On 27 December 1831, Charles Darwin boarded HMS Beagle in Plymouth and embarked on a voyage that was to last nearly five years and, in other ways, a lifetime. Before the trip Darwin had been a sort of Christian: orthodox in a conventional, rational, Anglican kind of way. What he experienced on the Beagle set him on a journey from Christianity, through theism, to the muddled agnosticism of his old age.
Nick Spencer draws on Darwins autobiography, manuscripts, notebooks and letters - as well as his world-famous publications - in exploring Darwins view of design, purpose, morality, the universe and the human mind. The author argues that, although Darwins theory of evolution by natural selection did undermine his Christian convictions, it was the age-old problem of suffering - first in theory, then through the dreadful loss of his favourite child - that caused his faith to break down.
Darwin and God is the first full-length account of Darwins religious beliefs to be published in the UK. Meticulously researched, it presents the moving, compelling and tumultuous story of one of the worlds greatest scientists.
Nick Spencer is Director of Studies at Theos, the public theology think tank. He has written a number of books, most recently (with Bob White) Christianity, Climate Change and Sustainable Living (SPCK).
When misconceptions abound concerning Darwins religious views, it is good to read such a sensitive, reliable and absorbing account.
- John Hedley Brooke, Emeritus Professor of Science and Religion, University of Oxford
This fascinating and readable book fills a big gap in the Darwin literature and provides a well-researched overview of Darwins religious struggles.
- Denis Alexander, Director, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion