Darwin & Intelligent Beginner (A Letter)

Letter – C.R. Darwin to James Grant, March 11, 1878

In this letter to Sir James Grant, a Scottish explorer of South Equatorial Africa interested in botanic and microbiology fields, Darwin says that the strongest argument for the existence of God is the intuitive feeling that there must have been “an intelligent beginner of the universe.” The question remains unsolved when we ask whether such intuition is trustworthy and true.

Dear Sir,

I should have been very glad to have aided you in any degree if it had been in my power. But to answer your question would require an essay, and for this I have not strength, being much out of health. Nor, indeed, could I have answered it distinctly and satisfactorily with any amount of strength.

The strongest argument for the existence of God, as it seems to me, is the instinct or intuition which we all (as I suppose) feel that there must have been an intelligent beginner of the Universe; but then comes the doubt and difficulty whether such intuitions are trustworthy.

I have touched on one point of difficulty in the two last pages of my “Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication,” but I am forced to leave the problem insoluble.

No man who does his duty has anything to fear, and may hope for whatever he he earnestly desires.— Dear sir, yours faithfully,

Ch. Darwin.

Down, Beckenham, Kent, March 11, 1878.

Source: Inters.org


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