate Darwin’s theory or rather point of view on evolution. They came out from all scientific professions; zoologists, botanists, anthropologists and geologists, to analyze the theory (Hodge 56). There were different reactions from the scientists but one common thing they had is that they partly believed and acknowledged Darwin’s work. They for nearly fifteen years supported Darwinism. They were convinced about the scientific explanation of the evolution theory. Their belief too was that organisms reproduced and born other organisms of similar kind; plants born plants while animals born animals. However not all of them strongly agreed to this, they believed that there was some kind of supernatural assistance.
The attempt by Darwin to try and explain evolution as being totally science was not supported by everyone. Asa Gray, a Harvard botanist, who called himself a Darwinian, did not also seem to agree with some of Darwin’s points. Certain aspects were not quite clear as they were explained in Darwinism. A lot of questions were born like how this theory explained the formation of may be body organs such eyes, years and the rest. Darwinism states that a human being scientifically existed as a whole but does not explain how their body parts came into being. This therefore means that there was some kind of divination so as to form both human beings and plants in order to reproduce (Brown 78). Asa tried to persuade Darwin to acknowledge the power of divine intervention but the latter was a staunch scientist who strongly believed in his work. He could not be swayed by something which was beyond his knowledge to prove as he dealt mainly with facts though his argument was however not that well supported therefore questionable.
Religious leaders did not at all agree with Darwinism as it was against their faith. They had it in mind that the theory would never be accepted. Quite unfortunately, the issue could not be overlooked. Naturalists checked on the benefits of evolution as well as the effectiveness of natural selection (Gopnik 87). This called for more attention such that theologians also started analyzing the theory. Naturalists were becoming evolutionists themselves due to the influence the theory had on them with the urge of wanting to become recognized. They wanted to explain what Darwinism could not elaborate such as the formation of body organs. It was however not possible for them to accomplish that.
James McCosh a liberal protestant and the president of Princeton University then, tried to justify the biblical theory of creation. He had that God was the one responsible for the creation of both human beings and plants. There was no scientific theory which could explain evolution as it was divine and supernatural ways were applied thus the existence of human beings and plants. The issue was however contradictory as some of the theologians and clergies did not agree with evolution of human beings (Hodge 98). James main point of view was that evolution was simply God’s method or rather way of creation. Due to the conflict which Darwinism brought, it was later seen as being atheist.
Theological criticism was based on how evolution undermined various biblical beliefs about creation. The fact that human beings had the image of apes and not that of God was one of the critics. This thus put to question Darwinism looking it from a biblical point of view.
The question about evolution has definitely brought about conflicts between science and the Bible. Scientifically as explained in Darwinism both human being and plants originated from other organisms which existed there earlier. On the other hand, theologians claim that it was God’s work that evolution came into being. Creation was the work of god Himself. However Darwin did not at all agree with this as he believed that science played a part in evolution. Generally Darwinism was not supported by all and if it were, it was not like how Darwin would have; there were some points which were not that persuasive even to other scientists.
Browne, E. (2002). Charles Darwin: Vol. 2 The Power of Place. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0712668373.
Gopnik, A. (2009). Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life. London: Quercus.
Hodge, C. (1874). What is Darwinism?. Scribner, Armstrong, and Company. OCLC 11489956.